The name of the country says it all. How could you not fall in love with a country that has love written right in the middle of it?
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From the moment I first step foot on Slovenian soil, I fell in love. I’m already looking forward to returning again and exploring more of the country – especially in the places I haven’t been to yet (like the beautiful Piran). Slovenia, is one of the most underrated countries with many people skipping it in favour of its neighbours.
Location, location, location
Slovenia is right in the middle of everything. It borders Italy, Croatia, Hungary, and Austria, all of which bring a number of tourists every year. It is fairly easy to hop on a train from any major city and end up in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. There is also much diversity in its landscape. In a couple hours you can go from the Mediterranean to the Alps to the Carpathian Basin to the east. Not to mention the Karst region with the many intricate caves all underground.
The countryside is lush and full of trees and greenery – they say about 60% of Slovenia is forest. In so many ways Slovenia reminds me of home which is partially why I love it so much. I grew up with the mountains. In Vancouver, I know that if I can see the mountains, that means I am looking north. I love that I was able to see the mountains in Slovenia. They’re not as big as the ones at home, but the rugged beauty capped off with a spot of snow makes my heart burst with love and familiarity. If you’re an outdoors lover, there are plenty of hikes and trails to keep you occupied.
Quiet and Quaint Ljubljana
Strolling the streets of Ljubljana, especially along the river, and you’ll be convinced that you’re in Italy somewhere. Minus the crowds. Minus the loudness. Minus the tourists. It is a slower pace of life and gives you a chance to relax after visiting chaotic cities elsewhere. The city is beautiful with a number of bridges each unique, colourful buildings and impeccably clean. At the centre of it all lies the Ljubljana castle which offers view of the city.
Picturesque Lake Bled
Visiting Lake Bled alone is enough reason to go to Slovenia. One look at the shimmering turquoise blue water broken only by an island, a church reaching for the skies and the Bled Castle, dating back to 1011, perched on a cliff high above and you’d be convinced you’ve stepped into a fairytale. You really can’t believe that a place so beautiful exists and yet it does.
Diversity of Food
Because the country is small and it has so many neighbours, you’re likely to see a lot of influence in the food. It is a mix of Mediterranean, Alpine and Balkan flavours. Slovenian food is a hybrid of sausages, Austrian pastries, Hungarian stews, Balkan meats and all with a bit of Italian twist. Coming from Hungary, many dishes looked familiar, and yet made uniquely Slovenian.
Slovenia uses the Euro, but everything is still really affordable. From accommodation to food, you’ll be paying significantly less compared to their neighbour to the west (Italy ahem). If you’re looking for a place to have it all and at a good price, then Slovenia is where you should head.
If you going on a whirlwind backpacking tour of Europe, make sure you add Slovenia to your list. Don’t skip it thinking it’s just another little country that no one knows. Despite its size, the country has plenty to offer and many adventures await you. You won’t be disappointed that you went.