We spent two weeks in Slovenia during ‘’Pink Week’’ (focused on gay travel in Slovenia) and were simply amazed by its natural beauty – it was like being in a fairy-tale.
Slovenia is the third most forested country in Europe and one of the most water rich with numerous thermal springs, mineral springs and subterranean waters.
We loved the diversity and beauty of all the landscapes across the country, from rolling green hills to bright blue lakes and crystal-clear water along the coast – Slovenia easily surpassed our expectations.
Slovenia borders Italy to the west, Austria to the north, Hungary to the east and Croatia in the south – all of which can easily be reached
In our gay guide to Slovenia we will cover how we found the country as a gay couple, if a gay scene exists, share the best activities to do, where to stay, suggestions of where to go and practical tips – we highly recommend that you visit!
Gay Slovenia Travel Guide
Is Slovenia Gay Friendly?
From our experience as a gay couple, we felt very welcome and safe in Slovenia. We barely gave being gay in Slovenia a second thought; and that is a good thing!
In fact, it is stated on the tourism boards website:
‘’Slovenia, especially Ljubljana, is friendly and open to all visitors. As guests who are members of the gay and lesbian community, you are welcome here. All the services provided by Slovenia to its guests are also available to you.’’
LGBTQ+ rights in Slovenia are taking some time to catch up with other gay destinations in Europe, however the reality as a tourist and the welcome we got from everyone we interacted with was an incredibly positive one.
Without a doubt, like most countries, the gay hotspot of Slovenia is its capital: Ljubljana. For more, take a look at our ‘Gay Travel Guide to Ljubljana’.
Gay Bars in Slovenia
The gay scene in terms of gay bars in Slovenia is limited to Ljubljana with one main gay bar and one bar that hosts LGBTQ nights throughout the year.
Head to the following gay bars in Slovenia:
- Klub Tiffany – this a the main gay bar in Slovenia and falls into the category of a ‘dive bar’. One for a cheap and fun night out.
- K4 – This is not a gay bar but holds the occasional gay night. We were lucky enough to be in Ljubljana for one of its gay nights and had an absolute blast! Keep an eye on its Facebook account for the next one.
Gay Pride in Slovenia
Gay Pride in Slovenia is hosted in Ljubljana every year in June.
Pride here started in 2001 in response to an incident in Café Galerija. On 8 June 2001 two men were prevented from entering the café and told that they were not welcome because of their sexual orientation.
The people’s response was to protest and over the next few Fridays, people would go to the café, take a table and sit and drink only water to reduce the owner’s profits.
One month later, a demonstration “Bypass against intolerance” was organised by LGBT activists and supporters which would later be remembered as the first annual Ljubljana Pride.
Gay Beach’s in Slovenia
We didn’t find time to explore these during our visit, however there are said to be a couple of unofficial nudist beaches popular with the local gay population.
The names of the ‘gay beaches’ in Slovenia are: Nudist Beach Črnuče and Naturist Beach Strunjan.
If you go please do let us know what you find!
What to do in Slovenia?
Forget about the gay scene for a moment because Slovenia has so much more to offer.
We can not emphasize enough what a beautiful country this is. Make sure you do the following during your visit:
Visit Lake Bled
This has to our number one thing to do in Slovenia.
Lake Bled is an Alpine lake with a small island and iconic bright blue waters.
You can spend the day swimming in the lake, boating, hiking the nearby trails and taking some time to relax.
If you are going here for the day try and arrive early as parking can be a challenge. Personally we would have liked to overnight here.
We parked near ‘Camping Bled’ which is a great spot for swimming and has a trail nearby to get to an incredible viewpoint called Ojstrica (mountain with a pyramid shaped top).
Visit the beautiful coastal town of Piran
One of the unique things about Slovenia is the diversity of landscapes, one moment you can be up in the hills and the next by the coast.
One of the best places to visit along the coast is the ‘Venetian style’ town of Piran.
The town is very picturesque with a colorful main square, medieval walls, a busy harbour and lots of great seafood restaurants to choose from (although we stopped for pizza instead!)
Make sure you climb the bell tower for the best views over the town and out to sea.
We also managed to take a walk just outside the walls to the ‘beach’ area and jump into the sea.
Visit Bohinj (specifically Lake Bohinj)
Bohinj is a municipality in the northeast of Slovenia and home to Triglavski Nardoni National Park.
The area is known for its outdoor activities whether that means taking a leisurely cycle, walking one of the many trails or trying something a bit more active like kayaking, hiking or horse riding.
