Moving to Slovenia
Expats moving to Slovenia 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. Slovenia borders Italy to the west and Austria to the north, in the eastern Alps. 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. The country escaped much of the violence that tore up other Balkan states in their pursuit of independence.
For those relocating to Slovenia, an impressive array of attractions awaits. 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 county’s compact size means that visitors can lounge by the ocean in the morning, enjoy a glass of wine at a castle vineyard at lunchtime and go skiing in the afternoon.
At the crossroads of historical European trade routes, Slovenia is considered a high-income country. Many expats moving to Slovenia work in the trade and export industry, notably car production, and two-thirds of the population is employed in services. Vulnerable to world markets, Slovenia was severely hit by the global recession in the late 2000s, and in 2012 foreign investment was one of the lowest in the EU. Nevertheless, opportunities are available, and its relatively high ranking in The World Bank's Ease of Doing Business survey (in 2017, it ranked 30 out of 190 countries) are a reflection of the country’s move to protect investors.
Although taxes remain relatively high, the capital city was rated a fair 154 out of 209 countries in the Mercer Cost of Living survey in 2016. Between 65 and 79 percent of Slovenia’s inhabitants live in urban areas, particularly Ljubljana. Still, with a population of just over two million across the whole country, expats can expect plenty of greenery and picturesque backdrops instead of a concrete urban sprawl.
The climate in Slovenia varies dramatically depending on the area; Mediterranean on the coast, continental in the interior and Alpine in the mountains.
For expats moving to Slovenia with a family, there are a handful of good international schools, particularly in Ljubljana, offering the IB, French and British curriculums. EU and British citizens can easily purchase property in Slovenia.