Of course it's just good manners to brush up on some simple phrases when visiting a non-English speaking country, and we will do that before our May trip to Slovenia. But I'm wondering if we can expect language difficulties. My husband speaks fluent Italian, I speak some basic Italian, and we will have a Swiss German speaker with us for most of the time. Between German, Italian and English, will we get by in most places? We're looking at spending time in the middle and west side of Slovenia.
English is widely spoken in the more touristy parts of Slovenia. I don't remember having any difficulty in Ljubljana or Bled. The taxi driver who took several of us from to Lake Bohinj spoke Slovenian, Serbo-Croatian, English, Italian and either German or French (maybe both). She said she had a smattering of Spanish from watching telenovelas on TV. The fellow selling tickets at the Ljubljana bus station spoke very good English. This was all back in 2015.
Many parts of Slovenia watch American TV in English, with Slovenian subtitles. Thus, their English is quite good, and it is a highly educated country .
Safe travels and enjoy!
As others have noted, English is widely spoken in Slovenia, especially by young adults. I knew some basic phrases and also happen to know some German. Anecdotes from my 25 days in Slovenia:
- I had one taxi driver who spoke minimal English, but he spoke German, so I was able to communicate
- The taxi driver took me from Kranj to LJU airport to pick up a rental car. He went inside with me to draw a map. I mentioned to the guy at the counter that I don't speak Slovene, but I speak German. His response was, "Oh, then you will be able to speak to all the young people in Slovenia with English, and you will be able to speak to all the old people with German."
- I had tea in one guide's historic family home near Logarska dolina. Her mother did not speak English but did speak German, so I was able to communicate
- I was in a grocery, and the young cashier began speaking quickly in Slovene after our Slovene greeting exchange. I said that I do not speak Slovene and asked if she spoke English (in Slovene). She apologized and switched (fluent) English.
- I went to a concert by a hip hop/rock/electronica/Balkan fusion band. I would guess 80-90 percent of the pre-show music played by the DJ was in English, and I watched 12 year olds sing along with the songs.
Lovely, lovely people. Lovely, lovely country. You'll enjoy it!
We visited Bled, Ljubljana and Piran and didn't have any problems communicating - and we only speak English!
This was 15 years ago, and everyone then spoke good enough English, exception at one restaurant in Piran. They proudly displayed displayed a prominent photo of Tito in full uniform on the wall, and the old woman who ran the front of the house and took orders wasn’t an English speaker. We still got dinner, so were able to communicate well enough. Sounds like ordering dinner in English now will be even easier!