Slovenia a hidden gem of Europe, is a small but beautiful (ex-Yugo) Slavic country. It is bordered by Italy to the west, Croatia to the south, Austria in the north and Hungary to the north – north east. An earthly paradise , Slovenia has been gifted with a wide variety of locales and a natural diversity which has been preserved till today. We found that the pre-dominant colour of this country is Green. Wherever you go, you are surrounded by swathes of Greenery. It is also the only country in Europe which combines the Alps, the Mediterranean as well as rich Karst formations and valleys. We travelled to Slovenia as part of our South-Central Europe Road trip during September 2015. This article gives you a brief intro about the locations we had visited during out tour, and then the link to our individual articles will take you to our accounts of these places :
Best of Slovenia Alps, Lakes, Caves, Medieval Castles and the Adriatic
Here I will list the most scenic locations to visit in Slovenia. Below is a basic Map of Slovenia
Ljubljana. Pronounced (Lub-lee-anaa)
Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia and lies at the heart of the country between the Alps and the Karst . It is connected to the world through its International Airport and also to mainland Europe through its rail link. It is located at 250 Kms East of Venice, and 230 Kms South east of Salzburg.
Postojna Caves :
An underground network of more than 20 Kms, Postojna Cave is the largest Karst cave in south western Slovenia. It is also the most visited underground cave in the world with a wealth of calcite formations, stalactites and stalagmites. A network of underground rail, tunnels and pedestrian walkways connects the labyrinth of tunnels and caves and is a fantastic opportunity to learn about this natural wonder. The the Postojna Caves at a distance of 70kms from Ljubljana should be a must visit on any Slovenian itinerary. The Predjama castle, situated about 7 kms from the cave is a castle built inside cave of the mountain. This is also usually included with any tour to the Postojna Caves tour.
Kranjska Gora and the Alps :
Krankska Gora is a summer and winter resort bordering the Triglav Mountains in the Julian Alps. A small sleepy hamlet in the upper trove of the Sava river valley, Kransjka Gora lies at a north-westerdly distance of 110 kms from Ljubljana. A peaceful retreat , Kransjka Gora is close to the Italy and Austria borders. This location also doubles up as the base for adventures, skiing, mountain treks in the Triglav, national park, and lots of local sightseeing all around the year.
Lake Bled is one of the most beautiful lakes in the whole of Europe. Let me tell you that Lake Bled, one of the most touristy attractions of Slovenia is not a least bit overrated. A fairy tale medieval castle stands on one end and a small island with a church steeple stands in the middle. Gracious Swans and Colourful boats, called Pletna, throng the lake shores to ply away tourists to the middle of the lake for a visit to the church. The walk around the lake is close to 6Kms and can be done in a hour and a half. Lake Bled is reachable by road and is around 50Kms and takes about an hour.
Among the towns of Portoroz, Izolla, Istria and Koper, Piran is, by far, the most beautiful town in this part of the region. Sitting at the narrow end of a peninsula on the Adriatic Sea, it is about an hour and a half’s drive from Ljubljana ( though we reached it from Plitvice National Park in Croatia) and there are regular Bus and train services to reach this town. A medieval town, ruled by almost everyone, the Roman, Slavs, Byzantines, and the Austro-Hungarians, Piran stood the test of time and have managed to preserve its history. The main center is Tartini Square , named after Giuseppe Tartini , the famous Italian musician and composer who was born in Piran. Though The Piran town do not allow vehicles inside this town and can be covered in a day. Enjoy a heart warming sunset and amazing sea-food restaurants along the Tartini Square or bordering the pier.
We had toured across Slovenia during the mid of September when the weather feels wonderful. There were no signs of snow yet, and the minimum temperature was about 8 to 10 degrees Celsius. Schools have resumed in Europe after the summer holidays, the snow sports starts in another couple of months and thus tourists were less. Road traffic only existed during the early morning hours around Ljubljana and Lake Bled; otherwise driving was a pleasure. In case you plan to drive a car across the motorways of Slovenia, do not forget to buy a Vignette. It is a sticker for the road tolls. Though there are a few other locations worth mentioning, we had limited our road trip to Slovenia to eight days.We had stayed a couple of days in Ljubljana, Then two nights at Kranjska Gora, three at Lake Bled and one at Piran. The schedule and itinerary worked out very well for us, and hope it might for you guys too.
Happy Slovenia Tour for all of you.