It is healthy, green and active but there are so many ways to do nothing at all if all you want to to is to have the time to read and to think. Imagine it is Autumn, that season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. The important question for the day ahead is do you have a fabulous and slightly boozy lunch, and sort of let the rest of the day drift by, or do you have a light lunch while enjoying a gentle stroll through the rolling countryside, and then an amazing supper washed down with a bottle or two of the local wine? Imagine staying in a wine makers cottage in the Lendava area, in the North East of the country. Not only will you get the keys to the cottage, you will also be entrusted with the keys to the wine cellar. And with a choice of white, red, rose and orange (where the skins are left on longer for a more intense flavour), you certainly will need a few days to work out your favourite. If you are not completely rested, you will want to relax in one of the local spas, where healing waters and various treatments will restore that frazzled soul.
If you are looking for something a bit more active, or even a lot more active in Slovenia, you will probably want to head towards the Triglor National Park in the Julian Alps. You will feel the bite of cold winter air in your lungs, but you are not ready to head inside quite yet. Perhaps in the Spring, you will hike or bike through the well marked trails, perhaps following the emerald greenSoca River, past waterfalls and through gorges. But make sure that you take plenty of memory cards or fail for your camera: the scenery here is stunning.
Slovenia is the only country with the word LOVE in it, and if you are looking for a little romance, you will want to visit Lake Bled. A church on an island in the lake, legend and stories abound around Lake Bled. It is said that if you make a wish while ringing the bell in the church, that wish will come true. It is a popular venue for weddings. Perhaps it would make a good spot to make your proposal?
The capital city, Ljubljana, is found on a legend. When Jason and his Argonaut Crew were returning with the Golden Fleece, they stopped where the rive dried up into a Marsh. Here a local dragon preyed on fair maidens. Jason sought out the dragon and slew it. Actually, he didn’t slay it on his own. He needed the help of his girlfriend at the time, Medea, but in typical manly fashion, he took all of the credit. The dragon is now a symbol of Slovenia and is found everywhere in Ljubljana, including a statue on the Emperor Franz Bridge. Another legend has it that whenever a fair and unsullied maid passes over the bridge, the dragon statue will give an imperceptible twitch of its tail.
But dragons aside, Ljubljana is a vibrant and lively city, perfect for that quick city break, just a few hours away from the UK. The city centre is car free, part of the country’s commitment towards preserving its own environment. You might however choose to take a boat cruise through the old quarter, under the picturesque bridges and gliding by its Baroque and Art Nouveau architecture. You always see a different side of somewhere from the water. The castle is the main attraction, some 900 years old and standing on a hill above the city.
Shoppers, foodies and street photographers will flock towards the Central Market. An Open Kitchen runs every Friday from mid March to the end of October where chefs will provide food from all over the world. On Wednesdays, the Ecological Market takes place where themed culinary events take place, such as from Countryside to City, or Italian Day.
The best things in life are free, and Ljubljana has plenty of free activities and places, from their museums to events in the parks. There is a free festival in June with a wide variety of music events, from classical to DJ performances, from theatre to puppet shows. Did I mention that the Ljubljana Philharmonic is one of the oldest orchestras in the world.
December of course is a good time to visit, when Ljubljana starts to prepare for Christmas, with street stalls, a Festive Fair and lots of open air events.
Even the WiFi is free in Ljubljana. Although of course you will not be taking your “devices’ with you on holiday. You are here to get away from it all. Leave them at home!
Slovenia is not an area one immediately associates with beach holidays, but it does enjoy a 46 km coastline along the Adriatic. As with Croatia, most of the beaches may be pebbly, but the towns that have grown up alongside are charming, sometimes hidden away and hard to get to, but always worth the effort.
Portoroz does have a sandy beach, and therefore is popular. It is a ritzy town aimed full on at tourists, especially during the summer months.
Piran is a town jutting out into the Adriatic with stairways leading down to the sea. Anyone who has swum in the Adriatic will testify that it is clean and calm, if you can find a beach that is not too busy. Life does not get much better than a long swim in the Adriatic and then a leisurely meal of the local food and wine in Piran.
It is the stunning underground caves that will get your Instagram feed pinging. The Slovenian Tourist Board claims that you have not truly experienced Slovenia until you have visited the caves, particularly the huge Postojna Cave. It is so big that a special train will take you deep under the ground to experience something extraordinary. Rock formations, stalactites and stalagmites, underground hills and incredible animals….. incredible in the sense that it is hard to believe that they even exist. If that were not enough, above the caves stands Predjama Castle, the largest cave castle in the world. Or you could try Koroska, in the North Eastern part of Slovenia, where you can ride through the tunnels of a disused mine. It is dark, with the only light coming from your headlight. What an amazing experience to share with your family
Slovenia is a land of (clean and healthy) water and spas. What do you want from a Spa? Healing, preventative treatment? Wellness, Selfness?
Of course, there is legend here. The winged horse Pegasus landed on the ground and healing water named Donat Mg sprang up. Legend aside, it has a high concentration of magnesium.
Wellness programmes are supplanted with a selfness programme. Selfness is a lifestyle which puts physical and mental health and good energy at the centre of your being. A Selfness programme will release your thoughts and relax your mind with yoga and meditation. It is about making time for yourself, changing your habits, building resilience.
The slogan for Slovenia is I feel Slovenia, making sure that the letters L O V E are emphasised. Yes, you will love Slovenia, but a holiday here is about remembering to love yourself, to connect back to nature, and some of the simpler things in life. Whether you choose to come here on your own, with a loved one, with your family, or with a group, you will surely experience something unique here.
When will you let yourself go and feel Slovenia?