Europe Forums

Post New Topic

Recent Activity

View all Europe activity »
  1. 1 LEXMARK PRINTER 1800:681:7208 installations CONTACT LEXMARK Techh care
  2. 2 "chunnel" to change it's offical name.
  3. 3 Buying RER Ticket CDG-Paris
  4. 4 Italy Croatia Bosnia
  5. 5 land vs river cruise
  6. 6 Malaga Christmas lights
  7. 7 Trip Report Sampling Some of Sicily and Bits of Italy Beyond
  8. 8 London flat feedback wanted - yes, I'm going slightly crazy!
  9. 9 Trans Siberian Train
  10. 10 Tips for first trip to UK
  11. 11 Scotland ideas
  12. 12 Devon and Dorset: Where to Base?
  13. 13 London vacation rental agency
  14. 14 Paris, Normandy & Amsterdam with College Graduate
  15. 15 And the winner is ...India? Egypt? no, Italy!
  16. 16 Germany, Switzerland and Paris with teens
  17. 17 South of France
  18. 18 Czech Republic & Germany in Eleven Days
  19. 19 Traveling to Ukraine with a travel guide
  20. 20 My France Vacation
  21. 21 Slovenia and Croatia in January (Solo)
  22. 22 Must See/Do/Eat in Vienna?
  23. 23 The 2017-18 Ashes thread - up now on the Aussie forum.
  24. 24 Itinerary for 4 days in Madrid
  25. 25 Rome, Tuscany & Umbria
View next 25 » Back to the top

Trip Report Return to Slovenia and Venice plus Trieste

Jump to last reply

In May 2017, I took a 17 day trip to Europe: flying into Venice, out of Paris, and stopping in Slovenia, Italy, and France in between. I took the train through Italy and France to Paris. I had been to many of these places before.

I've divided my trip report into three parts: Part One: Slovenia + Trieste and Venice; Part Two: Italian Riviera (Camogli), and Part Three: France (Nice, Provence, Paris). This report covers the first part: Slovenia (3 nights), Trieste, (1 night) and Venice (1 night).

Before you read much further, let me point out that 1) because I've been to many of these places before, you won't find much “excitement of new discovery” in this report, 2) I don't visit many museums, so don't look for tips about those, and 3) I'm not a “foodie” and rarely eat at a restaurant you'd be interested in when I travel. So don't look for restaurant tips (unless you like pizza). However, you can glean transportation tips and general impressions from my report and, I hope, enjoy the linked pictures!

For Slovenia specifically, I refer you to my 2011 trip report when I spent more time in the country and saw more places:

www.fodors.com/community/europe/ten-days-in-slovenia-plus-austria-and-italy.cfm

I'm a photographer. My modus operandi on my solo trips to Europe is to walk around, explore, and take pictures – lots of pictures. I occasionally visit the odd museum that catches my fancy but not often. Some quick links to pictures from the places I visited:

Slovenia Pictures:

Ljubljana: www.portlandbridges.com/00,LM1K0IMG02693,460,1,0,0-slovenia.html
Radovljica: www.portlandbridges.com/00,LM1K0IMG03816,461,1,0,0-slovenia.html
Bled: www.portlandbridges.com/00,LM1K0IMG04754,462,1,0,0-bled-slovenia.html
Škofja Loka: www.portlandbridges.com/00,LM1K0IMG05210,463,1,0,0-slovenia.html
Jamnik: www.portlandbridges.com/00,LM1K0IMG05340,464,1,0,0-jamnik-slovenia.html
Kranj: www.portlandbridges.com/00,LM1K0IMG05444,465,1,0,0-slovenia.html
Kamnik: www.portlandbridges.com/00,LM1K0IMG05546,466,1,0,0-slovenia.html

Slovenia Hightlights (over several years):
www.portlandbridges.com/00,5D0IMG75867,82,0,1,0-ptuj-slovenia.html

Trieste Pictures: www.portlandbridges.com/00,LM1K0IMG06091,468,1,0,0-trieste-italy.html

Venice Pictures: www.portlandbridges.com/00,LM1K0IMG06390,469,1,0,0-venice-italy.html

FYI, I used a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 “bridge” camera for these pictures. This camera is relatively new to me; I have used a Canon DSLR for years. This time, I decided to leave my Canon gear at home.

