A couple of weeks ago, one of my Instagram followers commented on a picture from my recent trip to Lake Bohinj in Slovenia. She stated that Slovenia seems to be the “it” place to be this year for travelers. I cannot say that I am even a little bit surprised by this assertion. From what I have seen so far, Slovenia is undoubtedly a unique and gorgeous country to visit. It is full of natural beauty, has a rich cultural history, and produces some of the most hospitable people that I have ever met. It may seem that I am making some pretty strong assertions myself now. Keep reading to find out why I feel they are justified.
A Brief History Lesson
Slovenia is located in Central Europe and is bordered by Austria, Italy, Croatia, and Hungary (no surprise that it’s beautiful, right? 😉 ) . After the first World War and until the early 1990s, Slovenia was a territory of Yugoslovia. Finally, in 1991, Slovenia declared it’s independence and created a democracy. Slovene is one of the most archaic languages spoken in Europe with about 50 different dialects.Today, Slovenia is known for being phenomenally environmentally friendly and highly forested. If you are into nature at all, I highly recommend visiting this lovely country to experience its beauty for yourself.
Below you will find pictures and evidence to prove that Slovenia is indeed gorgeous. On my recent trip there, I was lucky enough to be able to visit Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj. Before that, I visited Piran, Ljubljana, and the Skocjan Caves. I have a lot of grounds to cover about all of the amazing things you can do here, so let’s dive right in to the discussion.
1 Day in Slovenia:
As we speak or uhmmm read, rumors are flying around the internet declaring Lake Bled to be one of the most beautiful lakes in Europe. Well, I am here to say that this might just be so. Lake Bled is located in the heart of the Julian Alps in Northwestern Slovenia. The lake is easily recognized by the small island in the middle of it that holds a picturesque Gothic-styled church. The Church of Assumption can be visited by boat. It is also recommended that one does not leave the church without ringing the wishing bell in the bell tower.
There is also a historic castle that many people enjoy visiting in Bled. The castle is known for having amazing views of the lake and costs 10 euro to enter. You can actually see the castle in the top left corner of the lake on top of the mini-hill in the photo below.
What I Recommend – Hike the Ojstrica Trail
For (free) amazing views of Lake Bled, there is an easy hike that you can embark on. The lake is called the Ojsrtica trail and leads to perhaps the most photogenic spot in the area. The hike is for the most part, an easy hike. There is a rocky section at the end, but is, in my opinion, suited for most people. The easiest way to reach the trail is to put Camping Bled in your GPS. Next to the campground, you will find a small parking lot where you can park the car. Walking out of the lot, face the lake and start walking right. Soon, you will see a sign for the hike and can begin your short journey to this beautiful view.
While Lake Bled is one of Slovenia’s most popular tourist destinations, it has an equally beautiful neighbor that often lies quietly in it’s shadows. Lake Bohinj is an outdoorsy person’s dream. There is a plethora of outdoor activities that can be completed here including hiking, kayaking cycling, rock climbing and more. Lake Bohinj is also known for hosting several extreme sports including skydiving, canyoning, and paragliding – to name a few. Another activity that many people enjoy at Lake Bohinj is taking a panoramic boat tour around the lake.
Hiking is one of my favorite activities. Some of the best hikes in Slovenia begin near Lake Bohinj. If you have time, it is recommended to visit the highest peak in the country – Mount Triglav. If you are short on time, an alternative option with incredibly rewarding views is to take the ski lift to the top of Mount Vogel. It costs 15 euro to take the cable car to the top of the mountain.
What I Recommend – Slap Savica
If you are planning on seeing Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj in one day, you will have to pick and choose which journeys to embark on. A great option to experience some of Bohinj’s beauty without making an entire day out of it, is to hike to Slap Savica. If you are wondering what the heck Slap is in Slovenian, it means waterfall. Though there are various hikes you can embark on to reach the entrance for the Slap Savica hike, the easiest way to get to it is to drive to the parking lot in front of it. It will cost 3 euro to park there.
