Slovenia: Discover a Beautiful 'road less travelled'


Lake Bled Slovenia PixabayBack in 2001, I found myself looking at 2 full weeks with no pending obligations. So why not take a trip? At the best of times I require little justification to travel, and that time was no exception. So out came the maps to consider my options. While I adore Rome, Paris and London, I yearned for a more ‘off the beaten track’ European destination and for me, the ‘road less travelled’ is very appealing. Slovenia came to mind and it fit the bill perfectly. This being over 15 years ago I can assure you that Slovenia was definitely not on the radar for most travellers to Europe. In fact, when I told friends of my destination, they inquired ‘where is that’ or ‘why would you want to go there’? Well let me tell you...

My choice turned out to be perfect. I loved this compact country nestled south of Austria, north of Croatia, east of Italy and west of Hungary. So, when I was offered the opportunity to return last year I jumped at the chance. This time I was to be educated, wined and dined by the country’s tourism promoters! Yes!

What has changed after 16 years? Actually, nothing and everything: an oxymoron to be sure but true.

What has not changed? Back then it was charming, quiet, small and very green. Today it is still a luscious small green gem; after all, 60% remains forested countryside with its natural rugged beauty. And as Slovenia is the world’s first country to be declared a green destination (2016), the very proud Slovenes not only practice sustainable tourism, they further consider ‘green’ their pledge to provide ‘true authenticity’ - in local culture, traditions and food.

If you were to ask what has changed, well I would say their desire to entice visitors by showcasing not only their tremendously friendly attitudes but also their gastronomic delights. Along the banks of the Ljubljana River I enjoyed lovely local cuisine - often enhanced with savoury herbs and products delivered daily, I was told, from nearby farms. I sampled homemade prosciutto from a local producer, fresh fish from the sea on the beautifully compact Adriatic coastline in Piran and the amazing cream cake, called “kremšnita" while in the alpine region. Luckily, I also had marvellous walks near waterfalls, around lakes and even with splendid views of castles to help offset the delicious food and wine. Within such a compact country, the immense diversity of culture, scenery and food was rather amazing and happily unexpected.

I relished those quiet ‘roads less travelled’ while touring the countryside’s vineyards and sampling amazing (yet little known) wines produced throughout the country, visiting the stunning Julian Alps and its glacial gem: beautiful Lake Bled, and lingering in the evenings over a glass of local wine at a riverside cafe within the large ‘no car’ zone in the charming city of Ljubljana.

Slovenia captured my heart and I have no doubt it will capture yours too. 

by Maggie Hamer, Tour Leader, Today's Woman Traveller

For travel tips and updates