I know it’s one of those things we all say, and you’re probably dead bored of hearing it, but: I heart travelling. Well, the actual act of getting from point A to point B maybe not so much, but the exploration of point B? Hell yeaah. I’m slowly ticking countries off my veery long ‘destination’ list, the latest being Slovenia, if you hadn’t seen me banging on about it enough already.
But Slovenia is a country that definitely deserves to be ‘banged on’ about. It’s stunning. On this holiday, we managed to get in mountains (Bled), beach (Portorož), and city (Ljubljana), did a fair amount of cross-country bus rides and had a swell time.
(This post is going to be pretty image heavy)
part of lake Bled
Bled Castle – with some pretty dramatic clouds
First stop: Bled. A town in northwestern Slovenia situated by a lake of the same name (funny that). We used it as a base to get to other areas of interest that were quite close by, but the town itself is really, really pretty. The lake is gorgeous, there’s a little island in the middle with a church that hosts numerous weddings because it’s just a tad magical.
I’d recommend staying in accommodation in the town if you’re planning to travel, the buses can be quite… oddly timed, if you’re doing what we did and planning it all out yourself (not with a tour group). Not to say that the public transport isn’t great, because it is, it’s just not all that frequent sometimes.
Mum had, conveniently, booked a hotel right by the bus station. Reading that I’ll forgive you for pulling faces, but Bled bus station is kind of more of a really large bus stop, and a 2 minute walk from our hotel – Hotel Jelovica Bled. It’s a really, really nice hotel. We went half-board, so got a buffet style breakfast and evening meal, which let us try a lot of Slovenian food without having to agonise over restaurant choice (it’s in the genes, apparently), and also saved us quite a bit of money. There are enough supermarkets around that getting lunch was really easy, though if you want to eat in the town centre there are plenty of places to choose from!
The lake also has a ton of things to do on it, we hired a rowing boat to get to the church island on our last day in the town, but there are plenty of places to hire Sup’s (standing up paddle boards), other boats, and do other water based activities. The lake also has a policy of no boats with engines allowed, so the water is really crystal clear too, aka, you can see aaaaaaaaaaaalll the fish.
view of Bled from Bled Castle
rowing boats on the lake
the Church on the island on Lake Bled
On our first full day in Slovenia, mum decided that we’d be getting things off to a great start with going to see one of the natural attractions of the country: Vintgar Gorge. It’s a really photogenic spot with a walkway that runs beside and across, and two stunning waterfalls. You can take a bus or a taxi to get to the start of the walkway – the cost is about 1-2 euros. The gorge is also ticketed to help with the upkeep of the walkways, but pretty inexpensive, and they do student discounts if you can provide a student card.
waterfall no.2 at vintgar gorge
To get back to Bled, we decided to go on a bit of a trek through a section of the Triglav National Park, and through a couple of really cute villages. The building style reminded me so much of Austria, or some particularly alpine regions of France, and I have a feeling that the whole area would be magical in the winter. Maybe a tad bit hard to navigate but totally magical.
Day 2, we decided to go and see Triglav National Park more thoroughly, taking Bled’s Sunday service hop-on-hop-off bus to the final stop, somewhere up Triglav mountain. We didn’t actually scale the highest peak of the Julian Alps – mountaineers we are most definitely not – instead, we decided to wind our way down to some huts and more photogenic walking spots (are you seeing a theme yet?), that took us through quite a few fields of cows.
intentionally finding things! mountain huts in Triglav national park
Once we were done with the mountains, it was time to head to a fossilised gorge with a very dubious trail. As in, there was no trail at certain points. At all. Straight up had to get physical with nature at certain points, along with incredibly steep cave climbs that seem like nothing in photos, when in fact they were practically vertical. We were aiming to walk from the gorge back to Bled as it seemed possible on all the maps we had, but we couldn’t figure it out… and then felt even more dumb when we’d managed to circle back to the exact point we’d entered the gorge trail. Competent hikers, yo.
prime example of ‘this looks less steep/scary than it actually was’
Once we’d extracted ourselves from mud and bracken, it was time to catch the bus back to Bled. Though there was a fair amount of road walking before we actually did. The best way to see a country is to explore, and all that, so we decided to hop (and by hop I mean limp… damn blisters) to a couple of stops down, considering the walk between each village was about 15 minutes. We actually could have walked the entire way back to our hotel, but the temperature wasn’t forgiving, and neither was the direct sunlight.
Day 3 was a trip to the larger lake of Bohinj, which is also stunningly beautiful in an unfair kind of way. We, once again, took the bus (really early), and managed to get off one stop after the one we originally wanted. As well as the lake, Bohinj also has a ski centre at Vogel, which has a cable car system to take you up into the mountains at any time of year. My little sister and I managed to crash a photoshoot for sports wear on a trail down… and there were also some people filming BMX riders, so it was allll happening up in the mountains that day. Plus we ate our lunch with goats. Baby goats. So yeah.
It wasn’t the sunniest of skies in the morning, and since that was when we’d decided to do the ‘up the mountain’ thing, most of the panorama shots I got were fairly misty. Had we gone later in the day, when the sun was, once again, positively blaring, I’m pretty sure the views would have been spectacular
Bohinj also has a waterfall that we decided not to go and see, but we did do the lakeside walk from one end to the other on the mountains side. It’s a lovely walk, with lots to explore and was going absolutely brilliantly until I saw not one, but two snakes. I really don’t like snakes.
Like the #trooper I am, I kept going, and we managed to make it back to the town of Bohinj without any other incidents and thoroughly enjoying the scenery. Did I mention that Slovenia was really, really pretty already? I don’t think I did. It’s really really pretty.
I think this is a good a place as any to end part 1 of this travel diary, considering what was left of day 3 was spent on a bus back to Bled, and this post is probably going to be a nightmare to load as is. I’m also working my way through all the footage I took when I wasn’t taking photos, and am going to try and compile it into a few videos to go along with these posts, so please anticipate that!
Have any of you been to Slovenia? Where did you go – any of our places match up so far???