I know what you’re thinking: “Slovenia, where the hell is that?” Or possibly: “What, only 2 reasons, is that all you’ve got? Are you getting lazy Todd? I mean all the other Top [insert arbitrary number] Lists have WAY more than just 2.”

Island Church Bled Slovenia

Ohhh, pretty picture. Ready to listen yet? The Church of the Assumption on Lake Bled

Truth be told, I never thought about visiting Slovenia until recently. My other little secret is that there are more than 2 reasons to visit this amazing country but you shouldn’t need any more than these two. Bam! How do you feel now? Feeling silly? Ready to trust me? Huh? Huh?

Also, this is not a post about everything Slovenia has to offer. Over one week I only went to two places. Turns out it was enough to get me itching to head back. I took a week off work and headed into the mountains to work on my Shikoku Pilgrimage book. I’m happy to report that I got three more chapters finished and still had time to hike the incredibly accessible Alps.

First things first, where is Slovenia

Slovenia Map

Map courtesy of http://www.icannga.com/icannga11.php

Somehow this little country does not receive the attention it deserves. It’s one of Europe’s smallest and shares borders with Croatia, Italy, Austria and Hungary. Sounds centrally located to me. Add a small coast, the stunning Julian Alps, and about 500 castles, manors and ruins, amazing wine, food and the infrastructure of any major European country and you start to wonder why more people aren’t talking about it. Oh, and did I mention it’s still relatively inexpensive? Well it is. So much so that I found it cheaper than my recent trip through Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast.

First Reason

Bled Castle Slovenia

The Autumn colors only added to the magical feel of this place.

The thousand year old Bled Castle sits majestically  on a rocky outcrop 139 meters above the lake of the same name. In the middle rests and island holding the Church of the Assumption, evoking further images of fairy tales and dragons that haunt the capital city of Ljubljana, a mere 45 minutes drive away. Imposing mountain peaks surround the lake valley to round out the incredible charm of this little town and making it a must for any serious Europe traveler. The only down side is its so beautiful that the crowds can get quite thick so it’s best to visit in the Spring and Autumn.

The best way to appreciate the natural and architectural beauty of Bled is to walk around the lake. A walking path circles the lake and at an easy pace takes about 90 minutes, longer if you get stuck taking one breath taking picture after another. Not even the ugly Yugoslav era concrete hotel monstrosities can take away from the magic of this special place.

Second Reason

Lake Bohinj Slovenia

Do I even need to write anything here?

Don’t get me wrong, I love Bled. But too many people can ruin a good thing. Luckily all you have to do is drive a pleasant 26 kilometers to the south to reach the glacial lake Bohinj. Resting in a near vertical mountainous embrace lake Bohinj is the perfect get away to commune with nature and experience amazing Slovenian hospitality. Hiking paths start from just about everywhere around the lake, leading both the casual and the extreme hiker into the heart of the Julian Alps.

Church of Saint John the Baptist Bohinj Slovenia

The Church of St. John the Baptist in Bohinj. Amazing views from of the lake and interesting frescoes from the 14th century. Some of the angles inside of what look like fangs for teeth!

I spent 7 days here and loved every minute of it. The lack large hotels is not a negative at all as there are plenty of apartments in traditional house for rent (called sobe). The peace and quite, as well as fresh mountain and lake air can rejuvenate any soul and get you itching to explore the paths that bring you along impossibly green rivers, through sight gorges, and to the top of rocky peaks.

So, did you like my 2 reasons. Of course I slipped a few more into the mix without you even knowing. You were probably too distracted by the pretty pictures :)

If you go

Whoa, if? I haven’t convinced you yet. Well here are couple more reasons.

Getting there

Simple and easy. Just fly into Ljubljana airport, gather you bags and then walk across the street to the next building that houses the rental car agencies. There is about 8 of them so shop around to get the best deal. My first offer was 430 Euro for 7 days…at the “budget” car agency. I finally settled on 190 Euros. Coming form Kosovo where you pay 60 Euros per day, this was like heaven.

The drive to Bled only takes about 45 minutes on a nice highway. Drive another 40 minutes in to reach Bohinj. This is a perfect trip even if you only have a weekend.

Where to stay

Bohinj Slovenia

The view from Pension Stare

This is a bit more tricky. I wanted to avoid large impersonal hotels so I just drove to the end of the lake and found a pension. There are lots of apartments and rooms available and you can learn more at the tourist information center. But be warned they are not so helpful other than giving you a book of the places available. Having a car to search them out helps.

I stayed at Pension Stare, at the end of the lake, and would recommend it to anyone. I usually don’t promote individual places (for free that is :) , but they treated me so well I can’t help it. The Pension boats a delicious dinner, simple but comfortable rooms, and incredible views of the surrounding mountains. It’s family run and has been in business for 25 years.

