Slovenia – Things you must do

Fresh back from an incredible week in Slovenia, we wanted to share this awesome place with you as quickly as we could, so we started writing this on our way home. Slovenia is a beautiful country, untouched by tourism in most places and full of nature, mountains, fresh air and breath-taking views. This is certainly a place to go to unwind and re-charge.

We were deciding on where to go for a much needed break in May, started taking a look at Croatia, Italy… a few places in this part of the world, then we stumbled upon Slovenia. Although this was not a place we had really considered before, within half an hour of looking at pictures, reviews and what to do whilst there, we knew that this was the place!

Through Airbnb, we found an amazing log cabin in the middle of the alps so we got this booked quickly and also booked a hire car from the airport. Slovenia is a fairly small country, so doable by car if you want to drive around, we would certainly recommend doing it this way rather than just visiting the capital.

We did a fair amount of research on where to go, what to do. So here is our guide of what we did during the week, places to visit, places to eat, things to do and most importantly… things to see.

Sunday – Holiday time!

A short flight and we had arrived, we picked up our car and started to drive towards the mountains. Everything around us was so green, the views were already stunning and kept getting better and better. We started driving up the winding mountain roads until we reached Zgornje Jezersko, a small village with around 600 inhabitants, this would be our home for the next week. The first glimpse of our log cabin had us so excited, in the middle of nowhere, with mountain views and firewood ready to chop! Perfect!

Once settled, we ventured out to a local restaurant for dinner – Gostisce Ob Plansarskem Jezeru (long name!). Really friendly locals here and a perfect setting, overlooking a loveheart-shaped lake surrounded by the mountains. After dinner we took a nice stroll around the lake and continued to be amazed by the colour of the water in Slovenia.

Monday – The Capital

Ljubljana was an hour or so from where we were staying, so really easy to get to. We arrived around 11ish and decided our first stop would be a coffee and pastry overlooking the 3 bridges to start the day off!

Our morning stroll around the capital took us on a trip to see the well know sights in Slovenias capital: the 3 bridges, then up to Ljubljana Castle for a great view across the city, followed by discovering the remains of a roman wall.

After a fair bit of walking we stopped for lunch, on the quest for a local and traditional Slovenian restaurant we came across a place called ‘Julija’, and it really delivered! In the back streets off the main pathways and out of the way of tourists, this lovely restaurant is well worth visiting, and the food is amazing.

In the afternoon, we continued our adventure in the capital walking along the river to find the green dragon bridge, exploring the city centre and wandering around local streets admiring the buildings. The best way to discover Ljubljana is to just get lost in it, the city has such a chilled vibe and is all accesible by foot. All in all a really nice day out, you only need a day here for visiting.

Tuesday – The big drive! Triglav National Park via Vrsic Mountain Pass

We stumbled upon Vrsic Pass by chance on a blog in the morning, for some reason it didn’t seem to be that well publicised though we were so glad we found it! Triglav is the only national park in Slovenia and it is full of so many beautiful sites. We made our way there and started heading up the mountain pass, roughly 1 hour through the pass though you will be stopping a lot along the way.

With 50 sharp mountain turns in the road, a Russian chapel to see, your own rock formation to build, a creepy tunnel to explore, beautiful turquoise rivers and gorges to admire, this is certainly one of the best road trips we have ever had.

The drive home was an interesting one, a good few hours of some very tight and high up roads, exciting for me though nearly giving Ivan a breakdown at points! Once we reached home it was time to get cosy and put the log fire on.

Wednesday – Vintgar gorge & Lake Bled

This was more of a touristy day, which felt strange afer a few days of no tourism, though we are glad we saw these places as taking the tourism aside, they really are beautiful. We drove to Vintgar Gorge, a strange feeling as you make your way through tiny village roads and then reach a large car park with about 5 busses of Chinese tourists.

We got our hiking boots on and followed the trail all they way, with photo stops it takes around an hour and a half there and back (1.6k). The water here is amazing, it literally seems like a tropical paradise. And when you reach the hut at the end, there is a pretty cool waterfall waiting for you. Though our secret tip is to walk down the steps on the right of the hut, there is a small bridge to cross & a forest trail to follow for a few minutes, then you come out right by the bottom of the waterfall.

We jumped back in the car and made our way to Lake Bled, less than 30mins away. Lake Bled is probably the most touristy place you will find in Slovenia, though it is still worth the visit. And when we say touristy in Slovenia, we are only talking a few shops / restaurants that make it feel this way, you just feel the difference because it is such a stark contrast from the mountains. The lake is stunning, reflecting the surrounding landscape like a mirror with a pretty church in the middle on a island.