Other “gear:” a small travel laptop and an unlocked Android Moto E phone and a Dutch Vodafone SIM I had bought while still in the US via eBay. This worked great to have mobile data pretty much everywhere, and I was able to make free phone calls home to the US, even to landlines, with Google Hangouts. I used the laptop to backup my pictures and review them as I traveled.

For basic trip planning, besides travel websites, I referred to both the Rick Steves Croatia/Slovenia book and the Bradt Slovenia Travel Guide. The Bradt book has more info about the smaller towns you won't find in the Rick Steves book, but the Bradt book is also quite dated by now (as of now, latest edition is from 2008).

  • Report Abuse

    From Venice to Ljubljana

    I had planned to fly into Venice, take a train directly to Trieste, spend a few hours there, then continue on to Ljubljana for my first night. (And then work my way back to Venice a few days later, heading west to France.) Yes, that sounds like a lot to some people for a first day after a long international flight, but I prefer to hit the ground running when I arrive in Europe, and I have done this sort of thing more than once. Works for me, may not work for you.

    Unfortunately, little delays kept cascading, putting a timely same-day stop in Trieste in doubt. My flight to Venice (AA, direct from Philadelphia) arrived a few minutes late; then the next bus to Mestre train station was about ten minutes late. By the time I got on that bus, I knew I would likely miss the next train from Mestre to Trieste - it would be really close, and the next train didn't leave for a few hours. I tried anyway; I bought the train ticket on my phone while I was on the bus. Sure enough, I dashed off the bus at Mestre just in time to see my train pulling away from the station – maybe three minutes too late!

    At this point, I could have waited at Mestre train station for a few hours for the next train to Trieste (regional tickets can be used up to four hours past their original departure time). But by then, I'd have had little time in Trieste unless I wanted to get into Ljubljana really late on my first day in Europe – so why bother?

    I already had a Plan B to go directly to Ljubljana. I had used a company called DRD first back in 2009 to go to Ljubljana from Mestre – so it was easy to do it again. I even remembered where the “bus” (a van in this case) parked across the street from the station, in an unintuitive spot. Like an old pro, I just walked up to the driver and bought a ticket for 25 Euros and got on. I guess this was an overflow van; there was only one other passenger to Ljubljana, a French woman on her way to Lake Bled. We proceeded quickly, without any stops, getting to the Ljubljana train station by about 2PMish after leaving Mestre about 11:30ish.

    FYI, Besides DRD, a Slovenian transfer service called GoOpti operates shared transfers between Slovenia and various places in Italy, but they don't have scheduled times like DRD does; one must book ahead and get a pick-up time (which can vary by a few hours) the day before departure. I didn't use GoOpti because I hadn't even been planning to directly to Ljubljana, obviously.

  • Report Abuse

    Ljubljana (3 nights)

    Pictures: www.portlandbridges.com/00,LM1K0IMG02693,460,1,0,0-slovenia.html

    I love Ljubljana – it might be my favorite city in Europe. I returned on purpose not because I needed more time to see it but because I wanted to return to a favorite, familiar place. The city is not big and easily explored, on foot, in a short time.

    I was kind of “winging it” on much of this trip. I had a rough itinerary all the way to Paris with stops in between but with a lot of flexibility to change it up. No lodgings were non-refundable and no trains were booked ahead of time. I wasn't sure if I'd spend three nights or five nights in Slovenia. I had a few places I wanted to revisit and a few other new places on my agenda. Some of my agenda would be weather-dependent. I had long wanted to visit the rugged Logarska Dolina area up north, but it seemed to be too long for a day trip but not really worth going unless the weather was good...

