Last summer, I was lucky enough to tick another place off my bucket list, when I visited Slovenia for a two week break. Home to some of the most breathtaking national parks, lakes and castles, Slovenia had me excited from the get-go.
We stayed in an AirBnB in the town of Bled, home to the famous and picturesque Lake Bled. The AirBnB was everything we wanted it to be, it was small but perfectly formed and we enjoyed lazy mornings eating breakfast on the balcony and nights snuggled up on the sofa, listening to the thunderstorms (I’ll come onto the weather later!)
The town of Bled itself doesn’t have a great deal to offer- there are a few restaurants and touristy shops but there isn’t a huge amount to see in terms of sights or to do. We found however, it was quite a good place to base yourself in if you have a car as most of the places we were interested in visiting were on that side of the country.
On our first night we stumbled across an incredible pizzeria which we actually revisited on the last night of our holiday; I would definitely recommend- both the food and the service were brilliant. Lake Bled as well was just beautiful- crystal clear waters and a hive of activity in places and quieter in other parts. We spent our first day in Slovenia wondering around the lake (you can easily walk around it in a day) and visiting the island in the middle. To do this, we hired a rowing boat and had great fun attempted to get ourselves over to the island. Once there, you can moor your boat and look around the tiny island. There’s a church, and some very steep steps- Slovenian tradition has it that the groom has to carry his wife to be up the 99 steps to the church. We rowed around the entire island before making our way back to Lake Bled’s shore- would absolutely recommend a visit here.
Whilst Lake Bled is gorgeous, there are actually some other phenomenal lakes nearby which are not as touristy but are equally as beautiful. We visited Lake Bohinj the following day and it could not have been more peaceful or relaxing. There were a few locals dotted around the lake but other than that we pretty much had the lake to ourselves. A lovely alternative to Bled and part of a National Park that has lots of different natural features on offer, including Savica waterfall.
While in Slovenia, we had to visit the capital, which is Ljubljana. We were warned of the astronomical car parking fees so decided to get the train in instead which worked well! Ljubljana is one of the nicest cities I’ve visited- the old town was so pretty and there were so many amazing cathedrals, churches and monuments to visit. We were also spoilt for choice with restaurants where you can try out some of the local Slovenian cuisine.
Other highlights of the holiday included a trip to Piran, this was our favourite day trip by far and I can not recommend a visit here enough. Situated by the sea, this small fishing town is absolutely breathtaking. The architecture is gorgeous and there are so many lovely little alleyways, coffee shops and restaurants. The Clock tower is a must-see- although be warned that the wooden steps up to the top are a tad rickety. St George’s Cathedral is also beautiful, as are the beaches doted around. It’s full of history and is definitely a place you can explore in a day, would absolutely love to revisit this town in the future.
Two more mentions have to go to Predjama Castle and Ptuj. We visited a lot of castles in Slovenia, including Ljubljana Castle (also excellent), Bled Castle (not so worth the visit- except for the view of Lake Bled) and Ptuj Castle but Predjama Castle was the best by far. It’s very location is unbelievable- situated in the middle of a towering cliff and is one of the largest cave castles in the world. We visited the caves first which are underneath the castle- as someone who does not like enclosed spaces or the dark, I can’t say that this was a highlight for me but I can completely appreciate how amazing this cave system was even if the route through it for me was a tad traumatic! If that’s not worth the visit alone than the castle certainly is- there’s an audio guide that tells you a bit about each room in the castle- there’s a really good amount of information and so much to see! There’s even a bell you can ring and make a wish- mine hasn’t come true just yet but hoping that one day it will. An incredible place and definitely worth the visit and money.
The final shout out has to go to Ptuj where we spent the day wine tasting which was one of the funniest moments of our holiday! We went on a private tour of a wine cellar and then got to taste a variety of different wines which were generously poured to say the least. All I can say is thank goodness for the cheesy bread they provided and if you’re thinking of going then definitely eat something before hand as the wine is fairly strong and plentiful! Whilst wine tasting we also learnt a little bit about the history of Ptuj and the wine wars in that area which was very interesting. If your staying locally to Ptuj then I definitely think a wine tour and tasting session should be on your to-do-list.
If you’re interested in visiting Slovenia, I would really recommend the Lonely Planet’s Travel Guide to Slovenia- we used this so much and it had a lot of helpful information, maps and advice in it. I would also recommend taking a look at this website which has a lot of useful information and helped us decide where to visit!
One final word about the weather- we went for two weeks and whilst the first week was beautifully sunny, the second week thunder-stormed every single day! This did not in any way ruin our holiday (I think being British, you get used to the unpredictable weather and don’t let these things faze you) but an umbrella and a waterproof jacket probably would have been a good idea!
Have you been to Slovenia? If so, where were your favourite places? If not, why not book a trip this year? I’d love to hear about your adventures there!