Slovenia: 5 must see towns


Slovenia is filled with tons of charming rural towns across the whole country. Varying from Alpine villages, to historical gems in valleys, to country-style places between rivers and meadows, to wine villages in rolling hills close to Italy. In this blog I am happy to share 5 of my favourites.


- Škofja Loka

- Radovljica

- Kranjska Gora and Podkoren

- Stara Fuzina

- Šmartno

1. Škofja Loka

Škofja Loka is a medieval town close to Ljubljana (about 24 km, 14 mi) and is known for the oldest bridge of Slovenia, shown on the picture below, and the 13th century Loka Castle which overlooks the old town from a hilltop.

☞ location of Škofja Loka


Capuchin Bridge and Sora River, Škofja Loka, Slovenia

Sights

From the bus stop and parking place you walk into town over one of the bridges over the Sora River and soon you will find yourself among many small and winding streets.

Škofja Loka, Slovenia

The main square (which more or less looks like a wide street) is called Mestni trg and has got beautifully coloured and decorated buildings with heavy doors on each side.

Škofja Loka, Slovenia

The Old Town Hall has got frescoes dating back from the 17th century.

The old Town Hall, Škofja Loka, Slovenia

Lots of quiet streets with nice views on each corner.

Škofja Loka, Slovenia

The Loka (Loski) Museum is situated on the hilltop in the Loka Castle and showcases historical, archaeological, ethological and art collections.

Loka Museum, Škofja Loka, Slovenia

Even if you don't like to visit the castle itself, it's a nice little walk up the hill to see the castle gardens with a wooden 16th century peasant house. Afterwards you walk back into town through these cute alleyways.

Škofja Loka, Slovenia

The Capuchin Bridge is the oldest bridge in Slovenia which has this beautiful statue and good views over the surrounding old buildings and mountains.

Statue at Capuchin Bridge, Škofja Loka, Slovenia

2. Radovljica

The charming village of Radovljica lies in the Northern part of Slovenia about 6 km (3.7 mi) from Lake Bled and has got around 6.000 inhabitants. The town is known for chocolate (it even has an annual Chocolate Festival in April) and beekeeping.

☞ location of Radovljica


Radovljica, Slovenia

Sights

Linhart Square is the main attraction with buildings varying from the 16th to the 18th century.

Here you will find the Gingerbread Museum which was unfortunately closed during our visit, but I think it is worth to stop by when you are in this town. Lectarstvo is an old and renowned traditional handicraft of Slovenia. Colourful decorations are made on top of honey dough / ginger bread which is popular since the late middle ages. In the basement there is a workshop where you can see how the pastry is made, and a café on the ground floor to try their tasty creations.

Linhart Square, Radovljica, Slovenia

Thurn's Manor is a baroque palace where you will find the Museum of Apiculture

(beekeeping) and a Music School. When we where there we heard piano and violin music coming through the open windows.

Thurn's Manor, Radovljica, Slovenia

The entrance to the Gothic St. Peter Church lies on a small square at the end of the Linhart Street.

St. Peter Church, Radovljica, Slovenia

One of the narrow and winding streets of Radovljica.

Radovljica, Slovenia

Many buildings are painted in soft tones or decorated with patterns.

Painted building, Radovljica, Slovenia

In this well maintained village they really have an eye for detail, because even the streetlights are decorated.

Lonnies Planet in Radovljica, Slovenia

3. Kranjska Gora and Podkoren

Kranjska Gora and Podkoren might not be the prettiest towns of all, but I think they really deserve a mention in this blog as they are situated in one of the most stunning parts of Slovenia in my opinion. These towns (only separated by a few kilometres) have a very relaxed atmosphere with beautiful traditional wooden houses, cute churches and breathtaking views over the surrounding Julian Alps.

From Kranjska Gora and Podkoren it is only (maximum) 15 minutes drive to natural treasures like Lake Jasna, Zelenci, Upper Sava Valley, Tamar Valley, Peričnik Waterfall and Martuljek Waterfall to name a few. Find more about these nature escapes in my blog here.

☞ location of Kranjska Gora and Podkoren


Kranjska Gora, Slovenia

Sights

This picturesque 16th century Gothic church lies in the middle of Kranjska Gora. In font there is a square where they organise a Christmas Market during winter.

Church Kranjska Gora, Slovenia

Traditional wooden houses and the Julian Alps in the background everywhere you look.

Kranjska Gora, Slovenia

View from a parking place on the Wurzen Pass (linking Slovenia with Austria) over the village of Podkoren and the Julian Alps.

View over Podkoren, Slovenia

The Church of Podkoren is located just outside of town.

