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18-03-2018 / Guide

SLOWenia, sLOVEnia - simlply Slovenia

Katarzyna Cholewicka

Photo by Bernd Thaller

It’s hard to draw the attention of readers while writing about Slovenia, so word play is here intentional. Slovenia for most of people sounds – well, not very pompously, and even less pompously for people I recommend to go there in a wedding trip. In case of my friends, the question is: “Slovenia? (Snort) What can you see there? Is there anything to see?” Yes, there is quite a lot for such a small country. Enjoy your trip!

Slovenia is a small Central European country bordering with Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia. It is smaller than one of the smallest United States of America, the state of New Jersey. And for those who can imagine an area of only 20 273 km², this is the total area of Slovenia.

So WHAT YOU CAN SEE THERE?! My HIGHLY called friends shout to my ear (it’s a joke) :)

I will answer in 10 points.

1. Lubljana

Let’s not pretend, but it is already a Standard that you always visit the capital of a given State and in this case I will not omit this point. After all, for some reason they have become this representative place, maybe it is worth checking it and wondering if anyone has made a mistake… Certainly nobody made a mistake in this case, even though the best places I left at the end. Ljubljana is located in the very centre of Slovenia, and here the whole economic, cultural, political and academic life is concentrated. The capital is very big for the local conditions. It is inhabited by 300 thousand people. In Ljubljana, or as newcomers from thousands of years ago used to say, in Iulia Emona we can see a beautiful small old town. The places that deserve special attention are Shoemaker’s Bridge and Triple Bridge, which are breathtaking especially illuminated by the evening. This is the moment when you should make a stopover for coffee and a splendid “kresmitite” creamy-budding dessert or “gibanica” traditional nut cake.

Next I will recommend you to go to Ljubljana Castle, where the sixteenth century treasure is located found in the Predjama Castle (about it later), and after to visit the Virtual Museum located nearby to get a little story. Lubljana is a typical town that you should go through while admiring the intact colorful faded tenement houses during both wars.

Photo of Lubljana - Shadowgate

2. Ptuj

If you have already wiped your face after sweets, it is now worth to speed up. This is why I recommend visiting Ptuj. You won’t probably be surprised that this is another small Slovenian town. Ptuj is especially famous for its castle located by Dratwa River and it is the dominant tourist destination. If you want to visit the whole town, you just need about 4-6 hours, not more. The walk lasting several hours through historic narrow Renaissance streets will completely satisfy our hunger for information. For those who just have a day on foot, I encourage to visit local pubs serving Slovenian specialties with %. After all, the nearby neighborhood with Holza Hill is one of the most important wine-growing regions, which obliges us to do something. I recommend being modest in tasting, because the history of the local wine is still ahead of us.

Photo of Ptuj- János Korom Dr.

3. Maribor

For further tastings we move to Maribor, which is located from Ptuj at a distance of about 30 km. Maribor is also situated by Drawa River, to Austria is only 20 km. Maribor is the second largest city with Jewish roots (the Jews settled here in the second half of the 13th century). We have here an old Synagogue and a Jewish tower – one of preserved towers belonging to the city walls. I encourage you to go to the water, where you will find some stories about vines. Here you will see the world’s oldest grapevine (!), which was included in the Guinness World Records Book, because it has over 400 years! I know what you thought standing under this tree – “REALLY?”

Seriously, and imagine that this “dried stalk” still gives fruit. After you will already recover from the shock – there is a next point – Vine Cellar. This place is located near the main square, has an area of 20 thousand m2 and is considered to be one of the oldest in Europe. In the cellars there are about 250 thousand bottles, full ones. Tasting is possible on the spot – please don’t drink everything, it’s a part of the history; let it remain for the posterity ;).

Photo of Maribor - Daniel Thornton

4. Logar Valley

If you are bored with walking around the cities and visiting churches, and the number of tourists is already overwhelming you. Now you should visit the Logar Valley, located right next to the small Solcava village. The village itself does not attract any attractions, but is a “gateway” to “heavens”. The valley is located in the heart of Kamnik-Savinja Alps, which are the second largest in Slovenia after the Julian Alps. Breathtaking is a moment when you stand in the middle of Valley, and snow-covered peaks of Alps look at you from above. In order to reach some of peaks you don’t need to have any special equipment or exceptional condition, there are so many paths and they are so varied that everyone will find something for themselves. If you choose a good route, you can admire beautiful waterfalls with crystal clear and cold water. What fascinates me especially in this place is the lack of tourist traffic (based on my own experience from September) and even indecently clean air, free from the SMOG, which is now heard so much. If you like to feel the thrill of emotion, dare to stay overnight “in the wild” under the tent. Additional experiences at price :)

Photo of Logar Valley - Vid Pogacnik

5. Predjama Castle

There is no Princess here, but well… I did not meet the prince in my life either ;). However, there is other story for that. Predjama Castle is unique and impressive. The Castle is built into the cavern in rock, under which the Lokva River flows. When you look at this extraordinary work of medieval fantasy, you wonder how the 21st century fitter, whom you asked for help, could answer:

“Dear, this cannot be done, I can’t do that, no way” – when I asked to attach the frame to bicycle in the wall.

