Slovenia's Hidden Spots
A fortress of sheer stone guards Slovenia’s hidden valleys, each brimming with quiet glacial lakes, wooden shepherds’ huts, and deep gorges cut by cool, crystalline ravines. And not only do the mountains and hills overwhelm the landscape, they dominate the local psyche as well. Hiking is practically the national sport, whether it’s ascending Mount Triglav or simply going for a leisurely walk around Lake Bohinj. Sure, the food is all farm-fresh and Ljubljana's diverse cache of architecture is incredibly captivating, but a true trip to Slovenia means strapping on your hiking shoes and spending your days out in nature.Day 1 & 2: Bled & Bohinj
The twin lakes of Bled and Bohinj are Slovenia’s most talked about attractions. Bled dazzles herself up in all of the royal finery – an elegant church spire punctuates a lonely island in the middle, a crumbling stone castle sits high atop a nearby bluff, and open-air terraces line her banks serving sundowners. Bohinj, on the other hand, prefers to flaunt her natural beauty. Stringently protected by the Triglav National Park mandate, she catches the reflection of the pine-studded mountains in her clear, green-tinged waters. Ask any Slovenian and they’ll likely say they prefer Bohinj; most tourists opt for the dramatic juxtaposition of history and nature at Bled. The perfect visit is to spend the day exploring both. Either way, you’ll need a full day to explore each one.
In Bled, it’s popular to take a pletna, a gondola of sorts, across the lake to the island church, but for the best views of the area it’s an easy and short walk up one of two trail markers – Ojstrica and Osojnica – for a coveted bird's eye perspective. Don’t miss a slice of famous cream cake (really just an excuse to rest your legs and enjoy the view), then spend the night in one of the luxury tent-cabins at Garden Village; the perfect intersection between camping and comfort.
The walking paths are plentiful around Bohinj’s edge; most hikers choose to take in a bit of the lake before departing on a more vertical visit up into the surrounding mountains. Mount Vogel is a popular choice for the views and amenities that await at the top, and, most importantly, its cable car that links Bohinj to its ridges. A thriving ski resort in winter, Vogel is a hiker’s paradise in the warmer months with trailheads leading to compelling lookout points in every direction. You’ll need a guide to make the ascent from the cable car station to the top of Mount Vogel –the return trip takes just over three hours, but it’s well worth the journey.
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