I promised a more thorough description of my trip to Slovenia in my earlier posts, so here it goes!
Some facts about Slovenia:
- Slovenia is part of the European Union. It’s bordered by Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia.
- Capital City: Ljubljana (translates as “The Loved One”). It really is a lovable little city.
- Currency – Euros
- Language – the official language of Slovenia is in fact Slovenian, even so most Slovenians speak very good English and Italian, others also speak German and Croatian!
- Population: Approx. 2.1 million
- Driving – Left hand driving. Good road safety and infrastructure.
- Best time to visit – depends on what you’re after really. Summer time is the greenest, and most beautiful – that’s May – August. If you want to do some skiing visit during the winter season. I chose March, which is still considered low season… Hotels were cheaper, attractions quieter… I would suggest April/May – you’re likely to find most attractions open at the time, and nature at its most vibrant.
- About half of Slovenia is covered by forest. It is in fact one of the greenest countries in the world (that’s around 10,000 km² of lush, green, living nature for you).
- There are over 10,000 caves in the country. The most gigantic being the Postojna Caves. This is also home to the magical little creature known as the Olm, or Proteus. It’s a baby dragon, I swear it is! Which leads to my next fact…
- The official symbol of Ljubljana is the dragon, which is said to have been slayed by Jason (although locals might tell you otherwise 😉 ).
- You know that little chapel island on Lake Bled? You can actually get married there! But boys, you have to work hard on this one! You have to be able to carry your bride up ALL 99 steps to the chapel to be able to marry her. So get training!
- Slovenia has 1 vineyard or winery for every 70 people… No wonder this place is so amazing! Also, the world’s oldest wine, at 400 years of age, is located in the town of Maribor.
- It only has 46 km of coastline – don’t worry, it is little but it’s pure quality, through and through.
- Slovenia has one of the largest populations of brown bears in Europe. ❤
- The amazingly handsome Lipizzaner horse stud was established in 1580 – Lipica. These white horses are absolutely stunning and they are very valuable. They’re also ALL born pitch black, or dark brown…. Their colour fades into a brilliant white when they mature! They dance and prance and are just gorgeous creatures to behold. Visit them if you can.
- Triglav National Park is one of the oldest, and in my opinion, the most beautiful, parks in Europe.
My first impression of Slovenia – Magic…. I knew it was pretty; all the postcard photos prepare you for the picturesque Lake Bled, quaint and sparkling Ljubljana canals, and the immensity of the Postojna Caves. Even so, I truly wasn’t expecting to fall as deeply in love with this little country as I did. There’s something about the place… You can actually feel it… An old, serene sort of magic… The magic of rocky mountains and bubbling rivers, of emerald-green lakes and mysterious forests… Sure, Bled is beautiful with it’s pretty red-roofed castle on top of its craggy mountain ledge… Perched above the gorgeous Lake Bled and her little church island. But what about the magnificent beauty of the Julian Alps, the mirror-like emerald waters of Lake Bohinij and the dignified, almost Venetian Adriatic coast villages? What about the food? Oh the fooood! And the WINE!!! Absolutely divine wine!
Slovenia’s current slogan is “I Feel Slovenia”. After visiting this breath-taking country I can truly say that I DO understand what this slogan implies… Slovenia is not just a place to visit… It’s a feeling….
Travelling to Slovenia was actually a happy coincidence for me. My partner wanted to get me a Xmas gift I would truly love, so he told me to pick a flight (YESSSSS, he really does know me <3), and plan a trip anywhere I wanted within Europe (we were on a budget). I was actually looking into visiting Northern Italy (again… I know, I know…) I wanted to visit the Aosta Valley region as I have never been to the area, so I was looking at the Ryanair website, thinking about the best airport options when I noticed the “Special Offer” section on the page… Basically, return flights from Malta to Treviso airport would cost €140.00 for two (including one checked in luggage!!). I had recently been to Venice so I knew I didn’t want to revisit that area again for the time being…. Then it hit me, SLOVENIA!!! Only an hour or so away from the airport!! So we went for it!
Booked flights for mid March – actual dates being 21st March to 29th and started my planning! We did rent a car… You MUST rent a car when in Slovenia… It’s cheap (fuel is dirt cheap when compared to other EU countries), roads are well structured, and driving is easy and straight forward. Plus, the country itself is quite small so travelling between different locations is not too long… The longest commute we had lasted about 1 hour 40 minutes… And that was when driving from Treviso Airport to Ljubljana, other trips took us between 30 – 40 minutes on average. We rented a little Smart car from Sixt… It cost around €140.00 for 9 days. Our luggage and two carry ons fit perfectly in the booth and it’s an extremely fuel-efficient and comfortable little car! Ideal for driving through little Slovenian villages! I have my own Garmin Navigation System, which cut down rental costs on the car… So if you’re planning a road trip anytime soon, invest in a GPS system, or use your phone to navigate (Google Maps is very reliable and accurate!), it’s really much cheaper than additional rental costs! That’s about it really… The day finally came and off we went, into the mystery that is Slovenia!
A little summary of how I worked out my itinerary for the trip before I go into further details:
- 21st March – Arrive in Treviso (morning arrival – around 10:30AM) – get rental car and drive to Ljubljana. Check into hotel and explore the city in the afternoon. Spend the night in Ljubljana.
- Lodging: Adora Hotel Total Cost for 2 nights: €180.00 (including on site parking which we paid €9.00 daily for) including breakfast
- 22nd March – Spend a whole day seeing Ljubljana – visit the castle and the market and any other notable attractions. Once again spend the night in the city.
- 23rd March – Get an early start – Drive from Ljubljana to Lake Bled. Pass through Skofja Loka on the way (it’s a very old, and very pretty little town). Get to Lake Bled – visit castle if possible and check into hotel. Spend the night in Bled.
- Lodging: Hotel Villa Preseren Bled Total Cost for 2 nights: €160.00 including free parking and free breakfast.
- 24th March – See Bled and it’s surroundings – visit the Vintgar Gorge and Lake Bohinij if possible. Spend our second night in Bled.
- 25th March – Travel from Bled to the Postojna Caves – also visit Predjama Castle. Spend the night in the vicinity.
- Lodging: Smerkarjeva Domacija Total Cost for 1 night: €40.00 including breakfast.
- 26th March – Visit Lipica (Lipizzaners!!!) and then make our way towards Piran by the sea. Spend the night in beautiful Piran.
- Lodging: Hotel Piran Total Cost for 1 night: €64.00 including breakfast.
- 27th March – Explore Piran, then drive towards the Vipava Valleys to get some wine tasting on! Spend the night in Vipava.
- Lodging: Majerija Total Cost for 1 night: €110.00 (that’s including a breakfast we paid an extra €20.00 for).
- 28th March – Say goodbye to beautiful Slovenia and drive towards Treviso, Italy for the last day of the trip. Enjoy the old city and spend the night.
- Lodging: Guest House Mini Suite Deluxe Isole di Mezzo Total Cost for 1 night: €72.00
- 29th March – Early flight back to Malta 😦 End of holiday.
That about sums it up. I’m going to share ‘some’ more photos and info in further detail in my upcoming posts, starting with Ljubljana, which I will delve into shortly. Just finalising some photos etc and will continue with my writing! Hope this little piece has been helpful so far! Stay tuned for more! 😀