Slovenia – An Amazing Journey from Alps to the Adriatic Sea – Written by Ranjana Sahay
Slovenia is one of those all or nothing countries – you either know nothing about it, and it’s not on your bucket list, or you’ve discovered its magic, and you are head over heels in love.
We started our journey from Prague to Budapest, moving on to the Slovenian capital, Ljubljana. We traveled by cross-country bus (Flixbus), and Ljubljana’s tour took almost 6 hours on an excellent highway.
Where did we go:
Ljubljana is a modern and lively city with an old-world charm…a city where old meets new! What to do?
We recommend you enjoy coffee or local cuisine at the city center, which is full of lovely cafes, pubs, and restaurants, housed to Roman architecture buildings. You will be fascinated by the river Ljubljana which flows through the center, adorned by beautiful and romantic bridges with dragons sculpted over them.
Don’t overlook the museums, galleries, and theatres.
Tip: The city center is small and can be covered on foot. Cars and motorbikes are not allowed; therefore, we recommend hiring bikes.
2. Lake Bled
Lake Bled is a one-hour bus ride from Ljubljana. The lake is adjoining the fairytale town Bled, and it is one of the most picturesque places in Slovenia – crystal clear water surrounded by the Julian Alps.
It has all the ingredients of a complete family getaway – a castle on top of the hill, pristine and serene lake with hiking trails around it, a toy train running around the periphery, and a beautiful island with a church in the middle of the lake to name a few.
What to do:
1. Take a stroll around the lake: it is a 6 km walk, and you can enjoy the emerald blue waters. If you get tired, there are benches for a break, enjoying the fantastic views. You will also see many hotels and cafes along the route
2. In case you are too lazy to walk, there is a toy train which takes you around the lake. Enjoy the ride while gazing at the beauty around
3. There are a few hiking trails which take you up in the mountains
4. Take advantage of the various swimming spots to cool off!
5. Take a boat to the island (in the middle of the lake). Only manually rowed boats are allowed on the lake due to the green initiative, which is quite expensive!
6. Visit the 1000 years old Lake Bled castle perched on top of the cliff. If you are energetic, you can climb on foot, otherwise private taxis are available at €5 per person per ride. Enjoy the spectacular views of the lake, Bled Island, and the Julian Alps from the castle terrace. Take a leisurely tour of the museum, visit the wine cellar, or enjoy a meal in the Castle restaurant, the options are many!
7. Enjoy your meals and local wines at one of the many restaurants and cafes overlooking the lake. Do try the Bled Cream cake for dessert…a must on the to-do list!
3. Lake Bohinj
If you think you have seen the best of the breathtaking views of Slovenia in Lake Bled, think again, as just a 30 minutes’ drive away lies the Lake Bohinj, the largest natural lake in Slovenia.
Lying in the shadows of Julian Alps, it is part of the Triglav National Park (Slovenia’s only National park), which is also an ecologically protected area.
While Lake Bled offers everything that regular tourists want, Lake Bohinj is a place where you can go for a rural and rustic experience. It is never too crowded, so it is quite easy to sit quietly and enjoy the mountainous backdrop, soaking in the crisp mountain air and tranquil ambiance.
You can fish, kayak, swim, and hike – something for everyone to engage in. The surrounding area is dotted with fairy tale villages, with a charming church, bridges, and small restaurants offering local cuisine.
A delightful way to explore the lake Bohinj is to take a guided boat tour around the lake, in an Eco-friendly, electric boat. It is silent, so one can really absorb the mountains’ stunning views and clear and sparkling waters.
Tip: There is a regular city bus service from Bled to Lake Bohinj.
4. Vintgar Gorge
Another magical place to visit in Slovenia is Vintgar Gorge, 5 km away from Lake Bled.
Vintgar Gorge is a part of Triglav National Park and is carved out of River Radovna. You can access the place by foot from Lake Bled, car, or bus at a minimal cost.
Enjoy a walk on the boardwalks suspended on the river. It is easy and a very enchanting experience walking on the sparkling emerald waters and beautiful waterfalls.
Tip: The best time to visit Vitgar Gorge is during morning as it not crowded.
5. Trieste Town
Trieste town is situated towards the end of a narrow strip of Italian territory, lying between the Adriatic Sea and Slovenia – just 4 hours away from Lake Bled. It has a distinct flavor, style, and history that is very different from mainland Italy. It enjoys a mixed culture of Austria, Hungary, former Yugoslavia, and Italy due to its proximity and historical connections to these countries.
Some things to enjoy while in Trieste:
1. Visit the impressive port and harbour with ships, yachts, and boats anchored around, offering some truly fantastic and exciting sights
2. Enjoy the stunning views of the Adriatic Sea while sipping coffee at one of the waterfront cafes at Piazza Unita Italia, the largest square in Europe that faces out to the sea. It is at the forefront of the historic Old Town and is home to many famous buildings
3. Look out into the sea and admire the skyline of Trieste at Molo Audace, the 300-meter stone-paved promenade that stretches out into the sea and sits right next to the end of Piazza Unita. An ideal place for sunset watching
4. Take a stroll along the Canale Grande, the waterway that goes right into the city center, ending in a beautiful square. It is the heart of the Old town square and is located very close to Piazza Unita Italica. Local pubs, restaurants, and cafes surround the square, so spend your evening sipping local wine along with local cuisine at one of the outdoor cafes or sit back on one of the benches and enjoy the sunset with ice cream!
5. Enjoy a pizza at Al Baratollo pizzeria located right next to the Canal, it is one of the oldest restaurants. They serve other Mediterranean dishes too, but their pizzas are just amazing!
6. Visit the Roman amphitheater which is located just a stone’s throw away from Piazza Unita
7. If you have time to spare, do take a day trip outside Trieste and enjoy the beautiful ride along the coastal road, through quaint and sleepy villages. We chose Sistina Bay for this excursion, and it was mesmerizing! All these trips are accessible by local city service buses
Tip: We suggest you stay in the city center near Canale Grande, having easy access to all the main attractions, including the sea
With this, we came to the end of an amazing journey, filled with love for Slovenia and some beautiful memories to carry home.
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