If you’re visiting for the first time, you may be wondering what driving in Slovenia is like. Here you’ll find everything you need to know about it.
The best way to explore Slovenia is by car. No doubt! The country is small, the roads are generally in decent condition, you can simply see a lot, even if you plan to visit Slovenia only for a short time.
Driving in Slovenia: Overview
To drive in Slovenia, you will need a valid driver’s license from your country of origin, unless your driver’s license is written in other letters, but in Latin. In this case, you will need an international driver’s license.
If you get pulled over, you may also be asked to show your passport or ID. Keep it somewhere convenient in case this happens.
In Slovenia, we drive on the right side and follow the same common road rules in the rest of the world.
A hatched line indicates that you can take over, while a solid line indicates that you are not allowed to pass.
You will need to wear your seatbelt at all times This applies to all car seats with seat belts, including in the rear seat. A child seat is required for all children under 135 cm in height.
You need to have winter tires (or at least chains) on between 15. November and 15. March.
You can’t use your phone while driving. You can use the hands-free device.
In the absence of other priority rules, follow the rule on the right – this means that you must give way to traffic on your right. Even if you think there is no need to observe the stop sign.
In general, the speed limit on roads is 130 km/h, 90 km/h on open roads, while the speed limit in the city center is 50 km/h.
Roads in Slovenia are generally in good condition and quite smooth. For most parts, they are asphalted and without potholes. However, some roads, especially on the off-the-beaten-track destinations, can be narrow, winding, and without a protective fence. When on these roads, make sure you’re extra careful and adjust your speed accordingly.
Slovenian highways/toll roads
Highways in Slovenia are decent, both in terms of their state and utility. There are two sections, one running from the sea the Hungary, and the second one running from Austria to Croatia. They both intersect in Ljubljana, where the highway forms a ring around the city. All the major towns – Ljubljana, Koper, Kranj, Maribor, Celje, Ptuj, Murska Sobota, Novo Mesto – are connected by the highway system.
For collecting the tolls, Slovenia uses the vignette system. This means you don’t pay for the distance you travel, but rather buy a pass, that’s valid for a certain time. For cars, there’s a weekly pass for 15€, monthly for 30€ and a yearly pass for 110€. To read more about the prices and regulations, visit their official website.
Congestions on the highways are quite frequent, especially in the summer. So, if you’re going to use them, it’s useful to plan ahead. You can expect heavy traffic on the Ljubljana highway ring every weekday in the rush time – from 7.30 am to 9.30 am, from 16.30 pm to 18.30 pm. But this shouldn’t cause too many problems, as the roads usually clear up within a couple of hours. In the tourist season, however, the traffic is much worse. The highway section from Ljubljana to Koper is often overcrowded, which can significantly extend the travel time. If possible, avoid traveling towards the sea on Saturdays and Friday afternoons and from the sea on Sundays.
Driving in cities and towns
In the towns and cities, and especially when it rains, it seems that everyone is driving to the city center. Larger cities such as Ljubljana, Maribor, and Koper are at all times full of traffic, especially Ljubljana. And the actual rush times are usually from 7.30 am to 9.30 am, from 16.30 pm to 18.30 pm, and the rest of the time, the traffic isn’t much better. If possible, avoid going to the city center by car. Instead, you can use public transport, rent a bicycle, or simply walk.
Driving in the countryside
Rural roads are fairly good wherever you go in Slovenia. Although they get busier during the tourist season, they still make for a nice drive.
Roads off the beaten path are narrow, twisty, unlit, and don’t have a white line in the middle, but usually isn’t much traffic there either.
Pay attention to small and large fauna (rabbits, deer, pheasants, hedgehogs, foxes) when driving in the countryside, you’ll likely encounter it. On these small roads, you can also meet tractors and other agricultural vehicles.
On those smaller roads, you will also often encounter cyclists. Even more so, since electric bicycles have become more affordable and popular, especially among the elderly population. People of all ages and abilities end up cycling on small rural roads, which can become dangerous. Be patient and pay attention!
In Slovenia, you have two types of drivers: locals and tourists. Although in a completely different way, they are equally dangerous on the road.
Slovenians, especially in the east and around Ljubljana, are often fast and impatient drivers, who are not shy to cut, overtake (sometimes even in closed corners), horn and swear if they feel it slows down. Slovenians also use horns to greet friends and acquaintances who are on the road.
On the other hand, visitors tend to get lost and make sharp and unexpected turns as soon as they see something interesting.
But things aren’t as bad as they sound. Most of the time you will have a pleasant time on the roads of Slovenia.
If you don’t own a car (or if you left it at home), renting one is a decent idea. Even if you normally don’t travel by car, I still recommend you rent one for a day. While we have buses and trains, having a car will give you freedom public transport doesn’t offer. But with your own transportation, you’re free to roam around the countryside and discover those quirky hidden sights you otherwise wouldn’t.
Tips for driving in Slovenia
- Observe the speed limit. The speed limit in the towns is 50 km/h, 90 km/h on the open roads (but limits on curves and other road conditions are very slow), and up to 130 km/h on all major toll reads.
- As in the rest of Europe, the Slovenians drive on the right side.
- If possible, avoid traveling during the weekends in summer. Traffic jams on roads are common.
- Your national driver’s license will be sufficient to drive in Slovenia. However, an international driving license is recommended, although not mandatory.
- The rules of the road are similar, if not the same anywhere else: observe the speed limit, do not use the phone while driving, and always wear seat belts.
- You must always have your headlamps on, even during the day. Unless you own a fancy new car, those take care of this themselves.
- The rules of alcohol are a bit complicated: the limit of blood alcohol allowed to drive is 0.05% as long as you do not have a traffic accident. Involvement in any accident automatically brings alcohol tolerance to zero (mandatory alcohols are required for any accident).
- Car Club Slovenia (AMZS) offers road assistance if you need it. They have English-speaking operators.
- You always have to stop at a stop sign or a red light, even if it would be safe to proceed.
- Traffic conditions are transmitted via Radi SI international at 91.5, 95.7, 103.9, 105.5 and 107.2 MHz, depending on where exactly in Slovenia you happen to be. They transmit in Slovene, English, and German, and also have news in these languages.
- The price of fuel is about 1.3 €/l for both diesel and gasoline. Prices may vary slightly from a gas station to a gas station, but in general, they are very similar.