Unfortunately (or fortunately for some), the hike to Slap Savica is not as much of a hike as it is a long series of stairs leading to the waterfall. As you walk up the seemingly endless stairs, you will see beautiful mountain views and Lake Bohinj from above. Shortly, you will reach the falls which are the most visited falls in the country. The area surrounding the falls are fenced off so you cannot get too close to them or its gorgeous emerald pool. Do not let this discourage you, however. Just the sight of the falls is worth the amazing stair stepper butt workout it takes to view them.
More Places to Visit in Slovenia:
If you are lucky enough to have a few days to visit Slovenia, I highly recommend checking out some of these places below. All of these places are located within reasonable distance to each other and can easily be visited over a few days.
Many people do not realize that Slovenia has a coast. Yes, Piran is one of those gorgeous beach towns, and one of my favorite places that I have visited in Europe. People across the internet refer to Piran as the “Venice of Slovenia” because of it’s narrow streets, alleyways, and utter beauty. I must say, however, that Piran is much smaller than Venezia and as a result, a lot more cozy. This little city has various marine themed museums (here is a link to the Shell Museum and the Underwater Activities Museum), adorable shops, and seafood restaurants. No, there is not loads to do in this town. However, it is a great place for a relaxing weekend getaway with someone you love.
I talk more about Piran in this post – 3 Breathtaking Cities along the Adriatic Coast that You Need to Visit
What I recommend – Seafood and Scuba Diving
Piran lies along the Adriatic Sea. Along the water, there are several beautiful restaurants with amazing seafood. Piran is particularly known for it’s amazing seabass and sea salt. While the seabass is definitely worth a try, I also recommend the grilled squid and shrimp dishes. I have never had seafood that tastes this good outside of Piran. Though there were many aspects of this city I loved, I would go back in a heartbeat just to get my hands on some more of that delicious squid!! Any restaurant along the water should have a variety of seafood options. Be sure to reserve a table if you are traveling in peak season.
Another fun activity to do in Piran is Scuba Diving. Even if you are not a certified diver, there is a dive shop in Piran that allows you to take a short course to learn the basics of diving, and to try it out before you are actually certified. This is a great way to spend half a day or so, and to experience the beauty of the Adriatic Sea from a different perspective.
First, let’s go over how to pronounce this. Loob-lee-ana. Let’s not talk about how long it took me to learn this one, haha. Anyway, Ljubliana is the capital of Slovenia. This is one of the cleanest and well-kept cities that I have seen. Besides it’s unique architecture, Ljubljana is known for having many cafes and lots of shopping. Additionally, it is one of the world’s most environmentally friendly cities (probably why it is so clean!). Because of the famous Dragon bridge in Ljubljana, the dragon is the mascot of the city which is why you will see various dragons in shops throughout the city.
What I recommend – Hike to the Ljubljana Castle
If you are in Ljubljana, you will likely see the giant castle at the top of the city. The Ljubljana Castle is just a short uphill hike from the city center. To get there, just walk towards the castle, then follow the various signs for it. At the castle, you will see the best views of the city. On a clear day, you will be able to see the mountain range in the distance as well. In the actual castle, there are various interesting exhibits to browse through as well as the lookout tower where you will see
If you are in Slovenia, the Skocjan Caves are truly a sight to see. I’m not the only one who agrees with this statement as they were named a UNESCO World Heritage sight in 1986. This expansive cave system is known for having a huge underground river that soars through it. Remarkably, the Skocjan Caves appear to look similar to one of the famous Lord of Rings movie scenes. To be honest, I thought this was actually where they filmed the movie after reading some reviews online – that is how similar the two appear.
The cave tour is about 2 hours long and the tour guides speak English as well as many other European languages. If you have time to explore the surrounding area after the tour, I highly recommend it since the area is breathtakingly gorgeous. With respect to mother nature, I listened to the tour guides when they said not to take photos inside the caverns. You will have to experience the beauty of these caverns on your own. 😉 Or, check out the official website here.