If you have followed this blog at all in the past two years, you probably have noticed something about me and that is I am pretty slow with publishing. I’m also not consistent at all when it comes to scheduling posts and while I get annoyed with myself about this from time to time, sometimes taking a few months – or seven – to fully process a visit to a new country actually brings more clarity. This is especially true when those visits occur in the midst of a very intense, albeit ambitious tour of an entire continent.
With that said, the time is now that I’d like to share with you a bit about one of the most beautiful places I visited last year but have yet to write anything about. Nearly eight months later and thousands of miles traveled since, it is the tiny country of Slovenia that still stands out in my mind as one of the major stars in my metaphorical 2013 travel show.
How can one country be so stunningly green, I do not know. It’s literally one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to and while I did spend a good amount of time in its super cute capital, Ljubljana, it was driving out to Bled and Bohinj that really left me smitten. Especially Bohinj, which you shall soon see….
But first a few words about Bled.
I feel like I don’t need to say much about Bled because, well, it really needs no introduction and has been written about 1,000 times over. As Slovenia’s number one tourist attraction, I guarantee that even if you have no idea where Slovenia is on a map, you are probably visually familiar with the place since it happens to sit on one of the most photogenic and photographed lakes in the entire world.
As is usually the case though, this kind of notoriety comes at a price. Higher rates than most other places in the country and an obscene amount of tourists (especially ones coming in on tour buses just for the day) are things you should be prepared for, particularly in summer. But since you absolutely have to go if you are ever in the area, I have a few ideas that might make it a little more pleasant for you.
Consider visiting off-season. As has been shown before, visiting a place outside of its peak season can often lead to a way more memorable experience. What’s interesting with Bled is that while more people tend to visit during summer, those months are actually the worst in terms of weather. It rains way more June through August than any other season so statistically speaking, winter is the best time to go if crowds and precipitation are of concern to you. I was there at the very end of May and conditions were actually perfect (minimal tourists, blue skies, mild temperatures), but I’m beginning to think I was just lucky. At the end of the day, you never really know what you’re going to get. Interested in seeing what Bled can look like on bad day? Then click here.
Stay longer. Since Bled is less than 60 km from Ljubljana, you can be sure that a majority of its visitors are just coming out for the day, if that. This is great news if you aren’t short on time because it means staying a bit longer, even if it is just overnight, will give you the luxury of seeing Bled in a slightly different light – more specifically, a less-crowded early morning and evening light.
Stay in Bohinj instead. Cheaper, less crowded, and the real deal, Bohinj is only 30 minutes from Bled by car and yet a world apart. Don’t get me wrong, waking up to the above scene off my balcony at Hotel Park one morning felt like something straight out of a dream, but once I stepped outside, there was really nothing that felt authentic about Bled at all except for its undeniable beauty and that’s always a travel bummer. Bohinj on the other hand…in the few hours that I spent there it was hard for me to find anything not authentic about it. And in my opinion, it’s just as gorgeous, if not more.
Quite simply put, Bohinj was another one of those quaint and beautiful places that made me consider putting all future travel plans on hold just to stay there for six months and live the simple life. Stara Fužina (pictured above) is a place I still think about going back to a lot and now that I made some cool friends there, there’s a strong possibility that it will actually happen.
Located inside gorgeously green Triglav National Park and surrounded by the Julian Alps, I really could sit and go on and on about how beautiful Bohinj is, but far more effective in my mind is to show you which is why I decided to make a short video tribute to it as well (big on video tributes these days, make sure you select the HD quality). Set to the sexy sounds of Grimes for maximum impact, of course…
So whether or not Bohinj is actually better than Bled is all relative. At the time of my arrival, it absolutely was for me. I wanted a peaceful retreat and an authentic experience where locals were more prominent than tourists, but that is not to say that everyone headed out that way is looking for the same. Bled is an international superstar that went mainstream long, long ago while Bohinj has always been a national one with similar talent, but over time has preferred to keep things more low pro. In the end, regardless of the style you prefer, both are definitely worth seeing so I do hope you make it a point to spend a bit more time in that area if you can.
Shout out to the Slovenian Tourism Board for graciously inviting me to explore this spectacular region in the middle of my Blonde Gypsy Ambition Tour and to my new bud Grega from Hike&Bike for showing me around Bohinj (he makes a cameo right around 0:26 in the video). I owe him a beer.
ShaunJanuary 10, 2014 at 5:54 pm
Don’t beat yourself up to much about publishing erratically. I’m as irregular as they come (That sounds bad), but I do like writing about a place after a while because in my mind I trace step by step what I did, and in a way, relive those moments. It’s felt real sometimes.
Amazing way to wake up with that view… it gives you a humbling appreciation of life. At least that’s how I’ve felt waking up to the sounds and sights of the Aegean.
LarissaJanuary 11, 2014 at 10:20 pm
Thank you for that, Shaun – will try not to, but it’s hard :) And you are totally right about retracing and reliving…maybe that’s subconsciously why I wait a while. Putting this together totally gave me a chance to feel like I was back there again, especially going through all the videos. Life is to be appreciated wherever you wake up, but yes, is usually intensified when it’s to such a surreal view. The Aegean sounds amazing, really hope to make it there someday.
