The amazingly beautiful Lake Bled.
There are places we visit with high expectations because we’ve seen some absolutely gorgeous photos. But when we arrive, full of anticipation of the views we will see and the fun we will have, we feel a little let down. The balloon deflates a little. Sometimes what’s not pictured is a whole other and not so attractive story.
This is where Lake Bled is a massive exception. In fact it’s exceptional in so many ways, you feel as though you just stepped into a beautiful fairytale, and pictures cannot fully capture it’s beauty and magic. The hills in the distance, the little island with the cutest church, the castle that sits on top of the hill, and the most beautiful lake, free of any motorboats and filled with swimmers, rowboats, fish and ducks, are just some of the picture.
Then there’s the cool cafes along the water with amazing food and wine, coupled with the friendliest service. Picture rope swings and lakeside beaches, hiking trails and nature absolutely everywhere. It’s a little slice of heaven. Take some time here, stay a few days, visit Vintgar Gorge and Bohinj – we know you’ll love Bled.
The Down-to-Earth People.
There is a quirky friendliness to the Slovenians that is completely unique to them. Maybe there’s a little bit of a casual, country type hospitality – possibly given there are only a fraction over 2 million people living in Slovenia, 58% of which is forests and 24% being farmlands. It’s a place of fresh air and natural beauty. What’s not to be happy about?
They also have a progressive government (that gives free university education and a good health system) and they have beautiful old cities sitting on rivers, like Ljubljana and Maribor, that are filled with cafes, restaurants, bars and happy workers with 4 weeks paid holiday a year to also enjoy the beautiful waterfalls, streams, forests and lakes of Slovenia. The friendliness made our time in Slovenia very special.
Shall we live here?
3. Library Under the Tree Tops.
We kept seeing makeshift libraries set up around various places we visited in Slovenia. Casual seating, bright cushions, and a bookcase full of books in many languages were seemingly available to anyone who cared to lay, or sat around under the trees, reading. It was such a welcoming experience in this country – that some people had made the effort to bring chairs, cushions and books for weary travellers, relaxing holidayers and locals to enjoy!
Books make us happy, so even though we didn’t have time to relax with a book in the shade while we were there, we loved seeing people doing so. Later we researched and found that this initiative was the idea of a Slovenian not-for-profit and has been going for around 12 years. There are now 13 cities and towns in participating in the Summer months.
Summer festivals and outdoor live music.
We wandered around in the hot Summer evenings and absolutely loved the atmosphere and the buzz of the warm summer nights. Live music of all kinds played at various locations around the old town of Ljubljana, and street food vendors were set up to keep us enjoying the outdoors and having fun.
The old town doesn’t allow traffic, so walking around the paved streets, and stopping for drinks along the river, is casual and easy. Check this link for information about the many open air festivals, shows and events in Ljubljana https://www.visitljubljana.com/en/b2b-press/news/a-summer-of-festivals-in-ljubljana/
Ljubljana – pretty by name, pretty by nature
This city is a stunning delight! So delicately constructed with fine detail and pastel colours – it feels light and easy with a touch of sophistication and an air of fantasy. The old town is complete with castle and trees hanging over the river that gently winds throughout, offering pretty footbridges. Building after building took our eye, and the numerous statues and adornments were both beautiful and fun. The 4 dragons that hold corner positions one of the foot bridges (in the heading pic above) is whimsical and again takes us away to the fantasy land that Slovenia offers at each turn.
We felt that this city is designed for living and for holidaying but also for dreaming and imagining. We imagined it as a great place to find your creativity and a beautiful city to be in love. Traffic is very restricted in the old town, so it’s mostly a walking and cycling city, and with over 50,000 university students living in Ljubljana, there are plenty of bars, cafés and restaurants to enjoy.
Take the funicular to the castle and wander around listening to the history of the area, ride a boat up the river, visit the food market and flea markets, choose a book from the free library and lay under a tree, cool off under the Summer sprinklers in the square, and listen to the beautiful live music in the evenings. We only stayed for 3 nights, but we will be back, and next time it will be for much longer.
We love Slovenia so much that it’s on our top 5 favourite countries in the world!