Slovenia: where the mountains meet the sea (I)
September 5, 2016
by Elena Kirpa
Slovenia: where the mountains meet the sea (I)
I’ve stayed in Slovenia for three months while doing my internship in an IT company. Although I lived in a small and cosy Slovenian city – Celje, I had visited other cities too. Slovenia is the country where Balkans meet Western Europe or in other words it is the most Western country of Balkans. As soon as I arrived to Slovenia, I noticed that Slovenians are influenced by their tidy neighbours Austrians and it seems that they want to be compared more with them rather than with other neighbours Italians.
Ljubljana – the capital of Slovenia
I have to admit that there is a bit difficult to get to Slovenia from my country – Lithuania. There are no direct flights or maybe even if there are a few, they are very expensive. How did I travel to this country them? After a long search, I have decided to get a flight to Vienna and from Vienna I took a train to Slovenia Celje. The duration of my journey by train was not exhausting at all, rather breath-taking. The trip took about 4 hours and as I was going across wonderful Austria I felt its remarkable landscape though the window of the train. When I reached Austrian city – Graz, soon we entered Slovenia and I easily reached Celje.
The lake of Bled
Celje – is all about castle
Although Celje is a really small city boasting with medieval old town, mountains view and the castle on the top. Locals are joking that when there is nothing to do in Celje, you can always walk to the castle by foot which is approximately one hour one way and one hour back and … and all your day is fulfilled! I was surprised that despite being a small town, Celje has everything you need – from shops to various cafes and restaurants. The only thing is that at night you might not meet any people on the streets. But no need to be scared – Celje and Slovenia in general is super safe! So I would suggest taking a backpack and going to the castle by foot. There you will enjoy the magnificent panorama of Celje! If you are not a “walking “person, you can reach the top of the castle by taxi! Yes, exactly by taxi! The old town of Celje
Maribor – students town
What I like about this tiny country is that transportation is really well developed, especially trains. You can catch a train from to Celje to Maribor, Ljubljana or any other city not only in Slovenia but in all Balkans. For example, from Celje you can reach such Balkan capitals as Zagreb (Croatia), Belgrad (Serbia), Skopje (Macedonia) and many others. Simple like that!
One day I decided to see more of Slovenia, so in afternoon I took a train to Maribor. I visited old town, Maribor university, Town Hall and Cathedral and after few I came back to Celje. Trains are very frequent and they run up until around 11 -12 pm. So you will not have any issues coming back after your short visit! Maribor is the second largest city of Slovenia and is famous for its student life. No surprise Maribor has one the biggest universities in Slovenia! Here you will find great bars, cafes and pubs that are worth visiting if you want to feel the vibe of the student spirit!
Ljubljana – the heart of Slovenia
Not only the majority of Slovenian cities are easily reachable by train but also other neighbouring countries. Slovenia is the pearl of Adriatic Sea bordering with Italy, Hungary, Croatia and Austria. The uniqueness of Slovenia is that in one day you can be in more than one country, because almost all borders are very close – few hours and you are in Croatia, later you can visit Italy (Trieste) and if you still in the mood for travel, in evening you will have time to enjoy Austrian Alps. Isn’t it magical? It’s possible only in Slovenia.
Ljubljana is the capital and the biggest city of Slovenia. There is so much to see in this city! First of all, you need to get to the Dragon’s Bridge. It is the main meeting point in this city. The river Ljubljanica flows through all old town and you can enjoy the freshness of the river in one of the dozens cafes and restaurants situated nearby. After the rest, I would suggest you to discover Ljubljana castle and the panorama on the view top. As you have probably noticed almost every Slovenian city has a castle, so your fit is guaranteed after this trip! In addition, Town hall and Cathedral of Ljubljana is worth visiting as well University of Ljubljana, Railway Museum. While walking with friends in the streets of Ljubljana we discovered lots of museums, one of them was science center, if you want to enjoy science in an interesting way, that’s a place for you. By the way every Sunday there is a flea market organized in old city.
Dragon’s Bridge in Ljubljana
In general, I suppose that Ljubljana is a city where you don’t need any maps or tour guides because to the real joy of discovering this city comes with going where your heart wants and … getting lost is a must in order to reveal the colours of true Ljubljana! As I have mentioned before, Slovenia is really safe country, so being lost even at night is not so scary, besides there is a lot of police everywhere.
Slovenia is very green country of Europe. Not all countries can have a full package of mountains, seaside and greenery. Slovenia has it! I suppose that every person who comes to Slovenia become healthier and discover healthy lifestyle. I never was into sports and only in Slovenia I fell in love with jogging, walking, cycling and etc. The magic nature with inspiring mountains and crystal clear rivers and lakes do miracles!
It is the first part of my story about Slovenia, check for the second one where I will tell about Bled lake, Triglav and life in this tiny yet wonderful country.