Lonely Planet Writer

Pathfinder pics: road tripping in Slovenia

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Lonely Planet Pathfinder Yasmine Awwad recently spent some time driving through Slovenia. Here she shares the highlights of her road trip.

It may be compact but with beautiful and varied scenery Slovenia is the perfect place to explore on four wheels. We recently set out to visit the western part of the country, stopping off at lakes, quaint mountain towns and even a castle built into a cliff. It’s an easy place to navigate by car, there are just two things you need to remember: drive on the right-hand side of the road and keep your lights on at all times.

Slovenia’s pretty capital

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We started off in Ljubljana, Slovenia’s pretty capital. We spent our time there strolling along the river, delving into the local foodie scene and visiting the markets, which combine influences from Italy, Hungary and Austria (think pasta, dumplings and strudel!). For some breathtaking views, I'd recommend taking the funicular up to the castle as it gives you a great overview of the city and its beautiful surroundings.

Take a drive on the wild side

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A highlight of the trip was driving along the Vršič Pass, a mountain pass with 50 hairpin bends across the Julian Alps. The scenery is stunning at every turn and there are plenty of places to stop for photos, hikes and picnics.

Follow the emerald river

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The Soča River flows for 138 kilometres through western Slovenia and northeastern Italy. We drove alongside it for part of our journey, stopping off to walk over its many wooden footbridges and get a closer look at the emerald green water. It's a great way to break up long driving stints.

Take a trip back in time

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The dramatic Predjama Castle was built within a 123m tall cliff over 700 years ago. Its most famous resident was Erazem Luegar, the Slovenian Robin Hood, who was lord of the castle in the 15th century. Inside you can explore the secret passages and a torture chamber, and below the castle is an extensive cave network.

Scramble to a view

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Lake Bled is an easy drive northwest from Ljubljana. After walking around the lake we hired a small rowboat to visit the island in the middle which gave us a different perspective of it all. The best part of the day however was climbing up to Velika Osojinica, it’s a steep scramble but leads you to an incredible a view!

Picture perfect

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The last stop on our road trip was the picturesque coastal town of Piran, in the southwest of the country. With its terracotta roofs, medieval architecture and sea views, it’s no wonder that it was chosen as the cover of the Lonely Planet guidebook!

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