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Why Go Now: Slovenia

Slovenia is a must-have on any bucket list, especially for nature lovers, as nearly 60 percent of the country is covered in lush, alpine beech forests. For eco-minded travelers, Slovenia consistently tops the list of the most sustainable countries in the world, and, in recent years, it has helped set the gold standard for sustainable tourism. Here are four other reasons why you should visit Slovenia now.

Contact Indagare for assistance planning a customized trip to Slovenia.

1. The Julian Alps Hiking Trail

This new 186-mile trail just opened in May 2019, weaving across the emerald green forests and glacial lakes of Triglav National Park. The Julian Alps border Austria and Italy in Northwest Slovenia and are also the home of Mount Triglav, the highest peak in the country at 9,393 feet.

Best for: Hikers who may or may not have visited the Italian Dolomites and Austrian Alps and are interested in new, beautifully-designed hiking and biking trails with stunning views of glacial, turquoise lakes and rivers; multi-generational families; and travelers of all fitness levels, since some trails, such as Slemenova Spica (Vrsic Pass), only require 15 minutes of hiking in order to reach incredible panoramic views of snowy peaks

Easily Accessible: The trail is located about a one-and-a-half-hour drive from capital Ljubljana or a one-hour drive from Lake Bled.

Recommended Add-On for Nature Lovers: Soca Valley in Slovenia or Plitvices National Park in northern Croatia

2. Lake Bled

You’ve likely seen photos of this pristine aquamarine lake, made Instagram-famous thanks to its castle on an island—and the destination lives up to its hype. Now is the time to visit before even more crowds gather. Lake Bled has attracted visitors for centuries with its natural beauty, castle on a cliff and the only island in Slovenia. Take a traditional wooden boat (pletna) out to the center of the lake, enjoy a relaxed bike ride around the perimeter of the lake and climb to the top of Bled Castle for incredible 360-degree views. Don’t miss the perfect morning hike at Vintgar Gorge, which is just a ten-minute drive from Lake Bled. Wooden bridges and walking paths wind through a 1.6-kilometer gorge through stunning waterfalls and turquoise cascades. End your visit at Spica, a Slovenian restaurant with views of the lake and traditional dishes like strukli, cooked or baked rolls with a wide variety of fillings.

Insider Tip: If you want a more authentically Slovenian lake experience devoid of any tourists, add on a visit to Lake Bohinj, about a 30-minute drive from Lake Bled, where you’ll only find locals camping and kayaking.

3. Ljubljana

Slovenia’s charming capital city is remarkably vibrant and lively. On a warm evening, the cobblestone streets of the Old City and tree-lined pedestrian paths along both sides the Ljubljanica River are teeming with bustling al fresco restaurants and bars. The city of 300,000 (Slovenia has a total population of two million) feels like a tight-knit community and is the perfect size to help transition back to urban bustle after a week in the wilderness. 

Top Attraction: Ljubljana Castle stands on the hill directly overlooking the Old City, and it’s worth a short hike or drive up to the top to enjoy views of the entire cityscape and surrounding mountains. 

Don’t Miss: If you’re visiting on a Friday between mid-March and October, check out Ljubljana’s Open Kitchen food market to sample bites from top restaurants in the city while enjoying glasses of local Malvazija white wine.

Top Souvenirs: Artisan ceramics and handicrafts at Laura Etno Galerija; handmade gifts from Gud boutique

4. Piran and Portoroz

Less than a two-hour drive from Ljubljana, experience Slovenian Istria in the romantic coastal towns of Piran and Portoroz. Piran resembles a smaller, more intimate Dubrovnik thanks to its Old City protected by fortress walls—but without any crowds. Wander the charming promenades and enjoy a sunset drink overlooking the sailboats at the Heaven Terrace of Hotel Piran. But don’t waste a meal on the oceanfront: Walk just a few blocks towards the center of Piran to taste the delicious calamari at the quaint, family-owned Restavracija Neptun, one of the best restaurants in Slovenia. Spend the night at the Kempinski Palace in the neighboring resort town of Portoroz.

Contact Indagare for assistance planning a customized trip to Slovenia.

– Diana Li on August 7, 2019

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