The first challenge in writing about Slovenia is making sure that the reader can find it on a map. Find Italy. Find the Adriatic Sea. Then move a little east and you’ll see it. It’s at the crossroads of many of Europe’s iconic destination spots (think the Italian wine country, the mountains of Austria, the coast of the Adriatic) and offers up the best of this region all squeezed into a small country the same size as Wales.
For most, the adventure begins in Ljubljana, the capital and major airport hub. The city is a beautiful blend of Venetian, Roman, and French architecture. The cities bridges were largely designed by Jože Plečnik, well known for putting his stamp on Prague. And the comparison is fair. Ljubljana has restricted traffic, so it’s incredibly pedestrian friendly. Combine that with a lively café scene and the river gently flowing through, and the ambiance is deeply satisfying. The capital was even named the Green Capital for 2016 by the European Union.
In the north, Just an hour from Ljubljana, the Triglav National Park offers views of the Julian Alps that will make you feel that you’re in Austria. It’s a great escape into nature. Walk around the blue-green Lake Bohinj and admire the snowy peaks, alpine flowers, and lush meadows. Rent a bike, hike to one of the many gorgeous waterfalls like Veliki Kozjak, hike in the mountains, rappel, zip line, raft, and kayak. The park is its own destination.
Slovenia’s small size makes it is the perfect destination for the adventure traveller, offering a huge number of outdoors activities all within a reasonable distance. Hike in the Julian Alps, and then the next day sea kayak in on the Savinja in the Upper Savinja Valley, try canyoning at Lake Bled and soak up the countries 46km of Adriatic Coast. The terrain is as diverse as the culture and you’ll never lack for something to do.
In the west, along the Italian border, you’ll find a much more Mediterranean vibe and its here that you’ll find another adventure-hub in the Soca River. The water is a stunning emerald green is a hot destination for white water rafting, fishing, paragliding, hiking, mountain biking climbing, bouldering, ice climbing, sky diving, horseback riding, and stand up paddle boarding!
If you’re not sold already, don’t forget Slovenia is an up and coming ski destination. If you love winter sports go and beat the crowds that are surely coming….
Put Slovenia on your list and then bump it up to the top!