You will fall in love with this small country in the heart of Europe, stretched between the Alps and Adriatic Sea, where breathtaking natural beauty competes with centuries of human endeavor. This is the second part of the article 50 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Slovenia.
You can go skiing on the modern well-maintained slopes of the Alps and then drive an hour to find yourself on a charming stone terrace sipping excellent local wine and watching the sunset over the Adriatic Sea. From the sophistication of Ljubljana and the spectacular beauty of Lake Bled to the rustic European villages and elegant resort towns on the coast, Slovenia has it all.
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Piran is charming small Slovenian town on the Gulf of Piran on the Adriatic Sea, which, with its closely built houses jutting out into the sea, is as beautiful as a fairytale. You can see the remainders of its rich, turbulent history as you stroll through beautifully restored historic Old Town with Venetian Gothic architecture, narrow medieval streets, ancient churches and cobblestoned squares.
Walk along the stone pier or sit in one of many quaint cafes and watch lovely yachts, fishermen pulling out nets full of daily catch, and local women carrying fresh produce to the market. Visit Sergej Mašera Maritime Museum to learn more about Slovenia’s maritime past and naval history. Take the kids to the Piran Aquarium to see more than 200 sea creatures that live in the Adriatic Sea just outside the aquarium. Catch a show at the Tartini Theatre or have a look at the monument to the city’s favorite son, violinist and composer Giuseppe Tartini at Tartini Square.
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Mokrice Castle is a medieval castle in southeast Slovenia, near the Croatian border. Dating from around 1444 or earlier, the castle has been rebuilt twice, most recently in 1941. It is surrounded by a 200-hundred-year-old park that is in and of itself an attraction. After World War II the Mokrice Castle was made into a hotel.
Today Mokrice Resort is a high-end hotel and golf course. Tours of the castle are available and guests can listen to the stories of Countess Barbara von Cilly, the crow that saved the castle from a Turkish raid, and other fascinating historical anecdotes about the area.
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The Logar Valley is a beautiful glacial alpine valley nestled deep in the heart of the Kamnik - Savinja Alps. The valley is an ideal destination for nature lovers as it offers an abundance of natural wonders in an almost pristine environment. The Logar valley is an excellent starting point for hiking to the peaks of the Kamnik - Savinja Alps.
Only 35 people live in this 9+ square mile valley and a walking path of moderate difficulty leads through the valley past a number of points of interest such as the source of Black Creek, wooden logging chutes, a burl covered ash tree, and a charcoal-maker’s hut.
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The Lipica Stud Farm is located in the southwestern most province of Slovenia. At over 400 years old, Lipica is the birthplace of the Lipizzaner stallion and one of the oldest stud farms in the world. Visitors can enjoy guided tours of the farm, performances presented by the riding school or carriage rides led by these amazing animals.
For adults, there is the opportunity for riding lessons. For those looking for less direct interaction, there is the Lipizzaner Museum. Lipica also boasts the Hotel Maestoso for guests wishing to stay and enjoy the horses and surrounding area.
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Tolmin, a town of 3800 people, is the largest village in the Upper Soca Valley. It sits at the confluence of Soca and Tolminka Rivers and is close to the natural wonders of the Tolmin gorge and Triglav National Park.
Tolmin was an important military location for centuries, right up through World War I where it played a significant part in the Allied victory. This history can be explored by visitors at the Tolmin Museum and Javorca memorial Church of the Holy Spirit. In the hills above Tolmin, guests will find traditional alpine cattle ranches and famous Tolmin cheese.
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Nova Gorica is a small town in western Slovenia. It sits on the Italian border and shares a close relationship with its neighboring Italian city of Gorizia. Nova Gorica is a gaming town and offers guests a variety of casinos and entertainment venues.
The town also boasts a large number of concerts, festivals, theater performances, and fairs. It is also great starting point for those who wish to explore the rest of the Slovenian Riviera. Located in the center of 3 wine regions, it is a prime base for wine and food lovers. Sports enthusiasts will find it to be a great spot for kayaking, paragliding and sport climbing.
