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AUFANATL
Auburn Fan
Member since Dec 2007
884 posts

Slovenia Trip Report
Slovenia is a small country (about the same size and population as West Virginia), nestled in between Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia. Due to this unique location, Slovenia is a nice blend or “potpourri” of all the different surrounding cultures and people. In my opinion, they tend to adopt the best qualities from their neighbors and reject the worst.

The easiest way to get there from the US is to fly direct to Venice and take a 2-3 hour bus ride from Marco Polo Airport. Due to it’s small size, the country is easy to explore, especially using centrally-located Ljubljana as a base. It is served by a network of buses and trains, but the best way to experience Slovenia is to rent a car and drive around. I would recommend a full week to see the country. Many people merely pass through or stopover on their way from one country to another and regret that they didn’t go to Slovenia instead. It is especially popular with people who seek an outdoor activity focused vacation or old world romantics who wonder what visiting Europe was like before it became too commercialized and overcrowded with tourists and “refugees”.

Slovenia is often misunderstood as Eastern European or a former part of the Soviet Union, but it is more western European in nature, identity and feel. Even when it was part of the former Yugoslavia, it was known as a secret garden where communist citizens could travel to enjoy traditional European culture and buy western goods. And Slovenia was mostly untouched by the Balkan Wars that plagued their neighbors in the 1990s.

It is nicknamed “little europe” because it is a microcosm of the continent. Cultural and geographic diversity is a primary selling point - you can go skiing in the Alps or hiking through dense forests in the valleys. A visit to the dry, rolling hill country in the west for a lunch of local wine and prosciutto will make you think you are in Tuscany, while the small coastal towns on the Adriatic Sea are classic Mediterranean. The compact capitol city of Ljubljana packs a big cosmopolitan punch and is underrated for what it offers. Meanwhile, the northeastern region has a slavic feel to it and is famous for it’s thermal spas.

Slovenia is an EU member, part of the Schengen zone and uses the Euro for currency. English is a common second language, especially in tourist areas. It is relatively cheap by European standards – about on par with a second tier American city. The people are friendly and there is very little crime. Tourism is finally increasing and they embrace it.

The main tourist destinations are: (1) the capitol city of Ljubljana, (2) Lake Bled and the surrounding Triglav National Park, (3) the caves in the Karst region; (4) the Soca River Valley and (5) the 20 miles of coastline along the Adriatic Sea. Other points of interest are the scenic Logar Valley and panoramic road in the north, Kamnik and Vilica Planina and the wine producing region of Brda in the west. Venice is close enough for a (long) day trip as are Zagreb and Plitvice Lakes over the border in Croatia.


AUFANATL
Auburn Fan
Member since Dec 2007
884 posts

re: Slovenia Trip Report
The capitol city of Ljubljana is very small and compact – about 250,000 residents. The center was designated a pedestrian zone and no cars are allowed. This gives it a nice vibe, as people walk everywhere and socialize in numerous outdoor cafes. The city won the European Green Capital award last year, and it is spotlessly clean - one of the cleanest, most organized cities I have ever visited.

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There’s not enough must see attractions to make you feel rushed and that’s probably a good thing. The best thing to do is just roam around and soak it in.

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A small river cuts through the middle of town, crossed by iconic bridges and lined with cafes and shops. The squares are lively and surrounded by amazing baroque architecture.

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On the southern side of the river is a classic old town and beyond that a castle sits on top of a hill overlooking the city. You can take a furnicular up the castle for great views of the city.

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As with most European cities, there are a few museums worth checking out, a nice park and a zoo with a good reputation which I did not visit.

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AUFANATL
Auburn Fan
Member since Dec 2007
884 posts

re: Slovenia Trip Report
The Karst region is famous for its caves, which are considered among the best in the world. The landscape is mostly soft limestone and numerous rivers emptying into the area have created a subterranean wonderland of thousands of intricate caves, many of which are open to the public. The two most visited are Postojna and Skocjan. Postojna is longer, has more features and is popular with families because you ride a train through most of it. But Skocjan, A UNESCO World Heritage site, is more impressive. It takes almost two hours to traverse the caves by guided tour and the main cavern is big enough to fit a domed football stadium inside. The basin contains a gushing river and small lakes, and the high trail along the cave walls can be a bit arduous. It’s pretty mindblowing.

