Although just becoming a country in 1991, Slovenia has a wealth of travel spots and destinations that will impress even the seasoned traveler. Slovenia is a beautiful mix of Austrian and Italian influences, with just a smattering of its own unique character.
Ljubljana (pronounced la yub li ana) the capital was according to legend, founded by Jason of Argonauts fame. Its main square, Preseren Square is dedicated to a Slovene poet, who wrote the lyrics to the Slovene National Anthem.
Overlooking the city is the medieval Ljubljanski Grad or castle, high on a hill. It is a steep walk but well worth it to the top of the tower. Also within walking distance are national museums and sidewalk cafes that line the banks of the Ljubljanica. The famous Triple Bridge or Tromostovje, which is guarded by statues of Dragons, the city’s emblems are hard to miss.
In good weather on the weekends, there is an open-air market with local produce and crafts that are for sale. There are many more sites around the city that are worth a whole day to explore.
Duck into the many churches to discover the Baroque art of the Austria-Hungary period, especially the Franciscan Church of the Annunciation (Curkev Marijinega oznanja). Very close by is the Slovenian National Opera and Ballet built in the Neo-Renaissance style by two Czech architects, Jan Vladimír Hráský and Anton Hruby and had a major restoration in 2011. Consult the kiosks for performances.
After exploring the capital, one site not to be missed is Lake Bled, northwest of the capital, less than 30 minutes by car. A beautiful mountain lake with a church on the island in the middle looks like something out of a fairy tale. Picturesque and a wonderful photo op, local colorful rowboats will take you to the island. According to legend, it was the last refuge of pagans before Christianization.
Also if you visit on a Saturday, beautiful brides and grooms can be seen at this magical destination. A local cake confection, kremsnita is also featured, renowned for its triple layers of cream vanilla, crust and whipped cream. Although served by many restaurants in the area, the best is served at the Hotel Park.
A fortress-like hotel overlooks the lake that was once former dictator Tito’s summer residence, the Vila Bled. There are other world-class hotels also in the area.
Most residents under 50 years old speak English along with the native tongue Slovene, with those over 50 speaking German also. Slovenia, the country has many sites and is worth your travel destination (and it’s also easy on your tourist dollar).
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