There’s more to Slovenia than its picture-book pretty lakes but they are a good place to start. Lake Bled attracts thousands of tourists each year, most of whom make the romantic pilgrimage by boat to the little island in the middle and take turns to ring the church bell. Lake Bohinj, roughly 40 km to the west of Bled, is less touristy (but no less beautiful) and is a great place to go fresh water fishing.
Given that 40% of Slovenia is mountainous, there is plenty of scope to absorb the beautiful scenery or partake in some of the many adventure activities on offer. Go hiking or horse riding in the Triglav National Park, home to the Julian Alps and Slovenia’s highest peak Triglav (2864 metres). Go white water rafting, canoeing or kayaking on the tumultuous alpine river Soca in the dramatic Soca Valley, a hub for adventure junkies. And for stunning mountain views drive through the Vrsic Pass. With all these peaks there’s no shortage of ski fields during the winter, either.
Slovenia’s small but attractive capital is enlivened by its uni student population giving it a young, fun vibe. The main draw is Ljubljana’s old town with its handsome mix of Hapsburg and Baroque architecture and outdoor café culture but the Castle, Tivoli Park and the Modern Art Museum are also certainly worth a look.
The Karst is a huge limestone plateau riddled with a subterranean network of rivers and caves. The most famous of these is the Skocjan Cave – the biggest underground canyon in the world. The Karst is also a prime wine growing region where the vivid, red Kraski Teran wine is produced. Other Slovenian goodies particular to the region include olives and prsut, an air dried ham which tastes a lot like prosciutto. The Lipica Stud Farm, home of the world-renowned Lipizzaner horses, is also located here.
Slovenia packs a lot in to its 47 km slice of the Istrian Coast. The highlight is undoubtedly Piran, a Venetian styled town with claustrophobic streets and mouth-watering seafood restaurants. But for the best beaches head for Slovenia’s major seaside resort, Portoroz. The town boasts clean sandy beaches and a smattering of spas and wellness centres.