One of its main attractions (other than its beauty being a national park) is Lake Bohinj which is a close rival to Lake Bled but with fewer crowds.
We stayed at the Bohinj ECO Hotel & Wellness Hotel which had an incredible backdrop of mountains to look out over and was nestled in a very cute town.
The capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana, is a beautiful town with a river, castle and friendly vibe. Make sure that you:
Explore Prešeren Square – this is the heart and centre of the city. If there are events going on, this is where they will be happening. The square is lined by the river and its many bridges. We recommend stopping in one of the many restaurants and watching the world go by.
Visit Ljubljana Castle – Set on top of a hill, you can always spot Ljubljana castle. It is a short walk from the town centre and you can see quite a lot of the castle for free. If you want to see more, you can purchase a ticket for certain areas. We have to mention that they had a sign in the ticket office with LGBT flags, when asked what it meant the lady turned around and said we don’t take any bullsh*t when it comes to homophobia!
Picnic at Tivoli Park – minutes away from the centre you can find Tivoli Park. Take a picnic and spend the afternoon exploring the park in the sun including its tropical greenhouse and botanical gardens.
Maribor is a small city in the east of Slovenia and sits along the Drava River.
We spent two days in Maribor taking long cycling trips along the river and into the hills as well as learning about the city itself.
Like many places in Slovenia, Maribor is famous for its wine and is home to the worlds oldest vine! We made sure to stop here and do some wine tasting.
Other things to keep you busy in Maribor include:
- world`s oldest vine (guided presentation and wine tasting)
- other top attractions: e.g. Regional Museum, wine cellar in the old town etc.
- guided tours: 2-hour classical tour / wine tour / culinary tour
- ride with cable car on the top of the Pohorje Mountain
- rent-a-bike (you can also rent e-bikes)
- visiting excellent wine makers in the surrounding wine roads (do not miss the view of the heart-shaped road among vineyards)
- in Maribor you can also find one of the best Slovenian chefs, Mr. David Vračko (Restaurant Mak)
Lipica Stud Farm
This was a dream come true for Ben as he has loved horse riding all his life.
Equally I also had an amazing time in this unique and famous spot.
Lipica is a world-renowned stud farm, famous for its Lipizzaner horses due to their beautiful white colour, their almost incredible learning ability and their dancing skills.
We watched an amazing dancing show, which involved some audience participation and Ben even took a horse-riding lesson.
You can also stay on site at Hotel Maestoso once renovation is complete (2021 expected).
Hidden Gems of White Carniola Full Day Trip
We went on a full day trip of the White Carniola region.
The region has a rich history, stunning landscapes and endless vineyards where we had our fair share of sparkling wines.
In terms of wineries we visited Sturm Winery and tried some very unique orange coloured ice wine, definitely something to tick off your bucket list in Slovenia.
This was followed by farm games at Eco Farm Totter which was for want of a better word, insane! We were running around the field after a few too many wines herding sheep – sounds crazy but it was a lot of fun!
We also stopped at Kuzma Farmstay for a farm to table BBQ lunch which was in a beautiful setting along a river.
Experience the Old Days in Gorjanci
Another unique experience led by a tour guide was a half day tour around Gorjanci. You can expect the following:
‘’Become a Highlander, fierce and brave resident of Gorjanci hills from the 16th century. Follow his story and test your skills and senses. He was a great hunter. Can make a simple longbow? Could you use it for hunting? Are you familiar with healing potions? Would you be able to start a fire with the help of flint to prepare a fresh highlands herbal drink and bake bread? And last but not least… Are you brave enough to challenge mysterious creatures that dwell in the darkest parts of the ancient forests?’’ @highlander.life
Boat Ride & Bottomless Mimosas – Ljubljana
Unfortunately, I was ill for this trip and Ben had to go with our group alone – he came back very drunk and clearly had a great time!
No trip to Ljubljana is complete without taking a water-based tour on a handmade wooden boat.
The 10m flat-bottomed vessel constructed of solid larch and oak wood takes you on a one-hour ride that covers most of the old town’s major sights from a unique vantage point.
Predjama Castle & Postojna Caves
One of the things we need to return and see is the Predjama Castle & Postojna Caves.
This is the most-visited cave in Europe with over 12.5 miles of passages, galleries and chambers.
This is the one place we missed that will be first on our list when we return.
The Soca valley is described as paradise with the most incredibly beautiful turquoise Soca River running through the valley and many adventurous activities to keep you busy.
