Though small, Slovenia is a country of big mountains, caves, rivers, lakes and bears. From its vibrant capital to the stunningly beautiful Lake Bled, Slovenia has plenty to offer tourists. Here are my highlights.
This picture-perfect lake is probably Slovenia’s most famous tourist attraction and is approximately 40 minutes from Ljubljana by car. If I was to imagine the perfect lake I think it would look something like Lake Bled. Overlooked by a medieval castle, beautiful blue-green water, mountains in the background and an island in the middle, Lake Bled looks like it has been taken straight out of a work of art.
To get that all important photo of the lake in all its wonder you need to get up high. I recommend driving up to Bled Castle and then from the car park taking the footpath that goes to the side of the castle. From there you will come out by a rock and you get a fabulous view of the lake and the island. If you also want a photo at water level head to the rowing centre on the western side of the lake and stand on one of the jetties for a great view of Bled Island.
Another very popular Slovenian tourist destination is the Postojna Cave and even though caves are not really my cup of tea, seeing as we were in the area we had to check it out. The cave has its own railway and you go by train deep inside the cave to where the tour begins, the tour then lasts for around an hour and the train returns you to the entrance at the end.
Now don’t get me wrong the cave is beautiful inside and extremely impressive, but we had visited the Eisriesenwelt ice cave around a week and a half before and I couldn’t help but find this cave a bit too easy by comparison. What I mean by that is that sitting on the train felt like being on a ghost train at a theme park – they even took our photo – and once inside the cave everything was lit up. However, when we visited the Eisriesenwelt cave it was entirely pitched black – except for our lanterns – and once inside we had to climb up 700 steps which made the visit feel a bit more extreme. That being said I did enjoy the visit to Postojna Cave and managed to get some great photos.
I only had a day to spend in Slovenia’s capital, but luckily for me Ljubljana’s centre is small and compact so I didn’t feel like I missed anything, although I could definitely have stayed longer because it is a wonderful city.
I stayed at the Tivoli Hostel which I have to mention because it was quite simply the best hostel I have ever stayed in. The hostel is tiny and had such a homely atmosphere that it would be perfect for solo travellers, especially if you’re a bit nervous. It only has three bedrooms, a double room and two dorm rooms – I stayed in one of the dorm rooms – and from the moment we checked in we felt so welcome. The staff members were excellent, when we arrived they showed us where we were on a city map, pointed out all the main attractions and even gave us a shot of a honey-flavoured Slovenian spirit.
Anyway… back to Ljubljana itself. We walked through the Tivoli City Park towards the centre stopping at the famous fast food spot ‘Hot Horse’ to get a horse burger. Then we once we were in the centre we walked along the river, around the old town and up to the castle for a fabulous view of the city. I would definitely recommend walking up to the castle rather than taking the cable car, you will save yourself some money and it only took about ten minutes.
After we had explored Ljubljana’s centre we went to visit the old army barracks near the station as recommended by one of the lovely staff members at our hostel. These old army buildings make up a really alternative ‘artsy’ area as the buildings are covered in graffiti and street art. There is also a hostel in this area called Celica Art Hostel, which is actually the old military jail – a pretty unique place to stay if you fancy it.
This is a beautiful fishing town, with narrow maze-like streets and some wonderful architecture. Read my full post about Piran here.