Ever since we made our investment in Zemanta last summer, I've wanted to visit Slovenia, the country where Zemanta was founded and where most of the team is still located.

I got that opportunity this week when most of our family and I flew to Ljubljana, the capital and home of Zemanta. In addition to attending my first board meeting at the company's offices, we spent a day seeing the sights and scenes of Ljubljana and a day and a half on the Adriatic coast in the towns of Portoroz and Piran.

There are some great pics at my wife's blog, my tumblog and my flickr.

Slovenia is a small european country that sits between Italy, Austria, Hungary, and Croatia. It was part of the old Yugoslavia (its most northern part) and was the first country to secede (mostly peacefully).

It reminds me most of Italy but also a bit of Austria. The food we ate tended to lean Italian and it was all very good. The wines also reminded me of northern Italy and they were terrific. An added benefit is everything costs a lot less in Slovenia. And like most of europe these days, english is spoken well most everywhere.

The population is small, about 2mm in total, of which about 300k live in and around Ljubljana. But it is a well educated, commerce minded, and democratic country that has modernized significantly in the past decade. The roads from Ljubljana to the coast are among the best I've been on anywhere.

We did not visit the alpine part of Slovenia but you can see some very high peaks from Ljubljana and we flew over the alps there and back. There's serious skiing, hiking, and other mountain sport to be had in Slovenia.

My favorite part of the trip, other than a morning with the entire Zemanta team, was the Adriatic coastline. It is stunning and I am told if you drive south into Croatia, its even more beautiful.

We'll have to return for a longer stay and visit the mountains and the croatian coastline and other spots. It's on the ever expanding list of places we have to get back to.

If you have not ventured to that part of the world, I'd strongly consider it. You can have a lovely time with less crowds at half the price of the traditional hot spots of europe.

And there's some hot startups to invest in too!

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Comments (Archived):

  1. azeemazhar

    Funny I was in Slovenia just tend days ago, and just on the other side of the Zemanta offices. We could knock on the wall. Could they hear us?Beautiful country, indeed.

  2. Aaron Klein

    I assume English must be pretty strong there, or are you multi-lingual as well? 🙂

    1. fredwilson

      Nope. My french is poor and everything else is worse

  3. TedHoward

    Definitely head down the Balkan coastline. Hit the Croatian party islands if you’re into that. Or take it easy and enjoy the constant string of cute towns running down to Greece. It’s a beautiful part of the world.

  4. Viktor Marohnic

    I’m sure that Zemanta guys did a great job showing you around. I’m really glad that you have great time in this part of the world. I know some guys who came for a visit and stay for life :)Greetings from Croatia!

  5. vfilings

    Sounds like a great trip! I’m glad you and your wife enjoyed it. It is very important to meet the people of your business as well.

  6. Steven Kane

    my wife is from slovenia. very off the radar under-appreciated place. maybe best to not spoil it by too much shout out?;)

    1. fredwilson

      They could use some more tourism. While the country is doing well, it could benefit from money flowing in from elsewhere

  7. andraz Logar

    Honestly, comparing slovenian coastline to croatian is not fair. Unfortunately for us, slovenians. Otherwise we are all damn proud of our country, history, culture, beauty and vibe. And food. Mmmm… and wines.

    1. fredwilson

      The wines are outstanding. We drank a local malvasia (sp?) from the area arounf portoroz and it was excellent

  8. Vladimir Vukicevic

    Much of my family comes from Slovenia – it’s a wonderful country. It is probably the most economically developed of the former-Yugoslav countries but it still has plenty of room to grow and to foster innovation – which is indicative of how much untapped/raw potential the rest of that region possesses.

    1. fredwilson

      That’s what I saw. I’m very bullish on the region

      1. Mark Essel

        Sounds like a fantastic journey Fred. Glad to hear much of the Zemanta team is doing well in Slovenia. How large of a group is it in total (10-15 folks)?

        1. fredwilson

          seven developers, soon to be eight, three founders, one bus dev, and onecommunity relations person. one founder, the BD person, and the communityperson are in the US.

  9. Jose

    Fred, you really need to go to Croatia, my wife is from there and we just spent 2 weeks there. You can stay in Split and then take a boat to Hvar (go to this beach and Brac where you can go to the Golden Horn beach You can also go to Dubrovnik, but its too touristy for my taste. Roads are also excellent, better than in Slovenia 🙂

    1. fredwilson

      I think we are going to do that. Not sure when

      1. RichardF

        I’d second all of Jose’s recommendations and I’d still do Dubrovnik because whilst it is tourist destination I think it’s worth seeing.

  10. $555292

    I cannot comment on your investment suggestion, but I have friends who’ve cycled Croatia and loved it (we’re road cycle travelers). Because of your accounts, and those of Gotham Gal, I’ve put Slovenia on my list of places to bike/visit. Love the photos. Thank you!

  11. kidmercury

    “An added benefit is everything costs a lot less in Slovenia.”for now, that is…..

  12. Ethan Kaplan

    I spent two weeks in Slovenia with a local artist (Marko Peljhan and the resident artists in Ljubjana. It’s an amazing place, off the radar, super cheap, super friendly, great food and very accessible. I appreciate the country as well for supporting and fostering local arts. It’s telling that the Slovenian pavilion at the Venice Bienalle is always a site to behold.There is a cool cybercafe type place in an old bomb shelter in the middle of town, as well as an artist collective in the middle of town in some old buildings.

    1. fredwilson

      I would have liked to check out the local art scene. A missed oppty