Tiny, overlooked Slovenia is one of Europe's most unexpectedly charming destinations. At the intersection of the Slavic, German, and Italian worlds, Slovenia is an exciting mix of the best of each culture. Though it's just a quick trip away from the tourist throngs in Venice, Munich, Salzburg, and Vienna, Slovenia has stayed off the tourist track — making it a handy detour for in-the-know Back Door travelers. Be warned: Everyone I've met who's visited Slovenia wishes they'd allotted more time for this delightful, underrated land.
At a Glance
▲▲▲ Lake Bled Photogenic lake resort huddled in the foothills of the Julian Alps, with a church-topped island, cliff-hanging castle, lakefront walkway, tasty desserts, and appealing side-trips.
▲▲ Ljubljana Slovenia's vibrant yet relaxing capital, with a fun-to-browse riverside market, scintillating architecture, and inviting riverside promenade.
▲▲ The Julian Alps Cut-glass peaks easily conquered by a twisty and scenic mountain road over the Vršič Pass, ending in the tranquil Soča River Valley, with the fine WWI museum in Kobarid.
▲ Logarska Dolina and the Northern Valleys Remote mountain valleys with grand vistas and traditional farming lifestyles.
▲ The Karst Windblown limestone plateau with world-class caves (Škocjan and Postojna), the Lipizzaner Stallion stud farm at Lipica, and the dramatically situated Predjama Castle.
▲ Piran Slovenia's adorable leading seaside resort town.
Ptuj and Maribor In Ptuj, a charming-if-sleepy historic town topped by a castle; and Maribor, Slovenia's "second city."