I recently went to Slovenia for a few days. Wow! I could have stayed there for a whole week or more. Slovenia’s natural beauty and friendly people make it one of my top recommendations for places to visit in 2019. Coupled with a trip into Croatia, just an hour away by car to the border from the capital of Ljubljana, it would make a great two-week getaway.
We started our trip in Ljubljana, only a 90-minute flight from London or other connecting European cities. The old town straddles a river and is a joy to walk around. When we were there
local craft merchants and a great farmers market was open. Sample some of the honey liquor or any of the honey products, which are outstanding. They also have a Christmas market in December with activities and concerts during the season.
Slovenia became independent in 1997, so it is a new country with a very old heritage, language and tradition. They are very proud of their country and love to talk about it a show it off to travelers.
We left the city behind, but you could take day trips from the city to almost anywhere in Slovenia, if you want to only unpack once. Our next stop was the Vintgar Gorge inside the Triglav National Park. We were there on a Monday in October. There were a quite a few walkers on the trail. One of our group had been there over the weekend and said that it was significantly more crowded. At the end of the boardwalk/trail there is a little café to refresh yourself and use a restroom, if needed. It had rained earlier in the week and the falls were outstanding to see. Crystal clear water in the river allows you to see the trout. A restaurant up the road near the entrance to the parking will serve that trout (Whole with garlic) to you for lunch. It was delightful.
Next, we went to Lake Bled and took a traditional boat out to the island. There we rang the lucky church bell and had a chance to view the lake from a different perspective. You can also walk around the lake and stay the night, if accommodations are available. Make sure that you stop into a café and try the traditional cream cake. Consider sharing, or not, it is very rich.
The Slovenia Alps, which border Austria and Italy are gorgeous. We were lucky enough have a sunny day and could see all the peaks at the top of the pass that we went through. Many hiking trails to be had here in the summer and skiing in the winter.
To add a little adventure into our trip we took a guided rafting trip down the Soca River. This was considered by our guide to be a level 3 river at this time of year. Neoprene gear was provided as well as helmets. It is a group activity. We carried the raft to the water and out again. We were given plenty of instruction and felt very accomplished and invigorated at the end. Plus, we didn’t tip over! Bonus points!
To top off our trip we went to the south west of Slovenia into wine country. We walked the vineyards, sampled both white and red wines along with local meat and cheese. Slovenia is not a new wine growing region. They have been growing vines for generations. The vineyard that we visited is at least 3 generations old, if not older.
We could have stayed longer. We were not able to see the outstanding caves or the coast line of the country. I left Slovenia wanting more. I will definitely return and continue the exploration and possibly get into Croatia next time too. Let me know, if I can send you to this destination in 2019.