If I’m being completely honest, Slovenia was never on my list of places to go. I mean, I love traveling and will go pretty much anywhere, but it certainly wasn’t a place I’d ever even thought of visiting before moving to the UK.
However, that said, I now would love to go back and spend a bit more time in the lovely little country. We were basically only in Slovenia just to stop for lunch on our drive through to Austria, but the capital city, Ljubljana, seemed like such an enjoyable city that I was a bit sad to only be there to stretch our legs and refill our stomachs.
If (like me prior to moving to Europe) you’ve never heard of Ljubljana, it is the capital of Slovenia; a beautiful country tucked in between Croatia and Austria, with Italy and Hungary flanking either side. So sadly for Slovenia, the countries surrounding it tend to steal the spotlight.
We parked our rental as close to the middle of the city as we could get, in a random, tiny little parking lot – the centre of town is actually a car free zone, making it easier and a lot more pleasurable for pedestrians. The Ljubljana River runs through the middle of Slovenia’s largest city, splitting the town into the old city and the commercial side of things.
We then walked down the river, past the many, many outdoor cafes and tables full of people enjoying the sun along the river’s edge. There was catchy live music playing, and it gave the place a street party sort of vibe. I loved it.
We were absolutely starving after driving three and a half hours from Plitvice Lakes, and just wanted something quick and easy. So rather than waste time trying to pick between the many options of restaurants, we headed right into McDonald’s. Great tourists we are.
Like I said, we weren’t there very long, and didn’t get to see much of the city. But I remember it being very green and leafy, with a chilled out, happy vibe oozing from the city centre despite it being so busy and teeming with people.
The architecture there is beautiful as well, with some gorgeous bridges… the Triple Bridge used to be just a single span bridge, but later had two pedestrian side bridges and lamps added to it. Additionally, staircases make their way to the terraces along the river, making it all quite nice to look at. There’s also the Dragon Bridge, dating back to 1901, accurately named; as the bridge features some 18 dragons. They certainly put a lot of effort into making bridges things to stop and look at in Ljubljana.
In the Spring, I went to Morocco and spent some time on our Sahara Desert tour with a couple from Slovenia that were very pleasant and friendly. They gave me some tips of places to go and things to see in their homeland, and I broke down some Canadian stereotypes for them in return. I was surprised at how much they knew about Canada; it was a bit embarrassing to know next to nothing about their country, but they said they’re pretty used to that.
Outside of the capital, Slovenia’s countryside attracts many visitors. There’s a never-ending list of outdoor activities, like swimming, caving, paragliding, hiking… This country has a little bit of everything; mountains, lakes, caverns, beaches.
Lake Bled is one of the biggest tourist draws in Slovenia, for good reason. It’s a glacial lake heated by thermal springs with a picturesque island and castle, straight off of a postcard. Mount Triglav is the highest mountain in Slovenia and also highest peak of the Julian Alps if you’re into scaling mountains. Or you could go below and check out Europe’s largest underground cavern and gorge, with a gushing river, hair-raising bridges, and even prehistoric human remains.
So when I go back, I’ll be sure to take lots more pictures and spend a lot more time checking out the rest of this unexpectedly charming country. 🙂