Ljubljana, Slovenia © Jacob Riglin, Beautiful Destinations
By Allie Murray
When it comes to sustainable tourism, there is one hidden gem destination that is leading the charge: Slovenia.
The European country is known for its mountains, ski resorts and lakes, in addition to an abundance of history and exciting sites. Now, the region can add sustainable tourism to its list of attractions.
Setting their sights on making the country sustainable for tourists and locals alike, Slovenia’s tourism board launched the Green Scheme of Slovenia Tourism under the brand Slovenia Green to introduce sustainable tourism principles into their operations.
And their efforts towards sustainability are paying off: this year, Slovenia made National Geographic’s coveted Best of the World list and was ranked among the top 25 inspiring destinations. The region was highlighted in the nature category, honoured for its wild, pristine and beautiful destinations.
“We have experienced so many changes and disruptions in the way we explore over the last few years, so with this year’s list, we really wanted to get back to identifying positive stories about destinations and communities,” explained Amy Alipio, senior editor at National Geographic Travel. “With our team of travel experts and editors, we took a deeper dive into places all over the globe that are providing experiences that are unique and beneficial for both locals and travellers: locals where visitors ultimately sustain and support—not damage—the destination’s environment and community.”
Sustainability is plentiful in Slovenia: from its hotels and accommodations to its gastronomic experiences and tourist attractions, sustainability is at the forefront of everything in the country.
To make sustainable travel easier for people visiting from abroad, the Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism awards bronze, silver, gold and platinum labels to destinations that certify their sustainable efforts. There are currently 60 destinations included in the Scheme. Destinations that really stand out are awarded the platinum label and so far, five destinations have received the label.
The regions that have received the coveted platinum status are Bohinj, a paradise for mountaineers and cyclists who enjoy breathtaking views; Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia that was the recipient of the European Best Destination in 2022; Čatež and Brežice, a haven for thermal baths, castles and wineries; Laško, a famous brewery village; and Kranj, a town on the threshold of the Alps filled with history.
The popular experiences and tours in Slovenia have a focus on cycling—a natural connection due to the region’s mountainous landscapes. Slovenia Green has a list of routes that connect destinations and providers that are filled with panoramic views, gourmet stops, and unique experiences in the Slovenian countryside.
The Green Gourmet Route is one that attracts visitors from near and far. This spring, the route added five new destinations that bring their own flavours to the tour. The Green Gourmet Route crosses through nearly all of Slovenia, which was named the European Region of Gastronomy for 2021. The gourmet trail focuses on wine and food as it leads through vineyards, farms, and Michelin-starred restaurants.
The region boasts so much to discover—and Slovenia is proving that travel can be enjoyed without causing further damage to the planet.
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