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Slovakia and Slovenia

I know there is a lot of confusion about these two countries, and we need to change it. These two hidden gems in Europe have much to offer and are still less visited by travelers. So they might be your next destination, especially if you want to avoid tourist crowds.

I’m from Slovakia and lived there for the first 18 years of my life. Besides, I visited Slovenia as a world traveler and often compared these two countries.

So in this article, I’ll give you a great understanding of these two countries and explain the main differences. I’ll also recommend the best things to do in each country. So keep reading.

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Slovakia And Slovenia: What’s The Difference?

I was born and raised in Slovakia, and after traveling the world for the past 10 years, I’ve experienced that nobody knows where this small country is. Everyone either confuses it with Slovenia or Czechoslovakia. But then they’re only familiar with the word ‘Slovenia.’ And I don’t know much about it either. So let’s make it clear here.

Slovakia’s and Slovenia’s main differences are their location, history, economy, and language.

They don’t share the same border. Slovakia is in Central Europe, and Slovenia is a gateway to the Balkan peninsula (Southeastern Europe). They also have different flags and languages. And they don’t have much in common regarding history (Slovakia was part of Czechoslovakia, and Slovenia was part of Yugoslavia).

So they’re pretty different from each other. Yet, both countries are outstanding and worth exploring. So let’s first talk about exact differences and then the best things you can do in each country.

Key Differences Between Slovakia And Slovenia

While these two countries have some things in common (such as beautiful nature and folk culture), many differences will help us distinguish them, such as location, language, history, and economy.

So let’s talk about the main differences between these two amazing countries.


The location of these two countries is quite different. They don’t share borders; Hungary and Austria are dividing them.

Slovakia is located in Central Europe, close to the Czech Republic, Austria, and Poland.

Slovenia is the gateway to the Balkan Peninsula, sharing borders with Croatia, Italy, Austria, and Hungary. It’s located in Southeastern Europe.

They’re approximately 323 kilometers (200 miles) apart if you were to take the fastest route by car via Austria.

Slovakia and Slovenia map of countries
Map of Slovenia and Slovakia


Slovenia and Slovakia have a completely different past. They were each part of different empires and unions, influenced by distinct influential people.

They do have in common that both countries were part of the Austo-Hungarian Empire between 1867 and 1918.

After its collapse, Slovakia became part of Czechoslovakia, and it remained so until 1993 when it became an independent Republic of Slovakia.

Slovenia followed a different pathway after the Austro-Hungarian Kingdom was dissolved. In 1918, together with Croatia and Serbia, Slovenia became part of Yugoslavia. It gained independence when Yugoslavia collapsed in 1992.


Slovakia is a landlocked country heavily influenced by the Slavic culture. It has wonderful traditions that are unique just for Slovakia. One is splashing a bucket of ice-cold water onto girls for them to be healthy during Easter. Slovaks have traditional clothes, folklore dancing, and national heroes such as Janosik, who robbed the wealthy and gave to the poor.

Slovenia’s culture is slightly different. While you can find similarities in folk dancing and costumes, Slovenia’s traditions are heavily influenced by its neighboring countries. It’s much more diverse than Slovakia because it borders Italy and Croatia. Port cities like Piran and Koper almost feel like being in Italy, and the southwestern part has delicious Borek and pastries from the Balkan countries.

So in terms of cultural diversity, Slovenia has more to offer, but Slovakia has some very unique traditions you might not find anywhere else.

Slovak folk dancers
Slovak folk dancers

👉 READ ALSO: What To See In Slovakia In 3 Days: Full Itinerary


Slovaks and Slovenes also speak different languages. Slovakia’s official language is Slovakian, while that of Slovenia is Slovenian.

Both of these languages come from the West Slavic Group, so that’s what they have in common. Thanks to this fact, you might hear some similarities when people speak.

Yet, I’m a Slovakian, and while I can catch a few words or at least assume their meaning, it’s difficult for me to understand the Slovenian language.


In terms of economy, Slovenia is doing better than Slovakia. Its overall score of prosperity is higher than that of Slovakia. Both countries use EURO as their official currency since they’re part of the European Union.

