Travel information: safety, weather, electricity, driving etc

Language, electricity, currency, safety: practical travel information about Slovenia

 
Safety in Slovenia

Slovenia is one of the safest countries in Europe. Women are regarded as equal to men and also for women alone travelling is generally safe. However, crime does exist. Tourists should be alert for pickpockets in crowdy places, for instance in cities and along the Slovenian coast. Defibrillators are becoming widely available. There are two alarm numbers: tel 113, which connects you to the police. This is also the number you should call in case of car accidents – as long as no-one is hurt. In case you need an ambulance or report a fire, call 112.  Operators who pick up these numbers should speak English. Theft should be reported at the nearest police station. In case of an emergency: each health centre (“zdravstveni dom”) has a first-aid post which is permanently manned. For most of our tours, the closest by one is in Cerknica, the quickest way to reach them is by dialing 112. 

 
Health risks in Slovenia

Hepatitis A and routine vaccinations are usually recommended for travellers to Slovenia. Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for people who are at an increased risk of transmission (contact with blood or sexual contact). 

 

Ticks

In Slovenia, ticks are common. They can transmit both Lyme disease and Tick-borne encephalitis. Ticks are active from early spring to late fall in most of Slovenia and throughout the year in coastal regions. Vaccination against Tick-borne encephalitis is recommended for travellers who spend much time in nature and off-roads. 

 

Rabies

Rabies is still present in Slovenia, but the incidence in foxes dropped dramatically in recent years. This is the result of an annual program of spreading bait with Rabies vaccine from aeroplanes. The bait has a warning written in Slovenian language only. If you find this, please do not touch. Also, stay clear of any visibly ill or unusually tame wild mammals. All dogs in Slovenia are obligatory vaccinated against rabies. When in doubt: dogs also have a microchip implanted. With the microchip-data, any Slovenian veterinarian can access the vaccination status of any dog in a central database. If there is any doubt if a dog is vaccinated, contact a veterinarian a.s.a.p. In principle, all mammal species can contract and transmit Rabies. Most known cases in Slovenia are from Fox and Bats. 

Please note that the author of this blog is not a medical specialist and check with your countries health-centre for official information. 

And don’t forget to read our blog post about the Dangers of the Forest

Bait with rabies-vaccine for foxes in Slovenia
Bait with rabies-vaccine for free-living foxes in Slovenia. This bait is dropped from aeroplanes and you can find it in any urban area. Do not touch this bait when you find it. Photo credit: http://www.nijz.si/
 
Drinking water in Slovenia

In the entire country, tap-water is nearly always safe to drink. Locally, problems can occur in dry periods in summer. When in doubt, ask local people if the water is safe to drink. 

Tip for thirsty travellers: graveyards usually have a tap, meant for watering plants on graves. These taps are nearly always connected to the local drinking water systems. You can freely take some drinking water at a graveyard, as long as you respect the graves and the people who look after them.

 

Is water from mountain streams safe?

Water quality of streams and rivers has improved dramatically in recent years. However, water from streams is only safe to drink in mountain areas. Anywhere where there are houses or villages located upstream, you should consider water from a stream as unsafe. This also applies to small springs in the forest: these are connected with underground streams which transport water rapidly from higher altitude locations. If, in those higher altitude locations, there are houses or villages, also the spring-water lower down a slope is unsafe.  

 

Driving in Slovenia

When driving in Slovenia, you should always have your headlights on. In case you forget: other drivers may notify you by blinking with their headlights. The same blinking signal is also used to warn for obstacles on the way, inform you about a speed control further on or that someone in a faster car would like to pass you.

 

Motorways

For the use of a motorway (avtocesta), it is obligatory to buy a vignette. You can obtain these at petrol-stations and at the Slovenian border. Especially in summer, this is regularly checked.

At motorways, the speed limit is 130 km/h, but some drive (much) faster. At times, this unequal speed of different drivers can cause irritation on both sides and therefore lead to dangerous situations. 

Motorways and larger roads are well maintained. Some smaller roads can have cracked asphalt: due to the sometimes severe winters, asphalt does not last particularly long. Note that the GPS may send you over unpaved forest roads: these are part of the official road network. 

 

Unpaved forest roads

At smaller forest roads you may encounter a sign “Gozdna cesta – uporaba na lastno odgovornost”. This translates as “Forest road – use at your own responsibility”. It is allowed to drive here, however, your car insurance policy may not apply on these roads. Note also that at some forest road stretches, you may not have a telephone signal. These unpaved forest roads may seem remote, but you can encounter trucks which are loaded with wood. Truckdrivers mostly do not expect people on the roads: they drive fast and a heavy-loaded truck cannot stop instantly. Underneath the “Forest-road” sign there may be an additional sign that cautions you for forest fires. 

