Best of Slovenia
Hidden between touristic giants like Italy, Austria and Croatia lies Slovenia. Mountains, lakes, and forests connect the small country to the Adriatic blue sea. We already talked about its main destinations Ljubljana, Bled and Piran extensively here, so now it’s time to take a dive into Slovenia’s hidden parts.
Discover with us:
What not to miss?
Lake Bohinj in Triglav National Park
Lake Bled might be the most popular day trip from Ljubljana, but Lake Bohinj shouldn’t be underestimated. As Slovenia’s largest lake, Bohinj is just as easily reached from the capital and offers far more tranquillity. Lake Bohinj offers two sides of the same coin. Great for relaxation, as it’s less well known than Lake Bled, and brilliant for adventurers since its hiking paths are less paved down.
Just like Bled, Bohinj has its own gorge. Mostnica Gorge is just a stone-throw’s away and even has its own waterfall. For anyone wanting to discover the vastness of Triglav National Park and the Julian Alps, Lake Bohinj is a great getaway.
Tolmin and Vintgar Gorge
Nestled between wild walkways you can find Slovenia’s grand canyons, the Tolmin and Vintgar Gorge.
Unsure which one to choose? Vintgar Gorge might be smaller, but its boardwalk traverses the entirety of a 1.6 km long river. While Tolmin Gorge offers a longer walk with stunning views, most of it isn’t in the canyon. Vintgar can get quite elbow-pushingly busy during peak season but offers a far more interesting experience than the latter. Nonetheless, if you decide on traversing the Soča Valley take a break by following the Tolminka river on a paddleboard, kayak, or canoe and look upon the waterfalls leading to Tolmin Gorge.
Koper (and Piran)
If our post about Piran inspired you, be sure to take a short drive up to Koper. This town is also located in the Slovene Riviera bordering the Adriatic waves. Enter through Muda Gate and you will crash into an authentic Slovenian seaport, bordered by Venetian-inspired architecture and seafood restaurants. Koper’s cobblestone streets are less worn down than Piran’s and thus offer a more relaxing day trip.
What else to visit?
Predjama Castle and its caves
Nestled in the middle of a 123-metre-high cliffside lies Predjama Castle. The medieval castle and its underlying cave system are protected as a UNESCO World Heritage site. We have to recommend the guided tours of its underground passages, waterfalls, rapids, and acoustic chambers. The marvellous castle is a must-see when in Slovenia.
Maribor and Pohorje
Maribor is the gastronomic masterpiece of Slovenia, encircled by the green of Pohorje forest and beckoned by wine-growing hills. No need to visit the Provence or Tuscany, when you can leisurely enjoy this Eastern-Slovenian region. Take a sip from the oldest vine in the world and dine from traditional menus.
The oldest town of Slovenia is often overlooked, but definitely worth your time. Skofja Loka is the perfect destination for anyone intrigued by history, charm and uniqueness. Built in 1274 on authentic craftsmanship, this medieval town is (again) just a short drive from Ljubljana and feels like a perfectly preserved fairy tale. Be sure to check out its two beautiful squares lined by quaint buildings, and don’t miss its old granary. Cast in the shadow of an ancient castle, Skofja Loka is filled with history and culture.
How to travel there?
As mentioned in our previous articles about Slovenia, the country is easily accessible by
plane, bus or train. Slovenia only has one airport and is connected to all major European destinations on a variety of airlines. Most international coach buses offer stops in Ljubljana as well as the low-cost Flixbusses. Direct train routes might be harder to come by if you’re traveling from far-off, but offer the most scenic experience traversing mountains and forests.
Public transport in Slovenia will take you to almost every town or city. Although we would advise you to rent a car and discover Slovenia at your own pace based on our suggestions, since there will be many places you’ll want to take a quick photo-stop.
When to travel there?
Thanks to its wide variety of landscapes Slovenia is the perfect travel destination at any time. You can go hiking and swimming in the summertime, and enjoy winter sports in wintertime. Quiet towns come to life during peak season from June through August, but don’t be disheartened by less popular seasons. There’s something for everyone at every time!
Slovenia is a relatively hidden travel destination by European standards, thus it offers a more affordable experience. Lots of outdoor attractions mean you won’t break the bank. Average lodging goes between €50 euros up to €80, depending on your preferences. And gastronomic experiences vary, with local culinary classes starting at €20 or wine tasting ranging up to €30, and award-winning restaurants plate 3-course meals for €50.
What to eat?
Inspired by the flavours of its neighbours, Slovenia offers a wide variety of deliciousness. Fluffy pastries inspired by Austria, pasta-based dishes from Italy, and a meat-based diet influenced by the east. If you have a hard time choosing from the menu you should come to Slovenia and try everything! Mostly characterized as slow food you can find a comprehensive guide of specific dishes in our posts about Ljubljana and Bled, or a full run-down right here!
What we want to focus on right now is Slovenia’s rich wine culture. You can build an entire holiday around the alcoholic beverage. The country’s diverse landscape offers an equally diverse wine selection. Slovenia’s three wine-growing regions belong to the best in the world dating back to Roman times. Primorska has great dry wines, the Brda Hills bordering Italy curate white wines and Karst is filled with Teran wine inspired by its red soil. With a rich sparkling wine tradition, Gornja Radgona has a wine cellar dating back to 1853 and Cvicek holds a unique Slovenian wine with great health benefits.
Slovenia’s Dragon Carnival and Lent Festival have already been mentioned, so be sure to check those out! But Slovenia is truly a country for everyone:
The Open Kitchen runs every Friday from March to October in Ljubljana. Nothing better than starting the weekend with Slovenia’s most delicious gourmet food market.
Surprisingly you don’t need to be in Sweden to celebrate its freckled heroine but in Velenje. The Pippi Longstocking Festival is Slovenia’s largest children’s festival hosting workshops, performances, cinema…
The Prešeren Fair honours Slovenia’s biggest poet and is the most important cultural event. You can visit Prešeren’s House, Town Hall, and the Khislstein Castle where admission will be free.
Lastly, Slovenia also organises its annual Beer and Flower Festival in the middle of July. Filled with music, cuisine, and of course beer and flowers.
Create your own fairy tale by adding Slovenia to your travel itinerary. Check up on our guides on Ljubljana, Bled, and Piran to be sure you didn’t miss anything! And don’t forget to take a look at places such as Salzburg or Nicosia. And lastly, do not forget to follow us @thewalkingparrot to stay updated on any new releases!