When I think about Slovenia, I think of a storybook land where knights and dragons roam the streets and princesses wave to you from castles in green pastures as you cruise by in your horse-drawn carriage. You too?
I’ve been to every country that surrounds the “Sunny side of the Alps” – Italy, Croatia, Austria and Hungary – yet never popped over for a peek which in hindsight is a good thing. This means I will be able to give it my full attention when I do finally make it because from what I can tell, that’s exactly what it’s going to need. Slovenia may be the 8th smallest country in Europe, but my goodness does it seem like it has a lot to offer.
Why do I want to go?
Because it is “Europe in miniature”. At least that’s what this tiny land of only 2 million people is sometimes called because it has everything. You want gorgeous snow-capped mountains? You’ve got the Julian Alps. You want a cool capital city filled with beautiful Baroque and Art Nouveau architecture? You’ve got Ljubljana. You want sand and sea? You’ve got the Adriatic. Storybook castles, caves, and vineyards galore? Plenty of that too and all within a couple of hours drive, if that, from each other.
Where will I go?
I would love to go all over considering I could in a relatively short amount of time. It’s such a small place, I could probably even walk everywhere, too.
Ok, not really, but it does look like you can drive clear across the country in under 3 hours. Ljubljana is where I would start since it is the geographic, economic, political and cultural heart of the country. I’ve heard so many good things about this city and its position makes it an excellent base for getting around to see the rest of Slovenia.
After checking out the capital, Bled would probably be one of the first places I head, but I definitely wouldn’t just stop there. The tiny church in the middle of the lake is one of the most visited attractions in the country so of course I’m going designate some time to it, but what I really want to see lies a bit further north: Triglav National Park and Lake Bohinj. Bohinj is supposed to be the more unspoiled part of the park and where you can enjoy Slovenia’s nature without tons of other tourists surrounding you.
There is also a lot I’d like to hit up in the south starting with Postojna, just 40 minutes from Ljubljana, and its magnificent cave – the largest in Europe, in fact. Not far from that is also an equally magnificent castle called Predjama. Looks dramatic and incredibly fauxtogenic if you ask me.
The ultimate goal is to make it to the beaches of the Adriatic and Piran – the picturesque Venetian port town that I’m already anticipating falling in love with. We’ll see.
WOW, I’ve barely covered the western part of Slovenia and there is still so much more I could add to this. Take for instance the Posavje region where they produce tons of amazing wine. Also Maribor, which was just a European Capital of Culture, is just an hour and a half east of Ljubljana. The list can go on and on which could be problematic…or more like torturous if can’t stay at least two weeks.
How will I get there?
This is tricky if I am going to try to find my way from my current location, California. There are no direct flights to Slovenia from here, or anywhere in the United States for that matter, but most likely I’d be able to find deals on flights to London. From there I could grab cheap Wizz Air or EasyJet flights no problem. If I’m already on mainland Europe though and in close enough proximity, arriving by train or bus seems more ideal. Some of my most memorable ground journeys have been through the neighboring countries of Slovenia so pretty sure I’d be in for a visual treat.
Have you ever been to Slovenia? Is it as green and magical as everyone says? Let me know if I’ve missed anything!