Živjo (slo: Hello), travelers and explorers. It’s been a long time since I posted anything new here, but work has been keeping me busy, but my love for traveling hasn’t faded away.
So not so long time ago, in a close galaxy… I visited, one of the most beautiful hidden gems of Europe – Slovenia. Country located in central Europe, maybe small by its size, maybe by name often mistaken with Slovakia, but once you visit it, explore it, experience it, she will cut deep in to your heart and make you never forget hers mesmerizing mountains, beautiful sea, heartwarming towns, delicious food and plenty of more.
So, let me tell you my love story with Slovenia.
The Loved One – Ljubljana
One of the best thing I like about Slovenia is her size and shape. Her size and her shape of a chicken gives you a great opportunity to explore most of the beautiful places in country in a short period of time. And let’s be honest? Seeing entire country is what we all want.
If you are staying in city of Ljubljana, placed in center of Slovenia, you have approximately between 1 and 2 hours to reach furthest corner in every direction of this country.
So let me start with Ljubljana (which translates as “The Loved One”) is the capital and the largest city of Slovenia. Set in the center of a country, Ljubljana gives you a vibe of a small town that is perfectly combining the old history of town with modernity.
In the first century of a BCE, the place where now lies Ljubljana, was settled by Roman Empire. At first it was a military post, that played a large part in defending Roman Empire. From that time Emona (Roman name for Ljubljana) went through some hard times (wars, uprisings, plague,…) until after the fall of Roman Empire and after getting it under Franks (collection of Germanic people) rule, was the word Luwigana first mentioned. After that, Ljubljana was under Habsburg Monarchy, where they officially renamed it into Laibach, and became of most importance because its route connected Adriatic sea with Danube region. Later on, Ljubljana became one of the most important political and cultural center of Slovenia (from establishing a Slovenian cultural identity to becoming important political city of 20th century in that region).
Todays Ljubljana, with something less than 300,000 people in it, still remains very important cultural and political city. The center of town, is where you will find Kongresni trg and University of Ljubljana. If you walk a little bit down the street (toward east) you will reach a river Ljubljanica that flows through city. From here you can go toward north, and you will reach the statue of France Prešern (the most famous Slovenian poet). If you want to cross the river of Ljubljanica, I recommend you to use Tromostovje (eng: Triple Bridge) one of the architectural Slovenian prides. A little bit further ahead you will notice Ljubljana castle on top of the hill. If you follow the signs and roads, you can reach the castle walking through small and narrow paths.
Entrance to the castle is free, and you can walk on to the walls and have a beautiful view on the city of Ljubljana. I must say that the castle was way to “modernized” in my opinion, which does not fit into an image of a castle that is 900 years old (just a small part of the castle keeps its “old” style). Here you can also see the exhibition Slovenian History. Useful tip: if you are student and visiting Slovenia, do NOT forget your student ID. Many museums and places in Slovenia offer student discount on tickets.
And how about entertainment in Ljubljana? Well, there are various clubs and pubs you can visit and shake your booty. One of the best things of Ljubljana, is that there are many young people there, mostly students. By the river of Ljubljanica, you have plenty of pubs, and often have no place to sit and enjoy in a cold taste of Union or Laško (Slovenian beers, price: 1,20 EUR). But when the night falls down, you can always hit the clubs. One of my favorite ones was Companeros, which had a very nice modern interior, and the entrance is not expensive. But if you don’t want to pay entrance, you can visit ParlamentPub or Holidays’ pub. Or if you are more into expensive clubs, you can always visit TOP SIX Club.
In any case, you can’t get bored in Ljubljana.
The World is Quiet Here…
If you are fed up with hot streets, noises of a cars and buses, and in general of entire urban life, Slovenia is a country that gives you one of the best nature landscapes, that will calm your soul and refill you with much-needed energy.
There are many beautiful places that are recommended to visit while staying in Slovenia. But I decided to go somewhere that was not so “popular” and “recommended”. I wanted to do a little hiking, so I decided to take a trip to Begunjšice. It was a beautiful day, sunny and warm, so it was a perfect to conquer a Roblekov vrh. It is one of the hidden gems of Slovenia, and not many people know about it. Even a trip there will leave you with some beautiful sightseeing. On the way, you will encounter a beautiful ruins of Grad Kamen. And if you are a gamer, like myself, you will probably connect it with a game like Witcher 3 or something from Skyrim. Further ahead I parked my car, and from there I just continued following the trail to reach Roblekov vrh. You can choose two roads. One is mostly used by cars, trucks and tractors and it is not very challenging (nor as beautiful). But the other one, if you like hiking, will leave you with some beautiful scenes and some challenge to reach the peak. Once you reach the peak, small mountain hut/restaurant will be waiting for you and you can order yourself some nice cold beer and a Slovenian “mountaineer” meal.
