Slovenia, though tiny, is well worth a trip. With a coastal turquoise sea and snow-capped Alpine mountains — this beautiful country is gifted with astounding regional variation. Its dramatic landscapes and unspoilt natural features make for a splendid playground for those who enjoy outdoor life and adventure sports. Here is our pick for the best things to do in Slovenia.
This article is inspired by the Rough Guide to Slovenia — your essential guide for travelling in Slovenia.
The Škocjan Caves are a Unesco World Heritage Site that attracts 90,000 visitors every year. The 90-minute tour of the caves takes visitors on foot through 2.5km (1.5 miles) of the total 6km (4-mile) network.
While here, don't miss Silent Cave, decorated with stalagmites and stalactites. Or the unforgettable Murmuring Cave, an underground gorge carved by the emerald-green River Reka which roars and echoes in the cave.
Though largely Baroque, the Old Town dates back to medieval times and is the only part of the city to have survived the 1895 earthquake. The waterside promenade of Cankarjevo nabrežje is lined with cafés. On Sunday mornings, it holds a flea market — with stalls selling antiques and bric-a-brac, including memorabilia of Communist Yugoslavia.
While here, don't miss the beautiful architecture of Triple Bridge. Or the buzzing of Central Market (Glavna tržnica) — an open-sided colonnade designed by Plečnik in 1939.
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Tourism began here in 1855, when European aristocrats visited the lake to enjoy its efficacious thermal waters and the invigorating alpine air. Today, busloads of excursionists come from all over Europe, but the lake and its setting remain undeniably beautiful. Travelling here is best done in the spring or summer.
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Inside is the Castle Museum (Grajski muzej), where you will find archaeological finds, period furniture and armoury. For history lovers, this is one of the best things to do in Slovenia.
In the 5th century AD, Romans fled to the coast to escape the Huns settled here. For some 500 years, from 1283 to 1797, Piran came under Venetian rule, which produced splendid buildings and a proud maritime status. The Republic was supplied with salt from the nearby saltpans. Subsequent relative neglect under the Habsburgs preserved the delightful medieval atmosphere.
In 450 it was plundered by the Huns and in the 6th century, the site was occupied by the Avars. It passed into the Frankish Empire in the late 8th century, then came under the Archbishopric of Salzburg, before falling under the Habsburgs in 1555.
Today, the old town, filled with cobbled streets lined with Gothic and Baroque buildings and crowned by a hilltop castle, is known throughout Slovenia for its Kurentovanje carnival celebrations.
The pass has a rich history and played a significant role in World War I, making it a popular destination for history buffs and outdoor enthusiasts alike. Visitors can explore the nearby town of Kranjska Gora, go hiking or skiing, and enjoy the local cuisine and hospitality.
Unlike Bled, Lake Bohinj (Bohinjsko Jezero) is almost untouched by modern development —building on the shores of the lake is prohibited. Bohinj is an excellent base for a relaxed family holiday, with a number of well-kept mountain paths to explore the surroundings.
Inside, several rooms are furnished in period style, the stairs to the upper floors are carved in solid bedrock. Below the castle, there’s a cave worth exploring.
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Here one can also visit the Concert Hall, which can hold audiences of up to 10,000 and is occasionally used for concerts.
The Speleobiological Station close to the cave entrance shows a short film about the karst, and displays live specimens of cave fauna. It is amazing to think that anything at all can live in these conditions.
A series of suspended wooden walkways and bridges criss-cross the length of the 1,600-metre (1-mile) gorge. It passes over thundering waterfalls and rapids and culminates with the 13-metre (43ft) high Šum Waterfall (Slap Šum). This walk is one of the best things to do in Slovenia.
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Here you'll find the Cathedral of the Assumption (Stolnica Marijinega vnebovzetja). This historical landmark dates back to the 12th century, and again combines Venetian-Gothic and Renaissance elements. Visitors can climb the 36-metre (118ft) bell tower for stunning views over the Gulf of Trieste. Behind the cathedral is the 12th-century circular baptistery.
Visitors can also explore the nearby hiking and biking trails or take just a short drive to the town of Kranjska Gora. Here they can enjoy local cuisine, cultural attractions, and exciting outdoor activities. Lake Jasna is a must-visit destination for anyone travelling to Slovenia.
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