Outside - Best New Frontier

RUNNER-UP

Slovenia

Slovenia packs Mediterranean beaches, more than 87 hot springs, rugged peaks in the 9,000-foot Julian Alps, 6,000 miles of trails, and 40-plus ski resorts into an area about the size of New Jersey. Yet it gets a mere three million visitors a year, compared with neighboring Croatia’s 10.6 million. Our bet? Not for long. It’s easy to get to: drive 3.5 hours from Vienna or fly from a number of European cities into Ljubljana. Slovenia is well organized and locals are friendly, making independent travel easy. Fish for marble trout, Europe’s second-fattest species, in the Soca River with Lustrik Fishing Adventures, or explore some of the country’s 8,000 caves and mountain-bike alpine valleys with outfitter Pac Sports. BikeHike Adventures’ new eight-day trip ($3,299) includes kayaking the Krka River with a Slovenian Olympic medalist, biking through Swiss-like villages, and trekking to a vista above seven alpine lakes in Triglav National Park.