Six Days in Slovenia
Slovenia is a beautiful country in Central Europe, bordered by Austria, Croatia, Hungary and Italy. When I told people I was going on holiday there, the reactions I received were mixed- “why are you going there?” “where’s that?” “I’ve never thought about going there”. This was surprising, because in my opinion, Slovenia should be everyone’s next choice of holiday destination. I arrived in Ljubljana in the evening and the weather was a bit miserable, but it was still nice to walk around the city centre. On a sunny day or during the weekend, as I later discovered, the city is full of people even until late in the evening but on this day, it was a bit more quiet and peaceful given the weather.
The next day I had planned to just explore the city a bit more, nothing too taxing. However, I met some other people in my hostel who were renting a car and driving to Pula, Croatia via Trieste, Italy, and even though they were leaving in half an hour, I couldn’t refuse the offer. One of the great things about Ljubljana and Slovenia is that it is very close to other countries and cities; it only took us about an hour to reach Trieste, a lively port city.
We wandered around the city centre, stopped to sit at the harbour side and soak up the sun and of course, made time for pasta and delicious gelato, before heading back in the car to drive through to Croatia. It was a beautiful route following the coastline for much of the way, and we stopped off a few times when we saw something interesting and photo-worthy. The main stop we made was at the Lim Bay, in a valley between the mountains, which was lovely, and definitely a stopover I would recommend. We arrived in Pula just before dusk and managed to watch the beautiful sunset at the harbour before going out for dinner at the iconic Croatian Ožujsko pivo!
The next day, we spent the morning exploring Pula. It is quite small, but the streets were very picturesque and our attention was also captured by the jewellery shops with lots of coral and amber pieces, and the market selling Croatian specialities like olive oil and honey. And, of course, the Roman amphitheater, the best preserved ancient monument in Croatia and a source of pride that features on the bank notes. On our way back to Slovenia, we stopped over at the stunning Verudela Beach. The sea was so clear the landscape was very interesting, with one or two caves, something Croatia is famous for.
After this, it was back to Ljubljana, where the next day I decided to take a trip the opposite direction, north to one of the most popular sights in this region, Lake Bled. It was just over an hour on the bus, which was packed, so I knew I was in for something good. Lake Bled was probably one of my favourite parts of this trip, and I would definitely like to return and also see the nearby Triglav National Park and Vintgar Gorge. The lake was amazing, and even though there were lots of people around, I found it a very peaceful and relaxing experience to walk around. It took about an hour and a half for me to walk it, but there are lots of places to stop and appreciate the views, as well as shops and restaurants.
For the next couple of days, I just stayed in Ljubljana and explored the city. Even though it is a fairly small capital, especially if you are like me and used to big cities like London, there is still a lot to do and I definitely didn’t see it all. As the weather was so nice, I was content to just walk around outside most of the time. My most recommended places to walk were up the (very steep) hill to the Castle, where you can see some stunning views of the city with the backdrop of the Alps, Tivoli Park and along the Ljubljanica river in the city centre, where you can see the famous Three Bridges and Dragon Bridge. The city centre itself is lovely and I think it is one of my favourites, as the architecture and atmosphere is a cross between Western and Central/Eastern European cities, most likely thanks to being part of the Habsburg Empire and later becoming more influenced by its Eastern neighbours when it was part of Yugoslavia. The city is very relaxed, although there are lots of people rushing round on bikes, there were also plenty of people sitting outside in the sun by the riverside.
After six days here, I was sad to leave, but I am already thinking about how I could spend another six days in Slovenia!