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Slovenia: Diversity of forests, mountain landscapes and coastal life

Slovenia, which covers just 20,000 square kilometers, is located in southern Europe. It also marks the border with Eastern Europe, as it borders Hungary , and is the northernmost state of the former Republic of Yugoslavia. In the far southwest there is even a small access to the Mediterranean Sea. Despite its size, Slovenia is enormously diverse. On the Adriatic coast, the immediate vicinity of Italy and Croatia also gives rise to holiday feelings, while in the north it is bordered by the Alps. Almost 60 percent of Slovenia’s area is covered by forest and over 9,000 karst caves are scattered throughout the country. The many small towns, often picturesquely situated on the river or lake, also awaken a feeling of deceleration, where you can relax wonderfully.

Ljubljana: Cultural centre of Slovenia

Old Town of Piran
Old town of Piran, Image: Andrew Mayovskyy / shutterstock

About 280,000 people live in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana . The city unfolds its special charm through its mixture of Mediterranean flair and Austrian small-town atmosphere. Since no cars are allowed in the city center of Ljubljana, the city often seems cozy and sleepy despite its tourists.

Top landmarks in Ljubljana

Ljubljana Castle is perched on a hill above the city and can therefore be seen from everywhere. The monument, which was built in the 11th century, is easily accessible on foot and by car, but also by a glass inclined elevator.

Probably as famous as the castle is the Tivoli Castle. Located in the heart of Tivoli Park, it was built in the 17th century and is now home to the International Graphic Arts Centre.

Llublijana
The castle towers over Llublijana, Image: hbpro / shutterstock

A walk through the historic old town of Ljubljana is also a good idea. There, for example, the impressive Cathedral of St. Nicholas and the Franciscan Church on Prešeren Square, the main square of the city, are presented.

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For those interested in art, a visit to the Moderna Galerija art museum should be interesting. If you want to learn more about the history of Slovenia, you can visit the Slovenian National Museum or the National Museum of Recent History.

Relaxing at Lake Bled

Slovenia, Lake Bled
Lake Bled, Image: JGA / shutterstock

Probably the most famous and most photographed place in Slovenia is Bled on Lake Bled. Located near the Austrian border, a picturesque picture of wooded rocky landscape and a glittering lake stretches out in front of the visitor. In the middle of the lake there is a small island that can be visited in summer by electric boat or rowing boat. The Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, built on it, is a popular place for couples to get married. According to tradition, the groom carries his future wife up the 99 steps to the church to demonstrate his love for her. Directly on the lake on a steep rock, the castle of Bled was built. This can be visited together with the castle museum; however, the visit is particularly worthwhile because of its spectacular view over the Alpine landscape.

The coastal town of Piran

Piran is located on a promontory jutting out into the Mediterranean Sea. The coastal city is one of the most picturesque places in the country and – part of the Venetian Empire from the 13th to the 18th century – boasts Mediterranean architecture. The old town of Piran is quite small and consists mainly of narrow streets, so you can only move around on foot. Strolling across Tartini Square with its Venetian House, you reach the harbour, where small boats bob on the water. If you like, you can visit St. George’s Cathedral on the northern cliff. The town is surrounded by the old city wall, from which you have a beautiful view over Piran and the surrounding countryside.

Explore cave landscapes

The most famous caves in Slovenia are located in Postojna and can be visited by small train and on foot. Impressive stalactite halls and an underground river await visitors there. In 1986, the Škocjan Caves were included in the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage List. The caves there have been inhabited since the Mesolithic Age and can be visited along with the surrounding villages and a museum on a circular route.

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Ski jumping in Kranjska Gora

Located at the foot of the Alps lies the small ski resort of Kranjska Gora. The area here is especially known to winter sports enthusiasts; international ski jumpers train at the Planica Nordic Centre.

Isonzo
The Isonzo, Soča, is a river in the Goriška region of Slovenia, Image: JGA/shutterstock

Along the Soča River

The blue-green Soča River flows along on a limestone board in northwestern Slovenia. The beautiful natural landscape of the Julian Alps is best explored on a hike or rushing across the river in a kayak. Nearby is Triglav, the highest mountain in Slovenia, where the Soča River originates.

Castles and monasteries on the Krka River

The region of southeastern Slovenia is also worth a visit. Here, the castles and monasteries mark the former border with the Ottoman Empire. Of particular note here are the Ribnica Castle, the Žužemberk Castle and Otočec, the only island castle in Slovenia.

Maribor, Slovenia
Maribor, Image: Roman Babakin / shutterstock

In addition to the attractions mentioned here, there is of course much more to see in Slovenia. The small country between Austria, Italy, Hungary and Croatia offers every traveller a variety of activities and excursion destinations – whether it’s a family holiday by the sea, hikes, mountain climbs or a relaxed stroll through the small towns. If you want to spend even more time in Slovenia, you can visit Maribor, the second largest city in Slovenia, go in search of brown bears in the Kočevje primeval forest or take in Slovenia’s eventful history in Ptuj, the oldest city in the country. Slovenia is also interesting for tourists interested in culinary delights. The cuisine is strongly influenced by Austria and Yugoslavia and is therefore very heavy on meat and fish. Internationally, however, the most famous is probably pumpkin seed oil. The nutty, dark oil can be found in many dishes, especially in salads and cold dishes.