Slovenia will always have a special place in my heart. This was the trip away from London that finally pushed me over the edge and led to my eventual departure from my old investment banking life to a period of solo travel around Australia, New Zealand and South-East Asia. Basically, it led to one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
I left London for a few days in order to escape the city for some fresh air and outdoor activities. Departing on a Wednesday in July 2013, I flew into the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana, spending 5 glorious days in the sun, travelling the country, and finally leaving (reluctantly) on the following Sunday.
Why Slovenia? I literally saw a picture of the crystal clear emerald water of the Soca River in a newspaper article and thought, “This isn’t real. There’s no river in the world that beautiful and that clear“. I wanted to see it for myself and hey, as it turned out, that river IS as amazing in real life (see photos below).
Slovenia isn’t just about its beautiful rivers however, as there are lots of other sights and experiences to check out throughout the country. Visiting Slovenia was like finding a hidden jewel. It is a beautiful country with unblemished natural attractions, warm sunny weather (in July), good food, no crowds and all for fairly cheap. Things might have changed in the last 1.5 years though, because I can’t imagine that a destination like this would remain hidden for long! Honestly, Slovenia’s definitely in my top 3 countries to visit in Europe.
Making a change from my usual itinerary-like post, I thought I’d write this in the form of a top 10 list. So here we go, in no particular order…
Top 10 Things To Do In Slovenia
1. Running around Lake Bled – as I had already packed my running shoes and exercise kit for some organised hiking I was planning to do, I threw in my Garmin GPS watch as well and decided that running by Lake Bled was too good of an opportunity to miss. It was ruddy hot, but so worth it! One loop around the lake comes up to around 5.5KM. I took ages getting round however, as I kept stopping to take in the beautiful sights.
2. Swimming in Lake Bled – not content with just running around it, immediately following my run, I headed back to the hotel, changed into swimwear and headed lakeside once again. This was my first time swimming in a lake and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little freaked out! The hot weather and the clear, clean water made a jump into the cold lake difficult to resist however, and I can imagine it being a glorious spot for experienced open-water swimmers.
3. Sampling local delicacies in front of fantastic views – the pictures say it all…
4. Trekking around the Triglav National Park.
5. Exploring Bled Castle and enjoying the views from the top
6. Exploring Ljubljana city by foot – for a capital city, it was REALLY clean! It’s a really charming little gem of a town with a great deal of culture, very easily accessible by foot.
7. Walking across all the bridges in Ljubljana – seriously for a city so small, there sure are a hell lot of interesting bridges! Here are a few of the more famous ones…
8. Visiting the Postojna Cave – a cave system over 20KM long, this is the second longest cave system in the country. Less than 5KM are open to public. The caves are filled with absolutely ginormous stalactites and stalagmites – it really was quite awe-inspiring. I’ve only shown one picture here as the numbers of photos I have are limited since no photos were allowed in most of the cave.
9. Chilling by the sea and exploring the medieval city of Piran
Here are some more photos I took from walking all along the coast, up onto old city walls and back down towards the small town centre.
10. And finally, the main reason why I came…white-water rafting and swimming in the crystal clear Soca River!
Conclusion: Slovenia might be lagging behind its neighbouring countries of Italy and Croatia in terms of tourism but it won’t be for long. I would highly recommend visiting Slovenia if you’re into outdoor pursuits – it’s a real hidden gem in Europe in my opinion. Go now, before everyone catches on! 😉