Ever since I went to Slovenia, I haven’t stopped dreaming about it. It’s just that sort of a place; it becomes a part of you and also potentially ruins future places you will travel to. You have been warned fellow travelers. I’ve had a hard time narrowing this down to just five reasons and I’ve cheated a little bit on number four, but hey, all’s fair in love and travel, right?
It was a photo of Logarska Dolina that drew me to Slovenia in the first place. I stayed in little huts by the river, went tubing down icy waters and spent many a lazy day on hammocks. The absolute highlight, however, was the roughly 28km bike trail that takes adventurers through valleys, local farms, views of misty alpine mountains and lush meadow. There’s an option to rent electric bikes from the visitor’s centre and that makes the journey so much easier! Stop for delicious picnics en-route and if you’re still looking for more adventure go hiking up to Okrešlj past Slap Rinka (the source of the Savinja River and the second highest waterfalls in Slovenia). The 30-minute vertical ascent up Hobbiton like paths leads all the way up to the flowery meadow with an alpine bar next to it.
Slovenia’s tiny capital packs quite a punch. Ljubljana’s vibe is more of a small town instead of a capital. Restaurants serving local fare, ancient castles and talented buskers dot the entire city. My favourite spot was Metelkova which is an art community run like a collective which organises regular parties and events. If you want to stay here long there’s a unique hostel here which is designed like a prison – fancy spending a night in jail? The charming city centre of Ljubljana even has has a river running through it.
The Julian Alps
East Slovenia has the Julian Alps which make their way in from Italy. The emerald blue Soca river flows through this region and beautiful alpine towns dot the landscape. There’s one haunting mountain near Vrsic Pass where you can spot quite clearly the face of a woman. Drive through this stunning region yourself or do a tour with the very responsible and intrepid company called 3Glav Adventures. I highly recommend their Emerald Tour – it’s a great introduction to the region. The highest mountain of Slovenia is here – the Triglav and if you have the time, you can organise an overnight hike.
Biking around Lake Bohinj and hiking in Vogel
Bled is the most beautiful lake town in Slovenia – that’s what postcards and most people will tell you all the time but my favourite is Bohinj. The lake is gorgeous and the surrounding mountains even better. In the summer you can take the ski lift up to Vogel and then choose one of the many trails to hike on. There’s a beautiful little cafe about a half an hour hike away from the main ski lift drop off point that serves the most amazing borscht, which brings me to the next point.
Organic delicious food in Slovenia
To say that I was surprised and amazed by the food in Slovenia is an understatement! I loved the quality of the ingredients and the ease with which vegetarian food was available. Some of my favourite dishes were the jota (barley and vegetable stew with meat), potato salad, mushroom bread soup (hot soup served in a hot hollowed out bun), fresh trout with Trieste sauce (olive oil, parsley and garlic) and my favourite discovery – pumpkin oil. It might look like motor oil but tastes delicious!
To have to list out just 5 favourite reasons for one of my favourite countries felt like a crime – I haven’t even gotten to the wonderful people, festivals and wineries yet. But that’s for another post.