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Why Slovenia is THE hidden gem you need to discover

I feel like I’m still floating inside a fairytale after returning from the absolutely breathtaking country of Slovenia.


The best way I can describe it is like seeing the images that pop up on your screensaver in real life, or the landscapes that you see on those fancy car adverts. I felt like I was completely immersed in a fantasy and I can’t tell you how many times I whispered to myself “I want to remember this moment forever”

It was magical!


One of the first questions that has been coming up is “why did you choose Slovenia?” and there’s one main answer to that question...


I made a pact with myself that I wanted to start exploring places across Europe (and beyond) that are less mainstream. Places that have a certain charm to them, yet aren’t exactly ‘the popular choice’ for holiday destinations. I went to Georgia a couple months ago (check out my Georgia blog here) and that blew my mind with it’s beauty, culture and charm - and I wanted more of that!


Not only that, but when I saw photos of Lake Bled, I was instantly sold on seeing that place with my own eyes.


Slovenia was actually a trip that started to plan in 2019 (BC aka - Before Covid) as my first official trip with my boyfriend. It started off as “Let’s visit Lake Bled for a weekend break”, then it escalated quickly to “Well if we’re flying into Ljubljana, we might as well explore the city”, then “Oh wait, I found this awesome recommendation for Piran in my travel group” and then “OMGGGGG we have to stay in this hotel, look at the view!” (This was all me by the way, my boyfriends eyes were widening with each additional stop, but he agreed after some promises that we would squeeze in some ‘chill time’) We’ve now been together almost three years and we FINALLY made it. And let me tell you, it was absolutely worth the wait!


Ljubljana

The capital of Slovenia and honestly what a city! The architecture and the rich history of the buildings makes you look around in awe as you wander through the streets. The city is completely pedestrianised which makes it the perfect place to grab a gelato and stroll around aimlessly whilst soaking in the surroundings. The weather was absolutely stunning while we were there, so it was the perfect way to kick off our trip. While we were there we visited Ljubljana Castle which I highly recommend, and we also did a boat trip along the river which was beautiful and taught us so much about the city.

Where I stayed in Ljubljana

Urbani Vander Resort right in the middle of the city is now hands down one of my favourite hotels. The rooms were luxurious and our room looked right over the river from the window. On the roof, there is an infinity plunge pool that overlooks the city below and if you look the other way you can see Ljubljana Castle right there! The bed was extremely comfortable, the service was great and the breakfast was yummy.


Lake Bled

If you have ever seen a photo of this fairytale lake, this is your confirmation that it’s everything you have visualised and so much more. It was like stepping right into the middle of a Disney movie. The beautiful blue/turquoise colour of the water, the bells ringing and the lush green backdrop will blow your mind in the most magical ways. We hiked up to the first Ojstrica viewpoint, hired a boat and rowed to the island in the middle of the castle, swam in the lake. We also took the car and drove to Lake Bohinj for the day - it was absolutely stunning and the lake is a beautiful colour. It’s much quieter in this area than Lake Bled. We did the mini hike up to Savica Waterfall and took the terrifying Vogel cable car up to the ski resort. The views from up there are amazing! Foodie recommendation for Bled, be sure to make a reservation to eat at Sova restaurant and request upstairs seating. Everything we ate on the menu (and there was a LOT throughout our trip) - you can thank me later.

Where I stayed in Lake Bled

Vila Alpina is nestled into a local neighbourhood in Bled and is a brand new hotel with a fresh cabin-like feel to it. It is about a 15 minute walk to the lake edge and had lovely views from the terrace of the mountains. The rooms are very small and were really hot in the night even with the aircon on, but it was a great stay for a few days.


Piran

The seaside town of Piran reminded me of Croatia with its buildings yet reminded me of Italy with its vibe. It felt extremely familiar and brand new all at the same time. I couldn’t get enough of the beautiful side streets, colourful buildings with their bright shutters and the postcard views of the sea. I would recommend that you get daily gelato from Pirano PastIccerIa and have seafood at Pirat Piran, their seafood spaghetti could easily feed four people. We spent our days dipping in and out of the sea, drinking Slovenian beer and wine and walking around this beautiful seaside town. Things to note: there are a LOT of hills and little shade from the sun, so bring plenty of suncream. The beaches are full of rocks and stone, so bring water shoes for the best experience.