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Škocjan Caves Regional Park lies in southwest of Slovenia. Though this small country boasts seven thousand caves, the Škocjan Caves are considered unique. The park is a 1000+ acre area with eleven vast caves. Listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, these caves entrance visitors with their many spectacular geological features.
Tours of the Škocjan Caves are available to visitors year-round and the park also offers visitors the Škocjan Museum and the Škocjan Education Trail – both of which educate guests about, the caves, local plants and animals, and the area’s culture and heritage.
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Cerkno sits in the hills of western Slovenia and the name references both a geographical region and a small village. The area boasts not only a rich cultural heritage, but also beautiful, rich, hilly, and unspoiled nature. In the winter months, skiing is the activity of choice and Cerkno offers a state of the art ski center and accommodations at Hotel Cerkno.
In the summer season, hiking and exploring are available. Guests will be fascinated by the picturesque archaeological site Divje babe, where a55,000 year old Neanderthal flute was found in a cave in Paleolithic layers. The area offers a wide variety of outdoor and cultural attractions.
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The town of Metlika is on the sunny side of the Gorjanci mountain range and sits at the confluence of three streams. It was first incorporated in 1365. Metlika is situated less than a mile from the river Kolpa and the international border crossing to Croatia.
For a town of only 3500, Metlika has an abundance of cultural history and has been a key influence in the history of Slovenia. Cycling paths along the river are available and will take visitors past many inns and restaurants where they may enjoy homemade dishes, good wine, and excellent hospitality.
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Laško is a town of 3600+ people lying nearly in the center of Slovenia. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements in Slovenia, and has a compact old city center located amongst rolling hills and picturesque valleys that spread out in all directions from the river Savinja.
The town is best known for the locally-produced Zlatorog brand pilsner beer and its brewery, as well as for the healing powers of the local thermal springs. It was a favorite holiday spot of the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph during the middle of the 19th century, and is still a picturesque place to explore on bike or on foot.
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11.Hrastovlje Church of the Holy Trinity
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On the edge of Hrastovlje. in the southwestern most area of Slovenia, lies the Church of the Holy Trinity. The church was built in the late Romanesque tradition before the 15th century and boasts what are believed to be the greatest and best preserved frescoes in Slovenia, completed in 1490.
The frescoes include the Apostles, the Coronation of Mary, the Three Holy Kings, the Stations of the Cross, The Creation of Earth and the most famous “Dance of the Dead”. For a small fee, a caretaker will show visitors around the church and provide some history of the famous murals.
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Connecting Central Europe to Northern Italy is Vipava Valley, a postcard picture worthy area of lush hills and towering mountains, with a charming village lying in its folds. Enriched with cultural attractions, the village is filled with ruined castles – the oldest one of which is a 12th century known as Stari grad which can be found on a steep hill above the square.
Other architectural wonders that can be found in Vipava Valley include Lanthieris baroque mansion on the main square, the Gothic Church of St. Stephen, and even two original Egyptian sarcophagi which can be found in the public cemetery.
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Cerknica is a church-town in southwestern Slovenia with three beautiful churches for people to visit when there: the Church of the Nativity of Mary, and two chapels of ease dedicated to Saint Roch and John the Baptist. The Nativity of Mary is a late Gothic hall church that dates back to the late 1400s.
It is an architectural beauty with its triple-nave structure and Baroque chapel. Cerknica is also home to the “largest disappearing lake in Slovenia and Europe”, Cerknica Lake. The intermittent lake’s mysterious disappearance and reappearance is a natural wonder and visitors can enjoy the flora and fauna which can be seen by hiking, bicycling, or by taking a walk through the forest trails.
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One of the most beautifully preserved medieval cities in Slovenia, Škofja Loka is rich with history, culture, heritage, and unspoiled nature. Over a thousand years old, the city is filled with picturesque colorful houses, flowing rivers, valleys, mountains, and numerous points of interest.
The Škofja Loka Castle, which was built before 1202, provides a magnificent look into Škofja Loka’s history. Visitors can walk through medieval streets and explore the town square. This alpine town is perfect for skiing and there are many ski resorts available. Other activities including hiking, mountain climbing, and mountain biking.