Have you been to Slovenia? Tell us what you loved about it, or what you are dying to see.

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46 Responses to “2 Reasons to visit Slovenia: Bled and Bohinj”

  1. Bohinj000No Gravatar says:

    Bled and Bohinj (Slovenia)

    Bled in winter, in spring, in summer and in autumn
    and Bohinj in autumn and in winter.

    Lake Bled with the island, the castle of Bled ,the bus stop
    in BLED. Lake Bohinj , Triglav , Sava Bohinjka , KObla ski centre
    and cable car of ski centre Vogel in Bohinj :

    Bohinj000´s recent [type] ..Bohinj ( Upper Carniola ) in spring – Slovenia

  2. JeremyNo Gravatar says:

    Must…go….here… (ps: found this post via stumbleupon. good job)
    Jeremy´s recent [type] ..Italian Gelato in Florence – Tasting Tuscany

  3. MarkoNo Gravatar says:

    I couldn’t agree more. Slovenia really has a lot to offer (living there might have an influence on my judgement). ;)

    If anyone needs some more info, I’d be happy to help. Some nice photos of Lake Bled can also be seen on my blog (for more related posts click on the label “Slovenia”):
    Marko´s recent [type] ..Wordless Wednesday- Caterpillar close-up

    • julietaNo Gravatar says:

      Me encantaria que me ayudes, estoy haciendo un informe de eslovenia! Y queria saber como e sla sociedad en genral! Agradeceria tu ayuda mucyhas gracias

  4. Jeremy BNo Gravatar says:

    Todd, Slovenia is one of my favorite places on earth! I have some great photos of Bled but those are amazing! Part of me wishes that Slovenia would remain a mystery and it could be a little secret only a few people share. Bled is one of my favorite places that I have ever been to. Thanks for ruining it by telling everyone else about it! :)
    Jeremy B´s recent [type] ..Scrooge prefers travel over Christmas

    • ToddNo Gravatar says:

      hey Jeremy. Ha, well I wouldn’t mind it staying a secret as well :) of course you don’t have too much to worry about from me showing it to the world, I don’t get that much traffic to tip the scales. And besides the readers here at Todd’s Wanderings (I would like to believe) are sustainable travelers. That being said, be back quick before the rush.
      Todd´s recent [type] ..Petra- Jordan- When dreams live up to expectations

  5. MarlaNo Gravatar says:

    3rd reason, Kranjska Gora, 4th Triglav national park. I spent two summers working there and can’t speak highly enough about the whole country. Your photos capture the magic and intrigue of it. Keep sining it;s praises. I also found the people wonderful as well. What more can you ask for?
    Marla´s recent [type] ..Golosaria at Torino

  6. JohnNo Gravatar says:

    Nice post with excellent pictures. The pictures alone would make me want to go there, because they show how much character the place has!

  7. Fabulous photos. Thanks for giving some attention to a place that I’ve thought about, but not put high on the list. It’s now moved way up!

  8. jennNo Gravatar says:

    Woow! I was there on aug! At Bled! Beautiful place, its a must visit, best season to go is in winter but if ur out there in summer ur lucky u can get really greay deals on apartments which have all what u need and an affordable price, slovenians are really polite and gentle!!!

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ’0 which is not a hashcash value.

  9. TranNo Gravatar says:

    Not sure what time of year they are held, but Bled is also known for hosting rowing regattas….
    Tran´s recent [type] ..Cairo- On the lookout for a BIG hump!

  10. CamNo Gravatar says:

    Still kicking myself for not spending much time in Slovenia. We traveled from Italy to Croatia and basically flew through. Looks like a great place to explore…
    Cam´s recent [type] ..Photo of the Week- Split Harbour- Croatia

  11. looks amazing! At the second lake, do you know if there’s any possibility of free-camping? E.g. legal or wildlife concerns!
    Jonny Whitlam´s recent [type] ..The Importance of Saying Yes- Street Art – Alternative Tour in Berlin

    • Todd WasselNo Gravatar says:

      Hey Jonny, as far as I know there is now free camping on the lake. There are 2 campsites around or near the lake but they do cost money. The second lake is in a national park so the regulations are tight. Head up into the mountains and I’m sure you’ll find free places. There seems to be a ton of mountain huts spread around as well.

  12. Whoa whoa WOW, stunning pictures! When I lived in Holland and Denmark, I so tried to make it down to Slovenia but I was on a student’s budget then and there was no economical way to fly down there!
    Camels & Chocolate´s recent [type] ..A Room with a View

  13. Been to either both in summer and in winter. Winter in Bled and Bohinj is amazing. The lakes all froze up, so the waterfalls near Bohinj. You can actually skate on the lakes. Fantastic. Great for skyiing too!
    monica cesarato´s recent [type] ..Best memory of Venice

  14. Beautiful! We already had Slovenia on our list for its caves but clearly there is plenty to do above ground, too! Good to know that the driving isn’t difficult!