Slovakia ranks 35 in the official prosperity score. Its GDP per capita is 115.5 billion USD (as of 2022). The Slovakian economy is among the weaker in Europe, and the average monthly salary is 1592 EUR.

Slovenia ranks 27 in the official prosperity score. Its GDP per capita is 29.5 billion USD (as of 2022). Slovenian economy is also among the weaker but slightly stronger than Slovakia’s. It’s the richest out of the Balkan countries. The average salary in Slovenia is 2208 EUR per month.

Economy Slovenia and Slovakia

👉 READ ALSO: Is Slovenia Expensive? Ultimate Guide To Budget Your Trip


These two nations also have different healthcare indexes. I’m Slovakian, and unfortunately, the healthcare system is not the best in my country (based on my experience).

Slovakia’s overall healthcare index score is 54.4. Overall, hospitals aren’t in the best shape. When I walk inside, they still have these communist walls, and people might be grumpy. While they care for you, the healthcare services need a lot of improvement.

Slovenia’s overall healthcare index score is 67.8. It has more modern hospitals than Slovakia, and the healthcare is generally better than that of Slovakia.

Both countries have compulsory Social Health Insurance that every citizen has to pay. It’s deducted from their salary when employed, or self-employed people must pay it monthly. Paying the insurance allows you to use healthcare services in each country.

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Something that these countries have in common is amazing things to do when it comes to tourism. Yet, there are many differences in how each country manages its tourism.

Slovakia has so many beautiful things to do. Yet, local authorities could do a better job regarding activity advertising and tourism. No wonder people don’t know anything about Slovakia, not even travelers. The country offers mainly beautiful nature, interesting culture and traditions, and unique food.

Slovenia’s tourism is booming. Many travelers have visited it for the past few years, mainly thanks to its stunning nature and the outdoor activities it offers. The country is so diverse that you can spend some time on the coast enjoying the Adriatic Sea, eating seafood delicacies, or spending time in nature.

Overall, tourism in Slovenia is much better promoted than in Slovakia.

Slovakia and Slovenia tourism

👉 READ ALSO: Slovakia Road Trip Itinerary For 8 Days

👉 READ ALSO: Slovenia Road Trip Itinerary For 5 Days

So now that you know the main differences between these two countries, let’s see what you can do in each country. I said tourism in Slovenia is better promoted than in Slovakia, which is a fact. But it doesn’t mean one or another country is better.

Both countries are fantastic and offer unique experiences for travelers. You should visit both of them. I love them both equally when it comes to tourism and activities.

So let’s see what each country has to offer for us travelers.

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Slovakia Vs. Slovenia: Which Is Better To Visit?

Each country offers different things, yet they have many similarities regarding tourism. So you’ll eventually have to decide which country matches your interests and activities you want to do better.

Generally, Slovakia is better to combine a bit of everything: nice cities, beautiful nature, unique traditions and culture, and fairy-tale castles.

Slovenia is all about breathtaking nature, sea and its coastal towns, so it mostly attracts outdoor adventurers, hikers, and those who want to relax in nature or next to the Adriatic Sea.

Go through the list of things to do in Slovenia and Slovakia below, and decide which is better for you to visit.

Slovakia: Best Things To Do

For you to have the best possible time when visiting Slovakia, it’s essential to plan and know what it offers. This country is mainly about beautiful nature, culture, and fairy tale castles.

Here are the top things to do when you visit Slovakia. Also, check out the related articles for more travel tips and information.

Experience Slovakian Culture

As I mentioned above, Slovakia has an interesting culture, and one of the best things to do is to immerse yourself in its traditions. You can see folk dancers with costumes, beautiful wooden painted houses in a small Slovakian village, or experience a wooden raft ride across the river.

To experience Slovakian culture, visit the following places:

  • Čičmany
  • Terchova
  • Banska Štiavnica
  • Trenčín

Tour To Traditional Slovakian Village & Thermal Spa
Ride Slovakian Wooden Raft & Walk On The Top Of Trees

Slovakia road trip itinerary 8 days Cicmany
Cicmany traditional village

Visit Slovakian Fairy-Tale Castles

Slovakia has many beautiful castles that I highly recommend you see. One of the most beautiful and visited is the Bojnice Castle. Others are Spissky Castle and Devin Castle, which you can visit on a day trip from Bratislava.

