Things to do in Nova Gorica, Slovenia – The City of Roses

Last Updated on June 12, 2022

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Slovenia is a country blessed by nature, famous for its famous lake Bled and Vintgar Gorge. But one of the most unique places which is often overlooked is the town of Nova Gorica.

If you are looking for a unique city in Slovenia to visit, Nova Gorica MUST be on your list!

Nova Gorica is a modern university town in Slovenia located at the border with Italy, which has grown as a substitute town for Italian Gorizia according to historical and political reasons.

A relatively new town, Nova Gorica was actually built in 1948 with the help of youth work brigades from all over Yugoslavia. Today the Nova Gorica population has grown to over 13,000 people!

The Slovenia town of Nova Gorica is located in a beautiful area, near the Adriatic Sea and the Alps but also near the capital and other important cities.

Things to do in Nova Gorica, Slovenia - The City of Roses, person with long long hair in a baseball cap walking through forest away from camera

The name Nova Gorica means “new hill” but locals commonly use the shorter term of “Gorica”.

The town is green, surrounded by gorgeous nature, and historical sights. Nova Gorica city boasts many parks, numerous benches, and mighty trees.

The most popular place in nature for citizens is the forest Panovec where many engage in sports and other activities, such as cycling, jogging, or hiking.

The Slovenia town is also known as the City of Roses for its bourbon roses which are planted more than 12,000 of them around the town.

I don’t need to emphasize enough how attractive the town becomes in May when the roses blossom. It is the perfect time to visit Nova Gorica.

unique things to do in Slovenia, roses in bloom in the town center of Nova Gorica

This attractive town offers entertainment all year round, indoor and outdoor activities, and numerous events.

It hosts a great number of concerts, exhibitions, fairs, festivals, and performances but also culinary events for locals and other guests.

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A big advantage is that everything is within walking distance – a museum, a library, galleries, a theatre, an art center, etc.

It is also known as a “gaming town” – it boasts one of Europe’s largest gambling complexes, casinos with a wide selection of modern gaming equipment, mainly visited by Italians.

Not only will you enjoy a pleasant atmosphere there, but you will also taste delicious and high-quality dishes in various restaurants, or you can treat yourself to a body spa center.

The culinary offer is varied, including vegetable soups, polenta with sauces, pasta, risotto, also dishes with asparagus, mushrooms, or radicchio (chicory).

As you might have guessed, the gastronomy in Nova Gorica, Slovenia, and its surrounding area is heavily influenced by the cuisine of Italy.

The best way to know the Slovenia town and its surroundings is by bicycle. There are many interesting cycle routes to explore, mainly hill or uphill types.

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People get on their bikes to ride in the spring and summer months. Don’t worry if your bike stays at home, because at the TIC-Tourist information center Nova Gorica you can rent a bike.

Nova Gorica has a wide range of local attractions to keep you entertained while your visit, including unique things to do with roses and other fun activities in Slovenia.

This guide has all the best stuff to do in Nova Gorica, Slovenia no matter what time of year you visit and how to get there.

best things to do in Nova Gorica, Slovenia

Best activities in Nova Gorica Slovenia, white monastery with orange roof surrounded by trees with mountains in the distance

1. Kostanjevica Hill and its monastery

On the Kostanjevica hill stands the Church of the Annunciation Mary and the Franciscan Monastery.

This pilgrimage shrine is a place of peace and spirituality, a historical center (Tombs of Bourbons), and a cultural center (Monastery Library).

Kostanjevica is the last residence of the members of the French royal family Bourbon. In the garden of the Monastery, you will find a collection of Bourbon roses, the most extensive in the world.

Today, the roses play a significant role in the annual Festival of the Roses (guided tours, exhibitions, dishes with roses, etc.).

During the festival, there are many things to do with roses and the town is ornately decorated.

A special highlight is the library of the Monastery – it has more than 10,000 units in various languages, including a unique the first Slovenian Grammar Book by Adam Bohorič.

best stuff to do in Nova Gorica, long narrow stone bridge over river and surrounded by greenery

2. Soča Fun Park and the Solkan Bridge

If you are an adventurous soul, spend some time in the local adrenaline park, Soča Fun Park, which is one of the most unique things to do in Slovenia.

