Slovenia – Natural Wonders and Pretty Cities

The past few days I have been in Slovenia. I stopped in two cities briefly before heading to the heights and depths.

City hopping

I stopped for a few hours in Maribor right after entering Slovenia. The city itself was nice, but unfortunately the riverbank is being renovated at the moment and it was just a big construction site. So I decided to continue my journey.

Ljubljana was up next. It’s Slovenia’s capital and much bigger than Maribor. I parked in a mobile home park outside of the city. It wasn’t much really, but there was a 20 minute bus connection to the city and it worked really well for me.

Looking up to the castle of Ljubljana

I enjoyed the hustle and bustle of the Saturday night, but then quickly noticed that I was too tired. On Sunday I visited the castle on top of the city and did plenty of walking in the downtown area. The museum inside the castle had plenty of information about Slovenian history. I really needed that, because I must admit that I was not very well informed before.

Dragon is the symbol of Ljubljana and it is a very common sight in the city.
The Ljubljana castle courtyard.
The view from the castle was really nice, but the weather could have been better.
The Triglav national park – finally some real mountains

I drove up north to the only Slovenian national park next. And it was a treat! I had thought about climbing the highest peak in Slovenia (Triglav 2864 m), but unfortunately that would have needed at least one night sleeping somewhere. Going up in a day is doable, but back down on the same day is too much. I neither have the equipment for sleeping and I wasn’t sure about my physical condition either. But luckily there were plenty of other options.

Lake Bohinj in the Triglav national park.
The rest of the morning mist hanging before the mountains.

The first morning I packed a day bag and put on my hiking shoes. I drove to the end of the Lake Bohinj with my bike and then hiked to the Savica falls. The hike itself was simple and about six kilometers one way. The final steps to the waterfall were the toughest part, but the view was pretty and the climb was well worth the effort.

Sava Bohinjka river.
The Savica falls.

The first day also served as a scouting trip to the other trails in the park. I passed a tempting sign about a trail climbing a very steep hill. There was a QR code pointing to this video. That dissuaded me. My will to live is too strong. But I found an option for the next day that was demanding enough, but not too crazy.

The next morning I woke up early, bought some fresh bread rolls from the bakery and drove Naranja below the Vogel ski center where I had a quick breakfast. I took the first cable car up the rock wall to 1500 meters. From there I started my hike to the Vogel summit in perfect weather and stunning views.

The view from the top of the cable car ride to the still cloudy morning of Bohinj valley.
A bunch of cairns (please don’t build them) and the view to the mountains on the other side of the valley. Triglav is the highest peak.
A long morning shadow downhill.
Most of the trek was just breathtakingly beautiful.
On top of the windy Vogel summit (1922 m).
A view to the west from the summit.

The climb was absolutely stunning! The weather was completely clear, but there was a strong wind that made my stop on the summit shorter that I had planned. Everything went without problems, but about a kilometer before the end the sole of my left shoe started flapping and by the time I got back to the cable car, it was more than half off. I hope that I can still get it fixed at a shoe repair guy somewhere. That was a clear sign that it was time to do other things.

The Skocjan caves

The UNESCO world heritage site close to the Italian border was my last stop in Slovenia. I read about the place in the karst museum in Talpoca and I decided that it might be worth a stop. It was! Cameras weren’t allowed in the first part of the three hour tour that went through the broader caverns full of impressive stalactites and stalagmites.

The exit of the first part of the tour.
Waterfalls in the sinkhole.

The scale of the caves is really mind boggling. The underground canyon is up to 140 meters deep and some chambers could easily fit a big cathedral inside. The big collapsed doline (sinkhole) where the river goes underground and the caves begin is also very impressive.

The overview of the sinkhole where the caves begin.
Summing up Slovenia

I wanted mountains and I got them! The country definitely left a positive impression on me. It’s really hard to see it ever being behind the iron curtain. Everything reminded me so much of Austria. Of course historically it makes sense, because most of the country was under the Habsburg rule for over 500 years. But still it was surprising how “western” it felt. Hungary for me was much more exotic and strange for me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *