Slovenia

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A week-long trip to Ljubljana – Why Slovenia needs to be your next travel destination. 

Slovenia wasn’t on my radar before this year until I ‘discovered’ it through Lauren Juliff’s travel blog, Never Ending Footsteps, where she cites its capital as one of her favourite European cities. This time last year I’d taken a week long trip to visit Split in Croatia followed by a few days in Italy, and whereas I could take or leave Rome, I fell in love with the Croatian landscape. Being Croatia’s neighbour, Slovenia then seemed like a good choice for my next travel destination so we booked up 6 days in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana for early September.

As it turns out Ljubljana is LUSH; the place is clean, green and totally gorgeous.

Our holiday kicked off to a super start anyway, something that we can credit our Airbnb hosts for. Before this trip I was an Airbnb virgin (‘Stay in someone’s home? Where’s the comfort in that? Awkward, no?’). But after struggling to find conventional accommodation in the city center, we thought we’d give this thing a try.

Our apartment was lovely; our hosts met us with a friendly ‘hello’, a few cold beers in the fridge and offer of two bicycles on loan for our stay. I immediately felt at home.

Bicycle is absolutely the best way to see the city. Everyone rides.
I was also amazed over the apparent lack of concern for security, but it’s so safe – most bikes weren’t chained up. Having spent the last 6 years living in London I was pretty much a given that you’d spend an average of two weeks with your new bike before it got pinched. Or even if you’d taken the initiative and reluctantly handed over half your months wages in return for a top of the range bike lock, you’d still come back, three hours later to find your new cycle less one bike seat and now limping along with a punctured tyre. So yeah, this was a new one! 

Ljubljana old town was a short bike ride away from our apartment. We left our bikes down by the canal and took the next stretch by foot at a more leisured pace. It wasn’t hard to slip right into this relaxed way of life. This place was so chilled.

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It was like something straight out of a fairy-tale; pastel painted houses, cobbled streets and a castle fit for a princess perched at the top of the hill. It was just as pretty and as enchanting as somewhere like Prague, but minus the hordes of tourists, which just made it all the more like-able. Finding a table to dine Al-fresco down by the riverbank was easy; ‘Calamari, fries and two beers please!’.

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Lake Bled

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Lake Bled is an easy day trip from Ljubljana and one of the most beautiful areas I’ve been to. The water is a deep turquoise and perfect for taking boat rides or swimming, although we found it a tad chilly in September!

We took a hike to the top of the hill to get to the free look out point where you’ll find breath-taking views across the lake and the Julian Alps.

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Make sure to stop at Hotel Park Restavracija Rikli for a slice of the original Bled Cake where you can take a seat on the terrace with a coffee for an uninterrupted view across the Lake.

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Slovenia has rocketed up to one of my favourite countries, but even in my week long trip I still feel like there’s more to see – I’m keen to make a return trip to see more of the coastal towns, the famous caves or just to enjoy more of the cafes and restaurants in lovely Ljubljana.

Have you been to Slovenia? What did you think?

 

What is FP?

The Old Town. Absolutely the prettiest city I’ve been to, the fact that it’s so clean and petite and walkable, totally helps. I just couldn’t believe how quiet it was; i’m used to having to elbow my way through crowds, so to be able to wander freely without the stress of other tourists was simply bliss. On our last evening we headed to the main square (Presernov Trg) and hung out on the steps, listening to the street music and watching the world go by – I never wanted to leave!
I have a feeling it won’t be like this for long though, our Airbnb hosts noted that it’s steadily been getting busier and busier over the last few years.

The cafes. I love cute cafes and good (cheap!) food with lush views – check, check and check! Our favourites were Zlata Ladjica where we ate Calamari underneath the shadow of the castle and Slovenska Hisa where we would relax in the evenings with a beer.

Neboticnik – not for the food as such, but I’d recommend heading to the top of the tallest building in the town for getting that perfect shot of the castle and to drink in the stunning views across the rest of Ljubljana. We went for breakfast and were one of only a few couples on the terrace.

