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Best things to do in Slovenia

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Where in the world: Europe  /  Slovenia

Top 15 things to do in Slovenia

1. Ljubljana Old Town, Ljubljana

Walk down the cobbled streets of Ljubljana Old Town, nestled between the river and the hilltop castle. The historical center features local designer shops, cafes, and restaurants, a farmer's market, several historical bridges, and the only row of 19th-century buildings that survived the 1895 earthquake. The charming narrow lanes lead to two squares: the city square with the city hall and a copy of the 18th-century "three rivers" fountain, and the upper square. Taste local specialties, enjoy watching street artists, and take in the architectural details, such as wall carvings, sculptural decoration, or elaborate metalwork on fences and balustrades. The nearby castle and tower provide panoramic views of the city.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
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2. Ljubljana Castle, Ljubljana

Walk the steep climb or take a funicular to reach Ljubljana Castle on the top of the hill, offering panoramic views of the Old Town. Visible from every corner of the city, the castle was built in the middle of the 15th century and served as a military hospital and arsenal in the 17th and 18th centuries. Walk over the remains of the fortifications turned into a promenade and join a guided tour, where costumed characters representing different historical periods will take you back to the time of wars, Ottoman invasions, and Habsburg rulers. The castle houses restaurants serving traditional Slovene food, and hosts art exhibitions, concerts, theatre shows and an open-air cinema. Shop for traditional handcraft at the gallery by the entrance.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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3. Postojna Cave, Postojna

Ride on a double-track railway through the underground tunnels of Postojna Cave and see colorful rock formations, as well as the 100 species that make the caves their home. One of the largest caves in the extensive karst plateau features 21 km (13 mi) of passages, galleries, and chambers illuminated by electric lighting. A historical train takes you to large halls adorned with chandelier-like stalactites and limestone "sculptures," such as "the brilliant," a shiny white limestone formation. Meet the olm, a salamander popularly called the dragon's offspring or the human fish. Archduke Ferdinand I was the first to officially visit the cave in 1819, but several writings on the cave walls date all the way back to the 13th century. Note that audioguides are available in a range of languages.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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4. Bled Island, Bled

Ride a traditional wooden boat called a "pletna" or rent your own boat and row to Bled Island rising above the surface of a glacial lake. This Ice Age limestone glacial deposit covered with trees is thought to have been inhabited since prehistoric times. Archaeological excavations have uncovered traces of Slavic settlements from the 9th and 10th centuries. Legend has it that the present stone Baroque church was built on the remains of an ancient temple dedicated to the Slavic goddess of fertility. Climb the monumental 99 steps leading up to the church and ring the "wishing bell" above the church nave.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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5. Bled Castle, Bled

Built into a steep cliff above the lake, Bled Castle offers magnificent views of the small island on the lake, two nearby towns, and the surrounding mountains. German Emperor Henry II donated the castle buildings, arranged around two courtyards, to the bishop of Brixen in 1011. These days, discover the museum collection presenting the history of Bled, its culture and people. Learn about traditional hand-printing techniques at the Bled Castle Printing Works and print your own memorial document. Visit the wine cellar and ask the monks to tell you stories about the castle and Slovenia's wine regions. On a clear day, you can see all the way to the Julian Alps from the castle's terraces.
Suggested duration: 1 hour
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6. Room Escape Games, Ljubljana

Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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7. Triple Bridge, Ljubljana

Stylishly marking the entrance to the Old Town, Triple Bridge combines a 19th-century stone bridge sandwiched between two side bridges added in 1930s. The stone bridge linking the main square with the Old Town and the market replaced an old wooden one in 1842. Due to busy traffic, the city employed the famous Slovenian architect Joze Plecnik to reconstruct the old bridge. Instead of widening it, he built two side pedestrian bridges with stairways leading down to the riverbank. The middle bridge, which used to be crossed by cars, buses, and a tram line, is today lined with benches. Look for an inscription at the base of the bridge dedicating it to Archduke Franz Charles in 1842.
Suggested duration: 30 minutes
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8. Predjama Castle, Postojna

Perched on a high, rocky cliff for over 700 years, the unconquerable four levels of Predjama Castle were built within a cave mouth. Cross a drawbridge over a rushing river and visit the restored living quarters, chapel, and dungeon to get an idea of how people once lived here. The castle's most famous resident and the subject of many legends was Erazem Lueger, a 15th-century knight who rebelled against the Austrian emperor. See his hiding place called Erazem's Nook and ascend along Erazem's Tunnel. Do not miss the 16th-century treasure chest uncovered in the cellar in 1991. An observation post offers a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape. The castle entered the Guinness Book of Records as the biggest cave castle in the world.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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11. Food Tours, Ljubljana

Suggested duration: 4h 30 min
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12. Tivoli Park, Ljubljana

Enjoy some outdoor recreation among the bucolic lawns, pastures, rose gardens, and wooded areas of Tivoli Park. Nestled among rolling hills, the largest park in the city was laid out in 1813 and is also home to a number of cultural sites, such as a 17th-century mansion and a neoclassical castle with the fountain guarded by four cast-iron dogs. At the park's entrance, notice the monument dedicated to the founder of the Slovene national identity, Primoz Trubar. Kids can enjoy adventure playgrounds with mini-golf areas and a zoo. The lawn beside a shallow rectangular pond features an open-air library, which moves into the nearby greenhouse during winter.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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13. Dragon Bridge, Ljubljana

Walk across the Art Nouveau Dragon Bridge and admire the four large dragons protecting its corners, symbols from the city's coat-of-arms. Built at the very beginning of the 20th century, it was the city's first reinforced concrete bridge and Slovenia's first bridge paved with asphalt. Floral motifs decorate its arch and railings, while smaller griffins embellish the plinths of its eight bronze candelabras. Notice the dashes of red paint at the dragons' mouths and claws, recent additions by an anonymous enthusiast.
Suggested duration: 30 minutes
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14. Vintgar Gorge, Zgornje Gorje

Cut deep between two hills overgrown with beech forests, Vintgar Gorge is full of small waterfalls, rapids, and erosion potholes. Cartographer and photographer Benedikt Lergetporer and mayor of Gorje Jakob Zumer discovered the gorge in 1891. Walk along the tourist path with narrow passages, wooden bridges, and galleries, constructed on the rocks in 1893. Listen to the roar of Radovna River echoing along the 1.6 km (1 mi) long gorge marked at the end by a waterfall plunging 16 m (52 ft). The gorge also features two manmade attractions: an arched stone railway bridge from 1906 and a dam. When you reach the end of the gorge, walk back across the meadows passing St. Catherine's church.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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15. Franciscan Church of the Annunciation, Ljubljana

Admire the elaborate details of Franciscan Church of the Annunciation, known for its high-Baroque exterior and the distinctive pinkish color of its outside walls. Dominating the square on the left bank of the Ljubljanica River, the church was built by Augustinian priests between 1646 and 1660, but Franciscans painted it red when they took over in the 18th century. The three sets of stairs lead to the main entrance with a copper statue of the Madonna with Child standing at the top of the gable. Notice the onion-shaped spires topping the bell towers by the presbytery. The original 19th-century wall paintings were damaged by the 1895 earthquake and the new frescoes were painted in 1930s. Don't miss the highlight of the interior: the Baroque main altar carved by Francesco Robba in 1738.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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