because slovenia is so much more than just ljubljana
typically one’s first port of call when travelling to a new country is to spend a few days in the capital city, and then move on. usually this works out well, thinking of prague, budapest, even paris. but in slovenia this just doesn’t work.
while ljubljana is incredible, and quite a unique and calming city, it lacks the charm of the green countryside that is slovenia’s true wealth. spending a few days in places like lake bled and skofja loka allow you to truly experience the authentic slovenian history, culture and beauty.
scattered throughout the countryside are hundreds of monasteries and churches. in the past it was believed that all citizens should have access to a place of worship, and therefore there were churches built within walking distance of every dwelling in the country. today, while few stand isolated and abandoned, a drive across the small country is decorated with these beautiful buildings.
skofja loka is one of the oldest towns in slovenia – a walk through this medieval town gives you insight into the historical way of life in the country. windows in the buildings indicate the level of wealth of the inhabitants, showing the difference between the peasants and the bourgeoisie. it is well worth the visit, and is small enough to be a pit-stop en route to a different destination.
if hiking is your thing, walking from lake bled to vintgar gorge cannot be missed. while this gorge isn’t quite as spectacular as croatia’s plitvice lakes, it does provide a magical experience nonetheless. it is quite spiritual to be able to see dozens of rock pyramids, and can be quite fun attempting to build one yourself.
both lake bled and lake bohinj are a photographer’s paradise – the two massive glacier lakes provide ample opportunity to capture some shots of clear waters, spectacular mountains, and much greenery surrounding both lakes. due to strict laws, no motorized boats are permitted in the water, making an afternoon swim an easy activity.
finally, while the beauty of the alpine fairtale experience cannot be missed, neither can the unique opportunity to walk through one of the UNESCO world heritage sites. the škocjan caves, about an hour’s trip outside of ljubljana, provides the chance to witness spectacular stalactites and stalacmites, as well an un underground gorge.
it is important to note that you cannot take photo's inside the caves, and so it's best to leave the big heavy camera's at home to avoid having to carry it around the entire time.