Five things to do in scenic Slovenia


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1. Walking tour

Ljubljana, the delightful, leafy capital of Slovenia, is a great value-for-money destination.

Orient yourself by taking a free, two-hour guided walking tour (365 days a year) through the well-preserved medieval town. Local guides tell the stories behind Ljubljana's many bridges, including the famous Triple Bridge, the monuments, the open-air Central Market and the pink-marbled Cathedral of St Nicholas. Try Slovenia's national beverage, schnapps, at a local bar.

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2. Day trip

A 1.5-hour bus ride from Ljubljana will lead you to the picture-postcard Lake Bled with its famous Bled Island and church in the middle of the lake, set against the background of the Julian Alps.

Enjoy Bled's traditional kremna rezina, a cream-and-custard cake. Walk it off by strolling around the lake (two hours) and climbing up to Bled Castle (the oldest in Slovenia), which overlooks the lake and the town of Bled.

3. Ljubljana Castle

Take the funicular from the old town up to the castle, which has a permanent exhibition of Slovenian history as well as a 12-minute projection of the history of the castle and the 4500-year history of settlement in the city.

Also visit the Museum of Puppetry, with much-loved Slovenian marionettes and glove puppets.

4. National and University Library

Architect Joze Plecnik is often compared to Spain's Antoni Gaudi. One of Plecnik's most monumental buildings is the library, built between 1936 and 1941, with its open-book-shaped windows.

Inside, the entrance is black marble but as you climb the grand central staircase to the main reading room it becomes brighter, representing the light of knowledge.

5. Central Market

Sample local foods such as potica cake, Karst prosciutto, wild mushrooms, forest berries, sauerkraut and cow and sheep cheeses.

The market, which is open every day and has open-air and covered areas, is set among a Renaissance-influenced colonnade designed by Joze Plecnik.

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A passionate traveller, Isabel Vaughan, took the opportunity to explore countries in Europe while she was on a university exchange in Germany.