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Predjama Castle is an interesting nearby visit. It is a fortified structure built into the mouth of a hillside cave system that stretches for 17 miles with openings popping up all over like some animal den. Invaders who laid siege to the castle were taunted from above with fresh berries and food that the Lord would send his servants out to collect each night through the labyrinth of cave tunnels.

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AUFANATL
Auburn Fan
Member since Dec 2007
884 posts

re: Slovenia Trip Report
The coast is small and charming. Slovenia only has about 20 miles along the Adriatic Sea and they are very protective of it. The coast has three major areas – Portoroz, Piran and Koper. Portoroz is a newer resort area with nice hotels, beaches and high end restaurants. Koper is a more business-like city with everyday residents and a shipping industry. Piran is the old coastal town, formerly part of the Venetian empire, that sits on a peninsula and is filled with old buildings, winding alleys, a nice square, old walls, etc. The water is very clear and there are numerous spots for swimming. It’s very similar to the coastal towns in Croatia without the mobs of tourists.

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AUFANATL
Auburn Fan
Member since Dec 2007
884 posts

re: Slovenia Trip Report
Lake Bled is a very popular tourist destination. The scenery surrounding the lake is like something out of a fairytale. The lake is small enough that you can walk a full loop around it, enjoying the sights, attractions, etc. You can swim in the lake and the water is warm and clear. The town of Bled, nestled against the lake is very tourist-oriented and offers good dinning and lodging options.

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The centerpiece is a small island in the middle of the lake which contains a cathedral. You can rent a rowboat or pay a gondolier to row you out to the island. It’s the most popular wedding spot and Slovenian grooms are required to carry their brides up all 90 steps to prove how much they love them. This, as one local explained, was why all women in Slovenia are skinny (see Melania Trump).

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A castle high on the cliff overlooks the lake and provides amazing views and some highly recommended meals as well.

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AUFANATL
Auburn Fan
Member since Dec 2007
884 posts

re: Slovenia Trip Report
Lake Bled is nice on its own but also a good base to explore the surrounding area. About two miles north of Bled is the Vintgar Gorge, one of the more popular natural attractions in the area. Lake Bohinj is also popular and a great side trip about 30 min from Bled. Perhaps the best is the Triglav National Park, itself. Slovenians love their mountain sports and the park has lots of great hiking trails and a few ski resorts set against the stunning Julian Alps.

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AUFANATL
Auburn Fan
Member since Dec 2007
884 posts

re: Slovenia Trip Report
The Soca River Valley is one of Europe’s natural jewels. The best way to get there is to drive the Virsic Pass from Bled. It’s a winding mountain road built by Russian POWs that offers some amazing Alpine scenery. The valley below contains a gorgeous turqoise river, surrounded by green hills and rocky mountains.

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Many do not know that this beautiful landscape was actually the stage for some of the harshest fighting during WWI on the forgotten Italian front, where one million died. Hemingway’s book, ‘A Farewell to Arms’ was set here. You can still visit bunkers and trenches carved into the mountain and the town of Kobarid has a very good museum that details the war here.

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Bovec is a popular town to stay and explore the region. It has become a hub for outdoor lovers and adventure seekers as local outfits offer ziplining, paragliding and rafting or kayaking down the Soca river. Canyoning is also very popular here. The river is a good way for a novice to ease into white water rafting or kayaking as the rapids are not too tough.

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There are also really good hikes in the area. Some popular and not too difficult hiking destinations are Krn Lake, Tolmin Gorge and Kozjak Waterfall.