RuthJanuary 10, 2014 at 9:33 pm
Simply amazing! A roadtrip around the region would be my way to explore. I have read the views around the Julian Alps are impressive.
LarissaJanuary 11, 2014 at 10:22 pm
Definitely, roads and highways there are great and so easy to navigate. Slovenia is for sure a road tripping kind of country.
SachaJanuary 11, 2014 at 8:49 am
Great post! Makes me really wanna go there now. The lakes look AMAZE-BALLS
LarissaJanuary 11, 2014 at 10:25 pm
Thank you! It really is a beautiful place and believe me when I say the lakes are even more amaze-balls in person.
CarmenJanuary 11, 2014 at 2:46 pm
Looks absolutely stunning. Reminds me of Croatia around the Plitvice Lakes region. We never made it to Slovenia but it’s definitely on my list now!
LarissaJanuary 11, 2014 at 10:33 pm
Somewhat similar, Slovenia is just so much greener as a whole. Plitvice Lakes were beautiful though, will be writing about them soon :)
MeganJanuary 11, 2014 at 5:01 pm
wow…if i didnt know any better, that looks like norway. seriously gorgeous. we both know how i felt about bled and ill definitely have to head to bohinj next time instead. and stay a few days. or months.
LarissaJanuary 11, 2014 at 10:36 pm
Someday, when I am a millionaire, I will return to Norway to see its beauty. Your plan sounds good and if you do end up staying a few months, let me know so I can pay you a visit. Actually going to add a link to your experience with Bled, just so people know what it looks like without its make up on (it’s probably going to be so pissed at me).
MeganJanuary 12, 2014 at 7:47 am
haha thanks for that ;) probably doesnt help that my photography skills arent much better today than they were at 10 years old. ;)
you always have a place to stay in norway, even though i live in oslo, which is probably the ‘ugliest’ of all norwegian cities. but i can take you to my old stomping grounds. would be a lot of (expensive) fun.
hope all is well!
StephenJanuary 13, 2014 at 8:46 am
Wonderful pictures! I also take time to write and reflect about a country, experience or adventure before I publish it. I think if give you time to digest the experience and give an more accurate story.
LarissaJanuary 23, 2014 at 3:08 am
Thanks, Stephen! So glad to hear I am not the only one taking my sweet ass time :)
Marko @ Travel Photo BloggingJanuary 22, 2014 at 5:02 pm
I must totally agree with you – I also definitely prefer lake Bohinj to lake Bled. It is just so much more genuine and less touristy.
I hope you got to see something else apart from Ljubljana, Bled and Bohinj while in Slovenia… There is just so much interesting stuff packed in such a small country, you could easily explore it for weeks.
You are welcome to drop me a line at my blog if you ever need a travel advice for the neighbourhood . ;)
Have fun, keep travelling and don’t stop blogging about it!
LarissaJanuary 23, 2014 at 3:52 am
I definitely will drop you a line when I finally make it back there. Did get to Predjama and Postojna, but I know that is still what is considered “just scratching the surface”. Piran and Maribor were places I wish I could have added to the agenda, but just ran out of time. I will be back :)
Filipe SchulzNovember 25, 2014 at 2:39 pm
On a next visit, you should consider visiting Soca River Valley, a trip beginning on its source close to Trenta, passing through Bovec, Kobarid and Tolmin (on these cities you should visit Tolmin Gorges and Kozjak Waterfall) and keep going passing through a lot of beautiful places until Solkan Bridge… It is simply breathtaking… From there, when you reach Nova Gorica, you will be around 90 minutes away from the coast (Piran, Portoroz)…
It is worth the visit!!!
LarissaDecember 16, 2014 at 10:40 pm
Thanks for the tip, that sounds like an incredible trip and making me so eager to get back now! :)
T.January 27, 2014 at 1:45 pm
Thank you for all the words about Bohinj.
I feel proud to be a part of it! You are welcome to come back anytime, for a longer period.
LarissaJanuary 30, 2014 at 2:53 am
It was my pleasure, easy to write about incredible places. Thank you for the warm welcome back, I hope it won’t be long :)
MonikaJune 4, 2016 at 8:34 pm
Exactly my feelings! I loved the scenery of Bled, it really is beautiful, but I did mind all the touristy stuff around it. Of course, it is a number one attraction for a reason and of course, there are lots of visitors (I was one of them after all). But it kinda spoiled the whole atmosphere. On the other hand, I fell in love with Bohinj instantly. Exactly my kind of place – you feel that you are part of the beauty and not that you participate in ruining it. I just hope Bohinj will not have the same destiny in the end.
LarissaJuly 7, 2016 at 2:52 pm
Ahhh I am missing it now! I agree, I also hope it won’t have the same destiny though have a feeling it won’t – I don’t think the locals will let it happen :)