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Slovenia & Croatia

I have traveled quite a bit, especially in Europe so people often ask what my favorite place is.  They are always surprised when I tell them that my favorite place is Slovenia and Croatia. 

Both of my trips there were in October, a great time of year to see the fall colors and avoid the crowds.  On the first trip, we started at Lake Bled, a lovely town on the banks of the lake which is about 1 hour from the capital city of Ljubljana, Slovenia.  You can walk all the way around the lake in about an hour and there are also gondoliers to take you on the short boat ride to the island in the middle of the lake that has a cathedral on it.  Lake Bled is a very popular tourist destination for European travelers and it is no wonder!  We also visited Lake Bohinj before taking a beautiful ride to the top of Mt. Vrsic.  From the top of these Julian Alps, you can see into Austria.  Then we visited Postojna Cave, a UNESCO World Heritage site where we were treated to a musical program from boats in the cave.  We visited some working farms that were very interesting.  The people are very self-sufficient, growing their own grapes to make wine, gardening, raising livestock, bee-keeping, etc. and they are very friendly and love to welcome you to their homes.

 We stayed in a castle and stopped in the town of Slunj, Croatia.  This is the most beautiful town I have ever seen.  They have lots of waterfalls and mill their own grains so be bought a loaf of their corn bread for the drive to Plitvice Lakes. 

Speaking about beautiful, oh my!!!!!!!!!!!  Plitvice Lakes is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the most beautiful place I have ever seen!  We walked on the boardwalk through the lower lakes for an hour and a half the first day and were surrounded by all different kinds of waterfalls.  The second day we walked   up the upper lakes (not strenuous hiking) and again were surrounded on all sides by waterfalls.  Plitvice Lakes
is a bit out of the way but it is definitely worth planning 2 days to see it. 

From there we went back up into Slovenia and saw the lovely city of Ptuj and the castle there.  Then we went to Logarska Valley and Kamnick to end out trip.

This trip was all about relaxing and enjoying the natural wonders, friendly people, lots of walking in the hills and valleys and loving a destination that we knew very little about before going there. 

We loved it so much that we returned.  This time we flew into Venice and visited Lipica to see where they raise the Lipizzaner horses on our way to the seaside resort of Opatija and visited Hum, the smallest city in the world with 12 official inhabitants.  From there we drove all the way down the coast of Croatia.  Our travels took up to the quaint, historic city of Trogir, on its own island and a UNESCO World Heritage site and then to Split, a large commercial city with a historical Centre that is also a UNESCO World Heritage site including the Palace of Diocletian, which was built in at the turn of the 4th Century and is surrounded by cathedrals built in the 12th and 13th century.  Then we took a ferry to the Island of Hvar

which has been voted one of the 10 most beautiful islands in the world.  Lavender is grown on all the hillsides of the island so it smells wonderful and if you go when the lavender is in bloom, the whole island is purple.  Algave also grows on the island and they make a beautiful lace from the fibers. 

After leaving Hvar, we drove through a small piece of Bosnia that juts out to the ocean and had lunch on our way to Dubrovnik which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Dubrovnik suffered a lot of damage from the war in the early 1990’s but UNESCO is spending a lot of money and effort to restore it and it is wonderful and a great stop for many cruise ships. 

This trip was more about seeing sites and was interesting and beautiful.  I hope that reading about these trips will give you an idea of the diversity available in Slovenia and Croatia and will convince you to go.  I would never pass up an opportunity to return!

  Travel Specialist Jamey Harvey

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