    I had booked the first three nights in Ljubljana at a hostel-type place – some very modest private rooms run by the H2O Hostel near the Dragon Bridge, a place separately booked called B&B Sincere. At 40 Euros/night, with a fantastic location, it was hard to go wrong. (I walked with my carry-on bags from the train station, where DRD dropped me off, an easy walk for me.) The place was clean enough; biggest issue was thin walls and with a window onto the street right along the river; car access was restricted, but late-night partiers made noise once in a while walking home or whatever.

    On my first jetlagged afternoon, I simply walked over familiar haunts, past Ljubljana's neat bridges down to Prešeren Square and along the river. Ljubljana is a great walking town; there are lots of pedestrian-only areas. Later I hiked up to the castle above the town and got some dusk pictures down on Ljubljana.

    For dinner the first night, I ate at a trendy but inexpensive little burger bar (a local chain) called Hood Burger near the center of town. Obviously I wasn't seeking authentic Slovenian food, but I didn't care; I ate at the place again the second night.

  • Report Abuse

    Second day in Slovenia

    I woke up and took my favorite morning walk in Ljubljana. Not much to it, but I do it every time I visit. Here it is: walk along the river south from the Dragon Bridge past Prešeren Square and south along the river past the end of the pedestrian area, crossing the busy street. A little further south, a small stream branches to the right; follow the stream up a little ways to the big Trnovo Church. Famous Slovenian architect Joze Pletnik, who designed half of the impressive structures you see in Ljubljana, had a house right behind the church – you can tour it, something I did a few years ago and recommend. Pletnik also designed the bridge right in front of the church.

    Trnovo Church Pictures: www.portlandbridges.com/00,LM1K0IMG03045,460,1,1,0-slovenia.html

    At the bridge, turn right (north) and head back toward the center of town. Here you'll walk past open gardens with views beyond of Ljubljana castle. It's amazing how different this walk feels from the walk down along the river. Keep walking past the university library to Congress square. If you want a detour, you can turn left up into Tivoli Park (something I didn't have a chance to do this time). It's a huge park but you can see just the bottom of it; one of the museums is there too. There's also an outdoor photography exhibit, right in the park, something I've enjoyed even on rainy days in the past.

    After my morning walk, I had to decide how to spend the rest of the day. It was overcast with rain predicted. I had a rental car reservation that I canceled – I decided to take the train up to Radovljica, a cute old town near Bled (I don't mind exploring towns in the rain with an umbrella, but why bother to rent a car?). This was one of the new towns to me – missed it on past trips. And I was in the mood for a train trip. Radovljica is a cute little town – not much to it, but I think it's more charming than say the town of Bled nearby, which didn't impress me much. Radovljica also has a cute little beekeeping museum, which I saw briefly. Nothing special, really, unless you are interested in Slovenia's history of beekeeping.

    Radovljica Pictures: www.portlandbridges.com/00,LM1K0IMG03816,461,1,0,0-slovenia.html

    Radovljica is a nice old town, but I'd give a slight edge to Škofja Loka (see below) if seeking out a small town to spend more time in besides Bled and Ljubljana.

    From Radovljica, I caught a bus on to Bled, where I had been before. It was raining steadily by the time I got to Bled. I found some shelter in a little gazebo in a park near the water and hung out until the rain stopped. I didn't stress over the itinerary – I was just having fun.

    Bled Pictures: www.portlandbridges.com/00,LM1K0IMG04754,462,1,0,0-bled-slovenia.html

    I saw a couple posing for wedding pictures and a few fishermen, but otherwise the lake wasn't busy in mid-May, on a rainy day. A few tourists were taking pletna boats out to the island to see the church; I considered going but declined. Instead, I decided to walk around the lake in the rain (which eventually stopped). I already had some decent pictures of Bled with the sun out; it was still overcast today, most of the day. I had to be ready to get get a few choice shots of the church of the Assumption on the island whenever the sun would come out briefly.

