The year 2020 will be remembered as the year when everything slowed down, we took a break from world travels and were able to enjoy time at home and with our loved ones. We are grateful for this time spent at “home”, as we re-discovered the beautiful places that our country has to offer. This incredibly small, yet super diverse and amazingly beautiful country has been gaining more and more recognition in the past few years. No wonder that also Conde Nast Traveller ranked Slovenia #1 as the Best Holiday Destination for 2021! And here are the top 10 places to see and visit in Slovenia that our TrekTrek travel team recommends:
CITY OF LJUBLJANA
Visit this green capital of Europe and stroll the streets of Slovenia’s capital, so small that it’s easy to navigate on foot. For amazing views and seeing the city from a birds’ perspective, walk up the castle hill or order a Spritz at the top floor of Ljubljana’s skyscraper Nebotičnik. The city will lay out underneath you and you’ll be able to see Kamnik – Savinja Alps in the distance. For historical update, visit the City museum of Ljubljana and we also recommend to try their coffee at museum’s coffeeshop – the best there is in Ljubljana! And if you happen to be in Ljubljana on a Friday, a stop at the Open Kitchen venue is a must! Restaurants offer their quick lunch on the stalls of Ljubljana main market place, but above all, its main purpose will feed your soul, not just your stomach. For locals the Open Kitchen is reserved for meeting friends and catching up with life stories.
This idyllic, picture perfect Alpine setting seduces every soul that visits this place. It’s generally a love at first sight! How could that not be, if there is a glacial lake with a small island in the middle of it and a castle perched on a cliff above it. To get this perfect photo shot, we advise you to hike up Mt Mala Osojnica (fairly steep, so be cautious), and make that big smile when you reach the top! Thumbs up! Then head back to the lake and hop on a standup paddleboard to visit the island and ring the bell of wishes (it’s inside a church, so dress properly; entry not allowed in swim suit). And a challenge for all the love birds out there – men, are you buff enough to carry your princes up 100 steps? This is a long lasting tradition in Bled that locals still respect. If a man wants to merry his fiancee, he must first prove he’s strong enough and committed to overcome all challenges in life to be able to provide a good life for her. Ready, steady, go!
Lonley Planet ranked Lake Bled #6 on their Ultimate travel list of places around the world to see in 2021!
SOČA VALLEY AND VRŠIČ PASS
Nicknamed “The emerald beauty” – Soča river is considered as one of the most beautiful rivers in the world. It’s home to all adrenaline seekers that love white water river rafting or kayaking. And a delightful retreat to all hikers seeking to find peace and solitude walking in pristine nature alongside the river. Walking upstream takes you to it’s source and if you continue even higher up the road, you reach the top of Vršič mountain pass. Vršič pass (name meaning Little peak) is with its 1,611 m (5,285 ft) the highest mountain pass in Slovenia. Cyclists also love this scenic road, so don’t miss it on our Cycling highlights of Slovenia tour. Many bypass the highest point only with a quick stopover for a photo of the spectacular view of surrounding mountains. But the pass is an excellent starting point for many hiking trails to nearby peaks. Our favourite trail leads towards Slemenova Špica (name meaning Ridge’s spike), which is one of the most photographed panoramic points in Julian Alps. A 360 degrees angle view is magnificent and can be reached within 1’5 hrs. Part of our Hiking Highlights of Slovenia itinerary.
BRDA WINE REGION
Brda wine region, Slovenia’s most beautifully stacked vineyards on rolling hills, border the Collio Goriziano region of Italy. Local wine producers have been cultivating grapevines, alongside traditional fruit production that is so characteristic of the Brda wine region. Over 200 years old method of wine producing, knowledge and love for vines and olives is passed from generation to generation. The moderate Mediterranean climate with the vicinity of Alpine peaks, providing just about the right amount of cool air and sufficient precipitation, is ideal for the production of dry wine. Movia, Klinec, Simčič, Kabaj, Sčurek, Kristančič, Jakončič, Dolfo are just some of the many local producers. They all produce high quality wines and some of them have been listed among Top 100 wineries of the world be Wine by the Wine & Spirits magazine more than once. Their reds have a very strong colour, a pronounced extract, with harmonious flavour and bouquet and are a great companion to the local smoked meats like prosciutto. Their whites are known to be gentle, balanced, fresh and most age really well. Put on some comfortable shoes and scout out the local wine cellars and enjoy the company of world-known local wine producers, who posses that exquisite blend of Italian and Slovenian temperament and culture that is so unique to this region.
