Nature and biodiversity

The crystal-clear green of the river Soča.

Slovenia's biodiversity has been exceptionally well preserved (through the Natura 2000 Network and other protected areas, such as national, regional and landscape parks). Of all the European Union Member States, Slovenia boasts the biggest share of Natura 2000 sites, as 37% of its territory is covered by Natura 2000. 

One tenth of Slovenia's territory is protected under nature conservation laws. The first natural park in Slovenia was established in 1888 – the forests of Kočevje are the only preserved primeval woodland in Europe. The Triglav National Park, at 83,807 hectares, is the biggest Slovenian park. It was named after Slovenia's highest summit, Triglav (2,864 m). Three regional parks (Kozjansko, Notranjska and Škocjan Caves) and 44 landscape parks are intended for the protection of heritage and diversified landscape, forests and native plant and animal species.

Valuable natural features also include one of the deepest caves in the world (Čehi II), the stunning intermittent lake (Lake Cerknica) and a UNESCO World Heritage site (Škocjan Caves). 

Slovenia is the habitat of 140 animal and plant species out of 900 protected species which are rare or threatened in the European Union. In other words: as many as 15% of these plant and animal species are present on 0,5% of the European Union's territory. Among them is the brown bear – the largest animal (it weighs more than 300 kilograms) protected in the European Union within the Natura 2000 Network. The banks of Slovenian streams are home to the smallest animal on this list – the minute land snail of the Vertigo genus.


Mill on Mura River.

Water is an important natural asset – Slovenia is among the richest in Europe in terms of abundance of water sources. Around 34 billion cubic metres of water flow through Slovenian rivers and streams every year, four times the European average of water quantity per person.

As the majority of rivers rise in the Alps, most of the drinking water can be found upstream.  The wealth of water in Slovenia is augmented by springs, natural and artificial lakes and part of the northern Adriatic. Water supply in Slovenia is provided to 99% of inhabitants in their households.

All across Slovenia the water is of high quality and safe to drink.