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Surrounded by the Eastern Alps and Adriatic Sea, Slovenia is nestled in the heart of Europe. The small country boasts lures you in with its charming villages with baroque architecture, while its romantic scenery is dotted with snow-capped mountains, scenic beaches and cascading waterfalls. From the bustling streets of Ljubljana to cliffside medieval castle in Bled, here are the best places to visit in Slovenia.
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Start your exploration of Slovenia at its lively capital city Ljubljana. Soak up its romantic charm as you stroll the streets and make sure to stop at Tromostovje, also known as the Triple Bridge, where you’ll find three bridges that span the river right next to each other. Packed full of architecture dating back to the Baroque period, the small city is a great place to hop from one square to the next admiring its sculptures and artwork. Take the furniture up to the Ljubljana Castle, then climb the clock tower to marvel at the sparkling city below.
One of Slovenia’s top natural attractions, Lake Bled boasts emerald waters surrounding a church-dotted islet where you can marvel at spectacular views of the Julian Alps. Walk around the perimeter of the picturesque lake to capture its postcard-perfect views at different angles or get out on the water and paddle in a rowboat, kayak or canoe. You can climb to the 17th-century Bled Castle to get a birds-eye view over the lake, then sample the region’s famous dessert, the Bled Cream cake.
Sitting in Southwestern Slovenia on the coast of the Adriatic Sea, Piran is one of the country’s most beautiful cities. Meander through the pedestrian-only Old Town that is reminiscent of Venice in miniature and explore its narrow alleyways and Gothic architecture. History enthusiasts will want to put Tartinijev trg, the city’s historic main square, on their list, while it’s easy to spend an afternoon in the variety of alfresco wine bars and quaint cafes while watching local fishermen reeling in the day’s catch.
Connect with nature with a visit to Soca Valley, where an emerald green river is one of the most impressive natural wonders in Slovenia. Considered one of the most beautiful Alpine waters in Europe, it lures in travelers for its array of outdoor sports activities. You can kick your vacation up a notch with a white water rafting excursion, cruise the waters in a kayak or spend an afternoon fishing for trout. You can even soar over the pristine landscapes on a zip lining or paragliding tour.
A small town in Southwest Slovenia, Postojna is best known for the Postojna Cave. Visit this area to see the extensive karst cave that boasts 13 miles of chambers, hallways and galleries with ceilings that are 150 feet tall. Hop on the train tour that takes you through the cave, then admire a stalagmite named “Brilliant” that has become the symbol of the cave. Near Postojna you’ll find a famous medieval castle that is built into the side of a cave.
Located on the banks of the Drava River, Ptuj offers a dose of history in its cobblestone streets, historic town square and quaint churches. You’ll find relaxing spas to get pampered in, while it’s also an alluring wine country with vineyards dotting its surrounding region. Visit the Orpheus Monument that dates back to Roman times, browse the artwork and ancient artifacts in the Ptuj Grad, then soak your weary muscles in its warm thermal springs.
Lace up your hiking boots and hit the trails at Triglav National Park. Get outdoors and enjoy some of Slovenia’s most picturesque scenery here, where it’s possible to admire the Julian Alps, the towering peak of Mount Triglav and the calm waters of Lake Bohinj. Mount Triglav offers a challenge for experienced hikers, while those looking for a less strenuous adventure can ride up the Vogel Cable Car or cross the wooden footbridge at Vintgar Gorge. Climb a steep staircase up to capture aerial views of the powerful waters at Savica Waterfall.
One of the oldest towns in Slovenia, Skofja Loka is a beautifully preserved medieval area rich in history, culture and heritage. Located just 18 miles west of Ljubljana, it’s worth getting off-the-beaten-path to discover its fairytale landscapes and hilly countrysides. Meander through the city center to admire buildings with Baroque frescoes, colorful houses and stone towers, then marvel as the Škofja Loka Castle becomes illuminated at night. Step outside to enjoy the outdoors on a hiking, mountain climbing and mountain biking excursion.
If you’re a fan of winter sports, visit Kranjska Gora to enjoy its skiing and snowboarding activities that can be found surrounded by some of the highest peaks in the Julian Alps. Located in the northwest region of Slovenia, it lures visitors in with its frequent snowfall and steep trails. The city can be enjoyed throughout the year, as summer brings challenging hikes and the opportunity to cruise the region on two wheels with mountain bike rentals. After your adventures, you can unwind in one of the world-class restaurants that offer international cuisines.
The second-largest city in Slovenia, Maribor is nestled near the Austrian border and sits along the banks of the Drava River. Its skyline is defined by orange roofs and rolling hills, while the medieval Old Town boasts pedestrian-only streets and the surrounding region reveals outdoor adventures. Make sure to see the town’s most famed landmark, the “oldest vine in the world”. Called Stara Trta, or “Old Vine”, it is around 450 years old and showcases the rich wine culture of Maribor through wine tours and cellars.
The largest village in the Upper Soca Valley at the confluence of Soca and Tolminka Rivers, Tolmin offers easy access to the natural wonders found at Tolmin gorge and Triglav National Park. It boasts a long military history up to World War I, where it played a significant role in the Allied victory. Learn more about its past at its collection of historical attractions, from the Tolmin Museum to the Javorca memorial Church of the Holy Spirit. For a different perspective, visit the hills above Tolmin to see traditional alpine cattle ranches and sample Tolmin cheese.