Slovenia became the first European country to declare the coronavirus pandemic under control. On Thursday, May 14, the government began easing restrictions for visitors from abroad and lockdown measures for residents nationwide.
Travelers from across the EU can visit the central European country after May 15 without undergoing the enforced 7-day self-quarantine that was previously in place. Visitors from outside the EU will still be subject to a 14-day quarantine, which is in line with measures in other European countries, including the United Kingdom and Spain. Some people are exempt, including diplomats, members of rescue services, and funeral attendees. Anyone showing “visible signs of upper respiratory tract infection or with a positive test result for coronavirus” will still be refused entry.
“Slovenia has tamed the epidemic over the past two months,” Prime Minister Janez Jansa said, according to Reuters, adding that the country “has the best epidemiologic picture in Europe.” Before quarantine measures were lifted on May 15, the country had recorded 1,464 cases and 103 deaths.
Across the country, life is tentatively finding the new normal. Public transport has resumed after an eight-week hiatus; hotels, stores, and restaurants are reopening; and public gatherings of up to 50 people are now allowed. “Accommodation facilities with over 30 rooms, accommodation for spa guests, wellness and fitness centres, pools and water parks,” remain closed, according to the Slovene Press Agency, as do nightclubs.
Slovenia’s international airports reopened on May 12, but local airports are still closed to flights until June 12.
Slovenia, home to some 2 million people, is sometimes overlooked in favor of its better-known neighbor, Croatia. The country is home to its own charming Adriatic coastline, a gorgeous lake, and an enticing food and drink scene. It’s a perfect summer family travel destination.
A number of attractions across the country, including Bled Castle at Lake Bled, are now open. For the time being, though, Americans might want to tour Slovenia virtually and schedule that physical trip a little further in the future. While Europe is beginning to open up for travel within the EU, it’s far from clear when transatlantic travel will be as uncomplicated as it was just three months ago.