    I took my time walking around the lake but decided to catch a train back from Bled Jezero station to Ljubljana, via Jesenice (not many trains per day). A direct bus from Bled back to Ljubljana would have been easier, but I love trains, and I took the train for the experience. Tiny Bled Jezero station is up the hill from the lake across from the town, an OK option for train enthusiasts on a day trip but probably not for anyone with luggage. (Lesce Bled train station is not close to the town of Bled, but you can get there by bus from Bled and catch the train back to Ljubljana.)

    As a long day trip from Ljubljana, consider then something like what I did: train to Radovljica, bus to Bled, bus (or train) back to Ljubljana. If you want to hike Vingtar Gorge as well (I had done it before), maybe skip Radovljica.

    Back in Ljubljana, I returned to Hood Burger, took some more night pictures around town, and went to bed.

  • Report Abuse

    Third day in Slovenia

    I had another rental car reservation (with Avantcar) – should I keep it? The weather still looked iffy but better than yesterday's. I decided to go for it – but just rent the car for the day. I walked up to Avantcar's office a few blocks south of the train station and rented a compact car. I decided to head for the town of Škofja Loka, a lovely little town I'd visited before. I stopped just for a quick look around and to grab a quick pizza lunch – then detoured to a little church at Crngrob (don't bother unless you are really into churches).

    Škofja Loka Pictures: www.portlandbridges.com/00,LM1K0IMG05210,463,1,0,0-slovenia.html

    From Crngrob I drove back through Škofja Loka and up through little towns like Dražgoše to Jamnik, which has an iconic church at the top. I had done this drive in the fall of 2011. The scenery from this drive down into the valley is breathtaking, and there are some little memorials and viewpoints where you might want to pull over, even though the road is quite narrow. At the top, there's a stunning view down of the church with the Alps behind it. I have had a picture of this scene from 2011 on my wall, and it just stayed with me – I felt compelled to revisit. Luckily, occasion rain that came and went was not present as I drove up the narrow road through the mountains to Jamnik. This time I walked up to the church and actually touched it – kind of a strange thing to do, but I almost felt like I needed to, to make sure what I had been looking at on my wall at home for years was in fact real.

    Jamnik Pictures: www.portlandbridges.com/00,LM1K0IMG05340,464,1,0,0-jamnik-slovenia.html

    After Jamnik, I headed to two new towns: Kranj and Kamnik, which I'd heard of but never seen before. Kamnik was a higher priority, but Kranj was closer, so I stopped there first. The sun was out the whole time. Kranj has an interesting square or two and some interesting buildings but it doesn't exactly exude charm – it feels a bit gritty in places. But, I had kind of expected this.

    Kranj Pictures: www.portlandbridges.com/00,LM1K0IMG05444,465,1,0,0-slovenia.html

    Next I drove on to little Kamnik, which I had expected to be more charming – and it really was. Unfortunately, the sun that had been out most of the last few hours disappeared behind clouds just after I parked the car in Kamnik, so photos I might have gotten of the beautiful Kamnik red roofs are kind of muted. The town of Kamnik is really very sleepy – just a fun place to stop for a while, maybe a leisurely overnight.

    Kamnik Pictures: www.portlandbridges.com/00,LM1K0IMG05546,466,1,0,0-slovenia.html

    With perfect flexibility and hindsight, I might have stopped for a night in Kamnik instead of driving about 40 minutes back to Ljubljana, but with the car reservation and the hostel booked, it wasn't really practical now – but it was a third of the way to Logarska Dolina. I figured it wasn't that far to drive back to Logarska Dolina the next day if I wanted to. A sleepy town like Kamnik is sort of appealing...but in other ways not. Ljubljana is a lively town with plenty of restaurants etc. at night. Little towns can be charming or boring, depending on your point of view and state of mind...

    I returned the car to Avantcar after hours without issue. (Left my keycard from B&B Sincere in the car – had to go back and get it to avoid being charged 15 Euros!) For my final night, I visited an Italian restaurant right on the river called Aroma; service was friendly, the place was busy, but the meal was forgettable.

