Friday, July 4, 2008


I found this TravelBlog and could not help myself to add an objective oppinion about Slovenia:

"The expression "small but perfectly formed" could have been coined for Slovenia. Any journey through the country is likely to be short, but will probably feature unspoiled countryside, quaint towns, castles and Baroque churches perched on hilltops, and somewhere in the background the towering peaks of the Julian Alps. Slovenia is one of the easiest European countries in which to travel - an ideal choice for a relaxing break.

Slovenia is often excluded from definitions of the Balkans, due to its long connection to Central Europe and the absence of Byzantine or Ottoman influences, so arguably it doesn't belong in a website called "Balkanology". If I had to choose between describing it as "Balkan" or "Central European" I would probably choose the latter. Fortunately I don't have to make any such choice, and see no reason why it can't be both. Perhaps for no better reason than because Slovenia was the first place I ever ate burek...

Where to go: some suggestions

Ljubljana is conveniently located in the centre of the country. It's one of Europe's smaller capital cities, but makes up in charm what it lacks in size or imposing monuments. It's easy to spend a few days here doing nothing very much at all; it's also an excellent base for day trips to many of Slovenia's other attractions.

Southwest of Ljubljana is the intriguing Karst region. The interaction of water and limestone has created oddities such as the disappearing lake at Cerknica and the natural arches at nearby Rakov Škocjan gorge. The most popular attractions are Postojna and Škocjan Caves. The latter is slightly harder to get to but it's well worth the effort.

A short journey northwest of the capital brings you to the Julian Alps. Everyone goes to Bled, and with good reason - even if you've seen a hundred postcards of Lake Bled's island church you're bound to want to take your own photos. But there is much more to explore in this corner of Slovenia. Peaceful Lake Bohinj is deeper in the mountains than Bled and the starting point for many hikes along well-marked trails. Further still to the northwest is Kranjska Gora, another good base for both serious hikes and gentle valley walks.

The road south from Kranjska Gora climbs via a series of spectacular hairpin bends to the Vršič Pass, which is followed by an equally thrilling descent to the Soča Valley, one of the most interesting parts of Slovenia. The valley's position on the front line in the First World War has left several interesting museums and monuments around Bovec and Kobarid. If that sounds a bit too serious, there are plenty of good hikes in the area, along with more energetic activities such as rafting and climbing.

Appealing small towns are scattered around Slovenia. Although few have any unmissable sights, many have attractive mediaeval centres, and there is usually a castle, church, or museum to visit. Three examples are Ptuj, Kamnik, and Škofja Loka. The last of these makes an excellent excursion from Ljubljana, especially combined with a hike up nearby Lubnik mountain - this is no Alpine peak but it does reward you with views over a large chunk of Slovenia.



Domestic road and rail networks are centred on Ljubljana. Trains are cheaper than buses, usually comfortable and modern, and quite fast in the case of the slick "ICS" services to Maribor. However many interesting places are not served by trains, so you will probably end up using buses quite a lot. (See the FAQ for advice on getting to Bled and Bohinj). Buses are run by a variety of operators but bus stations, and even bus stops in the middle of nowhere, have combined timetables. Both train and buses services vary greatly depending on the day of the week and time of the year, resulting in timetables where the annotations take up far more space than the timetable itself. So keep an eye out for departure times written in special colours or with mysterious strings of letters beside them.

Ljubljana has excellent international train connections, making it easy to reach most neighbouring countries plus more distant ones such as Germany. However travel to and from Italy is not always as convenient as you might expect - there is only one awkwardly-timed direct train, and bus services at weekends are limited.


Slovenia adopted the Euro as its currency at the start of 2007, so its colourful Tolar notes are quickly becoming a thing of the past. As you might expect, Slovenia is not nearly as cheap as the likes of Bulgaria or Romania, but given the high quality of most things it still represents decent value by Western European standards.


Slovene is one of the South Slavic languages, related to but distinct from Croatian and Serbian. Slovenia is probably one of the easiest European countries in which to travel, a huge proportion of the population seems to know English and be confident speaking it (many speak German and Italian too). I frequently encountered bus drivers and staff in small train stations who spoke at least some English, to an extent rare in almost any other European country (East or West)."

Firstly, lets say something more about Slovenia, although the TravelBlog already did the Job: two words: Amazingly diverse...!
In a few words: ...relative young chicken, old culture, fantastic scenery!

A nation of two million, with a distinctive identity. What is really wonderful is that Slovenia is never boring! Almost;) The first impression of the landscape is: green, green, more green and green still. Over a million hectares of woodland, a half of the entire state. You can find woods in Ljubljana itself, the capital city with 300 000 inhabitants. A unique baroque city centre, broad pedestrian avenues, a modern commercial centre, a modern congress centre, outstanding cultural events and city life give Ljubljana it`s unique touch.

