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Slovenia: March-April 2017

Route: Ljubljana – Cerknica – Mokronog – Kebelj – Bohinjska Bistrica

sunny 17 °C

Ten days of socialising in the UK, then it was off to Slovenia. A small country with a population of 2 million situated in southeast Europe and sandwiched between Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia.

Right from the taxi ride from the airport we felt we would like this country. We shared a taxi with three Slovenian, who were extra friendly and very proud of their country. They gave us information about the country, where to go, what to see and how to pronounce some basic Slovenian words (although almost everyone speaks English and many very well). Then to top a perfect evening, our apartment in Ljubljana was fantastic; spacious, comfortable, well equipped and with great views over the city. We had three days in Ljubljana and were able to explore its beautiful old town, hill top castle and central park – Tivoli Park. In addition to this, we took advantage of our fantastic apartment to relax.
Having picked up our hire car we headed west to the picturesque village of Cerknica, which would be home for the next 8 nights. The route to Cerknica took us through valleys, up into the mountains and past many tiny hamlets. Our accommodation in Cerknica was just as impressive as that in Ljubljana. The apartment was just out of town, on a hill, and with magnificent views over the village and valley beyond.

It was during our stay in Cerknica that we really noticed just how beautiful Slovenia was, something we were reminded of during the rest of the trip. From our Cerknica base we were able to do lots of activities.

First off it was a visit to the Adriatic coast and the town of Piran. Nestled at the foot of a cliff and with more than a passing resemblance to Venice, this was Slovenia’s own bit of Italy.
Slov 020

Slov 020

Slov 019

Slov 019

Slov 017

Slov 017

Trips to the vineyards of the Vipava valley, personal tour of a mercury mine in Idrija, the disappearing lake of Cerknica (the rock bottom is so porous at times it is Slovenia’s largest lake and at other times its their smallest) and Predjama castle set in the rock face of a mountain, were all to follow. But the excitement didn’t stop there. We still had time to hike in Rakov Skocjan, a beautiful gorge with the Rak River running through it, Bear watching from a hide deep in the forest (although we didn’t see any bears, the setting was amazing, just the sound of nature and us) and finally the Krizna Cave.
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Slov 024

The Krizna Cave was something a bit special. This was a private tour just us a two guides, where we ventured deep into the cave, crossing 13 underground lakes with varying chamber sizes, either on foot or by boat and with just the light from our helmet torches to guide us. It was an amazing four-hour adventure.
From Cerknica we travelled 100km east, through more stunning scenery, to our next destination of Mokronog. Our accommodation in Ljubljana was great, and then Cerknica topped it, it couldn’t get much better, but in Mokronog it did, descriptions couldn’t do it justice only the photo’s can. The apartment was located outside of town with great views of the surrounding countryside. We had six days here, and spent it either hiking in the surrounding hills or soaking up the history with visits to castles and other ancient monuments. As with the area around Cerknica, this part of the country had some stunning scenery and most of the time we had it to ourselves.
Our next location was even further east and more remote. Our apartment, another very nice one, was in a small village called Kebelj and situated in the Pohorje Mountains. Activities here were pretty much the same as Mokronog. Although one of the hikes was from a ski station high up in the Pohorje Mountains and still had some snow on the ground for us to negotiate. We also visited a floating mill, where the river current drives paddles to generate power. Nothing so different about that you may say; but the difference is, the power plant floats on the river and can be moved to harness the strongest current. Power is transmitted to the mill by what looks like a very big rubber band.
From living up in the mountains, our next location was in a valley at the foot of some, in fact Slovenia’s highest mountain range, the Triglav. Yet again the apartment was great, albeit smaller than the previous four, located on the edge of the small town of Bohinjska Bistrica. This was a week of hiking up mountains, through gorges and around lakes, and once again the weather was great and scenery awesome.
And that was it, four amazing weeks in Slovenia. A country so diverse and so compact, it suited us completely. Probably our favourite European destination, so far.

Personal Observations

Pedestrians only crossed when they have a green light even when there is NO traffic at all. You wait for the green man.

The water in every lake and waterway was crystal clear, even when they run through the bigger cities and towns.

Recycling is mandatory. Every household must sort their waste and all public bins have recyclable options.

It seems that spring and autumn are the best time to visit Slovenia, before and after the hot summer and the tourists have arrived. I think we will come back in the autumn next.

Posted by MAd4travel 10:03 Archived in Slovenia Tagged europe

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