    After my third night in Ljubljana, I could have spent two more nights in Slovenia and had fewer nights in France later. I could have rented another car and driven back to Logarska Dolina for another night up there...but there were heavy rains in the forecast, so I decided not to risk it. Logarska Dolina seemed like it needed at least one night (probably in some small town up there) to make it worthwhile – and in the rain it seemed not worth the investment of time. Instead, I ended my Slovenia visit and headed to Trieste, to make up for missing it earlier. Our bus drove through a torrential downpour, so maybe it was better not to have had to deal with that up at Logarska Dolina! Next time – another reason to go back!

    With a late noonish bus to Treiste, I had a long leisurely final morning in Ljubljana. I did my “morning walk” a final time and lingered as much as I could. Ljubljana is one of those places I hate to leave.

    In summary: it was lovely to be back in Slovenia, especially Ljubljana, Škofja Loka, and Jamnik, and I'd love to return to Kamnik someday if I'm in the mood for slowing it down in a sleepy little town.

  • Report Abuse

    Trieste (1 night)

    Pictures: www.portlandbridges.com/00,LM1K0IMG06091,468,1,0,0-trieste-italy.html

    I booked a FlixBus bus from Ljubljana to Trieste the night before departure. I considered taking a train instead from Ljubljana to Villa Opicina (close to Trieste) – just because I prefer trains. It would have taken longer than the bus even with perfect train schedules – but the schedules weren't ideal on this Saturday, so I decided on the easy, direct bus instead. Unfortunately, the Flixbus to Trieste was about 45 minutes late. (Having the FlixBus app on my phone helped – I got arrival updates about the bus, so I knew it was coming eventually!).

    The bus ride to Trieste was comfortable enough, for a bus. I was still relieved to get off. Our bus was stopped by border patrol (otherwise an open border) entering Italy, and police officers came on board and took off all American passports, including mine, got off the bus, and checked them all in their police car. Not sure was was going on there, but it just added to our 45 minute delay. Taking the train probably would not have taken any longer after all of this – but who knew?

    When we finally got to Trieste, the sun was out – no sign of the rains from Slovenia at all. I checked into the Hotel Italia, only a few blocks from the Trieste Centrale train station, a decent if (to me) overpriced place I'd booked at the last minute. (Hotels seemed expensive in Trieste – it didn't seem busy either in town, when I was there. My hotel in Venice cost about the same amount.).

    Soon after checking in, I headed by bus up to Piazza Oberdan, to hike the Strada Vicentina, a famous “hike” with great views down on Trieste and the gulf. I put “hike” in quotes because it's more of a stroll than a hike – very easy, not even a hiking trail really, more of a stone walking path But, it's a nice stroll with great views, well worth doing on a nice day.. It took me about an hour, maybe less, to walk from Piazza Oberdan to Prosecco

    Strada Vicentina Pictures: www.portlandbridges.com/00,LM1K0IMG05847,468,1,1,0-trieste-italy.html

    Then I took a local bus from Prosecco back to Trieste.

    After my hike, I walked into the center of Trieste just to explore. I'd call Trieste kind of a typical noisy Italian city, even though it has long roots from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It has some lovely buildings and the beautiful, huge Unità d'Italia main square, but otherwise I didn't find it especially charming. I had little interest in museums and didn't particularly have much time, anyway. The one site I considered visiting outside of the center of Trieste was the Miramare Castle to the north (I saw it from my hike), but without a car it didn't seem practical, nor did I fee like trying to hire taxis or try to visit by bus. (There's a hop on-hop off bus that runs from Trieste up to the castle, but I was told it wasn't running yet in May.)

    So I walked around, found dinner somewhere, and then took pictures around the Unità d'Italia at dusk. And that was about it for my visit to Trieste.

    But, it was all that I wanted. I can always go back, because I plan to return to nearby Slovenia. Still, I wouldn't feel especially compelled to return to Trieste soon.

