Let me start by saying Slovenia, Lake Bled in particular, completely captured my heart. I didn’t know much about this destination before booking, or even when I landed, but I knew I wanted to explore somewhere that was home to lakes and mountains for a few days.
Rather naively, the time of the trip was the start of the mass Covid-19 outbreak in Italy, which borders Slovenia. You wouldn’t have known from the journey there, but one quick read of the news headlines and it became clear this was likely to be my last trip for a while.
Flying into Slovenia reminded me of why I always book the window seat on the plane. The snow-capped mountains below gradually grew closer, yet the multi-mile-wide lakes looked like rock pools from that height. In just a few short hours we touched down and made our way to Lake Bled.
I booked three nights at a small hotel at the foot of Lake Bled, just a short walk from some of the best viewpoints in the area. An aptly designed chalet-style building inside and out, Vila Alpina was an ideal spot to spend our long weekend in Slovenia.
Our first day was spent walking the circumference of the lake, climbing to the best photo spots and getting to grips with the town centre, which was unbelievably quiet. I still don’t know if that’s because of the looming pandemic or the fact we may have been visiting just outside of the main tourist season.
On day two, we woke in our cosy cabin to heavy snowfall. It made the walk a bit more challenging but we warmed up with a strong coffee at a local restaurant before hopping aboard the public bus to Lake Bohinj. The journey was stunning, passing by partially frozen rivers and gorgeous villages, before arriving at yet another impressive lake spanning as far as the eye could see.
We set foot on the hiking trail that loops the lake, not knowing how long it would take in the slushy snow conditions, and ambitiously took ourselves off-route in search of a waterfall which left us racing back for the last bus with soaked shoes and aching legs.
The third and final day in Slovenia was spent in Ljubljana, the capital city. There was a bitterly cold chill in the air following the previous morning’s snowfall, so we wrapped up warm and caught the coach bright and early, before half a day of eating our way around the city and snapping photos of the beautiful buildings.
From just a few short days, Slovenia now holds special memories for me. Perhaps more so as it was the final trip before the pandemic changed the world and the way that we now travel.
If you’re on the hunt for a steal of a European city break, I highly recommend booking a flight to Lake Bled and allowing yourself to enjoy plenty of slow travel moments in the surrounding nature.