Snapshot of Slovenia
Know much about Slovenia? I didn’t before I went there. As it was peak season in Europe I decided to try and opt for a slightly more obscure place to go to avoid massive crowds of people and booked out hostels. Slovenia was great. It really was a country of extreme contrasts with both Grandmas and young punk teenagers finding things that rock their socks off.
This pint size capital is where this mismatch of contrasts is at its peak. There’s the fairytale castle on the hill overlooking the emerald green river below, which you can stroll around and feel like you just stepped back in time. However, just a short walk away is the old Yugoslav army garrison which has been turned into a squat full of bars and live music stages. There is a huge student population here which breeds good times. Don’t be surprised if you walk past at 7am in the morning and people are still there… (did I mention Slovenes love to party?). Make sure you grab one of the awesome maps made by locals that have daytime activities on one side, and night when you flip it over – they are full of walks, rides, bars, cafes and even kissing spots. This should be the first thing you reach for when you arrive.
This is the place that will rock your Granny’s socks off. The main thing that rocked my socks off was a vanilla slice I had there. To give you an idea of just how good the slice was, they are apparently famous for them. Drool. Lake Bled’s not too bad either – the picturesque Rapunzel castle overlooking the lake is definitely worth the hike up to (take a picnic). From there you get a great view of the castle in the middle of the lake and the little town itself. It was a BEAUTIFUL little town but it felt a little like a retirement village set up for tour buses so I’d give it a night or 2 max.
Now this is where the fun is at. We stayed at an Eco-Adventure camp, on the border of Italy. On one side you’ve got the Julian Alps and on the other you’ve got Europe’s cleanest, bluest river; the Socra. Dubbed Europe’s first sustainable open-air hostel; Adrenaline-Check’s accommodation ranges from ‘lean-to tents’ (permanent tents with roofs and mattresses in them), dorms, caravans and even hammocks. The best part about the camp is that there are different adventure activities you can do every day as well as bikes and plenty of surrounding walks. We went paragliding one day (with the Slovenian Chuck Norris as our guide) and Canyoning another. It was seriously the highlight of my boyfriends trip… he loves jumping off stuff. They dress you in thick wetsuits with padding, joggers and helmets (hot) and take you down small and large water canyons. It is crazy fun. The final jump is a 10m drop down a waterfall into a 2m deep pool; “Bend your knees when you land or you break your leg”…eeek.
They also have rafting, kayaking, snorkelling, river-boarding, climbing, bike-riding, horse-riding, bungee jumping… and paintball. It is one big wet dream for adventure goers. Then at the end of the day the camp guys make a big fire and cook up a BBQ while everyone sits there wide-eyed busting to swap their adrenaline fuelled stories with anyone that will listen.
Back to the quaintness. Piran has a beautiful old fishing village feel to it. Although watch out because accommodation is limited, so even though I went to Slovenia to avoid full hostels… I didn’t manage to avoid it here. The whole town was booked out for the weekend forcing us down the road to Portoroz which was nowhere near as quaint. There are no cars in Piran so the narrow, cobblestone streets can leave you wandering for hours. There are also some nice walks around the coast and up to the top of the hill.