Tag Archive: Slovenia

We’ve long wanted to visit Slovenia so we drove from Vienna to Ljubljana with a Graz pit stop. Clean and green, plus it’s such a small country offering so much. Lake Bled comes to mind, but Piran stole our hearts. On a Food Trip, we included Trieste, Italy in our itinerary. Yes, that small strip of land off the Adriatic and the Italian border to Slovenia. As home to Illy Coffee, plus the prospect of seafood harvested off the Adriatic and cooked the Italian way, we couldn’t go wrong. Next, the van took us on a road trip visiting the small towns of the Istrian Peninsula. All of these destinations couldn’t have been better. By the time we left Istria and reached Zagreb, we were almost unfamiliar with big city vibes. And Plitvice? That was the highlight of my trip.

Just click on the following titles to the blog links .

From Vienna to Graz, Austria

Clean and Green Ljubljana

A Rainy Day in Lake Bled

Going Italian in Trieste

Driving Back to Slovenia’s Piran

Groznjan’s Art and Culture

More Truffles in Motovun

How Do You Say Rovinj?

Rijeka Off the Adriatic

Opatija’s Classy Vibe

Summery Day in Pula

Finally, Zagreb!

A Near-Miss in Plitvice

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Trip Length: 12 Days


Hotel Galeria

Hotel Coppe

Hotel Jadran

Hotel Dubrovnik

Bluest Blue Sky. Blue Waters. This is the best unplanned trip. Piran is our first pit stop on our way to Croatia. From Trieste, Italy, we reentered Slovenia after driving for under an hour. One feels you’ve never left Italy though, as we drove along the Adriatic Sea hugging the coastline. The route was scenic but the sky that time of day we arrived in Piran was just magnificent! At 9:30 in the morning, we certainly didn’t expect those cottony clouds.

Tartini Square is the main piazza here. So named to honor its beloved son Giuseppe Tartini, a violinist and composer. His house is located around the square which is now used as a default place for events and other public affairs. We crossed the Square past the 19th century town hall with stone lions and found the path towards the belfry at the top and climbed up. The Church of Saint George gives Piran its very Renaissance Venetian feel. At the time we visited, there was an ongoing baptism and the church was full. Spent time watching the baptism ceremony versus scaling up the staircase in the tower. In this summer heat, no thanks. But the view even at the foot of the belfry is worth the uphill hike.

Someone was playing the harp on the cobblestoned path to the tower. Tartini would have been pleased. Perfect as musical background to the hilltop Catholic Church dedicated to St. George. If only that melodious harp music can flow through the Church recesses where the 17th century paintings and altarpiece made of marble are located. But what strikes me more is the faithful replica of the bell tower to the Campanile in Saint Mark’s Square in Venice. You can’t miss it anywhere you stand within the port town of Piran.

We felt almost sorry to leave Piran. While waiting for my friends at the designated place, I silently stood watching a local tie his tiny boat amidst a row of yachts and speedboats in the wharf. His sun-kissed skin shows the wrinkles of a life dedicated to sun worship, sailing adventures and a pseudo-bohemian mindset. I gave up on the video as the old man took his own sweet, long time to get his boat safely moored. It’s the same relaxed and carefree vibe you sense everywhere within the island.

In less than an hour, we drove from Ljubljana to Lake Bled. The weather forecast wasn’t at all encouraging, but we reached Bled Castle with light showers not enough to dampen our spirits nor our enthusiasm. We hit the stairs towards the Castle, took our shots, browsed through the Museum and savoured our hot bev with that famous Slovenian cream cake from Lake Bled. Quite honestly, I thought it must be some overhyped national dessert but I actually enjoyed this local semi-sweet and creamy treat. Was it the best cream cake we had? Am not sure but it certainly passed the test: creamy enough that it sways when shaken, crispy enough that it crunches and pops once you stick your fork into the cake.

