The small Central-European nation of Slovenia is situated on the northern banks of the glittering Adriatic Sea. Located in the Julian Alps, Slovene lands and culture are ancient, but the modern nation of Slovenia has only existed since 1991 after it declared its independence during the disintegration of Yugoslavia. Today, the country is celebrated for its mountainous terrain, which attracts skiers from all over the world, and its rich culture that’s been heavily influenced by neighboring countries like Italy and Hungary.
Ljubljana is the capital city of Slovenia and is easily one of Europe’s greenest capitals. The nation has banned auto traffic in the city center, making it a wonderful area to explore on foot or by bicycle. Ljubljana features a myriad of attractions of its own such as its Cathedral of Saint Nicholas, the iconic Dragon Bridge, its historic castle and dungeon, the 19th century Triple Bridge, and its bustling outdoor Central Market. If you’re traveling with kids, check out the Ljubljana Zoo, which displays more than 500 animals. The city is an ideal place to spend time owing to its plethora of hotels, cafes, museums, theatres, and restaurants.
The town of Bled and its 11th-century castle is easily one of Europe’s most beautiful places. Perhaps the most photographed part of town is its Romanesque church and tower that is located on an island in Lake Bled. Visitors can reach the island by rowboat. The town is perfectly picturesque with its villas that encircle the lake. Travelers enjoy spending time here to hike its mountain treks, play golf, or soak up the town’s old-world ambiance.
The Skocjan Caves feature one of the world’s largest underground canyons. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the caves have been inhabited since prehistoric times and attract visitors from all over the globe. Travelers can take tours of the caves, which extend for more than six meters. Tours are available in various languages such as English, Italian, and German. With their enchanting underground waterfalls, pools, and stone bridges, it’s no wonder why more than 100,000 people visit them each year.
Home to Slovenia’s tallest peak, Mount Triglav, Triglav National Park is located in the Julian Alps and brims with valleys, rivers, and terrain that’s essentially perfect for skiing and hiking. The park is widely revered for its beautiful landscapes that include Alpine meadows, waterfalls, lakes, and forested hills. Aside from skiing and hiking in its mountains, visitors to the park also enjoy rafting, kayaking, and skydiving.
The city of Maribor is located on the Drava River near the border with Austria. As the second-largest city in Slovenia, Maribor is home to the oldest grapevine in the world. Wine lovers are drawn to the city’s surrounding wine regions that are filled with picturesque vineyards and wineries. The city also features a wealth of historic architecture and squares and brims with shops, galleries, and restaurants. Its cultural importance to the country make it a charming city to explore.
With its biggest ski jump hill in the world. Planica Nordic Centre attracts skiers from all over the planet. The centre is located in the Planica Valley, which has long been popular for Nordic sports. During the winter, visitors come to participate or watch the ski jumpers in action. Cross-country skiing is also popular in the terrain around the centre. During the summer, visitors can enjoy sportings activities in the athletics stadium, cycling, hiking, or riding the steep Planica zipline--which is said to have the steepest descent in the world.
The coastal city of Koper was once part of the Venetian Empire and was originally known by the name Caprea. It's one of the country's oldest coastal cities. Locals and tourists alike enjoy visiting its public beach at the Koper Marina or taking sailing excursions on the beautiful Adriatic Sea. Koper is home to various attractions, including its Praetorian Palace constructed in the 15th century and the 12th-century Cathedral of the Assumption.
Medieval Predjama Castle is situated just a few miles from the South-Central town of Postojna. Built in the Gothic style, the famed castle has been featured in films and documentaries. It’s the world’s largest cave castle and boasts a network of hidden tunnels that lead to the edge of a precarious cliff. The castle brims with historic lore associated with knights, sieges, and intrigues. Visitors can access the castle year-round, but the cave can only be explored during the summer season.
Solkan Bridge is easily one of the most postcard-worthy bridges in the world. The curving bridge spans the turquoise waters of the Soca River. As the longest bridge on earth built completely out of stone, the bridge attracts architectural enthusiasts, but its picturesque setting in the Soca Valley makes it one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions. Bungee jumping at the bridge is also available to adventurous types.
Slovenia is famous for its Lipizzaner horses that date to the 16th century and the Hapsburg monarchy. Bred for royals, the horses remain a rare breed and have strict registration guidelines. Visitors can witness these graceful creatures by taking a stroll through the Lipica Stud Farm. Before heading to the farm and its magnificent stables, be sure to check the schedule as the most exciting time to visit is during riding school performances. As one of Europe’s oldest stud farms, it has an illustrious history and is a must for anyone with an equestrian interest. Carriage rides are also available.