  • Report Abuse

    Venice (1 night)

    Pictures: www.portlandbridges.com/00,LM1K0IMG06390,469,1,0,0-venice-italy.html

    I took a direct early morning train from Trieste to Venice, to make the most of the limited time I had in Venice. (I'd taken this train before, in 2011 actually, when I had about 20 minutes to explore Trieste.) I used the Trenit app on my phone to purchase train tickets; I found this very handy. I also had a chip and PIN credit card I occasionally used to buy tickets from the ticket machines at Italian train stations.
    This was my fourth visit to Venice. In 2007 and 2009, I visited Venice for three nights each time, and in 2011 I stopped for just a few hours off the train to wander around. So I felt due for at least a brief return visit.

    For such a quick stop, I chose to stay near the train station, even though I knew it wasn't the most appealing part of Venice. For one night, I thought this location would make things easiest. Because I was unsure of my arrival date until near the last minute (staying in Slovenia three nights or five nights?) I kind of had to be flexible with lodgings, too. I looked at Booking.com several times in the week or two leading up to my arrival and booked things on different dates. A few days before the day I wound up arriving in Venice, a place called La Locanda Di Orsaria popped up on the map as available, in my price range (90 Euros for a single room, double bed, with private bathroom), and fairly well reviewed. I checked in soon after arriving on the morning train from Trieste, and I was pleasantly surprised. The room was very adequate and comfortable, even if modest.

    Soon I was out and about taking pictures on what was shaping up to be a lovely, warm afternoon in Venice. I decided to start with a vaporetto ride up the Grand Canal, something I hadn't done since 2007. I bought a day pass for the vaporetto and off I went, up toward San Marco. Venice is truly a photographer's dream – an endless number of photo ops, really, and on the Grand Canal you really can't miss – just aim your camera over someone's head on the boat and snap. So I managed to get some really nice snapshots.

    I grabbed some take-away pizza near Rialto and sat down on a bench behind some American Jehovah's Witnesses who were out recruiting in touristy Venice. I didn't chat with them – but they didn't seem to be having much luck.

    I considered trying to take a side trip out to Burano island – something I had really enjoyed in 2007 – but with limited on this visit, it didn't make sense. The vaporetto ride out there would take about an hour each way (after transfers). Burano is something I'd highly recommend if you are in Venice and have enough extra time to visit, though. In my case, I made it out to Murano which isn't very far and stopped there, then headed back to Venice proper. I wound up spending quite a lot of time on the vaporetto boats on this trip.

    After a quick dinner at Brek (a no-frills self-service restaurant near my hotel), I headed out with my tripod to get some dusk and night shots. I had forgotten my umbrella, so naturally it soon started to rain! I set up on the Riato Bridge at dusk, where I'd shot a couple of great photos in 2009 on a much clearer night. One of those photos is on my living room wall at home – this one:

    www.portlandbridges.com/00,5D0IMG53079,73,0,1,0-venice-italy.html

    It seemed silly to try shooting again from the same spot just to get a better picture, but because it was raining anyway, it didn't seem to matter where I was at dusk – I decided to protect my camera from the drizzle and shoot only a few pictures and just enjoy the view, for what it was. The Rialto Bridge is always a great place to take in the view, anyway, at any time of day.

    Then I headed out to San Marco to shoot some night shots in the big square, which is lovely when lit up at night. The rain had mostly stopped, but the square was not very busy. I tried some photos, but people with glowsticks (maybe people selling them) were throwing them, and that kind of ruined many of my long-exposure photos. (Who wants green and blue light streaks all over their photos of St. Mark's Square?).

    I used Google Maps on my phone to try to navigate the best way back to my hotel by walking and by vaporetto, but I still got lost a few times! Just getting one's bearings in Venice can be a challenge, even if you have a GPS with you. OK – I see where I am on the map – but which direction am I even going? It's even harder at night. Eventually I managed to get to the vaporetto stop at Rialto in time to catch a boat back to the train station near my hotel, to save a good 20 minutes of walking back on sore feet. Vaporetto boats weren't very frequent past 10PM.