Where I stayed in Piran

I cannot recommend this Airbnb enough! The host, Iviana, is an absolute angel and there’s nothing that she won’t do to make your stay special. This beautiful apartment, with it’s wraparound two-storey terrace and 360 degree views easily has the BEST views in Piran. The interior was traditional and bright and was immaculately clean. From the rooftop we were able the hear and see the bells ringing from the Church of St George, and one night we even sat and watched the sunset whilst a live jazz concert took place in the church gardens. It’s a truly beautiful place to stay, and will exceed every expectation you have.


Logarska Dolina (Logar Valley)

I was sold on this area of Slovenia as soon as I saw a photo of it! This honestly was the cherry on top for us! The perfect place to chill out and stare (literally mouth open STARE) at the views right on our doorstep. We didn’t do much while we were there, but we hired bikes and cycled to the top where the trail of the waterfall starts. The bike ride was 5km and is all uphill, and my calves and thighs were screaming the whole way up, but wow, it was amazing coming back down!

Where I stayed in Logarska Dolina

Hotel Plesnik is positioned right at the edge of Logarska Dolina and offers the most spectacular view of the valley. It’s technically a wellness hotel, so they have great spa facilities and wellness experiences on offer and it's the perfect place to relax and unwind. The room was beautifully designed, but it’s worth pointing out that the hotel doesn’t have any air-conditioning due to its location and their emphasis on preserving the environment. The spa level has an outdoor natural pool which is almost like a mini lake. We swam in the pool which was lovely and refreshing but for those expecting a chlorinated pool, you should know that there are fish and tadpoles swimming in there with you. There are indoor saunas and cosy sun-loungers surrounding a fire pit as well as a huge indoor hot tub. The breakfast spread was huge and absolutely delicious and the dinner was one of the best we had on the trip. We did a barefoot trail, which was definitely a first for us, but it was actually super fun and it was quite therapeutic to feel the different textures of stones and tree bark under your feet, so I’d recommend trying things that you wouldn’t usually do during your stay. I can’t even begin to describe the beauty of the views, so all I can say is that you HAVE to go and see them for yourself!


My Itinerary

Day 1 - Fly to Ljubljana


Day 2 - Explore Ljubljana - Boat ride & Ljubljana Castle


Day 3 - Check out and road trip to Lake Bled - Dinner at Sova


Day 4 - Road trip to Lake Bohinj - Vogel Cable Car & mini hike to Savica Waterfall


Day 5 - Explore Lake Bled - Ojstrica hike & boat hire


Day 6 - Check out and drive to Piran


Day 7 - Explore Piran


Day 8 - Explore Piran


Day 9 - Road Trip to Logar Valley


Day 10 - Bike ride & Spa Day


Day 11 - Check out & drive to Ljubljana Airport to fly home

Slovenia Overview

This country offers a blend of cultures due to its history and the coastal area is part of Istria - which covers parts of Austria, Italy and Slovenia. The food across the country was delicious and I felt was heavily influenced by Italy, so lots of pasta, pizza, risotto and gelato. The people were extremely warm and welcoming, and most people spoke impeccable English (which actually made us quite lazy!). I also felt extremely safe there and very comfortable as a black woman. I felt like we had four holidays rolled into one: stunning city break, a lake escape, a beach holiday and a retreat in the mountains. We travelled in May, and it was the perfect time for us - We had amazing weather for the whole trip (even though it was forecast rain), plus it meant that we got the best of both worlds with gorgeous weather but also it was quiet everywhere. We didn't wait in line once and felt like everywhere we went we pretty much had it to ourselves.


We hired a car to get around (we used one tank of petrol for the whole trip) and for the most part the roads were great. The only part of the driving that was a little more on the scary side were the winding roads and sheer drops as we approached Logarska Dolina.


I love nothing more than to discover new places whilst putting my own fun twist on the adventure. This is why I built my travel community Travel Addicts UK - it’s all about ticking off new adventures on your bucket list, making new friends and experiencing unique trips with memories that last a lifetime.


I know that the pressure of organising a trip and trying to gather a group together can be tricky, so I’m taking the weight of that off of your shoulders! If you haven’t heard already, I’m organising a trip to the beautiful region of Cappadocia in September. There will be a hot air balloon ride, quad biking through the cave landscape, a cooking class, a trip around the stunning highlights of Cappadocia and lots of good vibes and incredible travel buddies for you to experience this with. There are only three spots left, so if you want to join us, sign up here today!


If you have any questions about Slovenia, Cappadocia or want to connect, feel free to reach out to me on The ‘Gram.


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