The Natural Beauty of Slovenia

After visiting the cities of Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna, and Salzburg, we figured it was time to broaden our horizon and head into nature instead. And we couldn’t have picked a better place then Slovenia’s Triglav National Park: its extreme greenery, beautiful lakes, and somewhat strange landmarks made for a perfect day out.

Lake Bled

• Lake Bled.

We left the capital Ljubljana in the early morning, and first headed to Bled: a small town about 45 minutes away. The town is very touristy, mainly thanks to its lake: Lake Bled. This lake is home to tiny Bled Island, an island with a few buildings, the most prominent one being a church. The only way to get to the island is by boat, and its beautiful surroundings make the church for a popular wedding spot.

On first sight, that’s about all there is. Yet, if you walk a bit further along the banks, away from the town, you suddenly notice a castle rising out above everything else. We had to look twice, as we definitely didn’t expect a castle sticking out from a giant rock. Luckily, we were the first tourists for the day (it was even before 9AM), so we had the whole lake to ourselves.

• Bled Castle.

Triglav National Park

After our quick visit to Bled, it was time to head to Triglav National Park; Slovenia’s only national park, situated in the northwest corner of the country, close to the border with Italy. We would spend the remainder of the day here, stopping at various landmarks.

The first landmark was the Tolmin Gorges. Located on the southern of the National Park, this area is littered with waterfalls. The most scenic one was the waterfall behind The Bear’s Head; a rock stuck between two walls.

• The Bear’s Head.

From there, we slowly made our way back to the car. In this area, there simply is no way not to take the scenic route. With the crystal clear and fast-flowing Zadlaščica River, lush green trees, this walk was very scenic, even though there was a little bit of rain.

• Zadlaščica River

We traveled further north into the park, and stopped near the small town of Kobarid. This area is famous for the Napoleon’s Bridge, built at the time of the French emperor. Downstream, there is a small walking trail.

• Napoleon’s Bridge.

At the end of this small but scenic walking trail, you will find Slap Kozjak, a waterfall hidden in a cave. It is well worth the 15-minute hike, and again, on your way you will be surrounded by greenery, crystal clear water, and great views.

• Slap Kozjak.

Our next stop was even deeper into Triglav National Park. We hiked for a good fifteen minutes up the mountain, until we reached Izvir Soče. This is another series of waterfalls, but on higher ground and thus providing great views over the mountains surrounding us. Eventually, the water flows into the Soča River, which intersects the entire National Park.

• Izvir Soče.
• Soča River.

We slowly started making our way back towards Ljubljana. The best way to get out of the National Park is by taking the Vršič Mountain Pass. This road is the highest mountain pass in Slovenia, and it took countless hairpin turns to get to 1,611 meters above sea-level. Apart from tourists, the main passerby are sheep, to which this area is home. Therefore, don’t be surprised if you end up in a traffic jam caused by sheep.

• Vršič Mountain Pass.

Luckily, this traffic jam has its upsides too: it allows you to stop and get out of your car. Given the views, it is well worth pausing your journey, and stop for a mountain picnic.

• View over Triglav National Park.

Triglav National Park also has a few strange landmarks; like a rock shaped like a girl’s face, or a tiny wooden Russian church. We stopped at the latter, surprised by how out of place it looked. However, once you learn the Vršič Mountain Pass was built by Russian prisoners of war during World War I, it suddenly all makes sense.

• Russian Chapel.

The last stop before leaving Triglav National Park from the northeast was Lake Jasna. This lake is popular with tourists and locals, as its white sand beaches and crystal clear waters are situated in a valley, surrounded by mountains. On a sunny day, you can find young and old enjoying the water. For us, we merely snapped a picture of the Goldenhorn Statue, before heading back to yet another city.

• Lake Jasna.

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We, Mark & Herta, are currently backpacking through Europe, and eventually planning to settle in London. Beyond that? The possibilities are endless.

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