Four Reasons You Should Visit Slovenia

In: Destinations, Slovenia

After a lackluster four days in Vienna, I decided to steer away from the standard Western European tourist trail. I wasn’t sure where to go next and spent way too long mulling over my options.

Revisiting Prague or Budapest came to mind. Ultimately though, I decided I wanted to venture into unchartered territory. Both Slovakia and Slovenia seemed like viable options thanks to their proximity to Austria. After some research, I decided to skip Bratislava and head to Slovenia.

When I embarked on my seven-hour rail journey to Lake Bled, I had no idea what to expect. However, this tiny chicken-shaped country has slowly stolen my heart and has been the highlight of my trip thus far.

See the chicken resemblance?

Originally, I planned to spend four days in Slovenia. Four days slowly turned into nine days, and I probably would have stayed longer if I hadn’t had to meet a friend in Croatia.

To quote the country’s official tourism slogan and social media hashtag, I’m really feeling Slovenia or #IfeelsLOVEnia.

Here’s why:


Beautiful and Diverse Scenery

The scenic ride from Vienna to Lake Bled reassured me that Slovenia was the right choice. Lake Bled is located in the gorgeous Julian Alps, which I had the chance to pass through via train.

Lake Bled Slovenia

The small alpine town possesses a fairytale-like charm. The lush greenery, beautiful lake, and mountain backdrop make it easy to understand why it is such a beloved destination. Many people do Lake Bled as a day trip from the capital Ljubljana, but I spent four days there and could have easily stayed longer.

Lake Bled Castle Slovenia Why visit Slovenia? Lake Bled Slovenia

Within the Julian Alps, and close to Bled, is Triglav National Park. The park boasts impressive landscapes and endless hiking opportunities. If you don’t have enough time to properly explore the massive park, Vintgar Gorge is only 5km from the center of Bled and takes about an hour to conquer on foot.

Vintgar Gorge Lake Bled SloveniaVintgar Gorge Lake Bled Slovenia

The emerald water, mossy limestone walls, and mountain backdrop are surreally beautiful. The walk or ride through the Slovenian countryside to Vintgar Gorge is breathtaking as well.

Vintgar Gorje Lake Bled Slovenia Julian Alps

In addition the Julian Alps, Slovenia has two other dramatic mountain ranges – Karavanke Range and the Kamnik-Savinja Alps.

The country has a small coastline overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. It may be only 46km long, but it should not be missed!

Slovenia is beautiful underneath the surface as well and is teeming with karst caves. The most famous are the Skocjan Caves and Postojna. Both of these can be visited from Ljubljana as a day trip.

Postojna Caves Slovenia

Hospitable People

Upon arriving in Lake Bled, I was touched by the generosity and openness of the Slovenes. Even in an area like Bled that caters mostly to tour busses, I was treated with a sense of genuine hospitality and kindness that I had yet to experience in such a touristy setting.

This sentiment proved to be true throughout my entire stay in Slovenia. Whenever I was lost or had a question, there was always a local happy to help me out.

Strangers in cafes were pleasant to chat with and always friendly. The Slovenes I encountered wanted to ensure I enjoyed their country. If I had no plans or wasn’t sure what to do, the locals were always quick to offer a suggestion or invitation.

Nearly everyone spoke excellent English, with the exception of the older population. German is also widely spoken in Slovenia, so I never had any issues communicating.

As a woman traveling alone, it is easily one of the countries where I felt the most at ease.

Amazing Food and Cafes

While I enjoyed the traditional Slovenian cuisine, it may not be for everyone! If you aren’t a fan of Carniolian Sausage, or Slovenian Dumplings, you can’t find fault with their vast selection of desserts and wines.

Lake Bled Cake Slovenia Lake Bled Cake Slovenia

In Ljubljana and even in Lake Bled, it’s easy to find international fare. When walking through Ljubljana, you see restaurants offering food from every corner of the world.

Ljubljana may be small, but it is overflowing with quaint cafes and restaurants. Ljubljana’s cafe culture is incredible on its own, but it’s even more impressive when you consider the city only has ~270,000 residents.

Ljubljana Slovenia

The city is lined with cafes overlooking the river, and others that are hidden among long cobblestone alleyways. Most have their own unique theme or flare, and free WiFi.

Even if you just order a coffee, nobody will mind if you sit there for hours with your laptop or just reading a book. This is exactly what I ended up doing on several occasions, as it rained heavily for several days when I first arrived in Ljubljana.

Ljubljana Slovenia Cafe Ljubljana Slovenia Cafe Ljubljana Slovenia Cafe Tozd

Ljubljana is a Hidden Gem

Ljubljana is beautiful and deserves its increasing recognition. The city is picturesque, laid-back and easy to enjoy. Best of all, it’s packed with lots of culture and not too many tourists.

