Borderded by Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia, Slovenia offers a small town feel capital, Ljubljana, and lakes, caves and mountains to explore.
The lakeside town of Bled, in the northwest corner of Slovenia, borders the Julian Alps. It’s a great stop (possible as a day trip from Ljubljana) for anyone interested in natural beauty and outdoor sports, although it can get crowded and expensive during the summer and winter seasons. There is one lodge-like hostel, camping opportunities and private accommodation options. A swim or walk around the trout and carp filled glacial lake and a hike to Vintgar gorge are great, cheap activities. There is also an easily accessible hillside castle with far-reaching views. Another activity is a visit by gondola to the lake’s tiny island and its church. It is the country’s sole island! Getting there from Ljubljana by train is an option; the Bled station is a few kilometers from the town. Regular bus service is a better option and takes about an hour.
A short bus ride (26km) from Bled, this lake is larger and more dramatically alpine. A cable car will take you 1000m up Mt Vogel, making it possible to summit in a couple of hours. Ascents of Slovenia’s highest peak, Mt Triglav (2864m) begin here.
The caves (UNESCO World Heritage listed) are reachable via bus from Ljubljana (1hr) followed by a 45 minute walk. It is their enormous size which makes them a sight to behold. The Postojna caves are a more accessible option in the Karst region, but it is worth the extra effort to get to Škocjan. There are guided tours at both locations.
If you want a glimpse of Slovenia’s short coastline, Piran is the place to go. It is best in summer when fisherman lay their lines off the shore. If coming into the country from Italy, it will be on your way.