Despite a tourism industry that grows year over year, it’s a country we still don’t hear that much about. And that’s a shame, because it’s got some of the most beautiful nature in all of Europe. In fact, about 60% of the land here is covered in forests and the country ranks among the top five greenest (most environmentally friendly) countries in the world.
If you’re a nature lover heading to Europe, it’s definitely a must-see. Here are a few of the country’s truly beautiful gems:
Start with the country’s small, colourful, well-kept capital city where promenades full of restaurants and cafes line the riverbanks and a castle on a hill overlooks all.
Don’t miss the lush green park on the hill beside the castle, sprawling Tivoli Park, the city centre promenades or the Open Kitchen food market, where the best restaurants in the country gather on Fridays from mid-March to October and set up stands and share their latest recipes.
2. Lake Bled
In recent years, Lake Bled has become an iconic symbol of Slovenia with its distinctive tiny island featuring a small steepled church in the middle of the lake. Legend says that if you take a traditional boat to the island and ring the church bell, it’ll grant you a wish. And this is the kind of place where legends—and magic of all kinds—feel infinitely possible.
Don’t miss the views from the castle on the cliffs above town. They’re well worth the entrance fee. Make time to stroll around the lake on its lakeside path, which only takes about an hour-and-a-half to two hours. And if you love the outdoors, head to Camping Bled where you’ll find campsites and, even more charming, a tiny village of glamping huts overlooking the forest.
Located in the Soca Valley, known for its distinctively-coloured mineral green river, Kobarid is a tiny town settled in some of Slovenia’s most compelling surroundings.
For the adventurous, there’s white-water rafting and canyoning nearby. For hikers, the trek to Drešnica will reward you with views of tiny Alpine villages overshadowed by towering peaks and the popular hike through the old war fortifications is something special as well. For those seeking more of a country stroll, there are easy paths along the valley that wind through farmland and forest.
4. Tolmin Gorge
The hiking trails of the Tolmin Gorge will take you past river bends both calm and rushing, gorges both shallow and deep and views both up close and high above. For the quietest experience, head to the gorge in the early morning and be one of the first people on the trails.
5. Lake Bohinj
Nestled up against a national park, Lake Bohinj is a favourite with Slovenian holidaymakers. On one side, the lake is bordered by a road that leads into campgrounds and hostels. On the other, it’s all forest and national park with just a few foot trails leading along the lakeside. If you go in summer, expect cool waters, bright green forest trails and plenty of bustle.