From boutiques to alternative lifestyle stores, Ljubljana has everything. Since it’s a university town, it’s a great place for young people and an open-minded city.

What I loved about Ljubljana was that it allows you to have a traditional “European Experience” – if that’s what you’re looking for. There’s a castle, lots of bridges, cobblestone streets, and museums. However, if you’re looking for something more off-beat, Ljubljana doesn’t disappoint.

Lake Bled Castle Ljubljana Slovenia Ljubljana Slovenia

Despite Ljubljana’s small size, it is easy to discover interesting finds on your own. Ljubljana has a vibrant art and literary scene, which can be seen throughout the city. This can also be attributed to the fact that Ljubljana’s university has always attracted creatives and intellectuals.

Away from the pristine churches and cobblestone streets, a visit to Metelkova will portray a much different side of the city. Metelkova is an alternative community of sorts, known for its colorful murals, various art installations, and other cultural offerings.  The area is pretty empty during the day but becomes a lively place at night with several clubs and bars.

slovenia blog me

Architecture fans will also enjoy Ljubljana, as it was mostly designed by the famous Slovene architect Jože Plečnik. His influence can be seen throughout the city, but his most notable contribution is the iconic triple bridge in front of the pink Franciscan church.

Ljubljana Slovenia Ljubljana Triple Bridge

If Ljubljana looks familiar upon your first visit, it may be because Plečnik’s works can also be found in Prague, Vienna and Belgrade.


There are so many more reasons to visit Slovenia, but these four were among my favorite. Expect more posts on Slovenia soon, as I have lots to share and recommend! If you’ve been to Slovenia, what are your thoughts?


Allison

Travel-obsessed girl making her way around the world via standby tickets. Thanks to a family member's job in the commercial airline industry, I can fly almost anywhere essentially for free! So far this year, I've visited four continents with no plans to stop anytime soon. I'm always looking for new adventures and places to explore. Follow me as I go!


15 comments

  • Rachel

    May 26, 2015 at 9:15 am

    Wow Slovenia looks wonderful! It seems that many of the less well known European countries/cities are the more interesting and beautiful ones. I guess I will have to add Slovenia onto the list of places I should go to!

    therunawayjournal.com

    Reply

  • Allison

    May 26, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    Hey Rachel, thanks for stopping by! Yes, it seems like the more off-beat places tend to be more interesting! I’m planning on exploring the rest of former Yugoslavia, hopefully they are as nice as Slovenia!

    Reply

  • Dani @ House in Tillford

    May 27, 2015 at 5:14 am

    Ive only heard good things about Slovenia but didn’t know about the caves! Looks so cool!

    Reply

  • Belinda van den Berg

    May 27, 2015 at 2:04 pm

    Great review! …visited this beautiful country twice and would love to go back again (last year included the Bovec area on our trip – beautiful with warm and friendly people.) Stunning country!

    Reply

  • Allison

    May 27, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    Dani, I hope you get the chance to check it out for yourself! Thanks for stopping by!

    Reply

  • Allison

    May 27, 2015 at 8:07 pm

    Thanks Belinda! I loved it as well, I could see myself visiting multiple times as well. I’ll have to check out the Bovec area next time 🙂

    Reply

  • Iva

    May 28, 2015 at 2:49 am

    Aww, you got that right about the food! Welcome back next time for more 🙂

    Reply

  • Tina & Adriano

    May 28, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    Very nice post, you should also visit Maribor and Pohorje the next time you are in Slovenia 🙂

    Reply

  • Mary

    May 28, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    Both of my parents were born in Slovenia, my mother & sister visited Slovenia back in 1969. all myrelatives are from this beautiful country. it’ was beautiful then, I was fortunate to made a second trip to Slovenia several years later. it was still breath taking. I hope to return to slovenia again In The next few years, god willing. Hopefully a family trip.

    Reply

  • Allison

    June 5, 2015 at 7:20 pm

    Wow Mary, I can only imagine how incredible it was to visit in 1969. I hope you are able to make it back again soon!

    Reply

  • Robyn

    July 25, 2015 at 3:59 am

    This place looks absolutely incredible! You’ve taken some beautiful photographs, and I’m literally drooling at the sight of those cakes. Ticking it off the list asap!

    Robyn
    http://www.thetechgypsy.com

    Reply

  • Allison

    December 5, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    Hi Andrew! I was totally unaware of the tax and citizenship situation in Slovenia, so thanks for sharing! I remember when I took the train from Austria to Bled, the logistics of my train journey all kind of went down hall after I had to change trains in Slovenia. It’s such a lovely country though, so I can overlook that!

    Reply

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