Bled Cake. Cream cakes in England, blergh, Bled Cakes however…!

Canyoning! This was something that we were keen to try, and it’s something that is offered at a location not far from Lake Bled. It turned out to be a really awesome tour with some great guides who helped us throw ourselves off cliffs into freezing water in the fun-est way! We booked in Ljubljana using Nature Adventures

The safe, relaxed vibe. I’m love with the atmosphere so this place. It’s perfect for those who want a city break without the stress; Ljubljana is such a friendly, welcoming and pleasant town to visit. I’m definitely keen to come back sometime, just writing this I feel a bit homesick for lovely Ljubljana!

And not so much…

Hot Horse. This fast food outlet crops up time and time again in the guide books and I love horse meat, so we made the trek across the park to try the famed horse burger. Verdict? It was sort of plain, huge but very plain, chewy and a bit tasteless. 

27 thoughts on “Slovenia

  1. This looks amazing – such great photographs. Just stumbled on your blog today and am loving it. I’m new to this blogging thing also, so it’s great (and overwhelming) to see newbies who have amazing design, content and photographs! Keep up the good work – I’ll be coming back here for inspiration often 🙂

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by! And for commenting – lovely to hear your feedback 🙂 I loved Slovenia – if you haven’t been you should think about checking this gorgeous country out!
      You’re right, it does seem like there’s so many of us, but everyone I’ve chatted to is lovely, so I reckon us bloggers are a friendly bunch and it’s great to be part of this rather big community 🙂
      I’ll be in Barcelona in a few days so make sure you check back in the coming weeks for updates on that location.
      Thanks again!

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    1. At the moment the flights aren’t that cheap either, but I guess it’s not a super popular route. I keep checking for cheap flights so I can go back! I should look up going to Trieste – did you spend any time in the town or did you go straight to Ljubljana?

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      1. We stayed the night in Trieste once – nice place with a grand canal, a massive square and lots of good restaurants and cafes. Another option is to fly to Zagreb, and get train to LJ.

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    1. Thanks! I’m just starting out blogging, so that’s great to hear good feedback – thanks so much for stopping by and for commenting!
      Slovenia is definitely one of my favourite countries. Iceland is top of the list, but Slovenia comes in a close second, it was wonderful! Do book up soon – it’s getting more popular by the month!

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      1. I heard! I have too many trips planned before July so it might have to wait…Really excited about Puerto Rico at the moment! The joys of living in London…so easy to go anywhere. I look forward to reading more about your trips and get some travel inspiration!

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  2. Not to mention, wineries, Portoroz on the Adriatic, Ethnographic Museum, churches and cemeteries , the music, strudels and poticas…. Visited in 2014 and will be back in September for the caves and more wine. My grandparents left here in Early 1900 to come to the US for a better life now I would like to leave the US for Slovenia for a better life. Coming with a large empty suitcase to bring goodies home to the US.

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    1. Bring two suitcases! 😀 Slovenia has more than 10.000 registered karst caves, many are accessible to tourists. And an unfathomable number of karst sinkholes and springs. The most famous caves are Postonjska jama and Škocjanske jame. The latter is on the UNESCO list of natural heritage sites.

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    2. More wine sounds good! 🙂 it is funny how this happens isn’t it? It’s like the UK, many people came to our country for a better life now we are all looking for other places where we will be happier! I really hope I get to move abroad at some point. Is the grass greener? Probably!
      Thanks for your comment and for stopping by my website! Have fun in September – happy travels!

