According to panelists (a total of 437 experts from all over the world) Slovenia wins praise for being "savvy about balancing tourism with cultural and historical preservation." Below are some additional anonymous comments from the experts:
Ljubljana, the capital, is "colorful, vibrant, and architecturally appealing," and "Slovenia's Alps and wine country remain among the most sustainable and authentic places to visit in Europe.""...I would point to the effective restoration of the forests, rivers and lakes; the art and architecture; the ethics and joy of the people; and the wondrous parks, caves, and mountains."
More about why Slovenia was rated this high :
The northernmost of the former Yugoslavia's republics, Slovenia wins praise for being "savvy about balancing tourism with cultural and historical preservation." Ljubljana, the capital, is "colorful, vibrant, and architecturally appealing," and "Slovenia's Alps and wine country remain among the most sustainable and authentic places to visit in Europe."
Here is a representative sampling of additional anonymous comments from the panelists. They are not necessarily the views of the National Geographic Society:
"A magnificently scenic country with excellent environmental stewardship. It has a high level of integrity in both its natural and constructed beauty. The residents have an outstanding respect for and care of visitors. Since its independence, the country has been on an almost incredible upward climb. I would point to the effective restoration of the forests, rivers and lakes; the art and architecture; the ethics and joy of the people; and the wondrous parks, caves, and mountains."
"Slovenia has spent a great deal of money on its museums as it defines itself as nation. This relatively small country has some world-class museums based on best practices from the greater European museum community."
"The most eclectic, tourism-smart, authentic destination in post-Communist Europe. Topographically and architecturally diverse and very accessible. Along with Estonia, one of the best destinations in the 'old style' of European travel."
"Slovenia is one of Europe's best walking destinations, with well-maintained and well-signed path networks to suit all levels of walkers. Customer-service standards have improved immeasurably in recent years and local cuisine is gradually improving, with less emphasis on cheap pizzas and meat-heavy dishes. Ljubljana is one of Europe's most attractive small capital cities; it has the feel of Prague ten years ago. There is a palpable sense of local identity, although opportunities to experience genuine local culture outside the capital city are limited."
"Emerging from the ashes of communism and the breakup of Yugoslavia, Slovenia's population is primarily Slovene, making it a nation state with historical connections to Austria and Italy from colonial times. Slovenia contained the majority of Yugoslavia's industry and a portion of the state tourism infrastructure. Entering the EU in 2004 and adopting the Euro last year, Slovenia has been able to adopt a western economy and western standards of tourism infrastructure. Slovenia has chosen a more sustainable path in updating its existing infrastructure, maintaining employment for former state employees, and limiting mass-tourism development. Slovenia has some of the most spectacular natural environments in the world. Extensive karstic cave systems are Natural World Heritage sites. Most impressive is the political and cultural capital city, Ljubljana, with its three pedestrian bridges (recently completely shut to traffic) and unique architecture from multiple eras and reflecting diverse influences."
author: National Geographic Traveler