A place of myths and folklore – Slovenia weaves together scenery, culture and adventures. Take a look at our guide to this magical Lakes & Mountains destination.
Each town brings its own personality to the story. Glorious Bled, with its bustling centre, hilltop castle and island church. Authentic Bohinj, a collection of 24 villages along the shores of a turquoise lake. And lively Kranjska Gora, a cosmopolitan bubble on the edge of the Triglav National Park.
Step into a fairy tale at Bled Castle. Over a thousand years old, it sits on a peak overlooking the lake and is now home to a popular restaurant that serves modern Slovene food to complement the beautiful views.
Or go looking for ghosts at Predjama Castle. It’s buried in a cliff face and is said to be haunted by the spirit of Erazem Luegger, Slovenia’s version of Robin Hood.
In Lipica, the oldest stud farm in the world, you can take a tour of the stables and pastures – and then watch the purebred Lipizzaner horses, known for their distinctive white coats, perform in their weekly show.
And then venture underground to explore a handful of Slovenia’s 11,000 caves. The caverns, bridges and waterfalls of the Postojna and Škocjan caves are some of the most remarkable in the world.
The heart of Slovenia is the capital, Ljubljana. Stroll around the flower gardens and sculptures of Tivoli Park, and cross bridges guarded by dragons. Spend your afternoons sipping drinks in pavement cafés next to the Ljubljanica River. And on Fridays, visit the Open Kitchen market to try gourmet street food made by local restaurant chefs.
Watching over it all is Ljubljana Castle. Walk up the hill, or ride the funicular, to tour the medieval fortress and gaze across the terracotta roofs of the city. Then visit its modern rival, Nebotičnik – the tallest building in the city – and pair the views with drinks and pastries in the café.
The scenery is the star in Slovenia, and one of the best ways to explore it is on your own two feet. Walking trails criss-cross the countryside, with gentle walks close to the towns and more challenging hikes up in the Julian Alps.
In Bled, start with the easy 6km loop around the lake. From Kranjska Gora, stroll to Jasna, a man-made lake watched over by the mythical buck, Zlatorog. Or really stretch your legs with a 3-hour hike to the Triple Border – the point where Slovenia, Austria and Italy meet.
Families and adventure seekers should take to the water. Bohinj is the hub of water sports, from paddleboarding and kayaking to white water rafting. Or let someone else do the rowing and enjoy a trip around Lake Bled in a traditional, non-motorised pletna boat.
The Slovene’s love of nature shows up in their food too, and they champion local, organic produce – try tangy mohant cheese, Soča trout and Carniolan sausage, which is made with a protected recipe. Follow that up with desserts like kremšnita, the famous Bled cream cake made with puff pastry and custard. And honey is popular too – the native Carniolan honey bee is a national treasure, and the country is home to 10,000 beekeepers.
Discover the secrets of Slovenia for yourself this summer, with a stay in Bled, Bohinj, Kranjska Gora or Ljubljana.
Pssst. Head to the Discover homepage for our latest articles.
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Author: Courtney Sparham
Published: November 1, 2019
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