Slovenia – Europe in Miniature

January 1, 2011 (Last Updated: April 28, 2020)
by Carolyn
Boats on Lake Bohinj Slovenia

Slovenia is a tiny country, only half the size of Switzerland, often known as ‘Europe in Miniature’ due to its magnificent and varied scenery. It has a rich and complicated history and, until World War 1, was  part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. 

These days, Slovenia is visited for its diverse and beautiful scenery from mountains that are home to world class ski resorts to the sparkling blue waters of the Mediterranean.

The changing landscape of Slovenia is constantly surprising, time and again. In fact, you can have one eye on the sea, then look in the other direction and be surrounded by high mountains. 

Despite its popularity with tourists, in Slovenia you can still walk through virgin forest or watch the grapes ripen on the oldest vine in the world. You can hear tales of bears, and eat forest fruits that you have foraged yourself on a brief walk out of town.

You can follow Rommel’s footsteps across the Julian Alps to the sleepy village of Kobarid, immortalised by Hemingway during the First World War.

Church of John the Baptist at Ribcez Laz Slovenia Church of John the Baptist at Ribcez Laz, Slovenia.

Like so many other towns in Slovenia, Kobarid is blessed with natural wonders, limestone gorges and the aquamarine Soca River, as well as a world class museum.

The country’s most dramatic scenery is surely found in the Triglav National Park, home to Slovenia’s highest peak. Here you will find Lake Bohinj, a pristine glacial lake surrounded by snow capped mountain tops.

Surrounded by gorges, rushing rivers and the cascading waters of Mostnica waterfall, this is a unique alpine paradise.

Lake Bled Slovenia Lake Bled is one of Slovenia’s most popular – and pretty – destinations.

Nearby is the picture-postcard village of Bled, situated by the lake of the same name. With a church on a tiny island in the centre of the lake and a castle as its backdrop, it’s no wonder Bled features in travel brochures world wide.

It really is a scene straight from a calendar and tourists in their thousands flock to this idyllic location every year.

Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana, is one of Europe’s newest and smallest capital cities and is home to a unique blend of Baroque, Renaissance and Art Nouveau architecture. Its stately castle overlooks quaint cobblestone streets, which, these days, abound with outdoor cafes. 

A walking tour of the city is a ‘must-do’ to take in the most significant sights which include the famous Robba Fountain, Cathedral of St. Nicholas, Dragon Bridge and the Presernov trg square.

Ljubljana street A pretty Ljubljana street.

With a coastline stretching for just 47 kilometres along the Adriatic, Slovenians mostly flock to the resort of Portoroz for their beach fix. The three largest towns along the coastline are home to some important Venetian Gothic architecture but perhaps the most beautiful is Piran.

Many natural wonders can be enjoyed in the Karst, a large limestone plateau situated between Ljubljana and the coast. Here you will find Slovenia’s most popular natural tourist attraction, Postojna Cave. The nearby Skocjan Caves are UNESCO-listed.

Maribor is a popular winter ski area, with visitors coming from around the globe to experience Slovenia’s extensive ski slopes. Thermal spas are abundant in the nearby Maribor Pohorje region and the gorgeous rolling hills are fertile wine- growing areas.

With over half of its total area covered in forest, Slovenia is one of the greenest countries on earth and is justifiably proud of this fact. No matter which part of Slovenia you choose to visit, the friendly and hospitable locals will guarantee you a pleasant stay.

I’ve been fortunate to visit Slovenia twice (so far) with Bled, Bohinj, Ljubljana and Piran my destinations.  I encourage you to visit this beautiful country, too.

To help plan your visit to Slovenia visit the website of the Slovenian Tourist Board.