Triglav, our highest Alpine peak (2864 m) is not extremely high, compared to other peaks. It is one of the symbols of Slovenia, though. The beauty and diversity of the Triglav National Park is distinguishly astonishing and the shape of Triglav seems to illustrate that Slovenia exists on three levels, above, the mountain sky dazzels with it`s counless Mediterranean shades in between, and below, there are 15000 underground caves, some of them world famous (Postojna, Škocijan). Here the Alps descend abruptly through thick woods to the Adriatic, and the world changes with every step. It may sound like exaggeration, but come and see for yourself! To be small is beautiful, and Slovenia, on the sunny side of the Alps, is just that!

I guess, it would not be out of place to note that in Slovenia there are three wine regions: the eastern, with excellent Riesling wine (word "excellent" depends if you prefer drinking beer, which let me just notice is also excellent - speaking about Laško, btw); the central, with naturaly dry rose wine; and the GREAT western, with full-bodied Mediterranean wines (no need to note what wine region is prefered by the writer, I guess?). Don`t drink and swim, or even worse - dive!

A country for sports-fans and nature lovers!

If you like sport activity the Valley of Soča is the right address in Slovenia (I am not saying there are no sport activities in other regions, besides drinking and eating!). Furthermore: Bovec!
In this famous resort of the upper Soča valley winters are white and snowy - at least used to be, attracting skiers (at their disposal are high mountain ski slopes up to 2300 m on the Slovene - Kanin - and the Italian sides), mountain climbers, cross-country skiers, parachuting and hang-gliding enthusiasts. With the aproach of spring the sports enthusiasts can continue with the enthusiasm, by mountain biking ...ending the escapade by rafting.

In the summer there are numerous cool ways to kill yourself and some everyday sport activties in option, like rafting, kayaking, bungee jumping, canyoning, paragliding, climbing, hydrospeed, hiking and so on - you name it (No, surfing is not an option!)! Of course there is also hunting, riding, fishing in crystal-clear rivers (Soca trout - Soška postrv is not only good for fishing - also teasts great...btw, the trout on the picture ate some smaller colleagues, in case somebody will be disappointed), taking a flight from the nearby sports airfield and there is more and more. Not to forget, there are also lots of offers for (just) lovers of good food and drink, and of course nature!

For travellers who like mountain biking and walking: In Slovenia there are some 9000 km of tracks. They have been set out in a dense network, largely away from roads. The most remarkable is the Slovene Mountain Transversal leading the country walker across all the most impressive Slovene mountains. There are no difficulties with lodging for the night (at least through summer). Here are some interesting links about mountain biking in Soca Valley (,

And there is one other interesting thing about Soca valley, I haven`t mentioned yet! Besides the ones, I obviously forgot. The WWI Soca front leftovers, the ruins and remains of the world world I! It was one of the biggest mountain fronts ever and the number of dead was enormous. It started in May 1915 and even nowadys one can still come across it`s remains and ruins on high mountain slopes and battle lines, which remind us on this tragic event.

Those of us, who are a bit more lazy by nature, can visit the Kobarid museum of World War I. Just to note, there are numerus private WWI and WWII collections in Bovec, Kobarid and Drežnica... Beside of all the above, there are infinite sightseeing places: waterfalls, mountains, WWI cemetarys, castles, museums, etc., etc., etc. ...

Ok, I must admit, not everything is shiny and pinky here! Let`s mention at least one negative thing: beware of the speed limits if driving on Slovenian roads! You also need to drive on the right and sober! The advertisement about milka chocolate, you might have seen on the telly, is fake! At least I couldn`t spot the purple cow anywhere in the Alps... Oh, yeah, and of course, the Sloveninan politics and all the little things that belong under that comment!

Where to stay?

Depends on your budget:

CAMPING: Near the river Soča in Bovec, Trenta, Kobarid, one can find nice small camping places, surrounded with the high mountains and fresh air. The costs are low or shuld I say normal.

HOTELS: If you can afford it... THere are some small, but nice hotels in all "towns" in the valley. Hotel Hvala in Kobarid, hotels Kanin and Alp in Bovec, etc.

APARTMENTS and HUTS: There are numerous options. Depends on what are you looking for, where are you looking for and on your budget! Fancy option are apartmets Pristava, Lepena, built in the old local style. The chalets scattered around the restaurant, standing on the picturesque plateau above the confluence of the Soca and Lepena rivers, can accomodate a small number of guests, who love to enjoy peace and close contact with nature. But as i say, there are many options, including different extra offers...and different costs, but most of them include the "option" to enjoy peace and close cotact with nature!:) All that and many other infos available at:

Thats all for now, more stuff next time...

PS: Locations in Slovenia also worth visiting, or at least describeing and mentioning: Postojna (the famous caves), Bohinj, Bled, Kranjska Gora, Kras, the coast (Portorož, Piran), NorthEast (pivovarna Laško, Maribor, Rogaška, Čatež), Ljubljana, etc. ...but maybe about that next time or on some other blog!
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