Bled Island and Bled CastleUp in Northwestern Slovenia, Bled is a village that features an island in the center of Lake Bled. It was initially used as a health resort for the rich and famous worldwide. However, these days, Bled Castle and the Assumption of Mary Pilgrimage Church are major attractions.
Bled Castle is particularly fascinating due to its location, up on a sheer cliff overlooking the lake. It has a fairytale quality and interesting 1000-year history which invites visitors to its fascinating museum collections. Meanwhile, the castle offers panoramic views over Bled, the lake and the island.Meanwhile, the 15th-century Assumption of Mary Pilgrimage Church is popular for visitors for different reasons, with its 99 steps leading to its door. In the local tradition, a groom carries their bride up those steps, while she keeps perfectly silent, to bring the couple future happiness. Meanwhile, the church has bells that visitors can ring for good luck.
Velika Planina, Stahovica, SloveniaTranslating to “Big Pasture Plateau,” Velika Planina is set in the Kamnik-Savinja Alps of Slovenia. The plateau has been compared to the mythical Narnia, which makes sense, as some of the scenes were filmed here. Basically, this beautiful meadow is known for its wooden houses and its backing of snowcapped Alps. Here, cattle farmers create Trnic, a hard, parmesan-like cheese, formed in the shape of breasts.
Meanwhile, the wooden homes on the plateau somewhat resemble the Hobbit homes from the J.R.R. Tolkien stories. In that vein, the local museum displays a knife carved with enchanted runes, intended to ward off curses.
Besides its fairytale qualities, Velika Planina has an interesting history from World War II. On May 29, 1944, an American B17 Flying Fortress bomber plane called Liberty Bell crashed in the alpine plateau. Meanwhile, six other airmen were found by the local Slovene Partisans, an anti-Nazi resistance group, who took them to a secret hospital, hidden in the forests.
Tuhinj Valley, Laze v TuhinjuWhat is now a beautiful drive through the Tuhinj Valley between Kamnik and Vransko, used to be a path used by marauding Turks back in 1471. The 30-minute drive offers endless gorgeous views, including lush farmlands, quaint villages, fortified churches and more. Meanwhile, a comfortable stay can be had at one of the country inns in the area, one of which is near a thermal spa. While in the valley, motorcycle enthusiasts can visit the Grom Motorcycle Museum in the town of Vransko. The museum features a large private collection which is sure to excite. Moreover, while in the area, visit Laze v Tunhinju and the Meninc Farm where a local farmer brews his own beer.
Take time out in Slovenia this year, enjoying the beautiful landscapes and quaint villages. Find out more about the country on its official tourism website.