 

A forest road in Slovenia: these are part of the general network of roads and the car-navigation may well send you over such roads. 

Language in Slovenia

Slovenian is the official language in Slovenia. Border-regions are bilingual: here, Italian, German, Hungarian and Croatian can be spoken. Especially younger Slovenes usually speak English as a second language.  

 

Currency in Slovenia

The Euro is used as official currency in Slovenia. Other currencies are generally not accepted. Money can be exchanged at banks, alternatively, it can be retrieved at ATM machines. ATM machines can be found in shopping centres, at banks and at the larger petrol-stations. Some smaller shops still accept only cash. For any seller (shop, restaurant etc) it is obligatory to give you a bill. 

 

Tipping

Tipping is not an obligation in Slovenia, but it is welcomed. Prices in shops are non-negotiable. 

 

Electricity in Slovenia

In Slovenia the power sockets are of type F. The standard voltage is 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. Note that this is much higher than, for instance, in North America. American devices may burn through and cause power shortages when they are used without an adaptor. 

Generally, there are few power sockets in a room, but electricity should be available. Note that the light-switch of a bathroom can be located outside the bathroom, besides the door. 

Electricity socket in the home of the author of this blog.

Time-zone in Slovenia

Slovenia uses the Central European time, UCT + 1.

There is a one-hour difference between summer- and winter time: 

Sunday, 25 March 2018, 02:00:00 clocks are turned forward 1 hour to 03:00:00 local daylight time instead.

Sunday, 28 October 2018, 03:00:00 clocks are turned backwards 1 hour to 02:00:00 local standard time instead.

 

Communication

There are several mobile-phone providers and a telephone signal should be available in all inhabited places. However, especially in steep mountain valleys, you may find yourselves without telephone signal. 

The international dial-code for Slovenia is ++386 

Public telephones have practically disappeared in Slovenia because it is assumed that everyone has a mobile phone. 

Most accommodations in Slovenia offer free WI-FI to their guests, however, sometimes there are issues with a too low capacity. Generally, it should suffice for e-mail and some information searching online, but downloading movies may be problematic in some places. 

Stamps (for letters and postcards) can only be bought at post offices. 

Water from small streams in Slovenia is only drinkable when there are no inhabited places situated upstream. 

Climate in Slovenia

Slovenia is characterised by pronounced climatical differences on a short distance. Most of the country has a Continental climate. In the mountains, there is an Alpine climate. Closer to the coast, the climate is Sub-mediterranean. In general, weather forecasts are highly reliable but can be, in some cases, a few hours off. You can find the actual weather situation and forecasts on these websites: 

http://www.pro-vreme.si/

http://meteo.arso.gov.si/

It may also be helpful to check the actual weather on webcams, of which there are many. Links to webcams can be found here: 

https://www.hribi.net/spletne_kamere_v_gorah

 

Summer weather

Summers can be warm in Slovenia, with temperatures reaching 30-35 °C during the daytime. At night, the temperature often drops to 20-25 °C. On hot days, sudden thunderstorms in the afternoon are common. These can be violent, but often don’t last long. Afterwards, the temperature is only a few degrees cooler but the humidity has markedly increased. There is a large difference between inland areas and the Slovenian coast: at the coast, it can be 5-10 degrees warmer. In the mountains, the difference between day- and night temperature is much more pronounced. Always check the weather forecast before going in the mountains, because every year some people are caught unprepared when the weather suddenly changes. 

 

Winter weather

Winter weather is very variable, both from day to day and from year to year. In some years, there is a snow-cover which lasts several months. Other years, there is little snow in the lowland. Especially at night, the temperature often drops below zero. At higher altitudes, temperatures to minus 35 °C can be reached. At the coast, winters are much milder and snow lasts at most a few days. 

 

Burja

Especially when the weather is changing, a very cold, strong wind can blow from the mountains to the coastal region, the Burja. At such times, motorway sections can be closed for trucks and mobile homes. This can be in any season. 

 

Climate in Slovenian caves

Caves have a constant climate throughout the year. The temperature is around 12 °C with a close to 100% air humidity. Some caves have underground streams. After rain, the water level of these underground streams can rise quickly and some caves become temporarily inaccessible. 

 

Winter on the Bloke plateau: this is one of the coldest inhabited places in Slovenia. 

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