25 June 2015
Destination : Slovenia
Not to be confused with Slovakia, Slovenia is a smaller (but no less beautiful) country on the European continent bordered by Italy, Austria, Hungary, and Croatia. Think fairytale landscapes, wow factor, and a cracking cultural scene. And while it might be smaller than some of its European counterparts geographically, this is a country big on experiences. Perhaps one of its best known sights is the iconic Lake Bled, a picturesque setting that’s home to a baroque church residing mysteriously on an island located in the lake’s centre. There is of course so much more to this country than meets the eye though, and a fleeting visit simply won’t cut it.
My first destination - the capital Ljubljana. Pronounced (Lubi-ahh-nuh), this is a small, clean capital city with
plenty of character. During summer, nothing beats the ambience around
town, particularly the old quarter, where quiet streets come to life as the
sun begins to set. The air is filled with the hum of laughter and
conversation, and the crowds fyi, are all class. It’s busy, but not
No surprises that the best views are found at restaurants and bars by the river, but do expect to be shocked by the incredibly inexpensive prices. If you do crave a more intimate setting, pack a picnic and trek up to the castle.
Next on my itinerary was Lake Bled where the landscape is as pretty as a picture. Walk the path around the lake for different perspectives while uncovering quaint artisan stalls along the way. Another activity is hiking up to the castle for the best panoramic views, and for the more adventurous types, hire a row boat for fun on the water, and to transit to the Church on the Island. Look closely to glimpse the lake’s thriving underwater life, and here it’s possible to jump in for a swim too.
In the peak of summer though, expect this place to be heaving with people, a tiny bit expensive, and not easily accessible via public transport because the services don’t run to scheduled times. There is however plenty a taxi to be shared with fellow travellers.
Located a little further past Bled, you’ll find Bohinj, Slovenia’s
largest lake. Surprisingly, not many tourists seem to know about this
haven, making it a very delightful day escape. Given its endless
sparkling views and untouched leafy environment, it’s quite easy to find
your own private slice of paradise where you can set up and soak up the
Near the lake’s entrance sits the church of St John the Baptist, small, but certainly worth a look for it’s beautiful frescoes inside.
I visited: Ljubljana, Lake Bled, Lake Bohinj.
My highlights: Picnicking while perched on a ledge overlooking Ljubljana, taking my time to savour the spectacle of Lake Bled, living it up like the locals do at the peaceful Lake Bohinj, wining and dining alongside the riverfront in Ljubljana's old part of town, trekking downhill in the dark from Ljubljanski grad (Ljubljana Castle) while marvelling at the city's lights below.