Brrr….. its been a cold week, but at least sunny too, and I’ve promised myself I won’t make the weather the topic of every blog – well you know how us Brits like to talk about the weather! Instead my aim is to try to help potential visitors to Slovenia with ideas and tips for trips around Slovenia, and in particular in and around Radovljica, together with giving a little bit of insider information on life here too.
I had a nice day out in Ljubljana on Friday. I go there to work once a month, which makes a nice change for me as I work from home so don’t have much social contact with people, and although I’m not a city person, and wouldn’t want to live and work there, Ljubljana certainly doesn’t have that intimidating big city feel. In fact, many people say it’s more like a lot of little villages together and I’d agree with that. I love going for a walk in Tivoli Park, you can totally forget where you are, a definite oasis of calm and green in the centre of the city. I also love walking up to Ljubljana Castle for a great view over the city and from here you can get a perspective of the relatively small size of the place as the mountains beyond the city seem almost within spitting distance.
Actually that’s one of the advantages of Slovenia in general – its smallness, which means that nowhere is more than a few hours drive away and you can take your pick from a wide choice of activities and sights without long distances in between. For visitors to Slovenia this means they can pack a lot into a holiday without losing too much precious holiday time driving from A to B.
For me, another advantage is that Slovenia is also bordered by 4 other countries; Austria, Italy, Croatia and Hungary, so combining holidays or going on day trips to other countries is easy. I’ll never forget my initial excitement at being able to drive to Austria and Italy to go walking, exploring and shopping, and since there are no borders nowadays, with the exception of Croatia, it’s even easier.
From Radovljica there are a number of possibilities for making day trips to bordering countries, whether by car, train or sometimes I even go by bike. Not that I go that often, just a few times per year, as there’s still so much for me to see and do here, but it’s a definite bonus. There are a number of options for reaching Austria by car, the quickest and nearest to me being through the Karavanke Tunnel (payable) or via the Old Ljubelj Pass (free but very steep and windy) to reach Klagenfurt in Austria. To reach Italy I can just drive to Kranjska Gora, which is about 45 mins from Radovljica, then just keep going, past Rateče and straight into Italy, which is incidentally also the way I go by bike.
Of course in the winter it’s not always possible to drive over the mountain passes and it is wise to check the road conditions first but the Karavanke Tunnel is not affected by adverse weather. Here’s a useful website for up-to-date traffic information in Slovenia- http://www.promet.si/portal/en/1traffic-conditions.aspx
A place I like to go for a hike is up to Tromeja (1508m), which means Three Borders, as it is literally the meeting point of Slovenia, Austria and Italy and it was here that a ceremony took place when Slovenia officially entered the EU. Silly I know but I can remember being so excited when I first walked up there and just couldn’t decide which of the three countries to sit and eat my sandwich in! In the end I plumped for Slovenia since I thought the view was better. Tromeja is popular with hikers, bikers and skiers too. There is a choice of two routes up from the Slovene side, both starting from the village of Rateče. Both routes start ascending on forest roads – the easier routes continues following the road whilst the steeper route goes up through the forest.
I could write so much more about other trips in this area too but I’ll leave that until another time and instead offer this wintery photo of me descending from Tromeja and which shows the kind of views you can expect!