Located in the Balkans, with Italy to the west and Austria to the north, Slovenia continues to attract expats with its majestic mountain ranges perfect for skiing in winter, and a stunning coastline that enjoys plenty of sunshine during summer.
Expats moving here will find a country characterised by transition. As a former part of communist Yugoslavia, the country gained independence in 1991 and joined the European Union in 2004. Luckily, the country escaped much of the violence that tore up other Balkan states in their pursuit of independence. For such a small country, it has a wide variety of terrains, a varied history, and a diverse culture with many languages spoken within its borders.
Living in Slovenia as an expat
An impressive array of attractions awaits those relocating to Slovenia. An abundance of elaborate churches and hundreds of castles, thousands of miles of hiking trails through the mountains, plentiful forests, vineyards, beaches and ski resorts are on offer. The country also boasts a number of breathtaking lakes, such as the gorgeous glacial lake of Bled, which contains the famous church-topped islet and a cliffside medieval castle.
At the crossroads of historical European trade routes, Slovenia is considered a high-income country. Many expats moving to Slovenia find work in the trade and export industry, notably car production, and two-thirds of the population is employed in services. Opportunities abound for expats, and the country aims to protect investors and foreign capital.
Accommodation in Slovenia is quite affordable. The closer to city centres, of course, the more expensive the housing will be, but even here, the price of properties isn’t exorbitant. Housing in rural areas also tends to be older than in big cities. The accommodation market consists of new builds, resale properties, and renovation and development projects, so expats have a range of options.
Public transport in Slovakia is reasonably extensive, well organised and reliable. Commuters can hop on a train to travel between cities or even internationally. Buses are also available for transport between cities, and there are several bus routes inside the major cities. To use the public transport systems, expats will need an Urbana card – a pass that allows quick and cash-free payments for transport, cable-car rides to Ljubljana Castle, parking fees, and even at the Ljubljana City Library.
Slovenia offers its residents state-funded reductions on medical payments. Patients are often still required to make co-payments for their treatment. Private healthcare is also an option, and many expats prefer this route.
Cost of living in Slovenia
Despite Slovenia maintaining relatively high taxes, its capital city, Ljubljana, is not prohibitively expensive. According to the 2023 Mercer Cost of Living Survey, Ljubljana is ranked as the 143rd most expensive city for expatriates out of 227 cities surveyed globally. This ranking places Ljubljana just above Cotonou, Benin and just below Bucharest, Romania, indicating its position roughly in the middle of the pack on a global scale.
The majority of Slovenia’s inhabitants live in urban areas, particularly Ljubljana. Still, with a population of just over 2 million across the whole country, expats can expect plenty of greenery and picturesque backdrops instead of a concrete urban sprawl.
Families and children in Slovenia
For expats moving to Slovenia with family, there are a handful of good international schools, particularly in Ljubljana, offering the International Baccalaureate, French and British curricula. EU and British citizens can easily purchase property in Slovenia.
The country’s compact size means that visitors can soak up some sun on the beach in the morning, enjoy a glass of wine at a castle vineyard at lunchtime and go skiing in the afternoon. Slovenian spas also offer far more than just relaxation for adults. With slides, thermal pools and wave pools, the little ones will have no excuse to be bored.
Climate in Slovenia
The climate in Slovenia varies dramatically depending on the area: Mediterranean on the coast, continental in the interior and Alpine in the mountains. The country tends to have warm summers and cold winters, with the most rain in October and November.
Picturesque and relatively untouched, Slovenia is perfect for adventurous expats looking to take advantage of the country's stunning coastline, imposing mountain ranges and beautiful lakes. With welcoming people, a low cost of living and plenty to do, many expats live happily here.
Population: Around 2.1 million
Major religions: Catholicism, Islam, Christianity
Capital city: Ljubljana (and largest city)
Legal system: Parliamentary republic
Main languages: Slovenian, Serbo-Croatian, Italian, Hungarian
Time: GMT+1 (GMT+2 from late March to late October)
Electricity: 230V, 50Hz.
Currency: Euro (EUR)
International dialling code: +386
Emergency numbers: 112
Internet domain: .si
Driving and transport: Driving is on the right-hand side of the road.
►For more on Slovenia's varied climate, check out Weather in Slovenia
Are you an expat living in Slovenia?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Slovenia. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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