How to keep cool in Slovenia in the summer
15.07.2016 | Fiona Thompson
While the temperatures in Slovenia have dropped a little in the last few days, they are set to climb back and we can expect a return to summer very soon. Summers here can be stiflingly hot but there are plenty of ways to keep cool.
Hit the water
Whether you choose the beach, the lakes and rivers, or a purpose built water park, there are plenty of opportunities to cool down with a dip. Many of the water parks also have spa facilities where the grown-up members of the family can indulge in a little pampering with the latest therapeutic treatments, many of which use the health-giving properties of thermal water, while the kids (or just the young at heart) can splash around in the many pools, which often have wave machines and water jets, and slides. You can visit the water parks as a day visitor, or for a longer spell, renting a private cabin or a hotel room.
If you prefer to swim in nature there are plenty of rivers and lakes for a more natural experience. Some of them are 'in the wild' whereas others, such as Lake Bled, have purpose-built 'beaches' or stone jetties you can swim from. The more daring swimmers can try a dip in a glacial lake but the best advice is to ask local people about safe swimming spots if you are unsure.
Slovenia has a short coastline on the Adriatic but there are a couple of nice spots from which to swim. The most traditional 'holiday' beach is at Portorož, which is sandy and has good facilities. In other resorts, there are either stony beaches or concrete jetties from where you can get into the water. Most of the bigger hotels at the coast also have their own pools.
Slovenia is well known for its karst caves, especially the dramatic showcases at Postojna and Škocjan. At Postojna, the average temperature below ground is between 8 and 10 degrees Celsius and visitors are actually advised to put on something a little warmer. If you want to cool down a little, this is certainly a good choice - not to mention the fabulous experience of touring the limestone caves!
Another underground adventure offers the chance to cycle through 5 kilometres of disused tunnels under Mt. Peca near Mežica. The tunnels were created when lead ore was mined here over many centuries. Here, too, the temperature hovers around 10 degrees and warm clothing, especially long sleeves, are advisable.
Treat yourself to an ice cream
Who doesn't love an ice cream? Slovenians and visitors to the country are indeed very lucky because there are lots of places to enjoy an ice cream and most of it is excellent. In May 2015, Lolita, a stylish boutique cake shop and ice cream parlour near the Triple Bridge in Ljubljana was announced as having the best ice cream in the world, though on the other side of the Ljubljanica, not too far away, Cacao also has a legion of ardent fans. THE place in the capital right now is Vigo, a stone's throw from the Triple Bridge: it has quality ice cream and offers a wide range of flavours reflecting contemporary food trends.
Artisan and specialist brands are becoming very popular. Indy & Pippa is a very new brand of organic ice cream which offers a choice of flavours, all free of dairy, gluten, refined sugar and artificial additives.
Head for the hills
Finally, if all else fails, then head for higher ground - at least this summer, anyway, because there has actually been snow reported in alpine areas this July. On 14 July temperatures of -1 degree Celsius were recorded. Don't expect to dig out your skis and salopettes, however: snow in July is pretty much unprecedented!