Lovely Ljubljana: Falling for Slovenia’s Capital
Slovenia? Wait, you mean Slovakia? Where the heck is that? For a place as unbelievably breathtaking as Slovenia, the country seems to have little recognition in the eyes of the world. With just over two million inhabitants, Slovenia is only country #144 in terms of population, and it is often overshadowed by its tourist hotspot neighbors including Italy and Austria. But it’s also one of my favorite countries in the world, and if it hasn’t been on your travel radar, get it on there now!
We launched our 2013 Balkans trip in Zagreb, Croatia, and, after exploring it for a day, we headed north by train to pay Slovenia a visit. Marveling out the windows of our private train compartment, the countryside views between Croatia and Slovenia were worth the trip alone. As Croatia was just a few days from entering the European Union, immigration agents checked papers thoroughly as we crossed the border and even inspected the underside of the train to see if any migrants were trying to sneak their way into the EU.
Our first destination in Slovenia was Ljubljana (pronounced more or less lyoob-lyah-nah), the country’s capital. Ljubljana has a population of only 278,000, and the town center can be crossed in about ten minutes, but it’s one of the most charming cities I’ve ever come across.
We were happy to simply wander aimlessly, taking in the quaint architecture and beautiful bridges traversing the river. The whole town seemed to be out and about enjoying the summer weather at sidewalk cafes. We stopped at one ourselves to enjoy some local wine and appetizers. As night fell, Ljubljana became even more beautiful, the softly lit buildings reflecting in the river.
Our time in Ljubljana was brief before continuing on to Lake Bled, although we would pass through again briefly on the way back to Croatia. There may have been plenty to do and see if we were staying longer, but a day was more than sufficient to explore the town center and become utterly enamored with Ljubljana’s charm.
Slovenia was one of most wonderful countries I’ve visited: inexpensive, friendly, and unbelievably beautiful. I can’t explain why Slovenia isn’t highlighted more as a travel destination, but it certainly deserves to be. Next time you’re in the region, don’t forget about little old Slovenia! I have a feeling you’ll love it just as much as I did.