From white water rafting, to zip lining, bouldering, kayaking, visiting waterfalls and hiking – everything we have researched and read about looks amazing
Gay Friendly Hotels in Slovenia
Due to the nature of our trip for Pink Week we were able to stay at and connect with a number of different hotels who understood the LGBTQ+ travel market and who we can therefore say are great gay friendly hotel options.
Here is our shortlist which covers most of Slovenia (note it is a very small country and you can drive from place to place easily).
Gay Friendly Hotels in Ljubljana
The Intercontinental is the only 5* hotel in Ljubljana. We stayed here for two nights.
The rooms here are huge, stylish and have great views over the city. However for the best views of all, we enjoyed using the pool, jacuzzi and sauna area which had floor to ceiling windows.
Make sure you check out the rooftop bar here for a cocktail or two to start your evening.
Grand Hotel Union
The Grand Union Hotel is set right in the centre of everything and we stayed here for two nights. The building is historical meaning that it has a more traditional style of décor.
We loved the fitness area and spa/pool area here, both were very high quality. They are technically in the Grand Union Hotel Business which is essentially an extension of the Grand Union Hotel.
Breakfast here was also excellent!
Take a look for more information and book here.
The Central Hotel
The Central Hotel has recently been refurbished with a whole new concept which we loved. Here you can check in all through an app and use your phone to open you room – have as much or as little interaction with the staff as you want.
The rooms are all new, modern and stylish. If you are on a budget they even have capsule rooms which are a lot more spacious that you might think, we quite liked them! However, our first choice would be the castle view rooms.
Everything is well thought out, there is a rooftop terrace, complimentary hot drinks and they even have a laundry service with cocktails while you wait!
P.s on request you can use the gym and pool area at the sister hotel Grand Union.
Hotel Lev has a trendy retro feel to it. It has been refurbished recently with a lot of focus on the décor of the hotel. We also liked this hotel because it has a fitness area.
They also have a cool looking bistro in the reception area serving food and some very indulgent looking cakes!
Hotel Cubo is another centrally located hotel with a cool modern, minimalistic design. We stayed in a suite and the huge circular bed was incredible.
What stood out most at this hotel was the breakfast. They had a very wide selection with lots of exciting options beyond the basics that you usually get.
For rates and availability, look here.
Gay Friendly Hotels in Otocec
Hotel Castle Otočec Relais & Chateaux
For our first night in Slovenia we stayed in Hotel Castle Otocec, the country’s only castle completely surrounded by water in the middle of river Krka.
This was an incredibly unique and magnificent 5* hotel, on beautiful grounds with rooms fit for a King.
Breakfast here was one of the best we had, one morning we enjoyed a tower of fresh strawberries with Champagne!
Šport Hotel Otočec
Across from Castle Otocec, Sport Hotel Otoce offers a huge indoor pool with an area of 200 square metres and water temperature of 32 °C.
You can relax in thermal waters with numerous proven health benefits while admiring a marvelous view of the green landscape.
Gay Friendly Hotels in Maribor
Hotel City Maribor
This 4* hotel is located in downtown Maribor near the Drava River.
The hotel has large modern rooms and a trendy on site à la carte Restaurant City Terasa serving traditional regional cuisine indoors or on the rooftop terrace.
Everything is within easy walking distance from this hotel.
Hotel Maribor City Apartments
Hotel Maribor City apartments are minutes away from the river, incredibly stylish and with a small on-site spa which you can book in advance.
All rooms at the hotel come with air conditioning, a seating area, a flat-screen TV with cable channels, a kitchen, a dining area and a private bathroom with a hairdryer and a shower.
Bike hire and car hire are available at the accommodation and the area is popular for hiking and skiing.
Gay Friendly Hotels in Bohinj
Bohinj ECO Hotel & Wellness
Finally, Bohinj Eco Hotel & Wellness was another unique offering with a huge spa on site (with beautiful mountain views) as well as a water park and pool area.
The hotel (as per the name) is heavily invested in being as environmentally friendly as possible which is fitting given it is found with a national park.
- The water in Slovenia is drinkable, including from the fountains in the street.
- The currency is the Euro.
- The language is Slovene however we did manage ok with English in the tourist spots, just make the effort to learn some words at least!
- Getting around Slovenia is easy as the country is very small, the best option is to hire a car and drive everywhere.
- The main airport is Ljubljana.
- If you want to travel out of Slovenia to other parts of Europe it is just a few hours to Croatia and other bordering countries, take a look at the Flixbus – this was the best value method of transport to take you outside of Slovenia.
We loved Slovenia, if it is not already on your list, we encourage you to add it as soon as possible!
Please feel free to message us with your own personal experience and tips.
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