And this video will show you my path to reach Roblek peak Slovenia.
The next day I decided to visit Bled. A small town that Slovenian take a great pride of. And they should. If its small by its size, it is nothing more than huge by its beauty. Beautiful lake, castle on top of cliffs, small island in the middle of lake… All those are truly something that you read and see only in fairytale. And if you are with your significant other, you can always create your own fairytale, rent a small boat, and row your way to Blejski otok (eng: Bled Island), and be her prince or a knight for a day. Once you reach Bled Island, there is a stairway that lead you to the church, where to this day weddings are being held. It is also considered good luck if a groom carries the bride up the stairway on the day of the wedding.
I didn’t went to Bled Island but I did go for a walk around Bled lake, and after I while hunger striked me. So I went to try their “Kremšnite”. After that small but sweet pastry, I decided to drive to Bohinj lake, which is not so far away from Bled. There, in a solitude, I enjoyed walking through forest, while small diamonds reflected from lakes constantly reminded me of Slovenian beauty. When I reached the end of the trail, I sat by the lake, and just enjoyed the fresh air, calm lake and birds chirps.
Tip of the Spear – Piran
For the last part of my journey I decided to visit the southwest corner of Slovenia. Which led me to, what I like to call “Tip of the Slovenian Spear”. Driving on highway I reached a small-town pearl, on Adriatic coastline – Piran. You will notice that there are still many signs in Italian language, which is because of the strong Italian domination in that area until mid-20th century.
The towns main square Tartinijev trg (eng: Tartini Square; ita: Piazza Tartini), was named after a composer and violinist Giussepe Tartini. The name itself tells you that Piran was under heavy influence by the Venetian Republic. Because of that, architecture (narrow streets, “roman” roads”) and “atmosphere” of a town is different from inner Slovenia. Walking up the narrow streets, from the Tartini Square, you will reach the beautiful town walls, where fresh breeze of wind and salty air will hit you and with a combination of a relaxing view on Adriatic sea, you will be left motionless, almost paralyzed for few minutes. Just a few loud seagulls that are patrolling over the sea to catch some lunch, will snap you out of your trans.
Postojna and Novo mesto
On my way back from Piran, I decided to take a small detour, and visit also one of the main attractions in Slovenia. I was heading for Postojna, more precisely I decided to visit Predjama castle. One of the remarkable castles, built inside of a cave, it will once again leave you with an idea like it was something designed in a video games. I decided to buy myself a ticket and to see how a castle looks from the inside. Price is 13,80 euros for an adult, but if you are a student with a student ID, it is cheaper. In price it is also included audio tour with different languages.
The castle itself is not so big, but to see how construction of the castle is blend in and connected with a cave itself, is really something that will admire how ingenious a humanity can be sometimes. Walking inside of the castle, I went deeper into cave, where I truly felt safe and it got me wondering if people who lived there felt the same during some long and devastating sieges.
Also you can visit Postojna cave. This time I did not visit it, because it was closed. I am not sure why (maybe reconstruction or bats hibernating and they don’t want to distrub them).
I also decided to visit a small town of Novo mesto, which was nowhere near on my way back, but my desire and love for exploration got to me. I didn’t stay for long, but I did like its simplicity.
Love Is In The Air…
So what is there more to say about Slovenia? Well there is plenty of more. Either it will amaze you by its simplicity, nature, small towns like Piran, great food and wine, or just some hidden locations, I am sure you will leave it with a deep love for it. There is something for everybody in this small country. Slovenia is a country that everybody should have it on their travel bucket list. So if you find yourself in doubt where to go next, I am sure you will not be left disappointed here. If anything, you will want to return and explore it even more.
There are so many words in dictionary, but still I have a feeling there aren’t enough that would completely captured its beauty. After exploring it, I finally understood why so many other blogs are calling her “Hidden gems of Europe”. It is just… lovely! And what else could you expect from a place that has so many “love” connection in it?
If you have any questions and/or comments please leave your reply below. Since I am new in a blogging, I would very much appreciate some constructive criticism from other fellow (travel) bloggers.
Until next time globe nomads…
- If you are student, traveling on budget, make sure you bring your ID student card. A lot of attractions in Slovenia offer student discount on tickets.
- Try “Kremšnite” if you visit Bled. Many people recommend pastry shop Šmont, café Hotel Park, or some others.
- If you are beer lover try Slovenian ones: Union or Laško.