Most of us would have trouble identifying Slovenia on a map, but you should know that this diminutive Adriatic country is one of the greenest in the world, both literally and figuratively. In fact, health and wellness are Slovenia’s biggest tourism drivers, from the mountains to the Mediterranean Sea, from spelunking to spa therapy. Here’s how to do it right.
Fly into the capital of Ljubljana via Turkish Airlines. From here, many attractions like Lake Bled are an easy day trip away. Slovenia’s most popular tourist destination is as relaxing as it is picturesque. Do some standup paddleboard yoga on the lake or try forest bathing to calm the mind. There’s great hiking in nearby Triglav National Park, too. Simply being in nature can do wonders for your health.
After a day exploring, return to Rikli Balance Hotel. This distinctly Slovenian spa resort was founded in the 19th century by Swiss naturopath Arnold Rikli, whose novel prescriptions for health included having guests walk barefoot on dew-covered grass to improve circulation. The saunas and swimming pools here span two floors, and spa treatments employ local ingredients. Warm spruce tip sheaves are tapped across your back in a percussive rhythm during a relaxing massage with mountain pine oil, while Carniolan honey is used in facials, scrubs, massages, and milk and honey baths.
Beekeeping has a long tradition here, and Slovenia has even pioneered a new kind of tourism: apitourism. Eco-conscious beekeeping routes foster an appreciation for the world’s most important pollinator. Meet local beekeepers, visit hives and learn how to extract honey. The sweet beehive air is thought to strengthen the immune system and help with respiratory issues, so you’re invited to recline on a lounge chair next to buzzing beehives and take long deep breaths. (Good vibrations indeed.)
For serious Slovenian hydrotherapy, head east. The country’s largest concentration of wellness retreats is located in the thermal Pannonian Basin. There’s Terme Zreče, where the mineral waters contain a high concentration of calcium, magnesium and hydrogen carbonate, which encourage healing and mitigate inflammation once absorbed through the skin. Locally harvested mountain peat and volcanic mud are also applied as a warm body wrap for detoxification. Terme Dolenjske Toplice has been highly respected since the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, while the healing waters of Terme Olimia were used by the ancient Celts and Romans for medicinal purposes. With offerings from apitherapy to hydrotherapy, Slovenia is fast becoming one of the hottest new wellness destinations. Sometimes a strong dose of fresh mountain air is just what the doctor ordered.