    • Todd WasselNo Gravatar says:

      Yeah, and there is so much more than what I wrote about. I’m definitely heading back when it gets warmer for some whitewater rafting, canyoning and back-country hiking. Oh, and some of their delicious beer and wine :)

  15. Dave and DebNo Gravatar says:

    Your photos alone make me want to visit Slovenia. I’m sold! I think we drive through it on our route next year for the Mongol Rally, I will be sure to schedule a day for sightseeing!
    Dave and Deb´s recent [type] ..Outdoor Adventures Hiking in San Francisco

    • Todd WasselNo Gravatar says:

      High praise coming from such a photographic and digital media couple like yourselves. Thanks and I’ll say it again…sooooo jealous you are heading out on the Mongol Rally!

  16. KristaNo Gravatar says:

    Stunning photos, Todd! Driving through Slovenia was one of my favorite trips of all time. :-) Lake Bled is beautiful – especially when there are hardly any people there. :-) I didn’t make it to Bohinj that trip, but hopefully on my next one. Just love these photos!! :-)

  17. Your pictures are absolutely gorgeous! I’ve read great things about Slovenia, and this makes me want to go even more!
    Christy @ Ordinary Traveler´s recent [type] ..Civil Disobedience- The Art of Tramping

  18. AlexisNo Gravatar says:

    It’s great to see a post on Slovenija, it’s probably one of the most underrated countries in Europe

  19. JimNo Gravatar says:

    Fantastic Todd, and yes been to Slovenia , way back when it was still Yugoslavia. But the pics you posted are better than the faded memories. I seem to recall being surrounded by armed border guards, and not the grace and tranquility you’ve illustrated. Maybe it’s time for Slovenia.
    Jim´s recent [type] ..PTSS A New Psychiatric Disorder

    • Todd WasselNo Gravatar says:

      I get enough armed police and military in my day job so it was nice to get away to now peaceful Slovenia :) Glad to know places can change for the better so quickly.

  20. Slovenia is a great place to visit

  21. HerbNo Gravatar says:

    Great tip, the whole area east of Italy intrigues me. Gotta go, when does spring break, April? early or late.

    Thanks, Herb
    Herb´s recent [type] ..Jazz Halloween

    • Todd WasselNo Gravatar says:

      Hey Herb, Spring Breaks late April, at least in the mountains, later in the higher altitudes. I love the Balkans as it’s so rich in history and nature but much much cheaper.

  22. NataliaNo Gravatar says:

    Wow, they are some lovely photos there. And it is great to see somewhere so under-reported getting some attention.
    Natalia´s recent [type] ..Technology – grand when it works- annoying when it doesn’t

  23. The pictures really do speak for themselves!
    No Vacation Required´s recent [type] ..Q&A With K&C – Live NOW!

  24. PhilNo Gravatar says:

    Seriously? There is no way those pictures are real!!! Wow, gorgeous. Description and tips ain’t bad either. Thanks for this Todd! B well, Phil
    Phil´s recent [type] ..Journey to Timbuktu Part 1- a Breakdown- an Overloaded Pinasse- Flying Urine- and a Late Night Foot Job

    • Todd WasselNo Gravatar says:

      Hey Phil, thanks for the nice words. Yup the photos are real and proves you don’t need a fancy SLR to take nice pictures…just a beautiful country like Slovenia.

  25. AndreaNo Gravatar says:

    I was planning to go to Slovenia after my trip to Croatia a couple of months ago but changed my mind at the last minute and ended up in Albania. I kinda wish I’d gone to Slovenia instead.
    Andrea´s recent [type] ..Tirana

    • Todd WasselNo Gravatar says:

      HI Andrea, well Albania is beautiful as well! Nice thing about Slovenia is that it is small and easy to get around, so it will be easy to fit it into another trip.

  26. Jools StoneNo Gravatar says:

    Wow, pretty pictures? Get outta here, they’re fricking amazing! And two reasons, love that! I hadn’t given Solvenia much thought before, but now I would, if you could only give me some more reasons..: ;-)
    Jools Stone´s recent [type] ..Comment on Barga’s missing buses and magic busgirls by John

    • Todd WasselNo Gravatar says:

      Hahaha Jools, thanks. I hadn’t thought much of Slovenia either until I was given a paid trip there :) So glad I took it. All my Kosovo friends always praise Slovenia and how out of all the ex-Yugoslav republics it always had its sh@#$ together.

  27. Sarah WuNo Gravatar says:

    wow, I never know about this place. Thank you for sharing this post. Nice write up about Slovenia.

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