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AUFANATL
Auburn Fan
Member since Dec 2007
884 posts

re: Slovenia Trip Report
One of the nicest things about Slovenia is the countryside. There are a few cities but much of the population lives in small villages. It’s customary to keep your house up and everybody decorates their windows and balconies with flowers. There’s a collective effort to make everything beautiful. The country is about 2/3 Catholic and every village is dominated by a small church

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Overall, a great trip that I would recommend to anyone. I also visited Croatia nearby, but will probably make a separate trip report for that area. I know Croatia already gets a lot of attention, but not many people visit Slovenia so I wanted to make a report just for that area.


Bear-O-Dactyl
Arkansas State Fan
tRock
Member since Oct 2012
1160 posts

re: Slovenia Trip Report
Great write-up. Now I want to visit Slovenia.


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Zappas Stache
Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Member since Apr 2009
26587 posts
 Online 

re: Slovenia Trip Report
Great pics. We went there a number of years ago but just hit Ljubljana and Lake Bled. Loved both.....my only knock is the food is just so so.
This post was edited on 9/14 at 3:19 pm


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HoustonGumbeauxGuy
LSU Fan
Member since Jul 2011
17850 posts

re: Slovenia Trip Report


Will add to sticky tonight


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speckledawg
Mississippi St. Fan
Somewhere Salty
Member since Nov 2016
2019 posts

re: Slovenia Trip Report
Very nice! Makes we want to go now. Thanks for sharing.


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geauxtigahs87
New Orleans Saints Fan
Louisiana
Member since Dec 2008
24224 posts

re: Slovenia Trip Report
Of all the European countries I've visited, Slovenia was, by far, the most underrated. In four days we did Lake Bled, Vintgar Gorge, Ljubljana, and Piran.

quote:

Skocjan

Easily the largest cave I've ever been in. You could fit a 15 story building into some of the areas we saw.


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HoustonGumbeauxGuy
LSU Fan
Member since Jul 2011
17850 posts

re: Slovenia Trip Report


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Lsupimp
Colorado Fan
The Mean Streets of ST. GEORGE
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re: Slovenia Trip Report
I have a buddy who married a Slovenian girl. Great trip report !


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Nole Man
Florida State Fan
Somewhere In Tennessee!
Member since May 2011
3692 posts
 Online 

re: Slovenia Trip Report
Just saw this, but an EXCELLENT report. We are going there in mid October. Flying into Venice. Wanted to go to Plitvice Lakes National Park first then up to Ljubljana then over to Italy. This is very helpful. Thanks!


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r3lay3r
LSU Fan
EBR
Member since Oct 2016
429 posts
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re: Slovenia Trip Report
Thanks for the post. We're two weeks from leaving for Croatia and Slovenia!


Palmetto08
Member since Sep 2012
3073 posts

re: Slovenia Trip Report
Great report! Thank you for taking the time to post it.

How were the locals? And how safe is Slovenia? Any issues?


Zappas Stache
Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Member since Apr 2009
26587 posts
 Online 

re: Slovenia Trip Report
quote:

How were the locals?


Friendly enough but not super gregarious.

quote:

And how safe is Slovenia? Any issues?


Super safe. The hotel in Ljubliana we stayed in gave us bicycles to use but they had no locks. I asked if we needed to buy or own locks and the guy told us no need, no one will take your bike. There were some nefarious looking characters around the train station but we had no issues with them.


Nole Man
Florida State Fan
Somewhere In Tennessee!
Member since May 2011
3692 posts
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re: Slovenia Trip Report
Hey Zappas Stache! (Or any others!)

We're going in October.

Here's the overall game plan:

Arriving in Venice in Mid-October for around 2 weeks total.

1) Arrive in Venice / Drive over to Plitvice National Park in Croatia / Stop in Opatija, Croatia first night

2) Slovenia (Bled/Bohinj/Ljubljana/Soca Valley)

3) Friuli (and nearby Slovenian wine area)

4) Dolomites

5) Prosecco area

6) Back to Venice

How much time would you think is ideal for Slovenia?

Thanks!!
This post was edited on 5/7 at 6:14 am


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