For its meetings industry offer Slovenia has a number of different 'faces', all with key locations, meeting venues and hotels that offer clients a genuinely broad choice. One simple but key advantage of a small country is the ability to combine its various venues and experiences to make an event a truly memorable one.
THE 4 FACES OF SLOVENIA
1. MEETINGS IN CITIES
– The vibrant, cosy and compact capital city.
– Events for up to 2,200 delegates.
– Two congress centres as well as other convention facilities and a number of special venues.
– Main university and science, research and technology centre.
– Arts, culture and history, all in a city with a laid-back feel and a youthful, energetic vibe.
– Ljubljana Strategic Bidding Team: a partnership of 23 key players established to attract association meetings with 500+ delegates, with a destination support scheme in place.
– Events for up to 500 delegates.
– Convention hotels and special venues.
– Ancient town, wine routes, spa and wellness, ski slopes.
– European Capital of Culture 2012.
The capital city, one that offers a blend of old charm and new cool, is a small but stylish city of arts, music, history and gastronomy. With a population of 280,000 it is conveniently compact and a real walking city. Consequently, it is logistically straightforward to run programmes here and in their free time delegates have the opportunity to easily explore the Old Town quarter, with its narrow, cobbled streets, and the Ljubljanica riverbanks that are lined with excellent restaurants (ideal for organising ‘dine-arounds’) and trendy, friendly bars. Over 60,000 university students add to the city’s youthful vibe and urban creativity, and Ljubljana’s relaxing atmosphere and interesting shopping options – from antiques to art galleries and designer clothes stores – are also appreciated by its visitors who wholeheartedly commend the city as an extremely safe one to visit and experience. With its sustainable strategy Ljubljana has also won the title of European Green Capital City 2016.
Wedged between Pohorje’s wonderful nature on one side, wine-growing hills on the other and with the river Drava wending its way through the middle, Maribor is a charmingly petite and attractive destination. Slovenia's second city is a perfect blend of natural beauty, history, arts and culture, thermal waters, ski slopes and the vineyards set around its edges. Meeting facilities include those provided by the Terme Maribor company that manages several hotels in the city, such as the 5-star Habakuk with its modern congress centre and an excellent thermal and spa facility. In Maribor a host of further incentive and outdoor team building experiences are connected to the river and the stunning nature of the surrounding highlands. The city is close to the Austrian border and the city of Graz, which is the closest airport with international connections. Another strong link to its Austrian neighbour is that just as Graz was the European Capital of Culture in 2003, Maribor took on this title and role in 2012!
Nova Gorica is situated just across the border from the Italian town of Gorizia. Known as the “town of roses” arising from its mild local climate, today the town is the leading gaming and entertainment centre in the country. The HIT Group is responsible for the major hotels in the area that feature conference facilities, wellness centres and casinos, whilst just a short drive away the wine routes of the Goriška Brda hills offer some of Slovenia's most internationally acclaimed wines that are for many visitors an unexpected discovery, as is the mesmerising green hue of the region's Soča River, Slovenia's queen of white-water sports.
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2. MEETINGS IN THE ALPS
Bled Lake and Bohinj Lake, Kranjska Gora, Bovec and the Soča River Valley, Logarska Valley
– All year round resorts
– Events for up to 500 delegates
– Convention hotels, other meeting facilities and special venues
– Diversity of outdoor activities and incentive programmes, golf courses with stunning views
Lake Bled, the pearl of the Julian Alps, is one of the most famous attractions in Slovenia quite simply because it is a truly magical place. An ancient castle, available for a range of events, sits perched on a cliff boasting breathtaking views over the lake and the surrounding mountains. Bled can be reached in less than one hour's drive from the capital and less than 30 minutes from the airport.
Just a few kilometres from Bled is another Alpine pearl, Lake Bohinj, which being a mountain ribbon lake is enclosed by the sheer mountains of the Triglav National Park, the only national park in Slovenia and one that extends along the Italian border and close to the Austrian border in the north-west of the country. The park covers 880 square kilometres, or 3% of the entire Slovenian land mass, and was named after the country's highest mountain, Triglav (2,864m), located almost directly centrally in the park.
Just a few kilometres away from Bled, there’s another Alpine pearl, lake Bohinj, which being a mountain ribbon lake is enclosed by sheer mountains in Triglav National Park. The only national park in Slovenia, which extends along the Italian border and close to the Austrian border in the north-west of Slovenia. The park covers 880 square kilometres, or 3% of the territory of Slovenia and was named after the highest mountain of Slovenia, Triglav (2864 m), located nearly in the centre of the park.
Set in the middle of Triglav Natural Park, the Soča Valley offers an extraordinary number of different experiences for such a small area, with its top culinary offer something of a stand-out. The key advantages of this destination are the well-developed incentive products, the gastronomy and the well-preserved natural and cultural heritage, which in Slovenia are unequalled.
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3. MEETINGS ON THE COAST AND AT THE KARST
Portorož and Piran
– A coastal resort and an ancient town, respectively.
– Events for up to 1,100 delegates.
– Congress centre as well as other meeting facilities and special venues.
– Mediterranean flair, historic towns, wine routes, ancient saltpans, sea adventures, spa and wellness.
– An underworld fantasia of more than 9,000 caves.
– Postojna Cave as a venue, Škocjan Caves – UNESCO Heritage site.
– Lipica Stud Farm.
– Wine routes & air-dried ham.
Portorož is the leading coastal resort that boasts a gentle climate, lush vegetation and more than 100 years of tradition in the hospitality industry, which is reflected in its high-quality hotel infrastructure that includes several 5- and 4-star properties with excellent meeting facilities. The largest convention hotel venue in Portorož (Bernardin Hotel & Convention Centre) can welcome up to 1,100 delegates theatre-style in the largest auditorium, whilst the Lifeclass Hotels & Spa are famous for their fantastic thermal and wellness products, as well as for the congress centre. This resort currently boasts the most luxurious hotel in all of Slovenia: the Kempinski Palace Portorož.
Many attractions in Portorož are close at hand, even within walking distance, such as the charming and historic town of Piran, once a fishing port. The Sečovlje saltpans, where salt is still harvested manually as it has been for centuries, is a landscape park and a haven for both birds and the ornithologists watching them alike. Incentives themed on salt-picking can be organised for smaller groups and many other options are also at hand – from boat trips with fish picnics to yachting regattas, or even a day trip to Venice by catamaran. Istria, with its vineyards, olive groves and truffles is also just around the corner.
The Slovenian Karst (also known as limestone), featuring the majority of the 9,000 caves in the country, is regarded by many as one of the most beautiful underground worlds on the planet. The Skocjan Caves, that would have made a fantastic film set for the Lord of the Rings, are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. This region is also home to the famous Lipizzaner horses and the nearby Lipica Stud Farm offers hotel seminar facilities and a golf course.
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4. MEETINGS AT THERMAL SPAS
Slovenia is also a very smart choice for those seeking spa and wellness programmes, as it has a rich spa tradition and an incredible range of high-quality centres to choose from. Modern spa facilities are often combined with access to meeting rooms, which offers the perfect combination for small and mid-sized conferences.
Slovenia’s spas also offer extraordinary natural assets in green surroundings, with most of them set in rural areas. There are 15 natural health resorts to choose from and they are all of a very high standard, several of them providing fully functional meeting facilities alongside their core relaxing and invigorating wellness programmes.
Many of the spas can be found in the north- to south-eastern parts of the country, often in wine-producing regions, so for a natural extension to the complete sense of wellbeing a wine tasting is a further highlight!