    The next morning, I had a late morning train just past 11AM out to Camogli in the Italian Riviera, and I decided to make the most of my final morning in Venice. I took a nice morning walk through the Santa Croce and San Polo neighborhoods from just across the canal from the train station to Rialto. This walk through quiet squares and narrow streets is the antitheses of the busy walk along Strada Nuova and its endless string of tourist shops and restaurants on the north side of the Grand Canal. It's a lovely walk, reminding me why morning is my favorite time in Venice. Plus, in the morning, there just weren't many tourists out yet – more locals than tourists. If you want to see something closer to “real Venice” not just “tourist Venice,” I highly recommend this walk (start at the train station, cross the Scalzi Bridge, and follow the signs “per Rialto”). Even though it's kind of a maze with a lot of turns, it's easy to find your way if you follow those signs.

    Morning Walk Pictures: www.portlandbridges.com/00,LM1K0IMG07456,469,1,1,0-venice-italy.html

    And then my visit to Venice was over about as quickly as it had begun.

    Still, it was long enough for a return visit. As much as I love Venice, so many tourists do kind of wear on me a bit. I had a lovely time but was also happy to be moving on - to the Italian Riviera. (See Part Two of this trip report!)

  • Report Abuse

    Andrew, it was you that pointed me in the direction of Ljubljana with a previous report and photos, so added it to my wishlist (which is too long and I never got there). But it is climbing its' way back up that list, I love small places that are easily walkable. We never hire a car, so always look for destinations with good public transport, but I see there are excellent day tours from there too, so that helps too. Really enjoying your report, thanks.

  • Report Abuse

    Adelaidean, I hope you can make it to Slovenia someday! Although you could certainly find day tours, it's easy to see most of the highlights yourself by public transportation. Getting from Ljubljana to Lake Bled for example is easy by bus. Same goes for most of the little towns - good train or bus connections. It may be possible simply to pick up a local tour once you get there, though.

    The big advantage of driving - which is affordable and really easy in Slovenia in my opinion - is that you can do some scenic drives you'd miss out on with public transportation. The drive from Skofja Loka to Bled via Jamnik or the Vrsic Pass "Julian Alps Loop" are two examples. Perhaps you can find tours that include them. But I wouldn't see any need to get a guided tour just to visit say Lake Bled...

  • Report Abuse

    Nice to read about some of the out-of-the-ordinary destinations. We have toured a bit in Slovenia as long weekends from Vienna; places like Maribor (especially during their summer festival), Sevnica, and the Istrian riviera, and of course Ljubljana and Bled and up around the Julian Alps. Like you, we did not find Bled all that charming (though we somehow found an oddly good Mexican restaurant there!) Ljubljana for me is at its loveliest during Christmas market season, and at its liveliest on summer weekends with Open Kitchen on Friday nights and the farmers markets on Saturday.

    Trieste is one of those cities, at least for me, that has many faces. The Trieste during Barcolana is a different place than other times of the year; likewise, Miramare on a beautiful blue sky spring day is as equally compelling as on a blustery and gray autumn day.

  • Report Abuse

    Fourfortravel, was this visit to Sevnica before or after the 2016 US election? A curious place for a visit, even among Slovenes who will often visit more obscure places than foreign tourists.

    I understand why Bled puts off both of you, the attractiveness of the town does not match the lake at all. Personally, I try to avoid it in the warmer months, the amount of visitors and the touristiness of it all are difficult to bear. I don't visiting in the colder months when it's a much more intimate place, but it does mean you take a gamble with the weather.

  • Report Abuse

    rtt0921, our visit to Sevnica was part of an itinerary to connect with friends in Ljubljana last spring, as we were driving down from Vienna. I happen to have a fangirl crush on Melania Trump (my being of "Eastern European" heritage, as she is) that is independent of US politics; and with it being that Sevinca was more or less along our route, I thought to stop in the little village with its pretty castle sitting atop the river.