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Best known as a spa town, Ptuj is a tranquil and historic town in the northeastern region of Slovenia. Other than the relaxing spas, Ptuj is also wine country and there are many vineyards in the region. Visitors can explore the beautiful locale – cobblestone streets, a town square, quaint churches, a flowing river, and a picturesque castle all make it a place of fantasy.
Guests can explore Ptuj by cycling down one of the most attractive roads which is flanked by vineyards, and visit numerous wine cellars and villages. It is filled with history and was once an important Slovenian administrative, commercial, and military center.
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Based at the foot of the Rudnica Mountain, Olimje is a peaceful valley known for its indescribable beauty. This fairytale countryside, which won the golden medal in the Entente Florale contest in 2009, is filled with farmhouses that tourists can visit to enjoy authentic Slovene food and wine. Olimje is also known for homemade chocolate and beer.
Attractions include a renovated monastery complex that has a church and a castle; the church is adorned with a black and gold baroque altar. The castle houses one of the oldest preserved monastery pharmacies in Europe – many of the remedies are created from the 160 healing herbs which are grown in the botanical gardens that located in front of the monastery.
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A horse-shaped valley that cuts deep into the mountain, Trenta Valley is home to three settlements: Soca, Lepena, and Trenta. These villages are built alongside the many rivers, springs, and pools that are found in the area. Trenta is where the headwaters of Slovenia’s most beautiful river, the shimmering emerald Soca River, are located.
Guests can spend their time exploring this fairytale river and its flowing springs and pools, and lush mountainsides bounding the valley. Hikers and bikers will enjoy the 20 kilometer trail which runs from the source of the Soca River to Triglav National Park – the home of Zapotok, a 180 meter high waterfall. Visitors can go to the Trenta Museum to get a deeper understanding of their surroundings.
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With its gorges, waterfalls, riverbeds, springs, forests, glaciers, valleys, mountains Kamniška Bistrica Valley is a nature lovers paradise. Visitors can walk or hike the trails and mountains filled with panoramic scenes, and the valleys have proven to be a favorite with cyclists as an asphalt road leads to springs and the Kamniška Bistrica River.
There are numerous natural attractions and the mountainous area is famed, especially the Kamnik-Savinja Alps which are surrounded by an enigmatic forest. Other notable sites include Konec Valley’s glacial remnants and the Sivnica Boulder which at 40 meters high is one of the biggest boulders in Slovenia.
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People began settling in Mojstrana during the late 14th century when it took off as an ironworking settlement. Now, Mojstrana is visited by tourists from around the world because of its stunning location and its proximity to the Julian Alps and Karvanke Mountains.
Since the 1800s many companies have provided mountain guides for people wishing to hike and trek through the lands; and there are paths which lead to mountain huts perfect for overnight camping, skiing, and other memorable adventures. Authentic farm camping is a unique Mojstrana experience that affords people the opportunity to rent rooms in farms and to experience a farmer’s lifestyle.
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Virje Waterfall is a beautiful attraction on Gljun Creek which is filled with moss covered rocks and refreshing springs. This waterfall flows into an emerald green pool where people visiting in the summer can take an invigorating dip in after a five minute climb down. In the winter, the location is a panoramic dream covered in snow.
Depending on the time of the year, many tourists will be able to explore and enjoy the tranquil waterfall all by themselves. Virje Waterfall is located in the Kanin Mountain Range and the waterfall is approximately 12 meters high.
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21.Kostanjevica na Krki
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One of the oldest and smallest towns in Slovenia, Kostanjevica na Krki is a beautiful town developed around the Landestrost Fortress. A unique feature is that the oldest part of town has actually been divided by the Krka River and is now an island at the foot of the Gorjanci Hills. It is accessible to pedestrian visitors as well as those in vehicles – bridges have been built to connect it to the rest of the town.
Kostanjevica na Krki used to be known as the “Venice of Lower Carniola” because the only way to get around was by boat due to frequent floods. Now, it is an amazing town filled with cultural monuments, impressive art collections,rich history and architecture for all visitors to enjoy.
