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Sandwiched between Croatia and Austria in the heart of Europe you’ll find stunning Slovenia. It has just 47km of coastline on the Adriatic Sea and although it might not boast beautiful beaches like its neighbour, the country’s landscapes are a sight to behold and it has a little something for everyone.
So, if you’re yet to visit this little gem here’s exactly why it should be next up on your bucket list.
Slovenia is known for its glacial lakes, picturesque mountains and baroque style towns and cities but pictures don’t do this place justice. One of the most alluring things about this country is its inescapable natural beauty and this shouldn’t change anytime soon as approximately 60% of the country is covered by forest and 1/3 is protected land.
You’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a landscape painting because as soon as you arrive the country’s demanding vistas capture your attention. Not only will you experience azure lakes and encompassing snow-topped mountains but the varied landscape also brings dramatic valleys, gorges and aquamarine rivers cutting through the Soča Valley.
Lake Bled is Slovenia’s most famous beauty spot and draws visitors from all over the world, which is no surprise because the spectacular setting is like something out of a fairy tale.
The lake is surrounded by the snowcapped Julian alps and Bled Island sits tranquilly in the middle of the water, which is barely disturbed apart from the swans and traditional wooden boats that take visitors to and from the island.
The total distance around the lake is 6km and makes for the most scenic walk taking around an hour and a half. Along the way, you’ll find pretty swimming spots, gorgeous views perfect for picture stops, cafes where you can indulge in the acclaimed Bled Cream Cake and you’ll also come across the toboggan at Straza Bled. Take the chair lift to the top of the hill and enjoy the views as you ride down the side of the hill.
For the ultimate breathtaking view of the lake and surroundings climb up to Blejski grad (Bled Castle) or take a steep hike up Ojstrica to find a secluded spot that offers the most magnificent panoramic view of the lake.
In Slovenia, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy your holiday knowing that your bank balance won’t suffer. Although Slovenia’s currency is the euro, the country is quite cheap compared to nearby countries such as Switzerland, Austria and Italy.
Things are priced much lower in Slovenia, wine, beer and coffee are remarkably cheap and you can dine out for as little as £10 a meal. In terms of food, transport and accommodation, Slovenia is amazingly affordable and your budget will stretch a lot further.
Slovenia is one of the safest countries in the world with extremely low crime rates. It’s ranked as the 8th safest country according to the Global Peace Index and ranks higher than both Japan and Norway. Life remains divinely undisturbed in Slovenia, parents still let their children play in the streets without worry and people feel safe enough to walk almost anywhere, even late at night.
Not only is the country safe but it’s also incredibly clean. The country isn’t just green in colour but it’s also green in attitude and the preservation of Slovenia’s land is a result of the respect that the Slovenes have for their environment. The streets are surprisingly immaculate, there are very low levels of litter, buildings are pristine and you won’t find any chewing gum on the pavements. Virtually all major and minor roads have designated cycles lanes and the centre of the country’s capital, Ljubljana, is car-free obligating National Geographic to name Slovenia the world’s most sustainable country in 2018.
This Central European country remains a secret that many are yet to discover. If you’re the kind of traveller that prefers to explore off the beaten track free of crowds and surrounded by serenity, then head to Slovenia before it becomes overrun with tourists. You’ll be astonished at how quiet and laid back even the most popular of places are.
Ljubljana is Slovenia’s charismatic capital and its easygoing, reserved atmosphere is sure to steal your heart. Ljubljana’s striking hilltop castle is perhaps its most treasured and visited landmark. You can reach the castle by funicular, walking paths, or public transport and once you’re there you can enjoy the stunning views of the city from the Outlook Tower, delve into the Slovenian history or dine in one of the two award-winning restaurants.
The city has lots more to see and do such as; numerous museums, strolls along the Ljubljanica River, and bike rides around the attractive Tivoli park. The very centre of the city is car-free and means you can wander through the cobbled streets at ease whilst breathing in the fresh air or dine by the river without disturbance.
The Slovenes are very kind, friendly, welcoming and helpful. The majority go out of their way to assist anyone who needs it. Around 59% of Slovenians speak exceptional English and they are always keen to engage in conversation, however, it’s always respectful to learn some key phrases before beginning your adventure, this will also help in lesser-known areas where it can be slightly more challenging to communicate.
If you’re taking a taxi ride you can expect a good chit chat on your journey, waiting staff in restaurants are extremely hospitable and hotel/accommodation staff are always willing to go above and beyond.
Now it’s time to start planning your trip just make sure you remember your travel insurance.
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