Travelled: December 2019
After our Christmas Market tour, we dropped off our hired car in Munich and caught a 5 hour bus ride to Ljubljana, Slovenia. If you can spare 5 hours, I would recommend this transportation, it’s a lot cheaper than flying or getting the train. Especially these days with flight delays and cancellations, it might work out a lot faster!
Slovenia must be one of the most underrated countries in Europe. It is perfect in any season, it’s relatively affordable, and its neighbouring countries are Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia. It’s small, but that’s all part of the charm and makes exploring this country do-able.
We based ourselves in the capital city (Ljubljana) for a few days as we joined up with our friends. A honeymoon for one couple, but the rest of us used it as an excuse to travel there to celebrate with them. Here in Ljubljana, you will find the main Christmas Market in the country. This year’s theme (not sure whether it’s the same every year) is DNA/reproduction.
I have noticed in Slovenia, the Christmas Market is very meat heavy, sausages, hearty meaty soups, burgers and etc, a lot of meat variety in their cuisine. Vegetarians might struggle to find variations in choices.
The following day we visited the street art district, which was a 20 min walk from where we were staying. As you can see, Slovenia offers a lot of creativity.
We went for a stroll down the main streets of down town Ljubljana, where you will find many quirky shops, and lots of highly rated restaurants (according to Google reviews).
The history of Ljubljana can be said to stretch back in the medieval time, where it was believed a dragon slayer defeated the mighty dragon, and the under the castle was the dragon’s resting place. Hence, the reason why the city homage to dragons.
From Ljubljana, we made our way to the stunning Lake Bled, where we based ourselves for 3 days.
There are walking trails around the lake and plenty of mountain walks to get you the best views of the lake!
As this was December and technically off season, it was hard for us to find a Pletna (Slovenian boats in Lake Bled) to take us to the island in the middle of the lake. Luckily, we came across a man in a restaurant, who was willing to take us out in the water!
For a small entry fee, you can climb up the clock tower and ring the church bells for good luck!
Also, a sign of luck, most newly weds come here and perform a transitional task of piggy backing their bestowal up the 99 stairs. You betcha, my friends did exactly that!
While in the area of Lake Bled, you can’t miss the opportunity to try their famous Bled Cake, which can only be found in the Bled region. It’s quite similar to a vanilla slice, only it’s lighter, fluffier and the right amount of sweetness to make you want more.
We were lucky enough to have clear blue sky one day, then heavy snow the next day. It was beautiful to wake up to a blanket of snow, over this beautiful lake!
While in Slovenia, we also tried some of their traditional homemade cuisine of lamb and baked octopus. Both equally delicious.
As you can tell, my friends and I (Australians) are very obsessed with snow.
The happy couple on their honeymoon.
After our time in Slovenia, we started making our way to Italy. Making a few pitt stops along the way, at Postojna Cave and at Predjama Castle.
Postojna Cave is a large subterranean, filled with beautiful dripstones formed over hundreds of years. It is also the only cave in the world with its very own unique underground train.
Marvel at the “Giant” dripstone, made out of stalactite, the main attraction of the caves.
Here you will also see the rare species, the Olms, also known as the baby dragons of the Postojna Cave.
And of course there is a Christmas tree in the underground workings of the caves.
We said our goodbyes to Slovenia as we crossed border into Italy on a blizzard night. After making it there safely, we rewarded ourselves by consuming copious amounts of pizza, pasta and wine!
One last view of the beautiful Lake Bled.