As a reader of the Reale Adventure, typically, an interest in travel is commonplace. So I am sure you are all asking yourselves - why on earth did you travel to Slovenia?
Pinterest has provided me with most of my travel ingenuity in my 20's and sparked my first brush with online travel inspiration back in 2013. How millennial do I sound right now? However, I saw this photo of Slovenia that ultimately urged me to book my stay. An Instagram post and a couple dm's later, one of my great friends Alexis joined the trip! (Some advantages to being a millennial right?) Now, let's get into a complete guide to this beautifully underrated city!
Ljubljana - 1-2 Days
To begin with, pronouncing the name of this city is nearly impossible for me. In case you thought I was especially cultured, I am far from it in this situation. Ljubljana (pronounced Lou-ble-ana) is Slovenia's capital city and provides historic charm and rivals a more rustic Paris.
My travel mate Alexis and I first ventured to a cafe to grab coffee & local bread to start our first day of exploring Slovenia. We also stumbled upon an open-air street market, which happens virtually every day near the old town area. Try some local fruit, like the grape/pomegranate hybrid featured above!
Cajna Hisa has the cutest tea room and is located in the old town area of Ljubljana, where we began our trip. This picturesque segway of streets and shops is where our primary dining (and ice cream eating!) happened with perfect fall weather to boot. We next headed toward the Ljubljana Castle, where I suggest taking the all-glass Cable Car up to the top. Stroll around the grounds, discover some Slovenian history, & sip wine & cheeses at the Castle Cafe.
Head back down to Old Town Ljubljana and toward the Triple Bridge, which rivals Rialto Bridge views of Venice. Take a stroll along the Ljubljanica River and straight to dinner in Old Town! Fine dining options include Monstera Bistro (formal, requires reservation) and Odprta Kuhna. For a more casual feel, visit Pop's Place for burgers and beer!
Lake Bled - 2-3 Days
Lake Bled was the first photo I saw of Slovenia that inspired me to travel there one day. The town is a perfect blend between quaint charm and rustic hiking allure. We truly wish we had stayed in Lake Bled (we drove in for the day, twice!), and it is a must-stop on your Slovenia trip.
First things first, the hike to the infamous bench with a view of the island. Finding this hike was a tough one, so I am here to help, and please feel free to comment if you need more explanation. You cannot come to Lake Bled and not do this hike! First things first - The trail is not marked at all. It is essentially a wooded area on your left-hand side coming down the main road through Lake Bled. The name of the mountain is Velika Osojnica, and the name of the viewpoint you want to find is Ojstrica. Do not be alarmed when google maps takes you off-roading (we know from first hand experience)! The safer route is to simply park at the Velika Zaka beach area and walk up to the path leading you to Ojstrica across the street on the left. Once you enter the trail, the hike is a bit uphill, about 20 minutes from the main road, but the view is absolutely worth it. The Outbound does a fantastic job of guiding you through the trail with photos! We hiked at sunset, which I cannot recommend enough!
After finishing the hike, we naturally had to fuel up on truffle pasta. Oštarija Peglez’n is where we tucked into ours with the photo above, and I cannot make this up, TABLE SIDE truffle pasta. I did not know heaven existed until then...
Just up the road from Velika Zaka beach is Hotel Triglav, a gorgeous spot to view Lake Bled and grab coffee and cake! The kind server suggested we try the Bled cream cake, a local delicacy to the area.
The view alone from the patio is reason enough to stop for coffee before making your way further around the island.
10 minutes up the road, you will find the breathtaking Vintgar Gorge, which is arguably one of the most naturally beautiful places I have ever visited. The gorge was a last-minute stop on our way back through town, and it is truly a do not miss destination in the Lake Bled area. Only a minimal fee of 5 Euro per person, bask in the crystal clear waters along the easy terrain in this hidden gem of Eastern Europe.
Slovenia Wine Country, Slap - 1-2 Days
Love wine? Want to try some up and coming bottles? Look no further than Slap! Slap is part of the ever-growing region of Slovenia's wine country. This region is massive, but you can narrow your search to a couple of locally owned wineries that we well...randomly found off Google. Be warned: it will appear you are entering people's homes at first glance, do not be alarmed!
Our first stop is Povh Winery, which is located up in Slovenian wine country's rolling landscape. It is a small operation and well worth the stop to connect with the generations of family members who genuinely enjoy their craft.
In the town of Slap is the hidden gem of Vina Petric, which is owned by a wonderful family who has been making wine for several years in the region. We greatly enjoyed their cave tasting room and amazing white wines.
After a big day of wine tasting, we were urged to visit a local multi-course dinner at Gostilna Podfraovz. To say this place exceeded our expectations would be a complete understatement. If you are into experimental or creative dining, this place is absolutely worth the stop. We enjoyed the chef's tasting menu with the creative likes of braised beef and smoked trout with wine pairings. The experience was a memorable one for us both!
Slovenia has so much to offer, and I hope if you do plan your trip there to let me know what you think, but also send me your food and wine pictures. Mostly wine..