Slovenia, where do I start? This is without a doubt the hidden gem of Central Europe. Famously known for picturesque Lake Bled. This beautiful country has stolen my heart, and to be honest I’m fine with never getting it back!
Now if you were to ask me why I think you should visit Slovenia, we would be here for days, so I have implemented self-control and stuck to five reasons.
This is well known for a good reason, just look at photos and you will be mesmerised! It is a one hour drive from the Capital City, Ljubljana and is the perfect way to spend the day. You'll notice in the middle of the lake is a little island, with a Church. This is accessible by a Plenta boat, and there are various access points around the lake. This winter the weather led to the lake being frozen over. This hasn't happened in five years! This gives people the opportunity to walk across, if you do walk across - take caution. Once there you will find stairs that lead to the church. It's known that as a tradition, on their wedding day the groom has to carry the bride up the stairs, all 99 of them. (If my future husband is reading this, I suggest you start training….like yesterday!). Once you return from the Island I definitely recommend stopping at Sava Hotels café and enjoying “cream slice” and a coffee, I mean you deserve it after walking those 99 stairs to the church. Then make your way to Bled Castle and roam the walls while enjoying the view (pictured below).
So you know when you were growing up you sort of wished you lived in this huge castle with a beautiful view? Who am I kidding, I still wish for that. Well if that is still your wish and you want to play pretend for an afternoon, Slovenia is not short on castles, they are everywhere, in Ljubljana (Ljubljanski grad), Ptuj (Ptujski grad), Štanjel (Štanjel, Castle), Bled (Blejski Grad) and my personal favourite Predjama Castle (Predjamski grad). This castle was half built into the rock and gives sensational views from up high. They allow you to do a personal tour of the castle with headphones if you wish, I would definitely recommend it as it gives you an insight as to what it was like to live in the castle, which would have been quite difficult in Winter (can you imagine!?). You will also learn about Erazem Predjamski, a man who was known for being a robber and his avoidance of capture for over a year!
When it comes to travelling to new places, I love trying new things, and experiences that put you outside your comfort zone. Slovenia has activities for everyone, from leisurely to adventurous. You can stop at Soca Source (Izvir Soce) and walk the trail along the river. Just a heads up, the path does get quite narrow, so I'd recommend wearing comfy shoes. In Bovec, you have the option to go ziplining above the river or go white water rafting through the rushes of the river, this will get your heart pumping when the guide tells you to work together as you head through two narrow rocks. Don't worry, you'll get through it and what a wonderful story you'll be able to tell. Including the part about you being calm all the way down the river! We ziplined with Soca Rafting and it was a remarkable experience. It is known as the biggest zipline park in Slovenia. They go through a few test runs with you on a short zipline to practice technique and then place you on eight lines ranging between 250-400 meters in length. So you just sit back, relax, and enjoy the view from up high.
Although Slovenia is a small country, it does well to fit in about 47km of beautiful coastline. The Coast includes towns Portorož, Piran, Izola & Koper. My days spent on the coastline involved a lot of rest and relaxation. By the water, it's so different to the beaches we have in Australia, where you can't escape the sand and it ends up everywhere. In Europe, in particular Slovenia, you're battling your way across little pebbles to the water. At night, you'll find countless waterfront restaurants. We spent it in Portorož, and there is nothing better than a relaxing dinner, with the sound of the ocean in the background.
There is a good reason that Slovenia is branded with 'I feel sLOVEenia'. I've met some of the most amazing people there, half of which are family, so I may be a tad biased. However, I am sure people will agree with me, when I say they are some of the most welcoming and accommodating people. When you go you feel part of their community, and enjoy your days trying wine (and boy is their wine good, which isn't a surprise, with the amount of wineries they have) and eating amazing food (prepare for the food baby).
J E S S I C A x