Small and tucked away in the heart of Europe, Slovenia is creating a big buzz for its size. And as our correspondent Bruce Marais found out this week, in winter it becomes a real Christmas wonderland.
“Turquoise lakes, chalets, vineyards, and mountain hikes make this overlooked gem a must-see,” is how the travel editor of the Daily Beast recently described Slovenia. Compared by many to Switzerland, “with a bit of sea access thrown in,” visitors head primarily to the scenic capital of Ljubljana and to Lake Bled.
With neighbours Croatia, Hungary and Austria, and its short coastline next to Italy’s Trieste, the compact mountainous country – from the Slovenian Alps in the north to the Istrian peninsula on the Mediterranean, which is shares with Italy and Croatia – is becoming known as, among other things, a gastronomic crossroads.
Known for mixing local and international cuisines, the country also has three wine-producing regions. In March it will host the European Food Summit. The event is organised by Jezeršek gostinstvo, famous for its innovative food experiences, such as the Cable-Car Dinner – where the gondolas of Krvavec are converted into small, hovering restaurants in the Slovenian Alps – and various gastronomy-related workshops.
Also earning a well-deserved name for its green sensibility, visitors can choose between camping, glamping or staying in one of the ritzy five-star hotels like the Kempinski Palace in Istria.
The most direct flights to Ljubljana’s Jože Pučnik Airport from South Africa are with Turkish Airlines via Istanbul, although there are other connections from London, Belgrade and Paris.
For more information on Slovenia and things to do there, click here.