If you travel to Slovenia for business or pleasure
- Time zone: Central European Time (GMT+1)
- Electricity: 220V 50Hz
- Electric plug details: European plug with two circular metal pins
- Country dialing code: +386
- International outgoing call prefix: 00
- Drinking Water – The water is safe and drinkable throughout the country.
- ATMs/cash dispensers accept all international credit cards and are widespread both in cities and in small towns
- Government Offices: Monday to Friday: 08:00 – 16:00 (some services until 18:00 on Wednesday)
- Offices: Monday to Friday: 08:00 – 16:00
- Banks: 08:30 - 17:00 (08:30 to 12:00 on Saturday)
- Stores: Monday to Friday: 08:00 - 19:00 (some stores close at 12:00 on Saturday). Some shopping centres are open on Sunday.
Safety and securty, health and traffic tips
We are all concerned about safety and security when we travel abroad. Slovenia remains free of terrorist incidents, but shares open borders with three countries in the Schengen Zone (Italy, Austria and Hungary) and terrorist groups may enter or exit the country with anonymity. There is police control on the border with Croatia, a new EU Member State. Nevertheless, travellers should be vigilant with regard to their personal security and exercise usual caution.
Civil disorder is rare in Slovenia but there are occasional peaceful strikes, protests and other public demonstrations. As all demonstrations can potentially turn confrontational or even violent, foreign citizens are urged to avoid these events whenever possible, and to exercise caution when in the vicinity of any such gathering.
Slovenia’s overall crime rate is low and violent crimes are relatively uncommon. Most crimes tend to be directed towards obtaining personal property, such as purse snatching, pick-pocketing, and residential and vehicle break-ins. Visitors should take normal security precautions and report any incidents to the local police.
Adequate medical care is readily available and there are many English-speaking physicians. All medications, including drugs considered over-the-counter and first aid supplies, are dispensed through pharmacies (called “lekarna”).
The European Health Insurance Card is a free card that gives travellers access to medically necessary, state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in any of the 28 EU countries, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, under the same conditions and at the same cost (free in some countries) as people insured in that country. Visitors to Slovenia from other countries should find out BEFORE they leave whether or not their medical insurance will cover them on their trip to Slovenia.
Traffic safety and road conditions
Slovenia has a well-developed road network that is safe for travel. Highways connect to neighboring cities and countries, and are clearly marked; road signs and traffic rules are consistent with those used throughout Europe. As the number of cars in Slovenia continues to rise, roads are becoming more heavily congested during the weekends and during rush hours. Parking is difficult and can be expensive in the center of Ljubljana. Third-party liability insurance is required for all vehicles; coverage is purchased locally.
Traffic moves on the right. The speed limit is 50kph/30 mph in most urban areas and 130 kph/80 mph on expressways (avtocesta). Motorists are required to have their headlights on during the daytime; drivers and passengers alike must wear seat belts; motorcyclists and their passengers must wear approved helmets. The use of hand-held cellular telephones while driving is prohibited in Slovenia and turning right on red is not allowed.
Between November 15th and March 15th, the use of winter tires is mandated by law. Highway vignettes (which are purchased in the form of windshield stickers) are obligatory for all passenger vehicles using expressways in Slovenia.
Slovenian Business Etiquette
Some tips you might find useful when doing business in Slovenia:
1. Business meeetings are usual and visitors should be on time. Avoid scheduling meetings in July and August, which are common vacation times. Business hours are generally Monday to Friday 09:00-17:00. Working the weekends is not usual, though many shops also open on Saturdays and some on Sundays as well.
2. Dress appropriately for business occasions. Men should wear suits and women should wear fashionable attire.
3. Shake hands at the beginning and end of the meeting. It is customary to shake hands with women first. Handshakes should be firm and confident. Maintain direct eye contact during the greeting.
4. Professional or academic titles are commonly used with the surname as they denote personal achievement. If someone does not have a professional or academic title, use the honorific titles “Gospa” (Madam) or “Gospod” (Sir) with the surname. There is an emerging trend to move quickly to the use of first names. However, it is a good idea to wait until your Slovenian colleague recommends using his/her first name.
5. Business cards are essential; they are exchanged without formal ritual after introductions.
6. Expect some chit-chat before getting down to business. It's important not to rush this, because it's part of building the relationship. Slovenians admire modesty and dislike people who boast about their accomplishments and achievements.
7. You may bring a small gift, such as wine or chocolate. Wrap a present in the wrapping paper of your liking, as there are no color taboos. If you receive a gift, open it upon receipt. The cost of the gift is not important; it is the thought that counts.
8. Executives will generally have a good knowledge of German, English and sometimes Italian. But do try to learn a few basic Slovenian words to impress those around you! Slovenians are naturally soft-spoken and do not raise their voices when conversing. They are polite, courteous, and respectful of others. They do not interrupt a speaker, preferring to wait for their turn to enter the conversation. They are very tolerant of differences and consider publicly criticize or complain about people a rude behaviour. Although Slovenians have a good sense of humour, they do not always understand self-deprecating humour. Be cautious when teasing others, as such behaviour may be interpreted as putting them down.
9. Business decision-making processes are often based on hierarchy, and many decisions are still reached at the highest echelons of the company. Business decisions are often based on personal sentiments about the other person. Therefore, it is a good idea to spend time in relationship building. Slovenian businessmen tend to prefer non-confrontational business dealings when possible. This means that even when giving a straightforward response, they will generally proceed cautiously rather than hurt another person’s feelings.
10. If you are invited to a Slovenian’s house: arrive on time or within 5 minutes of the stipulated time as this demonstrates respect for your hosts. It is considered good manners to bring flowers to the hostess and a bottle of wine to the host. Dress conservatively and in clothes you might wear to the office. It is common to remove your shoes at the door. Most hosts will offer slippers to guests to wear. Slovenians tend to separate their business and personal lives. Therefore, it is a good idea to refrain from initiating business discussions in social situations. Expect to be offered some form of refreshments, even if you have not been specifically invited to a meal. It is common for the host to accompany guests to their car when they leave.