Slovenia is a small country in Central Europe, but its history is vast and the landscapes you can find there are rich and beautiful. The country has about two million inhabitants, covering an area of 20,273 km².
I did not meet all of them, but the Slovenes we met and interacted with were hospitable, warm, cheerful, and hard-working.
I can say that they are a successful mix of their neighbors: Italians, Austrians, Hungarians, and Slavs. They took the best from everyone.
I’m sure that those of you who crossed Slovenia by car were impressed by the quality of the infrastructure, the many tunnels and especially the alpine landscapes, covered with forests and green meadows, scattered from place to place with picturesque villages and churches on mountain tops.
This was our initial impression too, and we made a mental note to come and visit Slovenia one day, but the opportunity did not arise until recently.
A Vacation with Friends
It would have taken us a long time to visit Slovenia had it not been for the initiative of our friends, The Mocans.
They enjoyed some pieces of it in 2019, realized they had discovered a treasure, and now they wanted to go again. This time with more time available, a plan to visit several beautiful places, and a team of friends – including us.
If you have Instagram, look for the “Slovenia” highlight on their profile. There you will find some beautiful pictures from the first round. Follow them if you want to see more of their photos.
So here we are, three families and two children, embarking on a week-long adventure, in which we want to (re)discover a country with mountains, caves, sea and a rich history.
Before I tell you about a few of the places that are worth visiting, I will leave some useful information in case you want to visit Slovenia by car.
🇭🇺 The vignette for Hungary can be purchased online here:
🇸🇮 The vignette for Slovenia can be purchased online here:
What We Saw and Recommend
We stayed for a week, and we managed to see some places that impressed us.
The places were chosen, and our itinerary organized by our friends, The Mocans.
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to visit everything we planned, but the places we saw were stunningly perfect.
Kališe is an isolated village near the mountain top. It is not part of our itinerary as a destination, but we have the opportunity to spend a lot of time here, because our housing for our stay in Slovenia is here.
It is very beautiful. Everything is still here, and peaceful, and the landscapes we have are dreamlike.
The village is small, but the people are diligent and active. Next to us, we find an organic dairy farm. Just a little further away there is a place where we can find eggs, meat, and other local products.
It often rains at the end of the month, and almost every morning we wake up with mountains more or less covered in fog, which makes them even more breathtaking.
Kališe is not exactly a place to visit. It's a place for resting and enjoying. The pictures can’t really show the element of tranquility that you find there, disturbed only from time to time by the moo of a cow, or by the distant sound of a neighbor's tractor.
On the first day we arrived, we were convinced that this was our vacation, and we didn't need to see anything else for a week.
We indulged with a few days of relaxation here, but since we made our plans about the things we want to see in Slovenia, we set out to explore some of the other great places on the list.
We find out during this holiday that Slovenia has some shores in the Sea. Even if it's not much, there are 47 km of common border with the Adriatic Sea.
There are a couple of options regarding which seaside towns to visit, but we chose to go to Piran this time.
Piran is a fortress built on a peninsula. It is a place rich in history, with Mediterranean landscapes, and with strong Italian influences, especially in the cuisine.
After a delicious meal, we spend the rest of the day walking by the alleys and the seafront, swimming in the sea, eating ice cream, enjoying coffee, and admiring the beautiful city.
Our friends’ children especially enjoyed seeing the seagulls and animals from up close, and one particular cat experienced a lot of petting that day.
If you decide to see Piran, try to visit the city wall before 7pm. We arrived at 7.30pm, and it was already closed. It is the place that offers the widest view of the city.
Piran is beautiful. We recommend spending an afternoon or even a full day here. In addition to walking, eating good food, swimming in the sea, enjoying ice cream and coffee, you can enjoy the local museums: the Shell Museum, the Maritime Museum, the Museum of Underwater Activities, or the Aquarium.
Triglav National Park. By Car.
Yesterday we visited the sea. Today we will explore the mountains. But we will do so by car.
We are going to go around and cross the Triglav National Park on an absolutely epic road.
