How Much Did You Like Slovenia?

Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 09:41 AM
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How Much Did You Like Slovenia?

We are heading to the Dolomites next July and are trying to figure out where else to go. I have been thinking about Slovenia and have read lots of posts online to try to figure out what visitors to that country thought. Did you like your visit there or did you love it?
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Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 10:23 AM
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I liked it enough I'm going back to Ljubljana this fall to see how much it's changed in ten years. Good scenery, too.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 11:25 AM
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thursdaysd-- thanks very much for your quick reply. Did you see other areas of Slovenia? If so, what did you think of those areas? I've been looking at Skofja Loka, Ptuj, Predjama Castle, Lakes Bled and Bohinj, as well as a drive through the Julian Alps. Any feedback you have on those areas would be appreciated.

We are considering the Salzkammergut area of Austria versus Slovenia.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 11:32 AM
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I visited Bled, would like to have made it to Bohinj, but I think that's a better destination for hikers. Castle was OK, caves not bad. I would probably rate the Austrian lakes higher, but depends on how much time you have, and whether you're driving - Slovenia is more compact, but transport is probably better in austria. I especially enjoyed staying in Zell-am-See and visiting the Krimml waterfall and the Grossglockner road.

If you do go the Slovenia area, try to get to Plitvice national park in Croatia.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 01:03 PM
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I loved Slovenia. It's near the top of my favorite countries in Europe (though I've probably not been to half of Europe yet). It's not that Slovenia is so incredible above everywhere else, but it feels still relatively untouched vs other popular spots (e.g. almost anywhere in Italy). I actually felt like I was in a foreign country whereas in Italy it seems there are more English-speaking tourists than locals in some places. Several times in Slovenia, locals asked me where I was from - as in, what COUNTRY are you from? No one would ever ask me that in Italy.

You can click on my name to find my 2011 trip report (+ pictures). I visited Ljubljana both in 2009 (when I also went on to Croatia) and 2011. Ljubljana is a lovely little city without world-class museums or anything, but it's full of beautiful architecture and feels like it's right out of a fairy tale, especially at night. Lake Bled with its church-on-an-island with the Alps as backdrops feels much the same way. There is wonderful natural beauty in nearby Triglav National Park. And the little seaside town of Piran is really a gem of a town, really beautiful.

I did make it to Lake Bohinj, which is much less touristy and less spread out than Bled (very pretty but doesn't feel like a "storybook" scene, for better or worse).

I had a car part of the time, and I found the scenic drive from Škofja Loka (worth a stop) up through the mountains down into Bled (instead of taking the freeway) really beautiful - probably similar to what you might view in Austria, I guess. The Julian Alps drive is also really cool and not as difficult as it might sound (the roads were excellent, and in September at least, not very busy).

I visited Škocjan Caves in Slovenia too - really nice but didn't seem to merit the extra time and expense (for me, anyway).

I visited Ptuj as a day trip (by train) from Maribor, both of which are interesting towns for sure. Ptuj is, I think, the oldest town in Slovenia; you'd think no other American tourist had ever been there. Maribor feels more ordinary than Ljubljana for sure, but I found it worthwhile myself, in part for its "no one else ever visits" feel yet it is more lively than Ptuj.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 01:35 PM
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Andrew--thanks for your reply. I had already read your very helpful trip report and looked at your pictures. Can you give me an idea of why you liked the Julian Alps drive? We have done beautiful mountain drives in the western U.S., and I am wondering whether this drive will pale in comparison.

After thursdaysd's last post, I started thinking maybe we would do Austria. But from what I can tell, July is the rainiest month in Austria, and Slovenia is referred to as the "sunny side of the Alps." So now I am back to thinking we'll do Slovenia.

We have seen tons of caves in the U.S., so those are not on my list. May do Rovinj instead of Piran, but still working that out.

Any other takes on Slovenia?
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Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 01:43 PM
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To be honest, my expectations for the Julian Alps drive were so high that I was a tad disappointed. The drive was still very worthwhile, though, and I would do it again. The (unexpected) beauty of the scenic drive from Škofja Loka to Bled was in some ways even more scenic but perhaps not as unique as the Julian Alps loop. There is also a lot of worthwhile World War I history on the Julian Alps drive - e.g. little Russian chapel dedicated to the dead Russian POWs who helped build the road during the war.

There are also plenty of outdoorsy activity options around Triglav Park. If the July weather is good in Slovenia, those would probably be quite rewarding.

I didn't make it to Rovinj but it's still on my list - I hope to return to the region.

I'll bet July is much more touristy in Slovenia than what I experienced in September, however. Probably almost anywhere worthwhile is at that time of year, especially with other European tourists.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 01:53 PM
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I liked it so much that I titled my trip report "If I could design a country it would look a lot like Slovenia".

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...e-slovenia.cfm
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Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 02:17 PM
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Isabel--Thanks for your reply. I had read your great trip report and looked through your beautiful photos.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 02:55 PM
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I only winged through a tiny bit of Slovenia and Austria during my trip to the Dolomiti so I am not going to comment except to respond to Andrew's remark that "in Italy it seems there are more English-speaking tourists than locals in some places. Several times in Slovenia, locals asked me where I was from - as in, what COUNTRY are you from? No one would ever ask me that in Italy."