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A picturesque valley surrounded by the 60 million year old summits of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps and a 300 million year old coral reef, Jezersko is a historical wonder. Visitors come from far and wide to view the historic place in which new Europe abolished the border with Austria and brought together Slovenes from both sides of the mountains.
Often called “the green pearl of Europe,” Jezersko’s valley surrounds the breathtaking Jezerko Lake and is rich in nature and diverse cultures. Visitors can be sure to experience a side of Europe there that they won’t get anywhere else.
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Referred to as “the jewel of the Karst region”, Stanjel has an interesting history; Romans constructed a fort at the top of the hill, the village expanded over the hill in the Middle Ages, and a defensivee wall was built around the village to protect it against a Turkish invasion.
If that wasn’t enough to intrigue and mystify visitors, Stanjel is filled with remarkable castles and churches such as the Church of St. Daniel. The village’s architecture and environment make it a different world; everything from the narrow cobbled streets to the stone houses tell the story of Stanjel’s rich past.
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A charming town with a history that goes back over 1,000 years, Konjice lies at the foot of the Konjiška gora Mountain, and is flanked by luxurious vineyards. The gorgeous medieval country town is well maintained and is one of the most preserved towns in Slovenia.
The six thousand friendly inhabitants of Konjice are what make a visit to the town so memorable. The welcoming and kind locals are quick to introduce visitors to an authentic experience – from the lush mountain rills to the fluttery buzz constant activity in the town square.
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Visitors are invited to the town of BreŽice to explore the town’s pride and joy: the BreŽice Castle. Dating back to 1249, the castle was renovated in 1515 and again at the end of the 16th century. Visitors can walk through this two-story renaissance-style fortress and its inner courtyard while appreciating the beauty of its architecture from the cylindrical tower which connects the bridge to the moat.
History buffs will love the preserved interior of the castle which features fittings from the time the Attems family resided in the home during the 1800s. There are many paintings and antiquities – especially in the secular Baroque Hall. Other features include a mirrored ceiling, well-preserved double staircases, and a beautiful chapel.
Back to Part 1: 50 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Slovenia.
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Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Slovenia
- Piran, Photo: Courtesy of Viktor Pravdica - Fotolia.com
- Mokrice Castle, Photo: Courtesy of Andreja Donko - Fotolia.com
- Logar Valley, Photo: Courtesy of Matic Stojs - Fotolia.com
- Lipica, Photo: Courtesy of pyty - Fotolia.com
- Tolmin, Photo: Courtesy of csimages - Fotolia.com
- Nova Gorica, Photo: Courtesy of bepsphoto - Fotolia.com
- Škocjan Caves, Photo: Courtesy of pyty - Fotolia.com
- Cerkno, Photo: Courtesy anilah - Fotolia.com
- Metlika, Photo: Courtesy of kasto - Fotolia.com
- Laško, Photo: Courtesy of Roberto Romanin - Fotolia.com
- Hrastovlje Church of the Holy Trinity, Photo: Courtesy of pisk78 - Fotolia.com
- Vipava Valley, Photo: Courtesy of Samo Trebizan - Fotolia.com
- Cerknica, Photo: Courtesy of zkbld - Fotolia.com
- Škofja Loka, Photo: Courtesy of donaldyan1 - Fotolia.com
- Ptuj, Photo: Courtesy of Soru Epotok - Fotolia.com
- Olimje, Photo: Courtesy of Buesi - Fotolia.com
- Trenta Valley, Photo: Courtesy of Matic Stojs - Fotolia.com
- Kamniška Bistrica, Photo: Courtesy of Matic Stojs - Fotolia.com
- Mojstrana, Photo: Courtesy of Matic Stojs - Fotolia.com
- Virje Waterfall, Photo: Courtesy of sallystacey - Fotolia.com
- Kostanjevica na Krki, Photo: Courtesy of kasto - Fotolia.com
- Jezersko, Photo: Courtesy of anzemulec - Fotolia.com
- Stanjel, Photo: Courtesy of kasto - Fotolia.com
- Konjice, Photo: Courtesy of tynrud - Fotolia.com
- BreŽice, Photo: Courtesy Stefano Gasparotto - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of kaycco - Fotolia.com