Slovenia is the ex-Yugoslav Republic that is most like Western Europe. Bordering on Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia, this small state is easy to explore. It has both natural beauty and historical sights, so it makes for a good destination.
It’s very easy to say that one county is beautiful, what makes Slovenia different, unique in the company of other beautiful countries is it’s diversity. It’s the only place on our planet were you can find mountains, see, karst, lowland, … so closely together.
The most interesting points in Slovenia:
– Triglav National Park, with Bled Bled and Bohinj
– Karst with many great caves, like Postojna caves, Skocijanske jame and spectacular places like Predjamski grad
– Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana, the only larger city, with somewhat unique identity
– Slovenian coast with typical north Adriatic towns like Piran or Izola
Some of the small medival towns, like: Ptuj, Celje, Skofja Loka, Kranj, Radovljica, Novo mesto, Idrija, …
Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia. It’s also the biggest city in the country and the political, cultural and commercial centre. With a population of around 300,000 it has the intimacy of a small town mixed with the cultural heritage and cosmopolitan feel of a vibrant city.
The stunning old town is nestled between a hill topped with a castle and the gently flowing Ljubljanica river. The banks of the river and many other important buildings where designed by local architect Joze Plecnik (1872-1957). When strolling through the streets of Ljubljana you can see the remains of the Roman settlement Emona, the medieval old town, the many works of Plecnik and modern buildings blended with parks and squares.
The history of the city begins some 5,000 years ago with “marsh dwellers” inhabiting the the boggy barje (marsh lands) near the city, and continues through the time of Roman Emona, followed by the medieval city under the castle. Over the last century, Ljubljana has experienced its highest rate of growth, becoming more important as the political and educational centre of Slovenia. With Slovenia becoming independent in 1991 it has become one of the smallest capitals in Europe.
As a new member state of the European Union after 1 May 2004, Slovenia starts a new and exciting phase in its storied history.
You can walk through the city in couple hour’s time. If you have an entire day you can see almost all sights worth visiting. If you stay longer Ljubljana is a great starting point to see all of Slovenia. Within a two hour drive you can see the Adriatic Sea, alpine mountains, the Karst (full of magical caves), the Panonian lowland, and a Sub alpine world of enormous beauty.
A fairytale castle high on a bluff, with a crystal clear lake underneath, snow capped alps in the background: Bled has all the ingredients for becoming a major tourist spot.
Located in the Julian alps, a bus ride of about an hour takes you from Ljubljana to this mountain resort. The main sights in the area are the Bled castle which has a pricey restaurant and a mediocre museum but the best views imaginable of the lake and the island with the Chuch of Sv Marika Bozja on it. The island can be visited by gondola, or by canoe from the Park Hotel.
The Vintgar Gorge is an excellent daytrip. It’s just 10 km north of town and the hike there is great.
Lake Bohinj is located in the Julian Alps not far from more touristy Bled. It is close to the border with Italy and Austria in the northwest of Slovenia.
The area is extremely beautiful. It’s as good looking as the nicest places in Switzerland or Austria, but life here is a whole lot cheaper. The water of the lake is of the deepest blue.
In Winter the area offers good skiing possibilities and in summer hiking and biking are the favourite activities.
Maribor is Slovenia’s often overlooked second city. A thriving university city of just over 100,000, Maribor is situated on the Drava river in north-eastern Slovenia.
On the left bank of the Drava, one can stroll along Lent, a lovely section of Maribor that comes alive every summer for Festival Lent, a music and cultural festival with hundreds of artists.
Ptuj is the oldest city in Slovenia; it obtained town rights in 977. It has survived the centuries well, and the visitor will find its historic centre filled with beautiful sights and monuments.
The castle, the Dominican and Minorite monasteries, the Provost Church, the old City Hall, the patrician houses, numerous marvelously carved doors, wrought iron window grills, and stonecutting details are some of the most important attractions.
In the surroundings of Ptuj, there are many possibilities for excursions. In the immediate vicinity, the Terme Ptuj Health Resort offers the beneficial and healing effects of its thermal waters.
Ptuj is also an important wine producing city with a wine growing tradition of more than seven centuries. The inns and restaurants of the city and its surroundings offer a great variety of courses that the vintage wines from the Ptuj region complement very well.
Postojna’s caves are about 4 million years old and are home to the Proteus anguineus – a sort of blind salamander which can only live in cave like conditions. A small train takes you 2 km down to the starting point of the tours. What you will see there is hard to desrcibe but we can assure you that Postojna has one of the most impressive cave systems in the world.
Postojna is on the main route south from Ljubljana and can be seen as a daytrip or on your way to the beaches of the Adriatic.
A lake in Karst region of Slovenia
Bovec is located in the gorgeous Trenta valley in Alpine Slovenia. Green vistas and great skiing nearby mark this as a destination not to be missed!
Beautiful vistas abound in this wonderland for outdoor enthusiasts!
Celje (Roman, Celeia) is Slovenia’s third largest town and has a population of approximately 40,000. Celje is built on the Savinja river and is the economic, cultural and educational center of the Savinja Basin.
Celje achieved town status in 1451, though its history stretches back to early Iron Age Illyrian settlements and was settled by the Romans in 15 BCE.
Piran is an old medieval town in the west of Slovenia. It is located on the the tip of the peninsula that is the westernmost part of Slovenia on the coastal Adriatic.
In past centuries, its buildings, typically stone and Mediterranean, were encircled by city walls several times. It is believed that the first walls were built in the 7th century, extended in the 12th century, and achieved their present appearance in the 16th century as protection against Turkish raiders. It is understandable that the town and its surroundings therefore boast many historical monuments and a rich tradition.
But the city is more than just a place for history buffs. The area is great for people who love the outdoors, and the beaches in the area are superb. Close to the city is the tourist center of Portoroz offering an abundance of entertainment, relaxation, and cultural satisfaction for tourists of all ages with its beaches, hotels, restaurants, sports facilities, and especially its casino. The Portoroz Marina, said to the best equipped on the Adriatic, is a starting point for many yacht cruises on the Adriatic.
Photo by Wikimedia Commons.