Church of Podkoren, Slovenia

Food

The traditional and cozy four star Hotel Kotnik has got 2 restaurants. We have tried both and where pleasantly surprised by the price/quality ratio. The main restaurant serves good traditional and local specialties, supplemented with seasonal dishes.

The next door pizzeria Pino is built out of wooden logs an has a rustic atmosphere. The kitchen and massive oven stands inside the restaurant so it is nice to see how your pizza is made.

Borovška cesta 75


Dinner at Hotel Kotnik, Kranjska Gora, Slovenia

Restaurant Pri Martinu's menu is for those who love a traditional heavy meal after a long hike or a day on the ski slopes. For us it was a cozy place to try the unfiltered National Union beer. Good to know: the traditional beautiful green tiled stove next to the bar, will keep you warm during the cold winter months.

Borovška cesta 61


Union Beer at Restaurant Pri Martinu's, Kranjska Gora, Slovenia

Hotel

We have stayed several nights at the cozy Design Rooms Pr' Gavedarjo in Podkoren. This family run homestead was bought by their great grandpa before World War I and is in the family for over 100 years. It shows a good combination of modern comfort and preserving cultural heritage by adding many details like traditional fabrics, furniture and decoration.

Podkoren 72


Design Rooms Pr' Gavedarjo in Podkoren, Slovenia

Design Rooms Pr' Gavedarjo in Podkoren, Slovenia

Breakfast area Design Rooms Pr' Gavedarjo, Podkoren

4. Stara Fuzina

The beautiful Alpine village of Stara Fuzina only has got a couple of sights like the little

St. Paul Church and the Museum of Alpine Dairy Farming. But if you start smiling when I say terms like: rural, slow living, vegetable gardens, mountains, crystal clear river and meadows with cows, then this might be a place to spend a small hour or maybe even the night. Because here you will only hear the sound of cowbells, the barking of a dog and the sound of a tractor in the distance. No shops, no restaurants, just silence and honest country life. A true gem.


☞ location of Stara Fuzina

Stara Fuzina, Slovenia

Wooden house in Stara Fuzina, Slovenia

Stara Fuzina, Slovenia

Barn in Stara Fuzina, Slovenia

River in Stara Fuzina, Slovenia

Farms in Stara Fuzina, Slovenia

River through Stara Fuzina, Slovenia

Stara Fuzina is perfect to combine with a trip to Lake Bohinj as it is only about 2 km (1,25 mi) away from the shores of the lake.

5. Šmartno

I've saved my favourite Slovenian town to end this blog...

Šmartno is situated on a hilltop in the heart of the Brda wine area where it feels like you're in Italy as you are surrounded by rolling green hills and wine estates as far as the eye can see. Which is not strange as Italy is only a stone throw away!

☞ location of Šmartno


Šmartno, Slovenia

The small and winding cobblestone alleys are perfect for pedestrians as they are car free.

Šmartno, Slovenia

Cotton-candy coloured Church of Saint Martin.

Church of Saint Martin, Šmartno, Slovenia

This town is filled with characterful houses and mediterranean plants like oleander, olive trees and grapevines.

House in Šmartno, Slovenia

Restaurant and Hotel Hiša Marica is situated in the heart of Šmartno. Here they serve traditional Slovenian/Italian food.

Hotel Hiša Marica in Šmartno, Slovenia

Great asparagus risotto with local wine.

Dinner at Restaurant Hiša Marica in Šmartno, Slovenia

The terrace of Hotel San Martin is the ideal spot to enjoy a cup of coffee while taking in the sweeping views.

Coffee at Hotel San Martin, Šmartno, Slovenia

The beautiful Renaissance style Vila Vipolže is actually not situated in Šmartno, but in Dobrovo, 5 km (3.1 mi) outside of town. But as it was my favourite restaurant in Slovenia I think it really needed a mention in this blog. The villa contains a restaurant, wine bar with excellent local wines and a museum.

Vipolže 29, Dobrovo


Vila Vipolze, Dobrovo, Slovenia

Restaurant Vila Vipolze, Dobrovo, Slovenia

Lunch at Restaurant Vila Vipolze, Dobrovo, Slovenia

Restaurant Vila Vipolze, Dobrovo, Slovenia

After lunch we went back to Šmartno to watch the start of the sunset over the surrounding hills and wine estates.

Šmartno, Slovenia

Lonnies Planet in Šmartno Slovenia

At first I planned this road trip through Slovenia to be able to enjoy its natural beauty, but when I was there I realised that the country has got much more to offer than its stunning nature.

The towns have a lot of charm and many sights to discover. So for me this journey was extremely various and I can honestly say that Slovenia exceeded my expectations for sure!

Save it for later!


Please note: this post is not sponsored.

#Slovenia