The most beautiful castles in Slovakia are:

  • Bojnice Castle
  • Spiš Castle
  • Trenčín Castle
  • Strečno Castle

Tour To Devin Castle From Bratislava

best fairy-tale casltes in Slovakia Bojnice Castle
Bojnice Castle

👉 READ ALSO: 6 Fairy-Tale Castles In Slovakia: Learn About Legens & History

Go Hiking In Slovakian Mountains

I don’t know what it is, but Slovakian mountains are unique. They have many fantastic hiking trails and stunning views; you can even sleep in a mountain hut.

The most popular mountains to visit are Lesser Fatra and High Tatras. My favorite is the High Tatras Mountains; I love coming back every year to clear my mind and enjoy this incredible place.

If you want to have an incredible hiking experience in Slovakia with a local, check out some of the tours below for these two mountain ranges.

Guided Tour To Lesser Fatra Mountains From Bratislava

best hiking trails in High Tatras Slovakia my experience
My friends and I hiking in High Tatras – Slovakia

👉 Best Hiking Trails In High Tatras Slovakia: With A Local
👉 Perfect Hut-To-Hut Hiking High Tatras Slovakia: 5-Day Itinerary

Explore Natural Beauties

Slovakia has many beautiful caves that you can explore. The most visited are the Demänovska Cave of Liberty, Demänovska Ice Cave, and Ochtinska Aragonite Cave.

To visit one of the caves, check out my Slovakia road trip itinerary that will take you there.

best hiking trails in High Tatras Slovakia Chata pri Zelenom Plese
High Tatras – Slovakia: Chata pri Zelenom Plese

Do Wine & Beer Tasting

As with other countries surrounding Slovakia, it has its wine production. So if you only have a day or two, why not visit some of the family-run wineries around its capital?

Carpathian mountains are famous for grape growing, and you can visit some local wineries in the region, so check it out on one of the organized tours below.

Slovaks are big beer drinkers, and we also have some local production. So taste some craft beer in Bratislava, too.

Craft Beer Tasting In Bratislava
Wine Tasting Tour From Bratislava (With Sommelier)

Slovakia beer

Taste Slovakian Food

What would it be to visit a new country and not taste its food right? Slovakia has delicious meals.

Our national dish is ‘Bryndzove Halusky‘ (sheep cheese gnocchi), stuffed dumplings with gem or cheese, cabbage soup with sausage, or delicious Buchta (filled with cottage cheese or a gem). So if you’re in Bratislava, I recommend doing a food tour.

how many days in Slovakia Slovakian traditional food
Slovakian traditional food ‘bryndzove halusky’

Slovenia: Best Thing To Do

Slovenia offers amazing things to do. The main reasons you’d visit the country are its stunning nature, outdoor activities, and hiking options. It has a lot of natural beauty and cute coastal towns with delicious seafood.

Here is a list of the best things to do in Slovenia. So check it out.

Explore Slovenian Natural Beauty

Slovenia, like Slovakia, has stunning nature, too. One of the best things to do is to explore its Postojna Cave. After the visit, check out the mysterious Predjama Castle, built into a rocky mountain.

These two places are also a great day trips from Ljubljana.

Guided Tour To Postojna Cave From Ljubljana
Tour To 7 Wonders Of The Slovenian Alps

Is Slovenia expensive Lake Bled
Lake Bled – Slovenia

👉 READ ALSO: 21 Best Day Trips From Ljubljana

Go Hiking In Slovenian Mountains

Slovenia is also famous for its beautiful hiking trails. Its nature is simply out of this world, and you should dedicate at least one or two days to exploring its beauty.

You can also hike the highest Slovenian mountain, Mt. Triglav, but it’s more for experienced climbers, and you need equipment.