We think a lot of people take boats out to ride to the island, though we opted to walk right around the lake (4 miles), and this is another thing we would really recommend. You get to see Lake Bled and its beautiful surroundings from so many different view points, it makes for some great pictures! We grabbed some food (famous Bled cream cake) – not amazing though it has to be done! Then got back in the car and drove up to Bled Castle.

We had already been to see two castles by this point, so Shay was a little apprehensive about visiting a 3rd. Though quite honestly we loved this castle! It is 1000 years old, which we couldn’t quite believe as they have done such a good job of preserving it. When the time comes for us to get married, we know we both want to get married in a castle and this gave us a feel for exactly the type of thing we would love! Ahhh, scary!

Thursday – Postojna Cave & a big food day!

Thursday started with a perfect breakfast in our cabin.

We knew two things about this day… we wanted to visit Postojna Cave, the biggest cave in Europe, and we wanted to eat a lot of traditional food! Heading to the big cave we were unsure of how it would make us feel, after the unforgettable adventure in Vietnam to Hang En cave, could anything even come close?

We pulled up at the entrance, this is also the worlds first cave to have a train built inside to take you around. We knew it was going to be very different though we said to each other ‘let’s still appreciate the cave for it’s natural beauty & try to see past the human touch!’

Queuing to get into the cave was the weirdest experience ever! You have to go and stand by a pole dependant on which launguage you speak, “if you are English stand here, Italian stand here, German stand here,” it was really strange. We boarded the open train and away we went! Faster than expected and make sure you wrap its pretty cold inside!

The train took us through a few twists and turns and then opened up into the cave, it is breathtaking, we had never seen so many staligtites & stalagmites. The rock is full of rich red, white and grey colours, it was much bigger than we had expected. The train then stops and you walk part of the trail on foot, learning about the history of the 25km cave and making your way through contrasting chambers. The tour ends in a pretty cool way too, you get to see cave dragons (a species of salamander) that live in the cave.

We would recommend seeing this cave, its sheer size and beauty have to be admired. Though for us, the feeling of backpacking and exploring a cave that has been completely untouched is so different, and something we will always remember first.

FOOD! Two local places that we went to this day. For lunch we drove to a village really close to the cave and ate at a place called ‘Storja Pod Stopnicami‘. This place was our favourite out of everywhere we ate in Slovenia. Great staff, a really local feel to it and the food was incredible!

For dinner that day we decided to head back into Ljubljana as it was on the way home. We ate a BBQ meat restaurant called ‘Kralj Zara’, this place didn’t feel as local though the steak was amazing, one of the best we have ever had! The venue is really cool too.

Friday – Exploring Jezersko

Although the week had been so relaxing, we had still done a fair amount, so it felt like we were in need of a chill day / less driving & more walking around the local area. The weather also helped us make this decision as it was pouring down, so the morning started with a log fire, a movie time in our log cabin… so cosy!

Then we made our way back to the local lake for lunch and got our walking boots back on. We are so glad we did this walk, Jezersko is a beautiful place that almost seems lost in time. With scattered farm houses, open fields and meadows, surrounded by the stunning Alps, you really feel detached from London life. That’s for sure!

Our route took us on a path to explore a local church – Church of St Andrew, which had the oldest Fresco art in Slovenia, we felt quite privaledged to see this. We then walked past Jenkins Barracks Museum, more than 500 years ago this building was used to offer lodging for merchants who travelled between Carniloa and Carinthia.

We then stopped for a magical refreshment from a natural mineral water spring – Jerska Slatina, before finally reaching an awesome view point over the village, this showed the beautiful valley in all its glory!

Saturday – Home time

We managed to fit in one last trip before heading home, stopping at a local village called Preddvor. Another nice local place to eat, and of course… it comes complete with a stunning view over Crmava lake.

Overall & top tips –

Slovenia is a beautiful country, if you are looking to get away from the hustle and bustle, feel at one with nature and really appreciate stunning natural landscapes this has to be the place. Over the course of the week we spent just over €600 between us, this included the fuel and food so things are really well priced (also to do with avoiding spending too much time in the touristy places).

Our top recommendation would be to do this by car, don’t stay in Ljubljana for a city break as this only gives you a very small insight into Slovenia. The beauty of this country lies in the untouched parts, in its mountains and national park, they will leave you feeling completely refreshed and appreciative of Mother Nature.

This country also offers some incredible hikes, so if you are a keen mountaineerer, this is a great place to check out!

If there is anything you want to know that we haven’t answered please ask away!

We hope you enjoyed the read and like the pictures too!

Shay & Iban 👬 🇸🇮

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