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Underrated European Travel Destinations: Slovenia

Why you should add Slovenia to your next trip itinerary

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Underrated European Travel Destinations: Slovenia

Stunning view over Lake Bled, Slovenia from Bled Castle

Stunning view over Lake Bled, Slovenia from Bled Castle

Stunning view over Lake Bled, Slovenia from Bled Castle

Stunning view over Lake Bled, Slovenia from Bled Castle

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Nestled in the heart of Europe, small Slovenia is bordered by Italy, Austria, Croatia, and Hungary. This quaint and beautiful country is Europe’s hidden Jewel. From Alpine lakes to crystal clear waters of the Adriatic to charming and historic cities, Slovenia has it all.

Slovenia’s close proximity to larger, more touristy countries means the nation’s beauty is often overshadowed by its neighbors. Unknown to many tourists, Slovenia is home to Alps which rival those of Italy and Austria and a coast of beaches and rustic port towns on par with any found to the south in Croatia or the west in Italy. Due to its surround by many other nations, Slovenia has developed a unique blended culture of Germanic, Italian, and eastern European tradition. With its collision of cultures, Slovenia is the best of many worlds and should be added to the itinerary of your next trip to Europe.

Slovenia is also a great place to travel if you are looking to experience Europe on a budget. While all eastern European nations boast much lower prices than western countries like France and Switzerland, Slovenia’s are among the lowest.

Slovenia’s culture was unlike anything I’d experienced before. Ljubljana was a vibrant city with engaging museums, beautiful art galleries, and fascinating people.”

— Allyson Bush, AMHS Alumni and Queens University of Charlotte Senior

Slovenia’s most tantalizing and must-see sites include:

Ljubljana

With a population of only about 280,ooo, Ljubljana is one of Europe’s quaintest capitals. However, this vibrant university city is a cultural hub and home to some of Europe’s most beautiful architecture and best cuisine. In Ljubljana, inviting crisscrossing bridges spanning across the Ljubljanica river beg visitors to stroll and wander the city’s cobbled lanes and promenades. Along the river, many outdoor cafes with enchanting views offer a comfortable spot to take in the sun and people-watch.

The day’s end in Ljubljana is the most delightful part of any visit to the city. You can opt to take a sunset cruise on the river and enjoy majestic views of the old town’s architecture and its surrounding nature. Sunset is also the optimal time to explore Ljubljana’s most famous attraction, Ljubljana Castle, a medieval fortress towering on a hill above the old town. From the fortress, witness stunning views out over Ljubljana’s rustic tiled roofs and rolling hills.

Ljubljana also offers many other experiences for visitors such as Tivoli City Park, the National Gallery of Slovenia, and Ljubljana Cathedral among others. Although smaller than most of Europe’s capitals, Ljubljana’s charm and architectural grandeur rivals Paris, Vienna, and Prague. This city is reason enough to stop in Slovenia.

 

The Dragon Bridge is the most famous of the many bridges spanning the Ljubljanica River

Lake Bled

Slovenia’s most well known attraction is Lake Bled. Tucked underneath the shadows of the rising Julian Alps, Lake Bled is one of Europe’s most beautiful destinations. Visitors to this stunning place are transported into a fairy-tale.

Lake Bled’s most enchanting feature is the small island floating in its core. Atop this tiny island sits the picturesque Church of the Assumption whose peak blends in with alpine vistas behind. On a high hill above the lake, Bled Castle, a medieval fortress dating to the 11th century, offers amazing views over the Alps and lake as well as a unique look into Slovenia’s ancient history.

A must when visiting Lake Bled is a relaxing ride on a traditional Pletna boat on the blue waters out to the island. Also, Lake Bled is home to Slovenia’s most famous and delicious desert, the Bled Cream Cake, which can be enjoyed at one of Lake Bled’s many cafes offering views out over the water.

Home to a medieval fortress, alpine views, and turquoise waters, Lake Bled is Slovenia’s most enchanting destination

The Julian Alps

Located on the eastern edge of the alps, the Julian Alps, the portion of the mountain range in Slovenia, offer towering peaks rivaling those of Switzerland and Austria which will leave you awestruck and feeling small in the world.

The most idyllic location in the Julian Alps is the town of Kranskja Gora is the northwest corner of the nation. This small village is one of Slovenia’s most popular winter ski resorts. Kranskja Gora lies on the edge of Triglav National Park, Slovenia’s only national park and is home to the country’s highest peal Mt. Triglav. The park offers visitors a chance to explore the best Slovenia’s nature has to offer from lakes to Alps to azure mountain streams. The best way to enjoy the Julian Alps region and Triglav National Park is by car. By taking a car trip through these majestic panoramas, you can enjoy the nature at a relaxing pace and relish being away from the bustle of city life. For the most scenic drive through the Julian Alps, drive the Vrsic Pass which zigzags across Triglav National Park.

Located near Kranska Gora, the Zelenci Nature preserve is one of the most idyllic locations in the Julian Alps, featuring pools of turquoise water and mountain vistas

Piran and the Adriatic Coast

Slovenia’s 29 mile stretch of coast along the Adriatic Sea, while small in size, holds enormous beauty, history, and culture. The highlight of the coast is Piran, a small port town with Venetian architecture surrounded by cerulean waters. Piran’s allure is the charm of its winding lanes, cobbled roads, crumbling Gothic stone facades, and towering church steeples. This small, dazzling city rivals any town along the French, Italian, or Croatian coast in every aspect. Piran is also home to several glamorous beaches and is the perfect place to cool off in clear waters during the hot summer.

In addition to Piran, the Slovenia coast is home to other jewels worth a visit such as Koper and Potoroz. This region of the nation also offers wonderful cuisine, with fresh seafood served in all coastal restaurants. Ultimately, the coastline of Slovenian is the perfect destination for anyone seeking to relax on a quintessential European beach and also experience a unique culture.

The cafe-lined promenade along Piran’s coast is popular among locals and tourists for taking a dip in the Adriatic

With its exquisite mountains, shimmering coast, and historic cites, Slovenia is truly the perfect travel destination in Europe for any visitor. This small country has something to offer all visitors. I hope this underrated destination finds a place on your next European travel itinerary.

 

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