SLOVENIA is the perfect destination for a weekend break.
Discover an alluring country chock-full of beautiful scenery, incredible food and fun, says Deputy Picture Editor Antoinette Cumberbatch.
Lake it to make it!
Slovenia’s most iconic attraction is the beautiful, vast Lake Bled, which is surrounded by imposing mountains.
To get up close, board a traditional wooden pletna boat, £10 per person, and either take a scenic 40-minute tour or hop off at the stunning Church of the Mother of God in the lake’s centre to climb its famous 99 steps.
Feeling active? Kayaking, canoeing and swimming take place all year round in the clear-blue waters.
Stay at Bled Rose Hotel, right on the shore, and soak up nature with a fresh coffee on your private balcony. Rooms cost from £157 per night, including breakfast (Bledrose.com).
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Perched atop the cliff, 130m above the water, you’ll find Bled Castle Restaurant, which not only rewards visitors with magnificent views but also a fine-dining four-course lunch for £50.
Think perfectly cooked local sea bream with potato fritter, so pretty it’s like a work of art.
Watch the sommelier ramp up the drama by cutting off wine bottles’ corks with a sword (Jezersek.si/en/locations/bled-castle).
For a Heston-Blumenthal-style dining experience, visit the immersive, Michelin-starred Mak in Maribor.
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The creativity and incredible regional ingredients combine to make an experience you’ll never forget (Restavracija-mak.si).
With food this good, it’s easy to see why Slovenia was named European Region of Gastronomy in 2021.
Get on your bike
The best way to see the country’s vibrant, charming capital Ljubljana is by bike.
Get on two wheels with the city’s free rental scheme, BicikeLJ, and pedal along cobbled streets, admiring grand buildings, and through the stunning Tivoli Park, before stopping by the scenic canals to spy cute nutrias – a water rodent like a beaver.
Finish with sundowners at Špica Caffe (Kaval-group.si/spica-kavarnica).
You’re spoilt for choice for food and drink.
Visit Moji Štruklji, AKA the dumpling house, to choose from 20 freshly made delicacies with delicious fillings and toppings, from £2 (Moji-struklji.si).
The tarragon and cheese, followed by chocolate cream with hazelnut, are incredible. Strelec Restaurant serves up a wonderful steak tartare (Strelec.kaval-group.si), and you can rub shoulders with the friendly locals at Daktari for great cocktails and live music.
Cap off the evening with a walk along the famous Butchers’ Bridge, AKA lovers’ bridge, and join thousands of others who’ve added padlocks as a sign of romantic commitment.
Stay at the central, historic Grand Union Hotel for a calm and restful night’s sleep, followed by a huge breakfast. Rooms cost from £66 per night (Uhcollection.si/grand-hotel-union).
Insta the vineyards
For a change from city life, Slovenia’s lauded wine region isn’t far away.
A Big Guy Wine Tour will ensure you leave knowing everything about Slovenian wine and provide the chance to see one of the country’s most Instagrammable sights: a heart-shaped road in the middle of the vineyards.
Tours cost £48 for six hours, including food (Bigguyswinetours.com).
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A visit to picturesque town Maribor is also a must to soak up the elegant architecture and bustling food markets, and visit the world’s oldest vine – at 400 years old.
Make time to squeeze in a trip to Maribor’s Chocolate Village, too, where you can make your own flavoured chocolate to take home (Chocolatevillage.eu).
Slovenia is around one twelfth of the size of the UK.
Return flights to Ljubljana cost from £26.99 return (Easyjet.com).
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