Hitch-hiking in Slovenia: advantages and disadvantages
Slovenia might possibly be one of the easiest countries to hitch-hike in the entire Central Europe for several reasons. First of all, the country is tiny, so you will never be crossing large distances which will also give you some time to visit picturesque medieval towns on your way and do a bit of sightseeing. On the whole a day’s hitch-hike in Slovenia is very pleasant and there’s never that fear that you might be stuck in the middle of nowhere.
Secondly, it’s a pleasure to travel in Slovenia in general, not only by using your thumb. The country offers everything you might need: scenic soaring mountains, Mediterranean beaches and beautiful compact towns for all shutterbugs like me.
Thirdly, Slovenes are really nice people! Even if a bit reserved at first, they are very hospitable, tolerant and helpful. Many times drivers went out off their way just to help us and get us where we wanted to go.
Another factor in favour of hitchhiking in Slovenia is the fact that they understand the concept well and young Slovenians also do it when they travel or sometimes even on their way to school or uni.
Besides, the majority of Slovenians speak really good English (not to mention German and some of them even speak Italian). Depending on which border they live close to, they were either taught German if they come from the north; Italian, if they come from the west; and English, if they live in the central or eastern part of the country. Apart from that, they never dub films on TV, so they experience the same kind of natural immersion through television as the Dutch and the Scandinavians, whose language abilities are extraordinary and famous world-wide. And as many Slovenians have told us: if you come from a small, insignificant country like this, you just have to learn other languages.
There is one disadvantage, or let’s rather call is a difficulty, about hitch-hiking in Slovenia. If you look at the road map of the country, you will notice that the network of motorways looks like two crossing diagonals of an imperfect square (X): the bottom left corner leading to Trieste (Italy), the top left one to Villach (Austria), the bottom right to Zagreb (Croatia) and the top right one to Maribor and then to Graz in Austria. But say you want to travel from the Julian Alps and the picturesque lakes of Bled and Bohinj (which no doubt will be your destination in Slovenia) to the second largest city of Maribor, to the oldest town in Slovenia – Ptuj or even to the capital of Croatia, Zagreb, you will have to go via Ljubljana and its ring road, which is a pain if you hitch-hike. All the major roads in Slovenia lead to the capital and there’s no way round it. You can try the tiny country roads but the traffic will be scarce.
Another minor inconvenience is that in Slovenia everything in slightly more expensive than in the other Balkan countries, but don’t fear, the prices are not as high as in Western Europe yet!
It was during our Balkan Peninsula by Thumb 2013 trip when we visited Slovenia for the first time and we loved it! During our trip, we spent a week in Slovenia, covering 445 km by thumb!
This was our route (click to see the full map):
written by: Ania