Lisa Owen

Lake Bled Island

If someone asked you where in the world is Slovenia, would you be able to tell them? Often overshadowed by its more popular neighbours of Italy, Austria, Croatia and Hungary, you might be surprised to know that Slovenia offers something for every type of traveller and budget.

Not only does Slovenia boast stunning natural areas, it also has historical highlights (who doesn’t love a castle?) and a vibrant and rapidly changing capital brimming with trendy cafes, riverside restaurants and vintage outlets. Check out my list of the top unmissable places in Slovenia.

Ljubljana Old Town

Ljubljana

Slovenia’s capital has grown from a sleepy capital that no one had heard of to a buzzing small city with a charming Old Town.

During your stay in Ljubljana, things to do include:

  • Checking out the castle overlooking the city. You can walk around the perimeter of the castle for free or take a look inside for €7.50. You can reach the castle by taking a short but steep walk up following the signs or take the funicular.
  • Wandering along the Ljubljanica River and walking over the Triple Bridge which connects Ljubljana’s Old Town with the modern centre of the city.
  • Picking up some local food and handicrafts at the riverside markets.
  • Exploring the winding pastel coloured streets of the Old Town. Head over there before 8am and you’ll almost have the Old Town to yourself and be lured to local bakeries by the smell of baking bread.
  • Sunbaking or reading a book at the Tivoli City Park.
  • Enjoying some hearty Slovenian food at one of the many riverside restaurants

Lake Bled

Lake Bled is the key attraction for visitors to Slovenia. The lake is best known for the picturesque island on the lake and its dramatic cliffside castle.

The Lake Bled island is dominated by the Assumption of Mary Church, and you can reach it by hiring a rowboat or heading out on a traditional wooden boat called pletna.

Lake Bled Boats

Lake Bled is looked over by the 12th century Bled Castle. You can go inside the castle for €11 (~£10).

Other activities you can do at Lake Bled include:

  • Walking around the whole lake. The walk takes about 2-3 hours depending on how many photos you take along the way.
  • Taking a hike and getting a great view of the lake. The best lake viewpoints are accessible on foot only and there’s three to choose from. The viewpoints are called Ojstrica, Velika Osojnica and Mala Osojnica. Velika Osojnica is the highest viewpoint of the three, located about 750 metres above sea level. The viewpoints are linked with good signage and are accessible from near the campsite on the south western side of the lake. Allow for about four hours from the Bled township to do the viewpoint circuit and walk around the entire lake.
  • Indulging in the famous Kremna Rezina (Bled cream cake). The cream cake originated in Bled 50 years ago, is made with layers of custard and whipped cream inside a puff pastry layer – kind of like a vanilla slice. The dessert was created by the Park Hotel, who still serve it at their picturesque lakeside location. But if you’re on a budget, you can also buy a version at one of the local Mercator supermarkets.
  • If you’re into adventure activities, you can choose from kayaking in a cave, canyoning, paragliding or trying out a via ferrata. You can also take a tour that takes you past the Julian Alps and into the picturesque Soca Valley. Note that some activities do not run during the winter months.

Lake Bled Viewpoint

Lake Bohinj

When you’ve finished checking out Lake Bled – head on over to Lake Bohinj. This lake is located only a 45 minute bus ride from Lake Bled.

If you just want a chilled out walk, you can do a circuit of the lake. More adventurous travellers will be interested in checking out a view of the lake from the Pec lookout located on the eastern side of the lake. You can get up to the viewpoint in about 30 minutes.

If waterfalls are your thing, head over to take a look at the Savica waterfall. Entry is €3 to see the waterfall from the base, but you can hike to the top of the waterfall for free by heading up the trail towards Black Lake (Crno Jezero) and following the signs.

Lookout Painter

Lake Bohinj is also located next to Triglav National Park and there’s many trails to choose from ranging from easy to difficult. Hiking trails to consider include Black Lake (Crno Jezero) and Vogar lookout. Many of the trails start near the town of Stara Fuzina (a 15 minute walk from the Lake Bohinj bus stop) or near the Savica waterfall carpark.

Vintgar & Mostice gorges

Slovenia is simply gorgeous! Glacial waters have carved out many gorges throughout Slovenia and the good news is that they are easily accessible.

Located near Lake Bled is the captivating Vintgar Gorge. You can walk down a 1.6km section of the gorge via wooden boardwalks. Entry costs €5.

From Lake Bohinj, you can easily reach Mostice Gorge (Mostnice Korita in Slovene) and complete the circuit skirting both sides of the gorge. From the end of the Mostice Gorge, you can also choose to continue your hike up to Mostice Waterfall. Entry to the gorge is €3.

Soca Valley

If you’re after a scenic road trip, then take a drive to the Soca Valley.

The Soca Valley is best accessed by car and can be done as a day trip from Bled or Ljubljana. Tours are also available from Bled that take in this area.

One of the highlights in the Soca Valley is the sparkling turquoise water of the Soca River and the Tolmin Gorge, located in the southern section of Triglav National Park.

Entry into Tolmin Gorge is €5.

Tolmin Gorge

Things You Should Know

  • The main tourist destinations in Slovenia are well serviced by bus networks and buses leave every hour on the Ljubljana-Bled route and the Bled-Bohinj route.
  • At the time of writing, tickets cost €6.30 between Ljubljana and Bled and €3.80 between Bled and Bohinj lakes. Tickets can be bought from the driver in Bled and Bohinj, and from the bus station in Ljubljana.
  • If you want to head to the southern part of Triglav National Park, such as Tolmin Gorge and Soca Valley, you’ll need to hire a car. Cars can be hired at Ljubljana airport or in Ljubljana itself.
  • Tours are also offered to visit the highlights of the Soca Valley, and include a visit to Tolmin Gorge, various waterfalls, as well as a scenic drive down the scenic Vrsic mountain pass. Tours cost €65 at the time of writing and run from 8am to about 7pm, departing from Bled.
  • Slovene is the official language of Slovenia, however English is widely spoken.
  • July and August are the busiest months in Slovenia and it’s recommended to plan ahead for accommodation during this time, or simply travel in the shoulder months.

 

Lisa Owen is a pint-sized Australian following her dreams to travel to as many places as she can, and loves to share her photography, travel hacks, hiking adventures, and food discoveries along the way. At last count, she has travelled to more than 70 countries in between working in public relations and discovering hidden gems in Australia's great outdoors. Instagram: @thelittleadventurer. Facebook: The Little Adventurer Australia.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and are meant as travel inspiration only. They do not reflect the opinions of Cover-More Insurance. You should always read the Policy Documents available from your travel insurance provider to understand the limits, exclusions and conditions of your policy and to ensure any activities you undertake are covered by your policy.

 

 

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