That Famous Slovenian Cream Cake from Lake Bled

The Church of the Assumption as viewed from the Bled Castle

Perched on top of a cliff is a castle that has sat there for over a thousand years. There are many photo spots around the Medieval Castle. We took as many each step of the way as we climbed up this oldest Slovenian Castle. Though it’s 130 meters above the lake, our van drove up to a point, leaving us to struggle up a steep path just for a few more meters from the castle’s drawbridge to the top of the precipice. Of course, the shots got better the higher you go. By the time we reached the highest level, I was ready to delete my earlier lakeview shots. While it grew cloudier and actually started to rain, the calm and turquoise waters of the lake remained. Frankly speaking, I dare say the view of Bled Island is better from the cliff than from the Lake. Very picturesque with the lake looking quite glacial. When it poured, we took our time in the Museum before deciding to leave. There is a chapel too within the Castle, 2 courtyards, a wine cellar and a very interesting cafe. My straw hat was soaking wet by the time we reached our van waiting at the parking area.

At a certain point, I’ve stopped snapping photos. The tranquil waters (despite a thunderstorm) makes one relish the scenery – the lake, the island, the Church, the Castle, the lovely Slovenian Alps providing a majestic setting and background. All these make it a worthwhile trip despite the inclement weather and the horrendous traffic. The photos here don’t do justice to its beauty nor this post add value to many blogs earlier written on Bled. But some things need to be said. And some cream cakes tried 🤣 and shared.

📸 Gizelle J.

Summer in Ljubljana!

Ljubljana is the capital and largest city of Slovenia. Being a university city, it is also the most populated. Lying between Vienna in Austria and Venice in Italy, it has gained some importance as a transport route from Northern Europe and the Adriatic Sea. Its geographical location likewise rendered it a natural passage between Central Europe and the Mediterranean. As such,it’s a city which is like a “Little Vienna” with a very Mediterranean feel. And evenings have a particular charm when lamplights flood the lovely bridges and buildings, and cast a reflection on the waters.

📸 Rick C.

We instantly liked Ljubljana even as we felt its summer temps walking and crossing its triple bridges in Preseren Square. It is a mid-sized city by European standards and is manageable to tour around. Affectionately called the “beloved” because its name is derived from “Ljuba” which translates to “love”, its residents express this love and pride for this young capital in the way it’s kept clean, safe and orderly. It is a capital city with small-town friendliness, yet retaining its historical heritage. In the two nights we spent here, we covered most of the city attractions. It helped that our hotel is right within the pedestrians-only area of the Old Town and near the river lined with many interesting shops and dining places. Dining here was a rewarding experience too as we enjoyed all our meals without burning a hole in our pockets.

Triple Bridge

Reminds me of Piazza Navona in Rome

What Gaudi was to Barcelona, Plecnik was to Ljubljana. This Slovenian architect put his stamp on nearly all landmarks here and is so loved by the locals. It’s a fine example of urban planning as Plecnik took charge of the construction and renovation of many key buildings here. From the three bridges fronting the Preseren Square to the Central Market building along the river, to a theatre, a stadium, among others. The locals adore him and accord him the respect like he’s a national hero. Another such icon is Preseren, a poet and composer responsible for the country’s national anthem. The main square is named after him, a statue standing tall quite unlike other city squares graced with monuments of military men/heroes or national leaders. An architect and a poet — men of art. This alone says a lot about the Slovenian psyche.

City Hall Of Ljubljana

The Franciscan Church In Preseren Square

A city of dragons? There’s a good legend behind this country’s symbol. But it involved a “swamp monster” rather than a dragon. A dragon Bridge was so named to honor this legend of Jason who allegedly founded Ljubljana. One of many such bridges spanning the River Ljubljanica. There are many photos of this reinforced concrete Dragon Bridge given its popularity among tourists. And there are more legends attached to it. One such is that the dragons wag their tails when a virgin crosses this bridge. How about that? 😜 Well, you can say Slovenians have a flair for storytelling!

📸 Rick C

📸 Rick C.

For those who love to hike, you can climb up to Ljubljana Castle. There’s a “Camino-like” hiking trail for the avid hikers but there is also the funicular to reach the hilltop fortress without much effort. I’ve got to admit I wasn’t particularly thrilled with what I found — a fortress more than a castle, but the hilltop views are good. So if you feel like walking or wish to enjoy the city’s panorama, try this. Better still, check if there’s a movie showing “under the stars” and plan to have dinner at the top before or after the movie. Yeah, that should be nice.

📸 Rick C

Thanks, Rick C for the lovely borrowed photos 👍