In celebration of Prešeren Day – Slovenia’s national cultural holiday on 8 February 2014– we take a look at the top ten unmissable cultural sights in Slovenia.
Prešeren Square, Ljubljana – Slovenians are very hot on the arts, culture and tradition and boasts many writers, painters, dancers, musicians and actors, both world famous and up-and-coming. And Slovenia celebrates Prešeren Day, aka Culture Day, on 8 February 2014, to showcase their heritage, architecture and arts. And what better place for travellers to take it all in than at Prešeren Square in the capital Ljubljana, which gives the public holiday its name. This square was named after Slovenian France Prešeren (1800-1849) who wrote the national anthem. Stop for a spot of people watching, admire the Baroque architecture and plan your exploration of the city’s multitude of museums and art galleries.
Lake Bled – Nestled within the Julian Alps, Bled is a romantic destination dominated by soaring mountains and pristine lakes. The beautiful area around glacier Lake Bled is steeped in rich history and fascinating nature. Travellers can walk round the lake, take a refreshing swim, ski during winter and explore commanding Bled Castle.
The National Liberation Museum, Maribor – Did you know that the oldest vine in the world hails from Maribor? The city is also brimming with theatres, museums, galleries and traditional festivals – no wonder Maribor hosted the European Capital of Culture in 2012! Don’t miss the National Liberation Museum which details the Nazi occupation across a series of moving, yet informative exhibits.
Ski and Snowboard in Kranjska Gora – The wintersports season is well underway right now in Slovenia, with alpine skiing snowboarding and ski jumping incredibly popular at the company Kranjska Gora resort. And the best news for budget conscious travellers is that Kranjska Gora has just been named the second cheapest ski resort in Europe!
Škocjan Caves — Forming one of Slovenia’s three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the mysterious Škocjan Caves are very much part of the cultural landscape. Forming more than 6km of underground tunnels, some of the caves reach depths of up to 200 meters. Experienced cavers will appreciate the waterfalls and challenging conditions.
Triglav National Park — This vast parkland is home to Slovenia’s national symbol, the linden tree. Within the Triglav National Park, visitors can go trekking across the 85,000 hectare landscape, which is studded with waterfalls, gorges and valleys. And keen hikers and climbers can tackle Mount Triglav which rises to 2,864 meters. The Posočje area is also a beacon for adventurers with canyoning, rafting, paragliding and mountaineering also on offer.
Praetorian Palace, Koper – Located on the tiny stretch of Slovene coastline, Koper has Roman roots and the old town area remains largely untouched. Aligned with Venice in 1278, Koper has a curious blend of cultures; part Italian, part Slovene. And the highlight is undoubtedly the Venetian Gothic Praetorian Palace, which dates back to the 15th century. Lying with an expansive plaza complex, sadly the palace remains the building to have been fully restored (so far). Indeed the Praetorian Place is Koper’s symbol and is home to the tourism office.
Image credit; 3; Husond CC ASA 3.0