Europe – one usually pictures visiting Rome, Paris, Barcelona, Berlin… All amazing destinations, I’m sure, but recently I chose Slovenia as my first destination to travel to in Europe (much to the surprise of, well, everyone). Slovenia was a country I barely knew existed and knew nothing about – my preferred way of choosing destinations. As much as I love the busy streets of cities, after spending six weeks in Hamburg and Berlin I was missing waking up and seeing the mountains that surround my former reside, Christchurch. As such I started investigating Slovenia – a natural wonderland suggested by a shared car driver.
Slovenia is amazingly easy to travel, being a tiny country where everything is within 2/3 hours reach of the capital. And if you’re a solo female traveller? Not a problem 🙂 Many a word can be said over the beauty, but better yet is to show you, or take a visit yourself. Slovenia’s highlights can be seen over a weekend, but in my opinion it merits a longer stay.
Slovenia is hands down one of the most picturesque countries I have ever been to.This is encapsulated in the famous Lake Bled, situating an island castle surrounded by still lake water and towering peaks. Furthermore, it is easily accessible with many waterfalls, hikes, adventure activities and gorges. In the warmer seasons the mountains become a hikers playground.
30 minutes down the road is Lake Bohinj, a lake larger by all means except population – larger lakes, larger waterfalls, larger cliffs. Larger beauty is debatable and we won’t get into that. It is well worth a stay there and a trip up to the Savica Waterfall.
Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia and has a beautiful Old Town to walk around, nestled under a hilltop castle. It is also the ‘greenest city in Europe’. The walking tours are well illustrated there. A day or two can be spent simply existing between the buildings, cafés and river.
For a country with only 46 km of coast, they sure pack a lot into it. Heading on a day trip to Piran is the perfect place to see the ‘shark-tooth’shaped coastline where you look across to both Croatia and Italy – and on a good day, Venice can be seen across the way. It’s beautiful to see many snowy mountains towering around the horizons, and its Mediterranean feel and skinny alleyways make hearts of backpackers like me happy.
The Slovenian people left a wonderful impression on me. Always friendly, up for a laugh and a discussion, no matter the weather or economic situation. Perhaps it was the stark contrast with Germany where I live currently, but I felt “at home” in Slovenia, where the spectacular scenery and warmth of the people rivalled my true home, New Zealand.