Hmmm… I sometimes regret that I do not live in the middle ages, maybe in this situation saying “or I will throw you into a dungeon” would be effective. I’m sure that the owner of castle used this expression when started to build it.

The castle is open all year round for visitors and it is worth listening to the history of one of its inhabitants – bratty Erasmus, for whom this impossible to conquer fortress has proved insufficiently safe. Well, he could better choose friends, maybe then it would have the Happy End. After his history, I’m glad that I live in times of Facebook and Instagram where I can observe my friends.

Photo of - KLMircea

6. Postojna Cave

Caves are located not far from the Predjama Castle and it is hard to miss them, because of the number of advertisements that promote it. In order to be in the heart of an amazing natural building, where we can admire unusual sculptures, which formed hundreds of thousands of years, we have to cross two lines. The first is queues to tickets, and the second is tourist railway – an attraction that will reach the main destinations. In the Cave we can find dead nature, but also living creatures – amphibians. While staying in this magnificent, unearthly scenery with the awareness of possibility to meet this little monster, I think that I know what science-fiction scriptwriters were inspired by. If your imagination has already been stimulated, or you’re looking for a script on horror, then it’s a suggestion that nearby are the next Škocjan Caves, which are larger than the Postojna Cave and are considered to be one of the most magnificent in the world.

Photo of Postoja Cave - Shadowgate

7. Lake Bohinj

Definitely it’s a place that immediately refers to Slovenia. The lake area and small countryside village that belongs to it, is an ideal place for lovers of sports such as all water sports, air sports, mountain climbing and rock climbing. In this area, every type of bike will be equally successful. There are plenty of roads and slopes here. Lake Bohinj is the largest water basin in Slovenia, 4 m long and 1.2 m wide, with a depth up to 45 m in the deepest place. High mountains and beautiful forests reflect in the lake. From here you can also observe the highest peak in Slovenia of 2864 m i.e. Triglav.

The possibility of this place and the largest village of Bohinjska Bistrica – which is the resultant base, are still undiscovered.

Photo of Lake Bohinj - neiljs

8. Bled

Yes, this is another place on the map of Slovenia, which I will describe as wonderful. It’s a place that fascinates me with mysticism, thanks to a small church, which is located on an island in the middle of Bled Lake. In order to get to the temple and to visit it, we must have strong hands. We will reach it by kayaks, which can be rented on site or you can choose less demanding options – for lazy people – an organized trip – and let others paddle! In this small village is another point worth attention, it is a castle situated in the highest point of the village. From this point we can admire the nature of Slovenian mountains, and to plan the next trip while sipping lemonade. In the evening it is worth to go here and take a walk along the lake shore. The illuminated church and castle are beautifully reflected in a water mirror, it is worth to capture this romantic picture.

Photo of Bled - Rob Hodgkins

9. Planica

Something tells me that most people have already heard about this town. Planica is an alpine valley located just on the border with Italy. It is especially popular in winter due to ski jumping that is held here. In the summer it may seem like an old and abandoned, but still the bright green grass makes it all. It is worthwhile to go for a walk under the hills where the brave ones jump in the season – after all it is not a collision-free sport.

Photo of Planica - Miran Hojnik

10. Piran

Going to Piran, you should wear a swimsuit and prepare for the fact that scorpions are such a natural phenomenon, like cows – only that I could not see cows walking around the house as scorpions. I don’t want to scare you, but I warn to be careful when wearing shoes, etc. Piran is the farthest-eastern place that reaches the warm waters of Adriatic. Piran (ital. Pirano) is called Slovenian Venice due to its narrow streets and Gothic architecture – indeed there’s similarity, I confirm. It is a small town very often visited by tourists, but it is also a favorite holiday destination for Slovenes. The most famous place is Tartini Square, where we can observe boats coming to the port. It is advisable to just get lost here and visit the town in this way. Who knows, maybe you will discover what is undiscovered and be the author of the next guide.

Photo of Piran - Stephen Colebourne

At the end I will develop what I wrote in the title with capital letters, words that describe Slovenia:

SLOW – because time flows slower
LOVE – because you will fall in love with it.

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