Slovenia may be on of the smallest countries in Central Europe, but within the 20,000 square kilometres it occupies you’ll find some of the worlds most beautiful lakes, rivers, valleys, and hiking paths; making it an eco-traveller’s paradise.
Here is just a brief glimpse of all the things to do in Slovenia that even the least likely outdoor adventurer will love.
1. Have a swim in Lake Bled
Possibly Slovenia’s most recognisable natural landmark outside of the country, Lake Bled is an ideal place to spend the summer months when the water temperature settles around 25 degrees Celsius, which is just perfect for all the swimming you should definitely do.
The lake itself is a beautiful emerald green that is calm enough to take a boat out on or to kayak across. If you’d rather keep your feet upon the ground then enjoying the features of the lake, the central island with the church upon it, and the majestic snow capped Alpine mountains that surround it is equally as enjoyable.
One thing you really must do before leaving Lake Bled is to try their famous sweet called Kremna Rezina, a custard cream cake topped with a slice of puff pastry. It’s almost certain that you won’t be able to leave without ordering at least two or three plates of this more-ish dessert.
Photo by Martin McBrien (Creative Commons)
2. Take a ferry along the river in Ljlubjana
Placed within the geographical centre of Slovenia, Ljubljana is a small city that has many big ideas.
The city design is classical and shares many common features with several cities across the former united state of Yugoslavia, but much of the centre itself is inspired by classic Slovenian heritage and the Baroque movement.
Of all the enjoyable elements of this vastly independent and increasingly alternative city is the river Ljubljanica which runs directly through the centre. The summer months present the perfect time to take a ferry along the river before debarking to explore the central market that sits alongside the river.
Photo by Gilad Rom (Creative Commons)
3. Walk around the old town square of Piran
Situated on the furthest South-Western point of Slovenia, Piran is a beautiful coastal town in which you can easily spend a whole weekend in quiet solitude either walking around the old town, or swimming out in the water once you’ve dived from one of the towns many piers.
For visitors visiting Piran after having already travelled to Italy, what you see may feel familiar – and for good reason. This small port town was part of the large and expansive Venetian Empire for over 500 years.
Piran today is entirely Slovenian and you can feel that through the people you meet and the culture you’ll experience during your holiday.
Photo by Plamen Agov (Creative Commons)
4. Hike along the Soča river valley
Considered to be one of the most beautiful natural sites in the world, the emerald blue waters of the Soča River have been attracting nature enthusiasts for decades who use the river for river rafting and kayaking, which the wild waters are perfect for.
The Soča valley is also perfect for those who wish to stay a little dryer too, with several hiking paths open to both the slower beginner hiker and the experienced off-path climber.
For the most adventurous the valley is also perfect for a number of more extreme things to do, with paragliding as the most popular choice. Given how beautiful the green fields and hills look, seeing it from the viewpoint of a bird must be an holiday experience to remember.
Photo by Florian Jesse (Creative Commons)
5. Take a long ski jump at Planica
One of the most popular things to do in Slovenia is to ski, and given how many beautiful mountain ranges there are to ski down it’s not at all surprising that the country is host to some of the best routes and jumps in Europe.
If you’re a keen skier planning to spend your winter holidays in Slovenia and you’re looking to do something a little more adventurous, be sure to spend a day at Planica, the spiritual home of ski jumping in the country and where a annual jumping competition has been held since 1934.
Up amongst the borders of Austria and Italy, the high remote location is only an hour a way from the capital Ljubljana by car so well worth driving to just to spectate as the experts fly across 200 meter distances overhead.
Photo by Borut Podgoršek (Creative Commons)
6. Kayak across the smaller Lake Bohinj
Although the beautiful setting of Lake Bled is more commonly known outside of Slovenia, Lake Bohinj is actually the largest natural lake in the country and resides in the same national park in which source of the Soča River can be found.
Of all the things there are to do in the Triglav National Park, boating or kayaking across the lake is amongst the most attractive. The scenery of the Julian Alps and green meadows that surround it give an atmosphere of tranquillity and pure serenity that many visitors from the city will crave visiting again once they leave.
If at any point you feel that being inside of the water appeals to you more than bobbling along on top of it, then feel free to join the dozens of bathers who paddle and swim in the lake throughout the year.
Photo by Jess Damen (Creative Commons)
7. Explore the heritage of Novo Mesto
Novo Mesto is a small town that resides upon the horseshoe bend of the Krka River that works its way south to meet the Sava River across the border in Croatia.
This medieval town has long been a geographical and economical hub through which a lot of Central European trade has past over the previous 900 years. Most recently Novo Mesto has been a perfect place to stay for tourists who wish to not only explore the old town and the town houses that remain within it, but also a location from which to explore the wine region that surrounds it.
Photo by Marko Pirc (Creative Commons)
8. Spend an Eco-weekend in the Logar Valley
Given how green Slovenia is it’s no surprise that the country is becoming one of the most attractive countries to responsible travellers and eco-enthusiasts; and the Logar Valley in particular has welcomed several thousands visitors to its Eco Bed & Breakfasts and home-stays over the past few years.
The flat green plains that lie at the bottom of the Kamnik Savinja Alps are almost perfectly flat for a weekend of biking, plus there are a number of small streams and lakes that make for ideal hiking routes too.
Photo by Vidar Karlsen (Creative Commons)
9. Go underground at the Postojna Cave
Whilst the Potojna Cave might lack the same UNESCO Heritage Listing that the Škocjan Caves have been rewarded, there’s no mistaking that what lies beneath the surface is one of the most interesting cave networks to be found in mainland Europe.
Over 20 kilometres in length, you’ll need to take the electric train within the cave to reach some of the furthest-most points from the entrance. Once there guides will tell you all about how the caves were formed and have been used since they were first discovered by man.
Deep inside the Postojna Cave you’ll also find a remarkable place called the Concert Hall which is large enough to fit just under 10,000 people inside of. If you’re lucky enough and research before hand you could visit during one of the days that orchestras perform within the very same cavernous room.
Photo by Cristian Raifura (Creative Commons)
10. Explore the cave-castle of Predjama Castle
During the same day trip to the Postonja Cave you should definitely leave some time to drive the final nine kilometres to see famous Predjama Castle which resides half within a cave on the mountain side.
A castle has stood on the same well-defended spot for over 700 years, but the castle you see today isn’t the original. What you see today is the 16th Century reconstruction that has seen wars and rulers of the surrounding countryside come and go over the years.
Today the castle isn’t owned by any one noble family and is instead owned by a public trust who maintain the building and the museum within that the castle has now become, making it one of the most interesting places to visit.
Photo by Shadowgate (Creative Commons)
More Things To Do in Slovenia
As you can see, regardless of Slovenia’s small size there’s an abundance of things to do that no matter if you prefer to be out in the wilderness or within the comforts of the historical towns and cities across the country.
Wherever you choose to spend your holiday in Slovenia, be sure to take a picture and share it with your friends.
What would you like to see in Slovenia?
Feature image source: Photo by Dudva (Creative Commons)