Slovenia is a delightful place to visit for first time travellers to Eastern Europe, offering Western European structure with the low prices of the east. The landscape is fresh and green while the cities are a vibrant source of culture and entertainment. Most fans of the country know about the highly romantic Lake Bled, but there are numerous other spots where getting closer is almost inevitable.
The capital city is charm itself with picturesque, colourful buildings of ornate Baroque architecture. A large earthquake and fire in the 1500s led to the exclusion of wooden buildings and most structures are of stone; brightly painted or with murals. Around the city and on the bridges the Ljubljana dragon, the symbol of the city, can be seen here and there.
Tivoli Park is the largest green space in the city and planted with a variety of trees and flowers. Fountains are found around the park and a number of benches are faced both inwards and outwards to let users view the streets or watch the amblers in the park.
Crossing the bridges while on a walk is a fun way to see the river and enjoy the markets and squares on either side. The Triple Bridge is a group of three structures that connect downtown. Two pedestrian bridges flank a passage for automobiles. The Dragon Bridge is also a fun one to cross over, appreciating the four copper dragons on the corner posts protecting crossers from harm.
It’s a delightfully medieval town on the Adriatic Sea, laced with narrow streets dividing tiny houses. Tartini Square is the main Plaza and is dominated by a large bronze statue of Giuseppe Tartini, a composer and violinist who played a large part in the town’s cultural heritage. The square was once an inner dock that was subsequently filled in to create the plaza that now exists. Of the original medieval buildings that surrounded the square, only one remains, notable for its distinctive Gothic exterior.
The town is peaceful and pleasant with many spots to relax and enjoy the weather and the views. Both Italian and Slovenian are spoken and this was the first city in the former Communist Europe to elect a black mayor, symbolic of the modernity of Slovenia amidst a rich, historic past. Enjoy the comforts of the modern world while in a city that is cut from the pages of history.
A high mountain meadow in the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, it’s a popular place for skiing in the winter, but summer visitors enjoy a unique community with stunning views of the mountains. The name translates into “big pasture” and the curious wooden huts that dot the fields belong to herders that pasture their animals here in the summer.
The huts and barns of weathered wood are single rooms with a roof that reaches almost to the ground. The extended roof makes a shelter for the livestock, eliminating the need to build a second barn. Trails that crisscross the pasture lands pass close enough to the huts to allow trekkers to appreciate the cleverness of the design and wave to a few herdsmen who seem to have the best workplace in the world.
Soca River and Valley
The 138 km river Soca (Isonzo in Italian) flows through western Slovenia and the northeastern part of Italy. It originates in the Julian Alps and runs past cute little towns along its journey to the Adriatic Sea near Monfalcone.
The water is a brilliant emerald-green and has inspired poets and artists for years. Almost anywhere along the river is a great place to hike, paddle or have a picnic. The more adventurous are welcome to try paragliding and rafting, but lovers may prefer to just relax and enjoy the scenery and the atmosphere.
If you and your sweetie are fans of long walks, a 4 km stroll to Vintgar Gorge from Lake Bled takes an hour or so and passes cute little farms and rolling fields along the way. The sheer walls of the canyon have been carved over the centuries by the Radnova River creating swirling eddies and rushing rapids along the way. The length of the 1.6 km gorge is set with wooden walkways a short distance above the river. Imagine a private walkway surround by stone and water – just you and your loved one listening to the birds and the sounds of the river below you. The trail ends at a picturesque waterfall with a cute little cafe just a short distance away. Could there be any more romantic place?