Slovenia is Europe's little gem.
It is my favourite country in Europe, if not, one of my favourite countries of all time. For me, it is reminiscent of New Zealand which is why I think I fell so hard for it. It has everything you could possibly desire all within such a small area. It is home to the incredible capital of Ljubljana, crystal clear lakes and stunning mountain ranges. The level of English here is incredible, especially compared to a lot of neighbouring countries and it's cheap! 2 euros for a coffee? Yes please.
Slovenia is a tiny country of just over 2 million people, but don't let its small size fool you. It still packs a punch and you will be astounded by the natural beauty squeezed into this little area of land. Here is how you can see the best of Slovenia in 72 hours.
If your going to start anywhere in Slovenia, it has to be the capital Ljubljana.
I have been living in central Europe for almost one year now which means I have seen a lot of European cities. After a while you can become a little accustomed to them, most have their own history and story to tell, with a main square, cobbled streets and some impressive architecture. One of the reasons we chose to visit Slovenia on this trip was because we were "citied-out" and we had heard how green Slovenia was. We decided to stay in Ljubljana out of ease more than anything else, it was in a good location for nearby lakes and mountain ranges which we couldn't wait to explore. Therefore, I hadn't given too much thought about Ljubljana itself and hadn't looked into the city at all so I had no idea what to expect.
This city caught me completely off guard and I am utterly in love with it. It's not overcrowded like so many European cities, it has a beautiful river which runs through it with terraces laced along either side. Ljubljana is very small with a population of only around 250,000 so you can easily wander through the city in one day. From Ljubljana you can then make your way to Lake Bled which is only about a 40 minute drive.
Lake Bled is now one of Slovenia's main attractions, although practically unheard of to most travellers only a few years ago, Lake Bled is now growing in popularity year on year. Stories of it's beauty have spread across Europe and it's not difficult to understand why so many people want to see the lake for themselves.
It's clear, blue waters are warm in the summer months which makes it perfect for swimming in. The walk around it's perimeter is about 6km, although you will be constantly stopping to snap photos of the picturesque lake from every angle. You can also hike up to the castle which perches 100m over the lake at the edge of a steep cliff. In the centre of Lake Bled there is an island with a church and museum, you can rent a rowing boat for 10 euros an hour to explore the lake and island more closely.
Lake Bohinj & Piran.
If visiting Lake Bled, it makes sense to drive a short 26km to see Lake Bohinj, then you can wade into the argument of which lake is the most beautiful.
Lake Bled is unique in it's impressiveness, with it's own island and towering castle however there is something charmingly serene about Lake Bohinj. Away from the crowds and tourists, this lake is much more peaceful and great for outdoor activities such as kayaking and cycling. If you have more time then I would highly recommend hiking Mt Vogel, whose starting point is next to the Lake.
After a quick walk and swim in the lake its time to head onto Piran, a pretty little town right on the coast.
Piran is a little picturesque, seaside town on the Slovenian coast, a stone throw away from Italy. Most people fall in love with Piran at first sight, with its venetian style buildings contrasting against the turquoise Mediterranean. You absolutely cannot leave without sampling the fresh seafood on offer in the various restaurants which are laced along its coast. Fresh, local produce is so important to the people of Piran that a McDonalds opened and closed within a year due to lack of business. This alone makes me adore this little town! Here, you can wander around the colourful coast, past all the fishing boats and cafes and further into town along the winding, maze like streets.
Ljubljana, Lake Bled, Lake Bohinj and Piran are the perfect stop offs to experience the best of Slovenia. Each gives you a different perspective of this beautiful country and all it has to offer.