The Julian Alps (1 day)
Slovenia ist one of the smallest state sof the EU, yet has some of the most diverse landscapes. The north is dominated by the Julian Alps, with several peaks over 2.500 metres. Nestled between them are pittoresque villages, the green streams of the Soča and the grand Triglav National Park. During the first World War, the area was heavily fought over and many old fortifications and the national park road are visible reminders of the past: the national park road was originally built as a military road and a Russian chapel was built to remember the prisoners of war who died while forced to build the road.
Bled (2 days)
Very close to the Austrian border, Bled was our first overnight stop. The small island in the lake (Blejski Otok) is topped by a small church – it was built on the spot of a sanctuary for Živa, the slavic goddess of fertility. I recommend taking the time to walk around the lake – it’s a flat and easy walk but offers some of the best views of the castle and the island.
Ljubljana (stopping by)
Travelling south, we passed Ljubljana, the laid-back capital city. The city can easily be explored on foot in half a day or a day. While small for a capital, the city still has a very Imperial vibe to it, having been a part of the Habsburg empire for nearly 700 years. Don’t miss having a coffee in of the cute cafés along the Ljubljanica riverside.
Piran (4 days)
Once you pass the Karst plateau in south-western Slovenia, the climate suddenly becomes mediterranean. Slovenia has a short stretch of mediterranean coast between Italy and Croatia and all the cities along the coast feel like a blend of Italian, Austrian and Slavic influences. Piran is said to be the most beautiful of the Slovenian coastal cities and has a strong Venetian vibe – the city was governed by Venice for more than 500 years and many buildings still show the former influence of Venice. For me, Piran was the highlight of the trip, a real gem on the Adriatic coast. From Piran, one can easily do day-trips to Trieste, Croatia, or the caves of the Karst area. Some tips for a trip to Piran can be found here (in German).