Ladies and gentlemen!! I have officially found my new favorite country in Europe. I have absolutely no words to describe my time in Ljubljana and Bled, Slovenia. I fell head over heels with these cities and cannot wait to go back. I was very excited to write this blog post because I have so many fun pictures and memories to share of this special place. (PS- This is my first time not Googling the spelling of Ljubljana.)
The initial train ride straight through the Alps definitely started the trip off on a great note. I also believe the key to a fun trip is having good people to travel with, and I have definitely found them! I had the pleasure of exploring Slovenia with some amazing friends from my abroad program.
The six of us were trying to find the best word to describe the capital city and we decided on “funky”, “spunky”, and a tad hipster. You cannot tell by just our pictures, but the amount of good vibes oozing from this city was insane. There was definitely something about the atmosphere of the city that made us feel welcome and we never felt ashamed of looking like tourists. The locals were easily the most friendly and humorous individuals that we have ever met and artsy graffiti covered all the right surfaces, giving off a hipster vibe.
To be quite honest, there’s not really any “must-see” sights in Ljubljana besides the castle and the pink church (the locals say that it’s red, but it’s definitely not). But of all of the cities that I have visited so far, this one was the easiest to wander and to get lost on purpose. Each corner we turned was much more gorgeous than the last. The central part of the city is situated along a river with different styled bridges weaving across every few hundred feet. My friend Blake and I roamed the city on that Saturday night and definitely experienced everything that Slovenia has to offer, including a Burger & Beer Festival. I must say that some of the best food that I have had in Europe was in Slovenia (besides the $5 “pizza” I ordered…).
The six of us ventured out to the Ljubljana Castle the next morning. I still find it so interesting that so many European cities have a castle casually resting up on the hill. At night, the Ljubljana Castle is lit up green because the city was named the Most Environmental European City for 2016. We got back down the mountain just in time to catch a free walking tour of the city center. We learned all about the Communist, Viennese, and Slovenian influences that create the strange mixture of architecture that we all loved so much. What a cool city…
I have wanted to go to Bled since I first began researching for my semester abroad, and it did not disappoint! We took an hour bus ride to the town for the day. Despite the clouds hiding the Alps in the background, Lake Bled was extraordinarily picturesque. The focus is a church on an island in the middle of a lake nestled in the Julian Alps- What’s not to love?
My friends and I took a hike around the whole lake (about 6 km) and it ended up being my favorite walk through Europe thus far. There were quite a few “viewpoints” on the map and we decided to hit all of them. There were rowboat rental places around the border, but they were suspiciously closed for the day. Once we finished our hike, we climbed straight up to the Bled Castle on top of a cliff.
If you could not tell already, I am head over heels for Slovenia. While writing this blog, I became very nostalgic and already wanted to go back. I must admit that Ljubljana has beat Venice as my favorite city of my semester so far. What made it even better was that all six of us on the trip loved Slovenia despite our different personalities and interests. I don’t think I will ever stop trying to persuade people taking a trip to Slovenia.
Want to Visit Slovenia?
- Bled is only a day trip away from Ljubljana. We were very satisfied with spending only six hours there. Bled is definitely a summer destination, but I would imagine that it would be much more crowded then.
- Free walking tours never fail.
- I know that Slovenia is not the most well-known of the European countries, but I promise that you will be blown away. Just do it!!