Slovenia is one of Europe’s underrated treasures.
Blessed with stunning craggy mountain ranges, beautiful shimmering lakes and alpine forest, it almost seems unfair that Slovenia should also be home to a section of picture-perfect Adriatic coast.
But possibly it’s greatest asset is that compared to western Europe, or the likes of its Croatian or Austrian neighbours, Slovenia remains relatively untouched by mass tourism and the crowds have yet to cotton on.
Explore Ljubljana, the pretty capital city overlooked by a castle at its centre before delving deeper into the country and visiting the mountains, picturesque Lake Bled, the Postjoina Caves and Piran situated on the Slovenian coast.
This morning, pop along the coast to Portoroz, a popular tourist resort, for a quick swim and then continue to the wine growing region of Goriska Brda via Secovlje Salt-pans, where salt is produced using age old methods. Drive inland, past Lipica where you can stop to admire the famous Lipizzaner horses at the Stud Farm. Continue to the vineyard region of Goriska Brda for an overnight stay, where you will have the possibility to taste local cuisine and wines. Why not sample Rebula, the regions indigenous white wine. (B)
Today, head through the scenic Soca Valley and Julian Alps towards Bled (approx 4 hour drive if taking the scenic route via the Vrsic Pass (1611m), following the emerald green Soca River downstream through Kobarid (mentioned in Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms). Fans of fine dining will be delighted to learn that the area is home to one of Slovenia’s best restaurants ’Hisa Franko’. Many think that it should have earned a Michelin star but Slovenia is yet to feature in the Michelin guide (pre-booking recommended). Spend 3 nights in Bled, a peaceful town beautifully situated in the Alps. (B)
An Alpine lake surrounded by high peaks, Bled was “discovered” by travellers in the middle of the 19th century. Since then, a small town of hotels, villas, and restaurants has developed around the lake, turning Bled into a lively, all-seasons resort. Explore the charming town and the lakeshore, and visit imposing Bled Castle, perched on a cliff high above the lake. Visit also 1.6 km long Vintgar gorge that carves its way through the vertical rocks of the Hom and Bort hills and is graced by the radovna with its waterfalls, pools and rapids. (B)
Drive to Lake Bohinj this afternoon, another Alpine Jewel, just 26 km (30 min drive) from Bled. Take the funicular to Mt Vogel for a splendid view of the Bohinj valley. (B)