The Republic of Slovenia is surrounded by Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia, with a narrow corridor to the Adriatic. Slovenia has variously been part of the Roman, Byzantine and Carolingian empires, the Holy Roman Empire, the Habsburg Monarchy and the Republic of Venice. It then was part of the Austrian and Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (1929). It was one of the first countries to leave the Eastern Bloc when the USSR collapsed. It is a country of dramatic landscapes, beautiful cities, villages and small towns, and some 1,000 picturesque castles. The snow-capped peaks of the Julian Alps contrast to its verdant meadows and its many sparkling emerald-green lakes and rivers. It is the best-watered country in Central Europe. Lake Bled has a tiny Baroque chapel on a picturesque island and a dramatic castle looming above it. Lake Bohinj, with its forest-covered setting, provides a cable car up Mount Vogel with spectacular views of the Julian Alps. A particular topographical feature is its huge, deep, long karst Postojna and Škocjan caves.
Ljubljana is arguably the Balkans’ most beautiful city, a special feature of which is the work of renowned modernist architect Jože Plečnik (1872–1947). Some of his most notable Ljubljana projects include the picturesque Triple Bridge (1929–32) and Cobbler’s Bridge, the National and University Library (1930–41), the classical Central Market and the Križanke Summer Theatre. Ptuj, Slovenia’s oldest town, features cobblestone alleys, ornate monasteries and a hilltop castle. Piran has one of the best-preserved historic centres on the Adriatic coast. It is encircled by 7th-century walls and is rich in Venetian architecture.
The wine towns of Slovenia include the charming sandstone village of Goče. Maribor, the Styrian capital of Eastern Slovenia, has the oldest grapevine in the world. The Logar Valley, meanwhile, is one of Europe’s most beautiful Alpine glacial valleys. It supports many rare flower species and the spectacular 90-metre Rinka Falls. Finally, Kobarid was the site of the WWI Battle of Caporetto (1917), immortalised by Ernest Hemingway’s great novel A Call to Arms.
Join Assoc. Professor Adrian Jones, OAM on this 18-day tour to explore the extraordinarily diverse Slovenia, with its glorious landscapes, charming villages and rich artistic traditions. Read more