A first timer's guide to Slovenia
Tucked between Italy, Croatia, Austria and Hungary, little Slovenia tends to fly under the mainstream travel radar. But those who do choose to visit are certainly rewarded.
From rivers, lakes and beaches to mountains, forests and farmland, Slovenia boasts some of the most spectacular scenery in Europe. What's more, you can expect plenty in the way of cool cities, fantastic food and surprisingly good local wine. Here's how to make your first trip one to remember.
Getting to Slovenia: holiday giant TUI offers great value holidays* to multiple destinations in Slovenia - check out the latest online deals to save on your booking.
Experience city life in Ljubljana
Slovenia's colourful capital is perfect for a city break. The compact old town is really walkable, and you can check off all the main sights in a couple of days.
Kick-off your trip with a visit to Ljubljana Castle. You can follow the steep path up to this hilltop fortress or opt for a less strenuous ride on the funicular railway. The castle's grounds showcase incredible views of the city, especially at dusk, when the crowds gather to watch the sunset.
Elsewhere, life in Ljubljana* plays out along the Ljubljanica River. The river is crossed by a whopping 17 bridges, each with its own unique design. Don't miss the iconic Dragon Bridge or the one-of-a-kind Triple Bridge.
When you fancy a break from sightseeing, the river's many waterside bars and restaurants are ideal for sitting back with a beer or a glass of wine and watching the world go by.
Step into a fairy tale at Lake Bled
With its picture-perfect backdrop and impossibly blue waters, Lake Bled* is one of those needs-to-be-seen-to-be-believed kind of places. The lake is surrounded by tree-topped mountains and overlooked by Slovenia's oldest castle. If that wasn't enough, in the middle of the lake there's a tiny island with a pretty church which can only be accessed by boat.
You can visit Lake Bled on a day trip from Ljubljana, but to really do the place justice you'll want a lot longer than that. There's plenty to do here, from swimming and paddleboarding to hiking and even summer tobogganing.
Lake Bled is home to some fantastic eateries too - make sure you stop off at the patisserie at the Park Hotel to try its famous Bled Cream Cake.
Soak up the serenity at Lake Bohinj
Lake Bohinj* is just half an hour's bus ride from Lake Bled, and the scenic journey alone makes it well worth the trip. As you meander along the winding roads, you'll pass emerald-green fields, rolling hills and alpine-like villages.
Situated in the heart of Triglav National Park, Lake Bohinj itself is breathtakingly beautiful. It's bigger than Lake Bled, and a lot wilder. It takes about four hours to walk the circumference of the lake, but you'll want to factor in a lot of time for photo stops and dips in the crystal-clear waters.
If you have a bit more time on your hands, you can ride the Vogel Cable Car up to the Vogel Ski Centre. It runs all year round and transports you 1,535 metres above sea level for out-of-this-world views of Lake Bohinj and the surrounding mountains.
Check out the Adriatic Coast
Slovenia doesn't have much coastline to shout about, but what it lacks in quantity it makes up for in quality. The stretch of land that borders the Adriatic Sea is dotted with charming pebbly beaches and delightful seaside resorts.
Two of the most popular spots for visitors are Piran and Koper. With their cobbled streets, red-roofed buildings and bustling harbours, these medieval port towns make a really pretty pair.
Unsurprisingly, given their location, they're known for their seafood, which is regarded as the best in Slovenia. Grab an outdoor table at one of the harbourside restaurants for the freshest catch of the day.
Sample some Slovenian wine
Slovenian wine might very well be the country's best-kept secret. Ninety-million litres are produced here every year, but less than 10% is exported. Instead, Slovenian residents like to keep it for themselves. The country is immensely proud of its wine-producing heritage, and Slovenian wines dominate the menus in the majority of bars and restaurants.
To sample the goods for yourself, sign up for wine tasting in Ljubljana or for a session in Lake Bled. You'll get to sip and swirl seven different wines from the country's top wine regions while tucking into some local nibbles. As well as whites and reds, you'll be able to try some unusual orange wine - the world's oldest style of wine.
Experience adrenaline-filled adventures
Slovenia's dramatic countryside lends itself to outdoor pursuits, and there's no shortage of ways to get your thrills here. Hiking and mountain biking trails criss-cross the entire country, offering up impressive views around every corner. Experienced climbers, meanwhile, can take on the challenge of Mount Triglav Slovenia's highest peak.
The Soca River leads the way when it comes to water sports. This fast-flowing body of water provides the perfect conditions for kayaking and white-water rafting. Beginners can pick from a number of organized tours, some of which include transport from Ljubljana or Lake Bled.
Weather in Slovenia
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The summer months are the best time to visit Slovenia - expect hot, sunny days and mild evenings. In the more mountainous regions around Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj, thunderstorms are a common occurrence, but they're usually short-lived. Find out more about the weather in Slovenia to help you prepare for your visit.
Ready to book your trip? Check out the latest deals on holidays to Slovenia with TUI, which departs from airports across the UK including Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham and London Gatwick.
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