To say that Slovenia is stunning, would be an understatement. The small central European country is often overlooked in comparison to it’s popular neighbours – Italy, Austria, Hungary and the Balkans. But, Slovenia borrows something from each of its neighbours making it a travel destination that suits every palette.
Outdoor pursuits and culinary delights are Slovenia’s biggest offering. It takes less than five hours to drive the length of this country, so our four-day road trip should have been plenty of time to thoroughly explore Slovenia. But, as the saying goes, don’t judge a country by it’s size. There is always another restaurant, another winery, another hiking trail to explore in this little gem of a country
We started off in the capital of Ljubljana – a brightly-coloured, lively city with bustling plazas and beautiful baroque buildings. There’s a “must-visit” restaurant or bar every few steps in this compact city. The cuisine is a glorious mix of Italian, Mediterranean, Serbian and Austro-Hungarian flavours. We started our trip off by digging into a meat and cheese platter and having first of many bottles of orange wine at Slovenska Hisa (Slovenia House).
My recommendations for eating and drinking in Ljubljana –
Luda: Innovative creations at affordable prices with a top-notch offering of local organic wines. They have an evolving menu focusing on seasonal ingredients.
Ek: *The* place in Ljubljana to have brunch. Generous portions (we over-ordered, oops), great bread and affordable prices.
Crno Zrno: hole-in-the-wall coffee shop focusing on Colombian speciality coffee.
Gelateria Romantika: Best gelato I’ve had in a really long time. This place is recommended on nearly every Ljubljana blog/list, so don’t give it a miss.
Bordering Italy, the Vipava Valley is known for its wines – especially white wines. It’s a no-brainer to visit one of the region’s many vineyards. In fact, there are so many quality wine-producers here, that it can be difficult to stand out. We visited Lepa Vida boutique winery where our host, Matija, chatted with us about Slovenian history and its wine culture. He’s mega knowledgeable and passionate about wines, and it doesn’t hurt that the wines they produce are delicious. The winery is close to the Škojcan caves, so you can easily make a day trip out of it.
While in that area, pop by the town of Vipava as well.
We were recommended the restaurant Gostilna Podfarovz in this quaint little town. It’s located on one of the springs of Vipava river, and known for its trout. Bonus: it was asparagus season when we visited!
Bled is Slovenia’s most popular resort, and understandably so. An emerald-green lake surrounded by Julian Alps – it’s really the picture-perfect setting for both a relaxing and outdoorsy holiday. Lake Bled attracts adventurous kinds of all sorts – skiers, hikers, bikers.
We split our time exploring various trails and parts of this region: from the snowy peaks of Mount Vogel to gorges near Lake Bohinj.
Special shoutout to one of the best airbnbs I’ve ever stayed at. Everything from the decor to the view, made it my dream home.