7 recommended stops for luxury travellers in Slovenia

Consider scenic Slovenia for your next summer getaway. Pick a bunchful of “cherries” to top your travel kremsnita (cream cake)! Much positive feedback from visitors convinced us to spend a leisurely fortnight in this small country of breathtaking beauty. As Slovenia does not cover a large region, criss-crossing the beautiful countryside and coastal areas was a most pleasant and leisurely journey of discovery. One can easily stay in one place, albeit accommodation in a luxurious hotel, villa or apartment, and zig zag around at leisure. Hire a private taxi, rent your own car, get on the bus, board a train, the choice is yours!

Vintgar ravine

Ljubljana – an ideal stay-over destination

South of Austria lies Slovenia, where we selected Ljubljana as stay-over choice, from where many attractions can be explored in well-chosen day excursions, eg. the Postojna Caves, Lipica, Maribor, Skofja Loka, Radovljca. For a variety of scenery we also explored Bled, near the northern Julian Alps, and Piran, the southern coastal region.

The capital Ljubljana, (tongue twister!) was nicknamed by us as “jubeljana” (jubilant!), to verbally express the charismatic, happy ambience we experienced there. From our centrally located apartment close to the Ljubljanica river, which forms the main artery of the city, we could feel the throbbing vibe of student vitality, and admire the architectural styles of buildings, squares and bridges, of which Preseren Square at the Triple Bridge is the most famous and active.

Preseren square Slovenia

This old part of the city on the riverside is the pulsating heart of Ljubljana, with restaurants, boutiques, markets, and many lively activities on each square. Alleys, bridges, riverboats, a tourist train, all conjure up some or other unexpected surprise: open churches, sculpture fountains, artisans’ stalls, fresh produce markets, celebrations and demonstrations.

Ljubljanica river Slovenia

Similar to several other cities in the world, Ljuljana also has a love lock bridge. Curiously though, the Slovenian love lock bridge seems to represent exactly the opposite of never-ending love, due to two reasons: it has the unromantic name of the Butcher’s Bridge and the sculptures on the bridge represent historical events like Adam and Eve being banished from Paradise. Maybe this irony makes the footbridge even more interesting and worthwhile to visit!

Love lock bridge Slovenia

Hovering high above all the cultural and economic activities, lies the old Castle from where there is a magnificent panorama.

Ljubljana view from castle Slovenia

Postojna – caverns and castles and Lippizaners

The Postojna caverns, not far from Ljubljana, is an undescribable natural wonder. Of the approximate 20 km caverns filled with stalagmites and stalagtites (which grow only 1 mm every 100 years!), some distance is partly accessible by a small automatic rack-train, or further on foot, accompanied by expert guides.We were literally transported back in time, millions and millions of years back, through these unforgettable cave “time tunnels”. Jaw-dropping, unbelievable, awesome, magnificent… Alas, my vocabulary fails to do verbal justice to this magnificent sight!

Postoinja caves Slovenia

Nearby, skillfully built and carved into the porous karst rock edifice, lies the historical Predjama Castle, which has an interesting Slovenian version of a medieval Robin Hood. Accessible and open to the public, this is another fascinating visit.

Those with a passion for horses, especially the magnificent Lippizaners, might just find themselves lucky to be able to visit the stud farm near Lipica, by taxi from Ljubljana, or by special pre-arranged tour.

Maribor – rich heritage

From Ljubljana we choose to visit the cultural heritage city Maribor on the Drava river, to see the 400 year old vine, enjoy a short river cruise and wander around magnificent monuments and sculptures. This “fruit basket” road meanders along delightful orchards and vineyards.

Maribor monument square Slovenia

Skofja Loka – rural charm

Another must-see in Slovenia while you are staying in Ljubljana is Skofja Loka on the outskirts of the capital city. This is a typical, rural medieval town with all its charm preserved for visitors to admire.

Skofja Loka Slovenia

Radovljca – quaint and quiet

Radovljca is another laid-back town also not not be missed for its historic bee-keeping museum and the Lectar bakery where the typical decorated Slovenian ginger cakes in all shapes and forms are baked and decorated for all occasions.

Lectar Slovenian cookies

Bled – postcard pretty

Bled, a popular summer and winter resort, was undoubtedly the highlight of our visit. This lake-side town at the foot of the Julian Alps in northern Slovenia, is also easily accessible from Ljubljana in an hour or so. I could almost describe it as a fairytale place, due to its amazing natural beauty. Two sights immediately recognisable in Bled, are the Bled Grad castle on the hill and the lake island with its beautiful Maria Magdalena church. Pletna boats ply the lake to and from this photographic wonder.

Ble Grad Castle Slovenia

Slovenia

The castle hosts an archeological and ethnological exhibition, a wine cellar, an ancient Gutenberg printing press where you can have your own profile and detail printed, and watch some folk dancing and other sword skill demonstrations.

Folk dancing Bled, Grad

For the weary and thirsty an elevated restaurant with a marvellous panoramic verandah awaits. A Zlatorog beer, some fresh trout and asparagus, and a slice of Bled’s famous cream cake, could make this special day unforgettable for any visitor. To work off the kilojoules, an envigorating 2 km walk around Bled lake or to the nearby magnificent Vintgar gorge (1.6 km) can be recommended.

Piran: ancient and intimate ambience

Last, but by no means least, is the coastal mini-Venice town, Piran, 90 minutes from Ljubljana. This walled medieval town on a tiny Adriatic peninsula has immense charm. Due to its ancient layout, cars are not able to enter, but have to park outside. Arches, ancient walls, narrow cobblestone alleyways and steep steps between the Venetian styled buildings create an intimate atmosphere. Restaurants and shops hug each other, either facing towards the magnificent Tartini square or the small Adriatic harbour where yachts and boats create such an attractive welcoming entrance.

Izola harbour

Piran is an ideal place to wander around, choose a gelato, buy some salty chocolates, visit the small Adriatic aquarium, do a bike-around on three-seater pedalos, take a refreshing dip in the clear Adriatic, or climb to the higest point for a magnificent panorama from the St George hilltop church.

Piran profile

If you should have time to spare, or wish to return for another Piran visit, take a stroll through the Strunjan nature reserve or visit the Secolvje open air salt mining museum to learn about Piran’s history with its former “white gold” trade with Venice. Free local buses take you to nearby Portoroz beach, or Izola from where a quick ferry visit to Venice could be arranged.

Bled lake,pletna boat and swans

Walk on ancient walls and wave to the world below. Cheers! Nazdrave!

So, consider Slovenia next Summer and count your blessings!

Celine Renaud is Head of Sales for Leo Trippi.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

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