Slovenia is a hidden gem in the Mediterranean… a country with a beauty to rival Switzerland or Austria but with nowhere near the same amount of tourists. It is however, undoubtedly becoming more popular as a short-break European destination and this is only likely to continue as more and more people discover its many delights, most notably the natural landscapes and the opportunities for outdoors activities that will lead you to best see and appreciate them.
One of the most notable things upon arriving in the Slovenian capital is how many bicycles there are and how easy it is to ride a bicycle here. There are cycle lanes everywhere and in a lot of the streets you’ll find more bicycles than cars so if you want to really embrace the laid-back Slovenian city vibe be prepared to hop on your bike.
EVERY CASTLE INVOLVES A HIKE
If you’re visiting Slovenia you’ll inevitably at some point visit a castle and for the obvious reason that it was a good defence strategy to be as high above your enemies as possible, these are often situated at the top of a hill. No difference here to any other castles in Europe, except for that in Slovenia most of these historical attractions have not yet been tourist-adapted. That means the only way to reach them is a short but often steep hike up to the top. You may like to partake in this activity whilst singing a round of Ed Sheeran with your companions to keep you going…
If you don’t mind some mild exercise you’ll be absolutely fine scaling most of the hills around Ljubljana and Bled to reach any of the castles… and if you’re a keen hiker there are even more opportunities in the surrounding areas – Slovenia after all is bordered by the Alps mountain range!
SO MANY CAVES, SO LITTLE TIME
Slovenia has the biggest percentage of caves compared to its size of anywhere in the world. There are thought to be 8000 caves and sinkholes running under the country with many of them open for the public to explore either by foot, train or more adventurous means!
You could opt to visit the most popular tourist attraction in Slovenia, Postojna Caves, or the less publicised UNESCO World-Heritage listed Skocjan Caves. There are also many other options such as Koroska on the Northern coast where you can ride a bike through the disused mine tunnels or Pekel Cave, which is home to the country’s largest waterfall (a waterfall in a cave!)
Caving, usually involving some kind of ropes, climbing and/or crawling through tunnels, is possible in Smica and Mala Boka and can be undertaken with a tour company such as Aktivni Planet.
WATER SPORTS GALORE
If you’ve in Slovenia chances are you’ll take a trip to Lake Bled and while you’re there you’ll want to visit the island in the middle of the lake. While the river cruise option offers comfort and relaxation, it’s undeniably a lot more fun to hire a row boat to reach your destination (although it does involve quite a bit of man power!)
Similarly you can hire kayaks for a paddle on the lake and also around other parts of Slovenia… there are some places where it is possible to kayak through the caves (or for the even more thrill-seeking raft your way through!)
If you hadn’t already realised I definitely think Slovenia is a top destination for anyone who loves exploring and adventuring in nature… there are activities to suit every level of fitness and adrenaline-seeker. Plus with it being so compact and well-served by transport it’s easy to get around and fit in everything in such a short amount of time.
Have you been adventuring in Slovenia? Where was your favourite place and what did you do there? Let me know in the comments below!