VELIKA PLANINA PLATEAU
Arriving to Velika planina or the Big Pasture Plateau feels like a step back in time. Green meadows dotted with shepherds huts is like something out of the Brothers Grimm fairytale.
High Alpine pasture in Slovenia is primarily linked to the Alps, and Velika Planina Plateau, with its 1070 ha, represents the largest Slovenian mountain pasture area for grazing cattle. For the last few hundred years the shepherds tradition was to move cattle in summer months to the mountains to avoid buying fodder in the valley. The typical architecture of shepherds’ cottages is still preserved and while visiting them, you can find fresh dairy products. Make sure to taste some typical herdsmen’s meal – butter milk and buckwheat mush, or ajdovi žganci, as we call it.
Located at the foothills of Kamnik – Savinja Alps, Logar valley is considered as one of the most beautiful Alpine glacial valleys in Europe. If you’d like to experience the serenity and peacefulness of the Alps without all the crowds, this is our first pick and your best choice. Here you will find the perfect balance between natural sights, local farm-to-table cuisine, traditional way of living and some of the most comfortable and boutique accommodation in Slovenia.
TRIGLAV LAKES VALLEY
The Valley of the Triglav Lakes is an Alpine glacial valley. It is situated at the centre of The Triglav National Park, which is one of the oldest European parks. The first protection dates back to 1924 when the Alpine Conservation Park was founded.
Often referred to as The Seven Lakes Valley (although there are actually more than seven lakes). The number of the lakes is connected with our oral literature, and not with the actual number itself. The legends are still alive in this lovely alpine scenery … have you heard about Zlatorog, an ibex with golden horns?
The Valley boasts an interesting flora and fauna, fossils and Alpine animals. Colourful flowers and turquoise lakes among the rugged mountain landscape is true fairy-tale scenery. There are trails from all sides approaching the valley – from easy to moderate or challenging – choose your level and leave the rest to us! Triglav lakes valley is also part of our Hut to hut tour.
PIRAN AND THE COAST
Idyllic coastal town of Piran or Slovenian Venice, as many like to refer to it, gained its wealth and power trading precious salt which dates back to ancient Greece. Stroll the narrow medieval streets of the old town, where the famous composer Giuseppe Tartini was born. Find some of the finest olive oil an products made from raw salt, which is still being produced at the nearby salt pans. Dark chocolate with salt is one of our favourites! From the cathedrall hill, on a clear day, you see the city of Trieste and a stretch of the Italian coast. Cappuccino by the seaside here has a true Italian feeling.
One might say, just another cave! But this is not the case here. Škocjan caves with a volume of 2.2 million cubic meters are the largest known underground canyon in the world. Škocjan caves were first explored in the end of 19th century and have been part of the UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites since 1986, and in 1999 these caves were also entered on the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance. Here archaeologists discovered over 600 metal artefacts from the period between the 12th and 8th centuries B.C. Thus Škocjan caves are really worth the visit, not only because of their mystical underground, but also the beautiful nature park that expands on the surface above the caves. You’ll be amazed by the beautiful setting of Škocjan village, perched on a cliff above the Škocjan caves exit.
Less known big brother of Bled Lake is definitely Lake Bohinj, that prides with serene glacial waters, surrounded by lush green scenery and limestone peaks of Julian Alps all around. A true Alpine gem! Go for a walk around the lake on an easy accessible forest trail, passing numerous secluded beaches. Explore the nearby river Mostnica gorge, a true natural wonder. The trail along the river stream start at the Devil’s bridge and one of the most interesting natural wonders is the Elephant. Wondering what do the devil and elephant have to do with the Alps? Join us on our fully guided Road trip around Slovenia and learn about all local legends that are still very much alive and explore other less known, of the beaten track spots of Slovenia.