Via Ferrata Route In Bled
Hiking In The Julian Alps With Local Guide

best day trips from Ljubljana Mt. Triglav
Mt. Triglav

Do Outdoor Activities

Slovenia is a paradise for outdoor activities. Whether you are looking for rafting, canyoning, sledding, or kayaking, it offers everything. So pick your favorite one and sign up. Doing so in its stunning nature even adds up to the entire experience.

Rafting Tour With A Guide
Kayaking Tour With A Guide
Canyoning Tour With A Guide
Longest Zipline In Europe

best day trips from Ljubljana Bovec kayaking
Bovec – kayaking

Ride A Traditional Pletna

Slovenia is famous for its cute boats called Pletna. You can enjoy this ride on Lake Bled and take a Pletna to ride you to the famous island in the middle of the lake.

Book Pletna Experience here as a day trip from Ljubljana. Explore Lake Bled with its Castle and city and ride the traditional boat.

Lake Bled Pletna
Lake Bled Pletna

Experience Slovenian Traditions

I highly recommend visiting a traditional Slovenian village called Velika Planina. It’s located high up on a mountain and consists of several wooden cottages where shepherds used to live.

You can even stay in one of them and experience the traditional living of the locals. It’s amazing.

I’ve included a visit to Velika Planina on this ultimate Slovenia itinerary. So check out how to get there.

Explore Slovenian Coastal Towns

Slovenian towns on the Adriatic Sea’s coast are special. My favorite is Piran, a small fishing town. You can taste some delicious seafood, stroll the coast, or rent a bike for a little coastline tour.

You can easily visit the coastline towns by yourself. I recommend renting an E-Bike and riding alongside the coast within a day. Or just pick one town and have a beautiful day with a romantic dinner.

You can also check out some organized tours to skip planning.

Guided Tour Of Slovenian Coastal Towns
Ride A Bike Along The Adriatic Coast

Slovenia road trip itinerary 5 days Piran town
Piran town


To help you get an even better understanding of these two countries and their differences, I’ve also answered some of the most frequently asked questions. So check them out below.

Is Slovenia Close To Slovakia?

These countries don’t share the same borders but are pretty close. Only Hungary and Austria divide these two countries.

If you were to travel from the southern part of Slovakia (capital city Bratislava) to the northern part of Slovenia (Maribor), it would be 323 kilometers (200 miles) long. It would take 3 hours & 30 minutes by car via the fastest road through Austria.

Which Is Better Slovakia Or Slovenia?

There is no right answer to whether Slovakia or Slovenia is better. Both countries are different, offer unique experiences, and are beautiful.

In terms of living, Slovenia is better because it offers highly monthly salary and its economy and healthcare are slightly better than in Slovakia.

How Do You Remember Slovakia Vs Slovenia?

The best way to remember the difference between these countries is their location. Look at Google Maps and find each of them.

Remember that Slovakia is close to Prague (it used to be former Czechoslovakia), and so it’s in Central Europe. And note that Slovenia is a gateway to the Balkan peninsula (closer to southern European countries like Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Albania).

WRAP-UP: Slovenia And Slovakia

As you can see, these two countries are quite different. This article gave you a general understanding of each place and the things it offers. So it’s time to explore and add these countries to your travel bucket list rather than only major destinations such as Venice or Paris.

The two states are unique in their ways and have fascinating cultures and stunning nature. You’ll especially love Slovenia if you look for outdoor activities and hiking trails. And you’ll specifically love Slovakia if you want to explore a unique country with distinct traditions, culture and spend some time in beautiful nature.

So start looking for flights and pack your bags. It’s time to visit these amazing countries on your next travel adventure.

If you have any questions, contact me at info(at)voicesoftravel.com. I’ll gladly help you or design a customized travel itinerary for you.

Happy Travels!

voices of travel about me photo

About the author: Nicoletta is a travel enthusiast and passionate language learner. While traveling, she loves to connect with locals using her language skills to learn about new cultures. Look for her skiing, hiking in the mountains, or exploring new destinations as she designs travel itineraries for her clients.

SLOVAKIA: Interested in more articles for Slovakia?
Check out my Slovakia Travel Page:

SLOVENIA: Interested in more articles for Slovenia?
Check out my Slovenia Travel Page.

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