5 stunning locations from the Alps to the Adriatic
While Slovenia may not be the first place that comes to mind when planning an incentive, it’s often the first place people want to come back to. Its compact size and fabulous geographical diversity makes the country a top destination for an incentive. Slovenia has it all: soaring alpine mountains with waterfalls cascading down mountainsides to form beautiful alpine lakes and fast-flowing rivers through lush valleys and canyons. The alpine north provides a wealth of beautiful scenery and a ton of activities too.
Head southwest and the mountains taper off to form an amazing limestone plateau with lovely meadows and vineyards on terraced hillsides above ground, and down below ground is a vast world of amazing cave formations.
Within a couple of hours you can drive from the mountains to the coast and stroll among beautiful Venetian architecture in snug little seaside towns, or enjoy the views of Trieste Bay from cliff-top walks.
There is so much to see in such a small country we can’t list them all. But here are five stunning locations that we think are a must-see.
Slovene cities may be small, but that is the appeal. Devoid of all the bustle, smog and crowds, you can enjoy everything a city should be. The capital, Ljubljana is conveniently located in the geographical centre of Slovenia. This makes it an ideal base, or starting point for any incentive. Everywhere else is a day trip from here.
Slovenia boasts a capital city with a reputation for being one of the cleanest and greenest capitals in Europe, and quite possibly the world. Cars have been eradicated totally from the city centre, but you won’t need transfers as everything is within easy walking distance.
The heart of the city sprawls around the hilltop medieval castle, from which you can get a marvellous view not only of Ljubljana’s heart and soul, but of the alpine mountains in the north. Nestled among its beautiful mix of Baroque and Renaissance architecture beats the heart of a modern city with top-class restaurants, hotels and conference centres.
You can explore the city in a hundred different incentive ways, take a beer walk and taste some of Slovenia’s best craft beers, go on a boat or SUP trip on the Ljubljanica River, or on a dragon hunt, etc. Yes, there are dragons in Ljubljana.
2: Lake Bled & Lake Bohinj
No trip to Slovenia would be complete without seeing its most treasured location. Lake Bled is a remarkable glacial lake with an island church and a hilltop castle all backed by the beauty of the Karavank Alps, and is Slovenia’s premiere tourist attraction. You won’t find a motorboat at all on Lake Bled, only wooden rowing boats or the traditional “Pletna”; a boat without a keel made from Larchwood and hand-crafted by its owner. It takes a very special technique to row a Pletna, so not anyone can do it. The design is handed down from father to son and the tradition dates back as far as 1590.
This is the best way to get out and visit the island church of the assumption, where you can ring the bell of wishes. There are many great locations surrounding Bled, such as the rapids of Vintgar Gorge and the old town of Radovljica.
A 30-minute drive down the road and into the heart of the Julian Alps will bring you to the lesser known, but equally fabulous Lake Bohinj. While it may be dwarfed in reputation by Lake Bled, in many ways it is far superior. Framed by the Julian Alps mountain range, and backed by Mount Triglav, the highest peak in Slovenia, the views are breathtaking. The reason Lake Bohinj seems more peaceful is because visitors are spread out in the surroundings, which offer a wealth of outdoor activities from hiking, climbing, canyoning, paragliding and much more.
3: Soča Valley
While Lake Bled is often described as a fairy tale, the neighbouring Soča Valley is also something out of a fantasy novel. As you cross the Vršič mountain pass, you’ll find yourself in a glistening valley framed by towering alpine mountain peaks, hugged by fluffy clouds. Water cascades down mountainsides, and the powerful emerald-green Soča River roars straight out of those mountains, slicing its way through limestone rocks to form breathtaking gorges.
If you like to walk, you can visit the Boka Waterfall (144m tall with the highest flow rate in Slovenia), or the more picturesque Big Kozjak Waterfall, cascading down 15 metres into an intense green water pool, while the most popular incentives activities are rafting, zip line (there is the biggest zipline park in Europe), canyoning, kayaking, canoeing, hydrospeed and more.
4: Postojna Caves & Predjama Castle
For those looking for a different kind of incentive, Slovenia boasts a wonderful network of intricate cave systems throughout the country, but mainly in the southwest. At 2 million years old and 24 kilometres in length, the amazing Postojna Cave is the most famous and a fascinating sight to see. It’s so big they even hold music concerts inside.
A train takes you through the first part to the great mountain cavern, and the rest is done on foot. But of course, you only get to see a fraction of this vast subterranean world; on this trip anyway. Liberty Adriatic can also arrange bespoke tours for more experienced cavers. Explore this world of giant stalactites and stalagmites, and meet its unique inhabitant: the human fish.
Just up the road is a castle built into a crevasse halfway up a 123-metre cliff-face, once home to a daring knight who used the secret of the Predjama caves to hold off an army for much longer than they thought was possible.
5: Piran and Portorož
While the Slovenian coast may not be long, it makes up for it in beauty. Nestled between its cliffs are lovely little harbour towns from which you can go sailing, dine in some of the best restaurants and eat fresh seafood. In particular, Piran is a favourite with its interesting Venetian architecture. You can stroll through the cool, narrow streets up to the beautiful church of Saint George, where we can organize a surprise concert. It’s also a great viewpoint for the town.
In neighbouring Portorož you can bask on the beaches during the day, and try your luck in the casinos by night.
From the mountains to the sea
So, while geographically the distance from the mountains to the sea is just a short one, there is so much to capture you along the way that you may need longer than you think for your incentive. Slovenia is much bigger than it seems.