SLOVENIAN TALES

by - November 11, 2018


Slovenia was an absolute dream to explore, and I can’t wait to share the tales with you…

My adventures always begin with a long, long journey from the coasts of the UK to a London airport. That out of the way, I finally landed in Slovenia… and it was pure alpine bliss. I would note, before I headed to Slovenia I found airport transfers pretty difficult to book, and after hours and hours of searching through super expensive private transfers I finally found one that was worth booking - so my first big tip for those who need transport from the airport to your hotel/hostel/Airbnb/wherever is to book with GoOpti – and you can click here to book with €5 off. Woo hoo!

The drive to Lake Bled was pretty scenic, with tall alpine trees all around us, and mini apple orchards here and there. I quickly learned that people love to be self-sufficient with food in Slovenia, and you will find a lot of vegetable patches and fruit trees growing in gardens! Yum!

I stayed along the infamous Lake Bled, and opted for hostel life as hotel accommodation can be pretty pricey per night. I planned my accommodation well, and you could see the lake from the hostel’s roomy rooftop terrace, as well as the most beautiful white wooden church! I’d absolutely recommend Castle Hostel 1004 – the staff were friendly, there’s a great atmosphere, and everything is always clean or being cleaned, it was also prime location for a supermarket, the main bus stop, and lots of restaurants and coffee shops. I was a little apprehensive about staying alone in a hostel, but made some fabulous friends and didn’t worry once, even with new people in my room almost every night. Perfect stay!

I arrived and checked in at around 6pm, so dropped my bags and quickly wandered down to the lake to check out the views before heading out for a Slovenian dinner with my brand new roomies. Grilled trout, potatoes, and veggies are a common veggie dish on Slovenian menus – and now I’m totally sold on trout! I must’ve eaten it three or four times during my week there. After dinner the rain poured, sob! As I wanted to get up early to explore the lake, I decided to call it a night. Probably the right decision as it rained allll night long.


Sticking to my plan, I got up bright and early with my camera and tripod in tow. Thankfully the rain was long gone, and after the early morning clouds vanished it was nothing but sunshine all week. I was even lucky enough to see the first snowfall on the mountains surrounding the lake.

Lake Bled is 6km around, and so worth exploring. There are so many pretty little spots to stop and admire the view… with a few piers, a scenic wooden walkway, and lots of benches. One side of the lake is really natural, with a camp site and the odd large cabin-like hotel, whilst the other is pretty commercial with lots of big, fancy hotels and restaurants. I kept to the more natural side, and it was so peaceful! The only noises were the odd dog bark from early morning walkers, or large trout jumping around in the lake.

Another attraction to Lake Bled are the three fabulous viewpoints located around the lake. You may have seen these on Instagram! They’re pretty well captured. So off I went, into the muddy woods, trekking up almost vertical rocky terrain, on the hunt for these viewpoints. Did I find any? Nope. I was wandering around with google maps and Instagram and blog posts open, but did they help? Nope. Argh! I did however experience what very much looked like a wolf running down the steep rocky mountainsides of the woods. Eep. A scary sight when you’re exploring the woods alone, with nobody else around. Apparently nobody has ever been attacked by wolves in Slovenia, but they are there, along with Lynx cats and bears (though bears are further south). Be aware if venturing out alone! Thankfully my little sighting ended well, with me courageously fleeing back down the terrain, on my bum (it really was that steep).


A well-known attraction on Lake Bled is the little island right in the middle! It’s such a beautiful sight, and is easily accessible by row boat. If you don’t feel like rowing yourself out you can hitch a ride on a Pletna boat… a little taxi boat! It costs €14 per person, and allows you an hour on the island. Sadly it really isn’t a lot of time, as there are a few sights to see and views to take in, but I made it work. On the island is a little museum, a fabulous little coffee shop that sells traditional Bled Cake (the fruit version is my favourite!), and of course the infamous little church with a magical bell. Stories say that if you ring the bell and make a wish, your wish will come true! Sadly the bell was ringing non-stop, so I opted to make my own wish come true and headed to the coffee shop for cake and tea. Obviously! The bell is a beautiful sound though, and can be heard from all around the lake.


My second day was another bright and early start, as I’d booked a tour around Triglav National Park with Pr1mo Tours. They have a great variety of trips available, but the one I booked covers a lot of the amazing spots I really wanted to see. You can find the day trip I booked here. It was honestly such a perfect trip, and small in size… so we got to spend plenty of time at each stop (taking photos, of course!). We saw amazing views, experienced the Julian Alps up close, walked part of Vintar Gorge, took a cable car up to the top of Mount Vogel (views galore!!), explored two incredible waterfalls, saw crystal-clear lakes, and so much more! We even stopped for lunch in a fabulous alpine spot.

If you’re short for time in Slovenia, I highly recommend a good day tour. The Pr1mo tour I booked was a good ten hours, and it really did get you exploring the outdoors. There are alternative tours that are similar but far more active (if that’s your thing) and include activities like rafting and kayaking. I didn’t look at these, so can’t recommend any, but Pr1mo Tours has a handful of great options… though the Triglav National Park trip was really magical! Our guide was so knowledgeable too, and we learnt so much about Slovenia as we went.

Lake Bohinj was also a stop on the tour, and it really was magnificent, I absolutely fell in love. It’s four times the size of Lake Bled, and crazily less touristy. If you don’t book a day tour, or if you book one that doesn’t include Bohinj as a stop, I reallllly really recommend visiting it – it’s easily accessible by bus or car!

   

I had planned to spend my final full day roaming Ljubljana, but I ended up heading back to Lake Bohinj. It’s a short 30-45 minute bus ride from Lake Bled, and really is magical. The water is beyond clear all around the lake (in fact, the water all over Slovenia is ridiculously clear), and there’s even a little waterfall. Sadly I didn’t have enough time to walk the entire lake, so didn’t find the waterfall, but there are some beautiful white pebbled spots and bed-like benches that I did get to enjoy! I made lots of little duck friends too. If you haven’t seen my Lake Bohinj snaps on Instagram, take a peek here. It’s honestly such a beautiful lake, surrounded by beautiful alpine trees and with views of the Julian Alps in the background. If you look close enough, you can even see little fish swimming around the crystal-clear shallows. On a still day the water is just like glass.


My last morning was spent trying cake in a coffee shop not too far from my hostel, then sitting at the lake and taking in the last views of the island and Bled Castle. Slovenia is such a wonderful, beautiful, and surprising country. I had no idea Slovenia had Alps! I’m so glad I decided to visit and managed to experience some of the country. I’ll absolutely be back, and really want to explore it in winter – apparently the lake can freeze over and you can walk to the church on the island! Magical! 

I have so many more photos to come, so if you're keen to see more you can find them on my Instagram: @perfectlyclaudia

Let me know in the comments if you’ve been to Slovenia, or if you’re planning to go!




Travel Details
Accommodation: Castle Hostel 1004


Claudia xo




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