“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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Love your post about Slovenia! The pictures are so fabulously beautiful!
Thank you Lea! Slovenia is just wonderful.
Your introduction and presentation of Lake Bled is simply amazing. I just love the way how you started this post ”once upon a time” … Like in a fairy-tale.. And I believe this introduction is perfect, since Lake Bled really is a fairy-lake 🙂
Thank you for the compliments! We really loved Bled! We hope to come back sometime on a different season. Cheers!
The pictures, the landscape, the scenery, the castle…. it transported me to olden times back where everyone was a prince and a princess. I love love love Slovenia and your pictures make me want to go there now. It is a fairy tale indeed.
Thanks Karla! Slovenia is so lovely indeed. We wish to go back as well! Soon I hope!
These are all beyond pretty…cannot pronounce most of the names though 🙂
Yeah! It’s hard except from Bled!
Yeah! Some names are hard except from Bled! Slovenia is really beautiful!
These images are absolutely *breath-taking*.
I’m in Europe at the moment and after reading your post I am inspired! How much time would you anticipate would be needed to enjoy this region? 🙂
Thank you! We has about a week between Ljubljana and Bled. There is so much to see but a week is just about enough to see Slovenia’s top highlights. Enjoy your time in Europe!
A lovely post! Speaking of fairytale landscapes, have you seen Bavaria? I believe you’d be delighted!
Thank you! no, We haven’t been to Bavaria. We’ll check it out.
I’m always up for a fairytale vacation and I LOVE Slovenia! Didn’t manage to see Bohinjska Bela though, but looks like I should put it on the list…
Yeah, Bohinjska Bela isn’t very popular because it’s such a small town but the scenery is really nice. It’s along the way if you are headed to Lake Bohinj. Definitely worth a look when you’re back in Slovenia. We want to go back soon too!
Lovely photos of beautiful places, most of which we have visited but, sadly, you missed the little mountain town of Kranjska Gora. Lovely walking base really close to the world famous Planica ski flying jumps and also to the borders of both Austria and Italy. Check it out, if you revisit Slovenia you might want to take a look.
Thanks Joan! We definitely want to go back to Slovenia. Kranjska Gora looks awesome! Would certainly add it to our itinerary when we go back.
We are spending a month in Slovenia starting next week, so I am pinning this to make sure I don’t miss anything. As far as fairytale landscapes, we were recently in Croatia and thought Plitvice and Krka National Parks must be where fairytales originated!
That’s awesome! Let us know how your trip to Slovenia goes! One month is plenty of time to explore.
We’ve heard great things about Croatia. Definitely on our list for our next trip to Europe!
Hi. It was nice to read this blog. Which month and year did you visit Slovenia. We are planning a trip and thinking about what would be a good time.
Hi Nupur, we went around November, that was autumn. It really depends what you’re after. It’s nice throughout the year. Most people prefer to visit during summer or winter though.
Thank you for nice presentation of our country (Slovenia), seems to me you miss few other places you should visit.
1. Postojna Cave (Postojnska jama)
2. Škocjan Cave ( Škocjanske jame)
3. Lipica (Lipizzaner Horses)
4. Planica (big ski-flying hill)
first 2 are underground caves fairy-tale
and much more places to visit. Try to visit those places next time you come again