Address: Lake Bled 4260
Image from: http://www.kisforkani.com
Getting there: bus to Bled centre or train to Lesce-Bled station (multiple services from Ljubljana)
Opening times: bled Island: daily, 8am-dusk
Admission: pletna (gondola): €12 per person return
Payment type: credit cards not accepted
Reservations: not possible
8. Park Tivoli
Ljubljana’s green lung, 1,260-acre Park Tivoli, is a mecca for Ljubljančani (people from Ljubljana) at the weekend. Laid out in 1813 as a place for recreation, it continues to offers countless paths and cycle lanes, playgrounds and a couple of sports centres. But it’s not just about Mother Nature here; the park also contains a number of cultural sights. They include the International Centre of Graphic Arts (mglc-lj.si), housed in lovely 17th-century Tivoli Mansion (Tivolski Grad), and the National Museum of Contemporary History (muzej-nz.si), which expertly traces the nation’s 20th-century history through multimedia and artefacts. Also check out the Ljubljana Zoo (zoo-ljubljana.si), an upbeat and well-maintained menagerie of 500 animals on the slopes of 394m-high Rožnik Hill in the park’s south-west corner.
Address: Ljubljana 1000
Getting there: bus to Tivoli (1, 3, 8)
Opening times: zoo, daily: Jan, Feb, Nov, Dec, 9am-4pm; Mar, Oct, 9am-5pm; Apr-Aug, 9am-7pm; Sep, 9am-6pm. For museums, check their websites
Admission: zoo: €8; students, seniors, €6.50; children, €4.50-€5.50. For museums, check their websites
9. Portorož Beach
Slovenia’s very short coastline – a mere 47km long – contains several Venetian Gothic towns and a major shipping port but relatively few places to swim. The one major exception is Portorož, Slovenia’s Coney Island, Blackpool and Bondi Beach all rolled up into one. Its lifeguard-patrolled, contiguous beaches, including the sandy main one accommodating up to 6,000 fried and bronzed bodies, have water slides and outdoor showers, and beach chairs and umbrellas are available for rent. Hire kayaks, pedal boats, wakeboards and other watersports equipment from the Lunos Sport Center Portorož (sportaction.si) on the grassy ‘beach’ west of the Casino Portorož. Beaches are off-limits between 11pm and 6am, and camping is strictly forbidden. Along the waterfront you’ll find restaurants, bars, cafés and a number of boats offering cruises.
Getting there: bus to Portorož (multiple services from Ljubljana); minibus from Piran
10. Lake Bohinj
Lake Bohinj is larger but far less developed than its prettier sister Lake Bled, 26km to the south-west. Although it is very much in the centre of Alpine country, with Mount Triglav in full view, Bohinj is ideal terrain for mountain biking and conventional cycling. The picturesque and very flat road along the southern shore leading to the Savica Waterfall is one I’ve cycled on several occasions. And to my mind the best way to visit the traditional villages of Stara Fužina and Studor, with their old-style barns and hayracks, is on a bike. For something a bit more strenuous, get a copy of the Kolesarske Poti/Cycling Routes map from the local tourist office. It lists much more difficult on- and off-road trails, including one that leads down from Mount Vogel to the lake, after having ascended by cable car up more than 1500m to the Vogel ski centre. Several agencies rent mountain bikes and bicycles, including Alpinsport (alpinsport.si; bikes €4 per hour, €13.50 per day) by the lake in Ribčev Laz.
Address: Alpinsport: Ribčev Laz 53, Bohinjsko Jezero 4265
Getting there: bus to Ribčev Laz on Lake Bohinj (multiple services from Ljubljana and Bled)
11. The Vintgar Gorge
The Vintgar Gorge or Bled Gorge is a 1.6-kilometer gorge in northwestern Slovenia in the municipalities of Gorje and Bled, four kilometers northwest of Bled. Carved by the Radovna River, it is the continuation of the Radovna Valley.
The Vintgar gorge is one of the most popular natural features in Slovenia. From Bled the route leads north towards the village of Podhom. All along the road there are clear signs for Vintgar, and then by local roads the route leads to the entrance to the gorge itself (3.5 km from Bled). The gorge has been arranged for visitors for more than a hundred years. Along the narrow passage, where the Radovna river thrashes loudly against its rocky confines, there are paths, galleries and bridges constructed in the rock. The trail runs through the 1600 m long gorge. The Radovna flows over cascades and rapids, and in clear pools it finds peace for a few moments. The Vintgar gorge ends at the delightful Šum waterfall, the highest river fall in Slovenia. At the waterfall the trail leaves the Radovna and rises up a track heading south-east to the chapel of St Catherine above Zasip. From here there is one of the finest views over the entire area of Bled. The way back goes down to Zasip and then along the road to Bled.
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