After returning from our adventure in Tolmin we took a day to relax and visit with family. Our hosts where the most incredibly hospitable folks and took such good care of us, typical of the Slovenian people we met throughout. Our last few days were spent visiting a few cities; Celje and Ljubljana between a day at the most beautiful national park, Logarska Dolina. (Don’t miss the video of our visit to Ljubljana’s Old Town at the bottom of this post)
My cousin Ivan and his daughter Nina took us for a tour of the city close to their home and close to the village where my dad was born. We spent the afternoon in the city of Celje wandering its old center and stopping for a refreshing Radler at a large outdoor café in the main square.
We visited one of its small museums for a quick tour and had plans to see the civic museum but it was closed for the day. Another day was almost over, we returned home to yet another incredible Slovenian meal prepared by our hosts and an evening visiting over multiple glasses of the local wine.
The next day we headed out to one of Slovenia’s most beautiful mountain parks called Logarska Dolina. As soon as we left our home in Smeteoz we were in the countryside surrounded by green rolling hills, huge vines of hops growing in the fields, blue skies and mountains in the background. We drove through Idyllic villages, past small farms and vineyards and soon we were in the mountains that beckoned us from afar. Driving past dense forests and splashing rivers we entered a beautiful valley and arrived at the gates to the national park where we paid a small entrance fee of $7 Euros (per car).
The Logar Valley, as you can see from my photos is one of the most beautiful alpine glacial valleys in all of Slovenia and perhaps Europe. Its in the Kamnik Alps in the Municpality of Solcava, Slovenia, if you want to set your GPS here is the location and I’ve included a link to the parks website: Logarska Dolina 9, Solcava, Slovenia. Here you will find some memorable opportunities for outdoor adventures during both the summer and winter months; hiking, mountain biking, climbing, para-gliding, alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, ice climbing, sledding…and more.
We decided to spend the afternoon on a short hike up to the Rinka falls. From the last parking area you enter the trail head just behind the cafe which is a great spot for a pre or post refreshment. You can have a beer, a glass of wine or a light meal that is all that extra special in this perfect alpine setting. We grabbed a bottle of water for the hike and headed out on the trail. The trail is suitable for all levels of ability (not handicap accessible though), wear good shoes as the trail is composed of lose rock and you’ll be climbing uphill most of the way.
After about a half hour walk through the woods and some stunning scenery we arrived at the falls. At 105 meters it is the highest in the Logar Valley and popular with ice-climbers in the winter. With the mesmerizing falls cascading in front of you there is a beautiful mountain range to your left and to the right you can walk up to a café that is perched on a rocky outcrop right beside the falls, a perfect perch to view the incredible scenery surrounding you and gaze at the falls.
I love that in Europe you can usefully find a café at these amazing sites, where a simple glass of wine is transformed into an experience. We opted instead to stop at the café by the parking lot and shared one of our favorite beers– a Slovenian made Union Radler, just the right size for two!
We headed back through the park and stopped for a few photo ops, the whole area is just as you’d imagine an idyllic valley in the Alps complete with a few perfectly Slovenian farm or B&B buildings to add to the ambiance. I could have spent weeks here taking advantage of the various hiking opportunities and spending more time communing with nature but thankful we had this perfect day.
Our last day in Slovenia was spent visiting its capital city of Ljubljana and I must say one of the most beautiful old towns we had seen in all of Europe. Driving through downtown we somehow drove straight into an underground parkade and emerged right in the center of the old town square. Surrounded by Baroque and Renaissance style buildings it was jaw dropping from first glance and only got better as we walked its cobblestone streets. If you GPS to this address it should take you directly into the underground parkade, a great parking spot in the center with reasonable rates; Kongresni trg 1, Ljubljana, Slovenia
The center is very vibrant with people walking about or lounging in the parks and activities happening all throughout the center. When we arrived, they were just setting up a large stage for a few days of summer concerts that were starting that evening. Vendors and street artists could be seen selling their wares, shops were busy, outdoor cafes and restaurants were buzzing with the sound of conversation over a coffee or meal and multiple languages could be heard in the streets emanating a youthful, international vibrancy.
The Ljubljanica River flows down a canal that meanders through the old town and provides a beautiful anchor for the bustling cafes and restaurants that line it on either side.
A backdrop of spectacular baroque architecture looms over the canal which connects each side with multiple bridges, the most famous and ornate being the Dragons Bridge.
We spent part of the day just strolling through the old center and the other half spent at the Ljubljana Castle that can be seen from just about any vantage point in the old town, hovering on a precipice high above the city.
We took the Funicular up from the town center to visit the castle which provides some history on the area and spectacular viewpoints of the city below.
From the castles tower, at a 360 degree viewpoint it is said you can see over 30 percent of the entire country. Multiple spots around the castle offered some great vantage points amidst a medieval setting and was the highlight of this touristy place.
Suddenly this leg of our journey was over. Slovenia was a dream, an alpine mirage that provided us with some incredible memories, satisfied our wanderlust and left us with a yearning to return someday. Here is a link to all our Slovenia Photos.
If you’d like to see a video of our Ljubljana tour then click on the video below;