The park is set under the cover of lush greenery and near the emerald Soča river. It offers a range of fun, family-friendly activities.

The Solkan Bridge is a 219.7-meter (721 ft) bridge over the Soča River and is the longest stone arch railroad bridge in the world.

Walking across and admiring this impressive bridge is definitely a must when visiting Nova Gorica!

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Guide to Nova Gorica Slovenia, modern building with lots of windows lit up blue at night

3. Perla Casino

Nova Gorica is most known for its casino games!

Perla casino has a rich tradition and is the largest casino in Europe, offering an endless selection of games but also modern accommodation.

If you aren’t interested in gambling, the casino also has what is probably the best spa in Slovenia so is also great for relaxing holidays.

The casino hosts numerous concerts, raffles, and other forms of entertainment.

What to do in Nova Gorica, large square building surrounded by 4 other tall square structures, a manicured garden and trees

4. Kromberk Castle

Only a few kilometers from the town center, Kromberk castle is a small Renaissance-style castle from an early 17-century reconstruction of a 13th-century fortress.

In the present day, the castle acts as the exhibition venue of the Regional Museum with a rich collection of paintings, permanent art exhibitions, and an impressive cultural history exhibition.

It is surrounded by a lovely Baroque park and a fountain in the center, lush greenery, and walking paths with benches.

The castle even boasts its own amphitheater and outdoor lapidarium. You can’t visit Nova Gorica without seeing the castle!

Best things to do in Nova Gorica, old building on a forested hill

5. Sveta Gora (Holy Mountain)

Sveta Gora is a well-known pilgrimage site and is also home to a Franciscan Monastery.

At the top of the mountain, you will be awarded a gorgeous view of Nova Gorica, the Julian Alps, and surrounding areas up to the sea.

The church is constructed in a neo-baroque style with a 50 m (164 ft) high bell tower with mighty bells.

Best Nova Gorica attractions, hilly park in autumn with an occupied park bench

6. Pine Grove Park

It is a unique biotope in the middle of the town. The water area in the park attracts frogs and birds.

This place is a true oasis of peace and also a favorite site for children to play.

Sitting on a bench and watching the nature you are surrounded by, and listening to the birds feels like experiencing true magic here.

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How to get to Nova Gorica?

By plane

The closest airport is Trieste (Ronchi dei Legionari, Italy) and is only 25 km (15,53 miles) from Nova Gorica.

It is connected by a public bus to Gorizia train station, from where you can get to Nova Gorica by bus or taxi.

By car

From the capital, Ljubljana is only 106 km (65,86 miles) and will take you about an hour by car.

To drive Slovenian highways you will need to have a tolling sticker – ‘vignette’ (15 € for a weekly sticker for a car).

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By bus and train

Although there is a Nova Gorica train station, most people come by train via the Goriza station just over the border.

If you come from Italy – you can come by train to Gorizia (Italy) and then take a city bus that runs every hour and costs 1 €.

From Ljubljana, you can reach the town also by bus but will take you about 2 hours with a cost of around 10 €.

From Ljubljana to Nova Gorica you can travel also by train, but this option will take you longer and the trains are less frequent. The ticket is around 7 €.

The Nova Gorica train station is easily accessed by both sides of the border.

Frequently Asked Questions

✅ How old is Nova Gorica?

The town of Nova Gorica is quite young as it was built in 1948!

✅ Is Nova Gorica worth visiting?

Absolutely! This beautiful town has a lot to offer, especially if you love the outdoors. Plus, because it isn’t part of the usual tourist trail in Slovenia, it isn’t as crowded and accommodation is often more affordable.

✅ In which country is Nova Gorica?

Nova Gorica is in Slovenia! However, it is on the Slovenia-Italy border right next to the Italian town of Gorizia.

I hope this has encouraged you to visit Nova Gorica and explore all the amazing things this city in Slovenia has to offer. You’ll find some of the best activities in Slovenia in Nova Gorica. Have you been to Nova Gorica? Is there anything essentially we missed off the list?

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