“Once upon a time in a land far away…” How would you like to see places fit for a fairy tale in as little as one week? Look no further – castles, dragons and stunning scenery await in the beautiful country of Slovenia. When Jon and I did three months of backpacking in Europe, Slovenia was the place we looked forward to most. We spent one week in Slovenia to get a taste of the country’s fairy tale beauty. Here’s what we got up to:
One Week in Slovenia Itinerary
Fancy seeing some dragons? The charming capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana is home to the stunning Dragon Bridge, which carries the symbol of Ljubljana, the dragon. There are also other dragon emblems in this city. Make sure to spot some of them in the old town. Across the Ljubljanic River is another remarkable bridge, Triple Bridge, designed by one of Slovenia’s most famous architects. When you are done wandering the streets of the old town (which is restricted to pedestrian traffic), make sure to visit the castle set on top of the hill, Ljubljana Castle, which offers stunning views of the capital city. The thing I love most about this city is that it is not as touristy as other capital cities we’ve visited in Europe. This means you’ll have plenty of the city to yourself, and you can stop and appreciate all its beauty.
After a day in Ljubljana, we took a short bus ride to spend the rest of our week in Slovenia’s fairy tale town, Bled. The main attraction here is a beautiful little island in the middle of the lake. If that scene is not enough, add the magnificent view of the Julian Alps in the background and you’ll have a perfect image as if lifted from a story book. We visited in Autumn but the cloudy skies and fall foliage made the place interesting. Bled still looks pretty amazing despite this supposedly gloomy season. We promised we will come back to Slovenia as this place looks good in different seasons especially summer and winter.
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Lake Bled and the Island
The image of Lake Bled has been included in plenty of “real-life fairy tale” travel lists and it definitely lives up to its claim. We strolled around the perimeter of the lake and enjoyed this picturesque view. The island in the middle is the highlight of Lake Bled. It is truly majestic from afar. Make sure to visit with your special someone as this is one of the most romantic places we have visited in Europe. Apparently, some people even get married on the island in Lake Bled. What a lovely wedding that would be!
Jon and I went on a 1 hour round trip boat ride (we paid €12 each) to visit the small island. It is quite expensive for a short trip, but who would want to miss the magical island of Lake Bled? The island was much smaller than I thought with not much infrastructure but a small church. While the church was not as extravagant as the ones we’ve seen in Paris, the whole scene of Lake Bled made it special. We went up to the bell tower in search for a good view (we paid €6 to climb to the top of the tower). We saw was a pleasant view of the lake and mountains but unfortunately there was some net on the windows so we couldn’t get a good photo. On the way back, we rang the bell inside the church and made our wishes.
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Another castle! This fairy tale town is best seen from the Bled Castle, cast on top of a hill overlooking Lake Bled. You have to climb all the way up, but it’s relatively easy. Although it is not as majestic as the castles of Sintra in Portugal, another fairy tale place in Europe, the views are well worth the hike and the entrance fee of €9.
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Around an hour’s walk from Lake Bled, is the stunning natural wonder, Vintgar Gorge. Make sure to visit this natural wonder during your week long visit to Slovenia. Vintgar Gorge’s varying shades of the blue water passes slices through texturized rocks. It’s a splendid view which you can see perfectly from the wooden footbridge trail which goes along a 1600m stretch of the gorge. Go all the way to witness the water drop from a 16m high waterfall right at the very end.
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Lake Bohinj, the largest permanent lake in Slovenia is located in the neighbouring town of Bohinj. While we were based in Bled, we easily visited this park by bus. Dark clouds and rain overshadowed Lake Bohinj when we were there but instead of looking gloomy, the place looked like a magical forest in a fairy tale. The low clouds and the colourful autumn leaves cast beautiful reflections on the clear water of Lake Bohinj. I couldn’t explain just how interesting that scene was! In better weather, you will also see the Julian Alps from this lake. If you have more than one week in Slovenia, it’s definitely worth spending more time in Lake Bohinj and the rest of the national park.
Bohinjska Bela, the small village 30 minutes’ walk from Lake Bled was our base for most of our week in Slovenia. There we had a small studio to ourselves (cheaper than staying in Bled) and the comforts of a home. Bohinjska Bela does not fall short from the center of Bled, as it is also surrounded by mountains and offers interesting nature trails, with one that leads up to Lake Bled. It is also in between the bus routes from Bled to Lake Bohinj so it is a suitable place to stay if you are visiting these attractions.
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The memory of our one week trip to Slovenia still lingers. I will never forget the beauty of its fairy tale-like attractions and look forward to seeing more of the country in the future.
“And they live happily ever after.”
Have you been to Slovenia or other fairy tale-like place? Do you have anything to add to our One Week in Slovenia itinerary? Let us know.
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