Here is the complete route on Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/2ueVca6ykhpKHjJn7.
Up to Mojstrana, the picturesque road takes us sometimes through villages, sometimes through winding roads; over hills and valleys. Slowly, the ridges of high mountains can be seen on the horizon.
The first objective of the day is the Pericnik Waterfall, which, however, we cannot reach because the road is under renovation 🤦♂️.
We go on to the next place, Mangart Peak, but we can't get there either because the access is blocked 🤦♀.️
However, we do not let this lower our spirits. The road is wonderful. We stretch our necks out the windows, so we can see the sharp peaks we pass, and we take frequent breaks to admire everything.
During one of the breaks we meet two Estonian hikers, who have chosen the right path, tackling the mountain on foot.
That's where we realize that the road is a paradise for motorcyclists. And it's not hard to see why.
The road is superb!
During one of the breaks, we also get some family portraits done. Thanks, @The Mocans!
The next destination is the Soča Gorges, where we again get to pose for some cute pictures.
But now comes the highest point of the route, after driving up dozens of steep twisting roads and reaching the Vršič Pass, in the heart of the Triglav National Park.
Once again, Paul uses his talent and gear on us. We take full advantage of this trip we are on with photographer friends, to have some more family photos taken of us.
The most spectacular view we had that day was on the descent from Vršič Pass. We were stuck there for a long time, admiring what unfolded in front of us.
The last stop of the day is at Jasna Lake, from where we can once again marvel at the mountains we just crossed.
After that, we end the day with a platter of meat for four people at a restaurant in Kranjska Gora, which we are unable to finish, even though we are six hungry people.
Then we return on the road while a torrential rain pours on us all the way home. It was a great day today. I hope to someday be able to go back and hike in these spectacular mountains.
I don't think Bled Lake needs any description.
With its blue water, surrounded by mountains, and with an island in the middle, on which a beautiful church is built, Bled Lake quickly captures its visitors.
Unfortunately, the weather did not suit us, and we admired other colors than we expected, but the lake is beautiful even in the rainy weather.
We climb for about 30 minutes through the rain, through the forest and, in some places, through the mud, to the Ojstrica viewpoint, so that we have a better view of the lake. Here is the recording of the mini-hike.
When we reach the viewpoint, the rain allows us to enjoy a few minutes watching the scenery and taking some pictures. If Bled lake is so beautiful during bad weather, I can only imagine how it looks in better conditions.
But the rain, the cold and the fog, which hides the surrounding mountains, give the lake a mysterious effect and urge us to return to Bled someday.
Predjama Castle is another of Slovenia's surprises, and all of us were wowed by it.
Built in rock in such a way that you don't know where the wall begins, and the rock ends, the castle is a fortress built in the Late Middle Ages, full of legends, which was used by the outlaw Erasmus of Luegg.
Inside the castle there is a museum, which tells the whole legendary history. I won't tell you more. Only that it’s worth a visit!
Predjama Castle is visited along with Postojna Cave. Details here.
The last Slovenian surprise was the huge Postojna Cave.
Just 15 minutes away from Predjama Castle, Postojna Cave hides a lot of interesting and impressive formations in the more than 24 km of underground galleries.
The cave is so big that the Slovenes have made a train to get to some of the beautiful places inside faster.
From the place where the train stops, we walk 1.5km, listening to the history of the cave and the description of the formations in it, told by a passionate guide.
There is nothing left to do in the cave but to marvel and marvel at all the majestic works. Works done in time, in the dark, which saw the light for the first time only about two hundred years ago.
It's worth visiting!
Our experience with Slovenia was extraordinary.
In Kališe, Piran, Triglav National Park, Bled, Predjama Castle or Postojna Cave, Slovenia has not ceased to amaze us with its natural beauty, historical richness and hospitality.
Have you been to Slovenia? What did you visit? Have you reached the mountains? On what hikes did you go? What good food did you enjoy? What impressed you the most?
We want to go back, and we've already started a list of places and experiences for the next visit.
Till’ next time!