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Slovenia is a small Central European country and has borders with Austria, Croatia, Italy and Hungary. For such a small country Slovenia boasts an extremely varied landscape, from snow-capped mountains and glacial lakes in the Alps to ever-green olive plantations at the coast.
Drive to wine growing hills, golden wheat fields or mysterious karst caves, wherever you travel in this beautiful country you will never be far from lakes, mountains and the most stunning scenery.
Slovenia is a place where time seems to have stood still in the many picturesque villages where you will meet friendly people who keep their traditions alive with crafts such as lace-making, pottery and suh roba(wooden utensils), and it is a land full of CASTLES. Every province has castles; from ruins to well preserved ones, there are some stunning examples with many a legend to be told.
Ljubljana, in the Central Slovene basin, is one of the youngest European capitals and throughout the year the city offers plenty of sports, cultural events and entertainment. All with the green sub-alpine landscape just a few km away. The city is adorned by a mighty castle atop the steep Grojski hriib(Castle Hill) with the Ljubljanica river encircling it at the foot.
Come on a trip through this beautiful country and see what each gorgeous province has to offer.
Gorenjska is a land of high peaks, pointed rocky ridges, deep alpine valleys and clear waters. The landscape simply lures everyone who wants to escape the typical tourist areas. Amidst wild, unspoiled nature in hidden gorges you are greeted by the thunder of waterfalls, there are picturesque villages, beautiful castles, such as Brdo Castle with its park and 11 lakes, monasteries that tell many a tale of olden times, Cerkje is the starting point for alpine ski-center and Trzic has some beautiful houses preserved in the old town.
The fabulous beauty of Lake Bled has for millennia attracted people's gaze with it's adorned with a medieval castle perched on top of a high, natural cliff-face, and by an islet with a church. Gondola boats take visitors to this beautiful little islet where it is possible to visit the church. In the background is the forest covered slopes of Jelovica.
Bohinj is called the Pearl of the Julian Alps and the 15th century of St John makes a picturesque scenery around the lake. In the upper part of the valley are old-alpine styled houses, double hay stacks in the meadows, ravines and gorges. Lake Bohinj lies in the Triglav National Park and has extremely clear water. From Ukanc take the cable car to Vogel ski resort one of the most beautiful alpine holiday resorts. Almost in the centre is Straza with ski slopes and within a few km cross-country skiing, Kransjka Gorge with its quaint villages and Skofja Loka, a well preserved old town which was ruined by an earthquake in 1511, rebuilt later, and practically unchanged since, the stunning area of Gorenjska just gets better.
The region of the Kras, Premorska and the Gorcia is a world of its own. It is the most varied landscape in Slovenia and has wild alpine world, high snow-capped rocky peaks, deep wild valleys, the Karst with world famous caves and the blue Adriatic Sea. A country of mild Mediterranean and harsh alpine climates, of noble Lipizzaners, mysterious underground, the wilderness of the Trenta National Park and arguably the most beautiful European river, the Soca, where the trout grow to unimaginable sizes.
The whole Idrija-Cerkno region is a vast wooded prae-alpine world with deep valleys and where individual small settlements and solitary mountain farms are scattered right up to the ridges and peaks. The famous Lipizzaners, the white horses of the Spanish riding School of Vienna, originate in the stud house, established in 1580, in the green oasis in the middle of barren karst in Lipica, just 1km from the border crossing with Italy.
At the beginning of the valley in Rubnica lies Nava Stiffa, a 17th century baroque church, where, in a tree house in an enormous linden tree, the local priest likes to seek shelter from the summer heat. The area around has lakes, dam and the surrounding forest is full of game, a Mecca for hunters.
Dolenjska is like the softness of an enchanted song and such are its people too. Low hills scattered with castles, green rivers, streams and forests. Hospitality, rich folk tradition, typical songs, noble wine, genuine food and more castles with the best known, Otocec on a tiny island in the middle of Krka river,now a hotel. In a secluded valley lies the Carthusian monastery Pleterje, once home to hundreds of monks and now only around 20 live there.
Brestanica in Posavje (The Sava Basin) has an old legend. There were two brothers in 15 H.C. who lived in a castle and they had a fight. One of them built a new castle by the Sava, the Rajhenburg Castle. This was changed into a monastery in 1881 and during WWII a detention camp and is now a museum. Kostanjevica na Krki is one of the oldest Slovene towns and is now one of the smallest.
Zasavje (Sava Valley) is the coal mining area, Koroska has forests, green valleys, picturesque villages and isolated farms and Stajerska(Styria) is known for cultural monuments, friendly people, noblest wines, excellent traditional dishes, historical heritage, thermal springs, lakes and its monasteries.
In the Drava Region on the Drava Plain you will see straw-roofed farmhouses and Maribor, the second largest city, is situated at mouth of the Drava Valley. Maribor has a well preserved and almost completely restored old town core with the remains of ancient walls. The nearby town of Lent has a vine which is over 400 years old and has become the symbol of Maribor and the wine-growing Slovenia. There is no older vine in the world and in the centre of Maribor is a wine cellar over 200 years old.
Ptuji is a monument town and has one of the largest and mightiest castles in Slovenia with many Roman remains, and at Markovc is the largest dam. Every year at Mardi Gras, Ptuji has a massive carnival where the kurent, a creature from the other world, is paraded. The kurent is supposed to be a sign of spring, fertility and new life, but is wrapped in mystery as nobody knows which ancient times and beliefs it came from and what are its true intentions. In Lenart is Hrastovec castle famous for numerous witch trials in 17th century.
Pomurje (The Mura Region)) has extraordinary hospitality of the locals, mysterious flat landscape, enchanting villages, excellent traditional dishes and numerous thermal springs. Land of lazy rivers, mysterious moors, fishponds and rich in game. The Mura River used to be full of floating mills and one of the few that still stands and works is near Verzey on the Mura Plain.
Notranjska is an underground kingdom, an immense labryinth of pits, caves, tunnels and streams, a magnificent world of waterfalls, countless rapids and lakes. There is no other place anywhere in the world that could match Notranjska. In a hidden valley in the middle of a cavern, under an overhanging rock on the slope of Podgorje,is the never taken Predjama castle connected to the Legend of Robber Baron Erazem Prejamski. Under the castle is an entrance into the mysterious underground world.
Slovene cooking is just as varied as the landscape and old national dishes have rich tradition, some of them preserved through the centuries. In Slovenia the pig is the veritable king of the animals as pork still represents the main food for the majority of Slovenes. You will find refined and exquisite dishes that used to be served in castles, a rich choice from Slovene town cooking, a culinary treasure of farm cooking and dishes typical of various groups such as the Idrija miners and the Savinja Valley rafts men. Bread is very important to the Slovenes and the tradition of home-made bread goes far back when bread was made once a week.
Different regions have their specialities. In Styria the soup is a must try; apart from the renowned sour soup they even make wine soup! The high mountains in Carinthia is renowned for its boiled struklji with buckwheat filling, and koroski mavzlje made of the meat from pig's head, fried bread buckwheat porridge and different spices, all together wrapped in pork meat and roasted. Upper Carniola is known for excellent cheese, and even today food is based on meat and milk. No other region could compete with Gorenjska when it comes to the number of porridge dishes!
There is so much that Slovenia has to offer that it is impossible to do this beautiful country justice and we could go on and on forever. This friendly country with its picturesque villages, diverse landscape, numerous castles and traditions is just tempting us to stop and indulge its many treasure, you certainly won't be disappointed. Slovenia will leave an indelible impression and you will long to return.