    Yes, the destination is obscure, but because I live in, and wander about, Central Europe, I try to find the beauty everywhere our station wagon takes us. :)

  • Report Abuse

    I'm sure I'll be back to Slovenia again. I'll have to add Sevnica to my list of little towns to visit!

    Bled really didn't seem that touristy in mid-May - could be because it was rainy that day and it was a weekday. I'm guessing in the summer it is kind of obnoxious.

    I really didn't mean to give the impression that I hate the town of Bled - I don't. I'd stay there again. It's a convenient and practical place to base when exploring the area. It's just not very charming. Little Radovljica has more of the "old town charm."

  • Report Abuse

    Andrew, mid-May is fine, things start becoming hectic by late June but the beginning of the high season has been creeping up every year, but I agree with your comments about the town.

    fourfortravel, yes, I suspected the visit had something to do with Mrs Trump. Sevnica is so obscure of a destination that even the latest Lonely Planet guide only mentions its annual salami festival in passing and nothing else, and it is generally quite exhaustive. Heck, it covers places that probably don't see more than a couple of visitors per day.

  • Report Abuse

    Andrew - your photos are great as usual. And the other places you visited in Slovenia look interesting, I'll keep them in mind for my next trip there. Like you, I feel Ljubljana is a really wonderful place and I definitely want to go back. Have you been to Piran? If not, I would add that to your list of Slovenian places to check out.

    Also interesting to see another photographer who uses a Panasonic Lumix and leaves the Nikon/Canon DSLR at home.

    How did the Dutch SIM card work exactly? The last time I tried to get a European sim with the idea of using it in multiple countries I found that only worked with a 'plan' not a preloaded card. I didn't try it last year so maybe things have gotten better. I was going to try getting a T-Mobile account for a couple of months but I think a local sim card would be cheaper, but next year I'm going to be in multiple countries.

    Looking forward to the rest of your trip report.

  • Report Abuse

    Thanks, isabel. The new camera certainly was/has been an adjustment, but I think it was well worth the switch. It's sure a fun camera to use! I'm still processing photos from Italy and still have to do the French photos! I'm glad I shot RAW with the Lumix, but it's required a new flow and some new software. Software that supports Canon (and Nikon) doesn't support Panasonic cameras...

    Yes, I have been to Piran - spent two nights there in 2011. Loved it! I considered returning this time but it wasn't in the cards. I opted for Trieste instead, because I hadn't really been there (for more than a half hour to catch the train).

    Buying a European SIM card has become more attractive for travelers since the EU eliminated most roaming fees earlier this year. I had read up on different SIM cards, and the Dutch Vodafone SIM seemed the best option (able to use hotspot for free, able to buy it/activate it from US without needing to do it with a passport locally, able to add credit online, etc.).

    Some have found good deals on UK SIM cards with more data, but I didn't need that much data. I got 3GB for 20 Euros (plus the SIM cost $7.00 USD shipped from eBay), and I used only 2GB in 17 days. And I plan to re-use the SIM next year when I go back, by adding more credit to it and buying another "bundle" right before I arrive. Vodafone has one of the more liberal policies regarding SIM cards staying active - at least a year after last credit added as I understand it. The SIM sure worked well for me in Slovenia, Italy, and France - I never even visited the Netherlands on this trip with the SIM!

    I took the T-Mobile route last year for visiting the Baltics, and that worked fine too, but T-Mobile has raised their monthly rates plus buying the SIM card itself is about $25, so it would cost a bit more for temporary service now. T-Mobile is too expensive for me personally as a single user (no multiple-line discounts) for my regular US cell phone needs.

  • Report Abuse

    Did you spend a night in Kranj? I'd be curious as to what it's like at night. Maybe one reason I didn't care for it much was that it wasn't particularly interesting to photograph vs. Kamnik, which looks adorable when viewed from the little hill above it.

20 Replies |Back to top

Sign in to comment.

Advertisement