I don't know where Andrew has been in Italy but I assure you that once you are out of the Dolomiti (which is heavily touristed, not surprisingly), you will find few tourists in Friuli-Venezia-Giulia or even Trentino west of the Dolomiti (Fai della Paganella, the Ticino, etc.)

I am an American living in Italy and I am asked all the time by Italians what nationality I am, or else many Italians simply assume I am German or British (because that's my ancestry and I look it). If you go to the places most Americans go then if you don't look Italian people might very well assume you are American. But that is is a miniscule amount of square mileage in Italy.

But I wholeheartedly agree that places that are not international tourist destinations have a completely different feel that reminds you of the joy of experiencing a foreign culture. So much of Northern Italy shares that with Slovenia.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 02:58 PM
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(I should add that almost all of central and southern Italy is terra incognito for American tourists, too. People really get a misleading experience of Italy if they go to the very small percentage of the country written about in guidebooks or on websites aimed at Americans.)
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Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 03:27 PM
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http://gadling.com/2013/06/12/lake-b...ally-must-see/

http://www.rtvslo.si/news-in-english...-season/345679

http://www.rearviewmirror.tv/ljublja...rip-lake-bled/

http://www.tripadvisor.com.ph/ShowTo...al_Region.html

http://www.hikenow.net/Slovenia/Weather-Piran.html
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Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 05:19 PM
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I loved Slovenia! Ljubljana is utterly delightful, IMO. Bled is beautiful. Lake Bohinj stunning. The Škocjan Caves impressive. Vintgar Gorge well worth seeing.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 08:08 PM
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Our recent trip included 3 nights in Ljubljana and a day at Lake Bled while driving to Austria. Lake Bled is simply beautiful and enjoying the local specialty - cream cake (kremsnita) - while overlooking the lake was a highlight for us. Ljubljana is fairly compact with a ton of riverside bars and cafes. The saturday morning market is a treat and a trip up to the castle is worthwhile. The castle has been extensively renovated, with some striking modern additions which seem to cause a love it/hate it reaction. We thought it was quite well done and enjoyed a meal in the courtyard at one of the cafes. The view of town from the tower is another memorable experience. We enjoyed a laid back easy time whether walking through town, cruising the river or people watching. The locals were helpful and friendly and, if it matters to you, many spoke English. The verdict - loved it.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 10:52 PM
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sandralist: I only winged through a tiny bit of Slovenia and Austria during my trip to the Dolomiti so I am not going to comment except to respond to Andrew's remark

In the future, I would greatly appreciate it if you would NOT respond to ANY comments I make here, especially when they have nothing to do with the topic of the thread. OK, thanks!
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Old Sep 24th, 2014, 12:03 AM
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Andrew

My comments were completely on point to your remarks. You posted a comparison as to the value of seeing Slovenia over Italy (where the OP will be) and asserted things about Italy which are not true.

This is an open message board. If you don't like discussion it is up to you not to post -- not to dictate or try to censor others. The OP openly solicited information. He or she can ignore my information but he or she is entitled to have it. I will continue to respond to yours or anybody else's posts whether you like it or not. It is you who have derailed the thread with an immature tangent.
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Old Sep 24th, 2014, 12:24 AM
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Digbydog

In case it was also unclear to you why I commented on Andrew's description of Italy it is because the area of Italy in between the Italian Dolomiti and Slovenia is an area of Italy where locals outnumber tourists 100 to 1 and you are just as likely to have a local ask you what country you are from as you are in Slovenia. There are of course many reasons to go to Slovenia but if you want to have the experience of being in untouristed places and in a foreign land you don't have to drive to Slovenia from Italy.

You also mentioned in your posts several specific places in Slovenia that you were interested in getting some feedback about. Since Slovenia was being presented to you as a place without tourist crowds I thought you might like to have some information on some of the places you mentioned regarding when to avoid the crowds of tourists who go there at certain times. So I gave you some links.

Have a nice time wherever you go after the Dolomiti!
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Old Sep 24th, 2014, 12:59 AM
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Here's another Fodor's thread about Slovenia (and Croatia) in which Andrew (along with some other people) describe parts of Slovenia as "mobbed" with tourists or generally "nuts" in the summer high season with tourists (which would include July).

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-september.cfm
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Old Sep 24th, 2014, 05:15 AM
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My experience in Slovenia (in a July) was that it was not at all mobbed with tourists or anyone else. It's a city, had a healthy amount of people, restaurants were generally full-ish (I know that's not a word) but you could get a seat, etc. Piran (a beach resort type area) was full of holiday makers but also not 'crowded' or 'mobbed' the way places like Venice and Rome are. Lake Bled was extremely 'un-crowded'. The city of Trieste in Italy near the border with Slovenia is another city that doesn't get mobs of tourists. If you are in the area it's worth a short stopover.
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Old Sep 24th, 2014, 08:39 AM
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I found Piran pretty busy on a warm September weekend (perhaps the last one of the season), but most of the tourists didn't seem to be speaking English.
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