My birthday falls the 27th of December, just 2 days after Christmas and it usually isn’t the best time of the year to organise a trip. People barely have any savings left and also want to use the time between the 25th and new year’s eve just to rest up due to the holiday craze.
Still, when I turned 30 I managed to get my closest friends to go on a commemorative road trip with me, starting in Venice and then going exploring Slovenia.
This article is focused on the 4 days we spent in Slovenia, but you can read my experience in Venice here.
Day 1 - From Venice to Bled
Our trip started on the 26th with a flight from Naples (my hometown) to Venice.
We rented a car at the San Marco airport, spent half day in Trieste (on the way) and arrived at Lake Bled by the late afternoon of the same day.
SIDE NOTE: Renting a car in Italy with a debit card might be quite a nightmare but I can ensure you that is doable. For tips on this and on how to get the sticker to cross the border and drive in another country and other useful info I researched for myself click here.
Once there and settled, we had dinner at the only restaurant open in the area, Gostilna Batist . This place was so good that we come back other two times during out stay. In Slovenia, eating out is very affordable and portions are huge. Almost all dishes come with a generous side of salad or chips.
The night ended with a relaxing hot chocolate on our balcony while watching an incredible starry night. Low light pollution in this area makes it a perfect spot for stargazing.
Day 2 - The Lake Bled
We spent our first full day in Slovenia visiting the Lake Bled and reached the goal to walk across the lake in its entirety.
The lake could be visited in few hours if you are in a rush to visit other places.
On the other hand, as in our case, if this is going to be one of your highlights, you can easily spend there the entire day,
We climbed the hill where the Bled castle sits, from where you can have an amazing view of the lake and mountains in the background. We then had lunch at one of the restaurants on the east side of the lake and also went exploring the area on the south of the river, by walking one of the small side streets and ended up in a village where we stopped in small coffee shop, Izletniška kmetija Dornk.
Once it got dark, we stayed by the lake by one of the bonfires then went for some drinks in one of the bars nearby before heading home to relax and enjoy the warmth of our chimney.
Day 3 - The Triglav Park and Mount Mirnjak
After a good night sleep, we headed to the Triglav Park.
Our first destination at the park has been the Pokljuka ravine. Originally our plan included a visit to the Vintgar Gorge but unfortunately this was closed during December 2016. So, we opted for the ravine as suggested on the Bled tourism website
We barely saw anyone else in the park. Despite the cold we would have expected the park to be much busier. After few hours spent in the park, with some low-level hiking, we headed back to the car to reach our next destination.
Travel plans can be unpredictable (see my posts about travel inconveniences) and incredibly enough the Savica waterfall was dry during our visit. This usually only happen during summer time, but for the waterfall to dry in the middle of the winter is incredibly rare.
We then changed plans and headed to a new improvised destination, the Vogel Ski Center at the Mirnjak mount.
With the cable car we reached the top of the Mirnjak mountain and spent the rest of the day sledding on the hills.
Rosebud is that you?
Day 4 - Ljubjana and the Postojna Caves
Our last day in Slovenia we left our cosy cottage in the morning and drove all the way to Ljubjana.
Here we strolled around the city, starting from the artsy, alternative Metelkova. An open-air art centre, full of graffiti and 3d modern sculptures that go as far as reshaping entire buildings.
We then walked for the center of the city to see the famous dragon bridge and the triple bridge.
The other half of the day was spent at the Postojna Caves. Do book in advance your ticket as we had to wait few hours to get in, almost risking getting late for the time we had to return our car.
During our visit, the caves were hosting a special event to celebrate the nativity with special lights and actors recreating biblical scenes. I loved the caves but, in all honesty, I would have preferred to see the caves in their natural setting as the event was quite invasive and over the top.
The train that drives visitors from the entrance to the deep caves was incredibly fun, even if it’s not the attraction itself, it’s something to look forward to.
That was the end of our short Slovenian trip, that ended with a short stay in Venice, but this is another story.
Andrea Visone aka Deneb