Slovenia is a country full of natural beauty, from pebble beaches to snow-topped mountains. Any adventure seeker and lover of the outdoors will find just about every activity available, from skiing and snowing to zorbing and river hiking in Slovenia. Bordered by the Adriatic Sea, Italy, Croatia, Austria and Hungary, several cultural and historical influences are prevalent in Slovenia, making for a melting pot of a country with old historic towns and charming villages. Here are five of the most beautiful and culturally rich towns in the country.
The young country’s vibrant capital, Ljubljana, is bristling with history and culture. Designed by the talented Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik, the town’s streets are lined with many colorful buildings; the Triple bridges connect the old town to the modern town across the Ljubljanica River. Naturally beautiful as well, Ljubljana won the European Green Capital Award for 2016 because of its efficient pedestrian and cycling systems and large clean, green areas within the city. Experience its charming streets on the free historical walking tours that are available throughout the year, or explore its more alternative graffiti-covered neighborhoods, like Metelkova. Put a love padlock on one of its bridges or stroll along the Central Market. This charming town is waiting to be explored.
This small lakeside town is woven with breathtaking cycling paths and studded with charming boutiques and coffee shops. Situated at the foothills of the Julian Alps alongside Lake Bled, you can find a myriad of outdoor activities in which to partake. In the summers, you can canoe from the banks of the lake towards the island in the center where the majestic baroque Church of the Assumption stands, while in the winters, the lake freezes over and is the perfect ice rink. You can also take a ride in a pletna, a traditional Slovenian boat, around the peaceful lake. Bled is undoubtedly a hidden gem in Slovenia, its natural beauty rich and unscathed by over-the-top touristic ventures.
Piran is a picturesque medieval town precariously perched alongside the Mediterranean Sea. It has a lot to offer for such a small town when it comes to history, culture and museums. From the Tartini theater, inspired by the native composer and violinist Giuseppe Tartini, to the unique coastal galleries, Piran will satisfy any thirst for Slovenian arts and culture. Lose yourself in its endearing narrow streets and catch the sun on the coastline.
Bovec lies in the Soča Valley region, one of the major battle sites during the First World War. The rich history of this town is tangible; several museums and historical trails lie in and around Bovec, such as the Kluže fort just on its outskirts. One of two main towns in the Soča Valley region, its natural beauty inspired the setting of Ernest Hemingway’s classic, A Farewell to Arms. Bovec is also home to the highest ski resort in Slovenia, resting approximately 2300 meters above sea level, which is connected to a ski resort on the Italian border, making for interesting piste and off-piste potential. Thrill-seekers and history fans alike will find a trip to Bovec inspired and enjoyable.
Koper is Slovenia’s largest coastal town, near the Italian border with prevalent Italian influence. Its proximity to Italy means that street signs are in both Slovenian and Italian and the architecture is reminiscent of charming Venetian streets. The masterful architecture in the Old Town is the jewel of this working port city and you can’t leave without visiting the Titov trg square and the Praetorian Palace. These centrally located sites serve as symbols of Koper’s history and are prime examples of 15th century Venetian architectural influences in Slovenia. Koper also has a variety of typical restaurants and a charming Mediterranean beach on the edge of the Old Town.