Surprising Cities – Ljubljana

I?ll be the first to admit that I travel to some amazing destinations. Often, they?re places that have been on the ?wish list? for quite a while. Other times, they?re locations that kind of sneak in to my itinerary ? like ?hey since we?re going to be all the way over in x, why don?t we stop in y too??. I find frequently that these are the places I wind up loving the most. Perhaps it?s because I don?t have too many expectations or it might be that I just like places that tend to slide even slightly under the radar. Whatever the reason, I wanted to share a few with you. Maybe you?ll decide to add them in to your next trip intentionally, or maybe you?ll ?be in the area? and decide to stop. Either way, I feel these are destinations are worth the visit. For the record, these places were all pre-planned in my travels, but they were added in after the initial itinerary was chosen, save one that I had to head to for a conference. I’ve decided to introduce them one by one in a series of blogs so that I have plenty of room for pictures of each. The first is Slovenia.

Why I went: We were driving from Italy to Croatia, and were intrigued by Slovenia. Plus, quite honestly, we found it the easiest way to drive from Italy, if we wanted to drive down the Croatian coast.

What I expected: Honestly, I really wasn?t sure. I wasn’t yet involved in travel planning as a career yet, so I didn’t have all of the resources I have now. It was also in my pre-social media days, further contributing to fewer resources. I definitely expected something more ?post Yugoslavia break up and still kind of getting it?s land legs?. Granted, this was about 15 years after the break up, but it still wasn?t particularly on the tourist map for American travelers. Croatia yes, Slovenia not as much.

What I found: A naturally beautiful country full of lakes, rivers and mountains, incredibly welcoming and friendly people, a capital city (Ljubljana) where people dined outside by heat lamps even in winter temperatures, underground caves and rivers formed in limestone, a coast yet to be spoiled with too much tourism, and an infrastructure that rivals some of the world?s most well-traveled countries.

How much time to spend: You can easily fill a couple of days exploring Ljubljana, the Karst limestone region, and surrounding towns when it?s not beach or lake weather (the coast is also pretty at this time, if you don?t mind it being a little chilly). In warmer weather, you could fill a week easily by adding in a couple of days at Lake Bled and few days on the coast. In Ljubljana itself, my best advice is to just wander around. They do offer sightseeing tours along the river if you enjoy those ? it?s a nice way to get an overall insight into the city. Definitely dine outside as much as possible. If it?s a weekend, there are plenty of markets to peruse. There?s an old castle that you can walk up and around. It?s not jaw dropping, but it?s a piece of history right there in the city.


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