Slovenia may be one of the smallest countries in Central Europe, but within its 20,000 square kilometers you will find some of the most beautiful lakes, rivers, valleys and hiking trails in the world, making it an eco-traveler’s paradise.
Here is just a glimpse of all the things you can do in Slovenia that even the outdoorsy adventurer might love.
1. Swim in Lake Bled
Perhaps Slovenia’s most famous natural landmark abroad, Lake Bled is the ideal place to spend the summer months when the water temperature reaches around 25 degrees Celsius, swimming perfectly and being satisfied which you should definitely do.
The lake itself is beautiful emerald green which is quiet enough to take a boat or kayak across. If you prefer to stand above the ground then enjoying the features of the lake, the center of the island with the church on it, and the majestic snow capped Alps that surround it are just as delightful.
One thing you absolutely have to do before leaving Lake Bled is try their famous confection called Kremna Rezina, a custard cream cake topped with puff pastry slices. You almost certainly won’t be able to leave without ordering at least two or three plates of this tastier dessert.
2. Take the ferry along the river at Ljlubjana
Located in the geographical center of Slovenia, Ljubljana is a small city that holds many big ideas.
Its classic city design and various features are common with several cities in the former state of Yugoslavia, but most of the center itself is inspired by classic Slovenian heritage and the Baroque movement.
Of all the delightful elements of this very independent and increasingly alternative city is the Ljubljanica river which flows directly through its center. The summer months provide a great time to catch the ferry along the river before getting off the boat to explore the main markets located along the river.
3. Take a walk around the old town square of Piran
Located in Slovenia’s farthest southwestern tip, Piran is a picturesque coastal town where you can easily spend a weekend in quiet silence either walking around the old town, or swimming in the water after you dive from one of the many wharf towns. .
For visitors visiting Piran after a trip to Italy, what you see may feel familiar – and for good reason. This small port city was part of the great and sprawling Venetian Empire for more than 500 years.
Piran is currently completely Slovenian and you can feel it through the people you meet and the culture you will experience during your holidays.
4. Hike along the Soča river valley
Considered one of the most beautiful natural sites in the world, the emerald blue waters of the Soča River have attracted nature enthusiasts for decades who use the river for rafting and kayaking, whose water is perfect for the wilderness.
The Soča Valley is also suitable for those wanting a little drier, with several hiking trails open to slower beginner hikers and experienced off-path hikers.
For the most adventurous, the valley is also perfect for doing lots of extreme things, with paragliding being the most popular option. Considering how beautiful the landscape of green expanse and hills is, seeing it from a bird’s point of view is sure to be an unforgettable holiday experience.
5. Take a long ski jump at Planica
One of the most popular things to do in Slovenia is to ski, and given how many beautiful mountain ranges there are to ski down it’s not at all surprising that the country is host to some of the best routes and jumps in Europe.
If you’re a keen skier planning to spend your winter holidays in Slovenia and you’re looking to do something a little more adventurous, be sure to spend a day at Planica, the spiritual home of ski jumping in the country and where a annual jumping competition has been held since 1934.
Up among the borders of Austria and Italy, the high remote location is only an hour a way from the capital Ljubljana by car so well worth driving to just to spectate as the experts fly across 200 meter distances overhead.
6. Kayak across the smaller Lake Bohinj
Although the beautiful setting of Lake Bled is more commonly known outside of Slovenia, Lake Bohinj is actually the largest natural lake in the country and resides in the same national park in which source of the Soča River can be found.
Of all the things there are to do in the Triglav National Park, boating or kayaking across the lake is among the most attractive. The scenery of the Julian Alps and green meadows that surround it give an atmosphere of tranquillity and pure serenity that many visitors from the city will crave visiting again once they leave.
7. Explore the heritage of Novo Mesto
Novo Mesto is a small town that resides upon the horseshoe bend of the Krka River that works its way south to meet the Sava River across the border in Croatia.
This medieval town has long been a geographical and economical hub through which a lot of Central European trade has past over the previous 900 years. Most recently Novo Mesto has been a perfect place to stay for tourists who wish to not only explore the old town and the town houses that remain within it, but also a location from which to explore the wine region that surrounds it.
8. Spend an Eco-weekend in the Logar Valley
Given how green Slovenia is it’s no surprise that the country is becoming one of the most attractive countries to responsible travellers and eco-enthusiasts, and the Logar Valley in particular has welcomed several thousands visitors to its Eco Bed & Breakfasts and home-stays over the past few years.
The flat green plains that lie at the bottom of the Kamnik Savinja Alps are almost perfectly flat for a weekend of biking, plus there are a number of small streams and lakes that make for ideal hiking routes too.
9. Go underground at the Postojna Cave
Whilst the Potojna Cave might lack the same UNESCO Heritage Listing that the Škocjan Caves have been rewarded, there’s no mistaking that what lies beneath the surface is one of the most interesting cave networks to be found in mainland Europe.
Over 20 kilometres in length, you’ll need to take the electric train within the cave to reach some of the furthest-most points from the entrance. Once there guides will tell you all about how the caves were formed and have been used since they were first discovered by man.
Deep inside the Postojna Cave you’ll also find a remarkable place called the Concert Hall which is large enough to fit just under 10,000 people inside of. If you’re lucky enough and research before hand you could visit during one of the days that orchestras perform within the very same cavernous room.
10. Explore the cave – Predjama Castle
During the same day trip to the Postonja Cave you should definitely leave some time to drive the final nine kilometres to see famous Predjama Castle which resides half within a cave on the mountain side.
A castle has stood on the same well-defended spot for over 700 years, but the castle you see today isn’t the original. What you see today is the 16th Century reconstruction that has seen wars and rulers of the surrounding countryside come and go over the years.
Today the castle isn’t owned by any one noble family and is instead owned by a public trust who maintain the building and the museum within that the castle has now become, making it one of the most interesting places to visit.
As you can see, regardless of Slovenia’s small size there’s an abundance of things to do that no matter if you prefer to be out in the wilderness or within the comforts of the historical towns and cities across the country.