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  3. Thank you for this wonderful description of my country! 🙂 While Slovenia may be small in area there is lots to see. You already mentioned Soča river. Also there is Lake Bohinj, Triglav national park. Piran on the seaside. Celje has a beautiful castle (called Old Castle). Maribor is wonderful (the worlds oldest vine is in Maribor). These are just the most popular places. If you’d like to experience more, then I’d also recommend going to South-Eastern Slovenia (Called Dolenjska and Bela krajina). Novo mesto has it’s perks. Otočec castle is about 20 minutes from Novo mesto. Even more southern is the region called Bela krajina, a mostly rural area, but also filled with history and places to see.In the summer camps are opened on Kolpa river and there is always something going on. Hope to see you back soon! Bring friends! 😀

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    1. No problem – it was a pleasure writing the post – brought back some lovely memories! Thank YOU for your lovely long comment and all your recommendations of where to go in Slovenia. I had heard of Lake Bohinj and Piran, but hadn’t heard of the rest of the places you mentioned so that should give me plenty to research! 🙂 I have told pretty much everyone I know to go and visit Slovenia! It’s a beautiful place!
      Thanks again for reading! I hope you enjoyed my blog.

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  4. We lived in Slovenia for 5 years, and still have a house in the Julian Alps. We’ve been everywhere man, from Borneo to Bangalore, and like so many other Brits, we’ve lived overseas for donkey’s years. However, Slovenia – particularly the astonishing Julian Alps (check out the Soca River on Google Images – it makes Photoshop look muddy) – is absolutely the most stunning, the most beautiful, the kindest, and across the whole face of the good Earth, the most genuinely human place of them all. If you ever get a chance to visit, strangle anyone who gets in your way!

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    1. Oh my goodness – i’m seriously jealous! As i say, i only went to Slovenia once, just for the week, but it really captured me. There’s something pretty special about it, and I absolutely want to go back and see more. I have seen SO many pictures of the Soca River, and although we did seriously think about visiting it when we were there, we did eventually decide it might be a bit far for a day trip from Ljubljana. After hearing you speak about it though, I feel I absolutely must make more of an effort for a second trip out there! *Checks Skyscanner for flights!*
      I can’t get over the fact you have a house out there! It must be so lush. Wow!

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  5. I’m not a local but my take on pronunciation is, Loo-blah-nah. Although the city is anything but Blah. An amazing wonderful place. We love every corner of sLOVEnia. Had the privilege of visiting twice in the past 3 years. The small towns with their restaurants are also fantastic and inviting. People are kind, polite and helpful. Agree it is pretty special.

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    1. It’s so lovely right?! So lucky that you’ve been able to go twice, I’m definitely going to be making some return trips to Slovenia, now I have a taste for this gorgeous place with, as you rightly say, all the lovely lovely people I do want to explore more of the country. You might be right on the pronunciation, I have heard it being said that way as well 🙂 Thanks for your comment! I hoped you liked reading my little blog!
      What other towns in Slovenia would you recommend I visit next time?

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    1. It’s pretty special! 🙂 I’d love a return trip! I believe it’s something along the lines of Loob-Lee-yah-nah, although i’d need a local to verify that for me! It took me a while to learn how to spell it without Google. (!)

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      1. Technically speaking Ljubljana is pronounced Lyoob-lya-nah
        But for a more homey pronunciation Loob-lana would do 😉
        Hope to see you back to Slovenia soon!

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  6. After you commented on my post about my road trip around Europe I promised to check out your post about Ljubljana and it looks truly amazing, I will definitely aim to go here one day. The streets of The Old Town looks so pretty and I also love your photo of the boat on Lake Bled, and completely agree with you that Bled cake is the best type of cream cake by far. I also share your love of Airbnb which really has transformed the way I travel. Great post (I will be sure to check out many of your others!!).

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    1. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂 Yes, I was so surprised by Ljubljana. i really didn’t think i’d fall so hard for it! But it’s just so stunning, i’d definitely go back and i’m not usually the type of person who goes somewhere twice. If you get a chance to go, book up soon – I’ve noticed that Ljubljana is featuring quite heavily on a lot of the ‘best destination’ guides for 2016, I think a lot of people are cottoning on to this little Slovenian gem, so visit quick before the crowds come in!

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