Overall cost of trip: $210 CAD
This weekend, 7 exchange students and I set out for a trip to Slovenia. Slovenia was one of the countries at the top of my list and that I looked forward to exploring the most. I’ve heard excellent reviews and have seen beautiful pictures, so being only 7 hours away, I knew it would be a good destination.
Slovenia is located in central Europe, surrounded by Austria, Hungary, Croatia, and Italy. With a population of 2 million people, most are speaking Slovene, but with much Germanic, Romance, and Hungarian, as well.
Some Slovenian knowledge I prepped/picked up:
Dober Dan- Good day/Hello
Nasvidenje- Good bye
Hvala- Thank you
Pivo- Beer (most important, obviously)
Ljubljana is the biggest city and the capital city of Slovenia , so it was our first stop. We arrived at the Ljubljana train station Friday evening straight from Krems. It was kind of an adventure getting there…Our train ticket turned out to be more expensive than planned and we had a to transfer several times. (Krems- Salzburg-Ljubljana)
The Krems to Salzburg train was smooth and only a couple hours. When we arrived in Salzburg, we had to transfer to a new train and I learned that some trains split at a certain point and that they will have different destination. Confusing, right? So all 8 of us started at the back of the train and walked all the way up trying to find any seats and there were not even single seats! We sat behind the first class train on the floor for a bit. And then finally moved and the way seating was arranged was that it was glass rooms (something out of Harry Potter, really) and each room fit about 6 people. HOWEVER, at the first little bit of our trip there was no room! So as were walking, one of our friends pulls down individual seats on the wall facing the glass rooms!! Funny at first but there was no way we were going to spend the next 6 hours sitting there. We ended up finding 2 rooms later on and split up.
I think one of my favourite parts of my trips are actually getting there. The train ride through Salzburg was stunning. I caught myself in awe as we’re driving past these beautiful alps and ski towns. It was something out of a movie- definitely not real. When I think of trains, I think of when I worked in Oakville one summer and sprinted for the 6:50 am Go Train from Union and spent the majority of the train putting on make up and chugging coffee. I’m finding it even hard to sleep on these train rides because I don’t want to miss out on the views! (And also, I’m a deep sleeper so I’m nervous I’ll miss the stop.) 6 hours is nothing when you look left and right and it’s so beautiful. My pictures definitely do not do the scenery justice.
Saturday morning in Ljubljana, we had breakfast in town and then walked through town and saw the farmers market. The music had to be my favourite part. It puts me in such a good mood and leaves me with a smile on my face. And if you know me, my earphones are usually glued in my ears, I don’t go anywhere without music. This market today was SO busy (being Saturday morning, as well.) Every farmers market I go to are more unique than the previous one and I absolutely love it. There’s a farmers market near me at school and as well as in my hometown, but nothing to this extravagance or special. We then took a glass elevator up the side of the mountain to the top to see the castle! Now that was definitely worth the euro. A tourist trap, definitely, but it was so cool to see a birds eye view of the market, the river and the orange rooftops.
Saturday morning, we took the afternoon bus going to Bled. It is by far one of the most popular travel destinations in Slovenia, mainly because of how picturesque it is- at any time of the year! I’ve had incredible recommendations to see this town by several people. This was on my bucket list of places I need to go because I’ve seen nothing but beautiful pictures and heard great reviews. Along with Hallstat outside of Salzburg, Austria, these are the two lakes I want to see the most. The route to Bled is different from what you’d see in the main town or in Ljubijana. It’s definitely what I pictured- very old houses and more of a country feel than the typical tall buildings, billboards and chain restaurants.
Arriving in Bled early Saturday afternoon, we headed to our hostel, the Castle Hostel. Again, a great recommendation. It was very different from any of the past hostels I’ve been to now. We were greeted, taken on a tour of the hostel and were given a map and was told the best places for food and places to explore. The hostel was a short walk to the Lake, so we put our luggage in our room and headed out. We were told that you can rent row boats and row to an island! So, that’s what we did. Well, first stopping in the local grocer to grab some beer and wine of course.
We actually had perfect timing, because we got the last wave of boat rentals for the night! It cost €30 for 1.5 hours for all 8 of us. Choosing our boats, we set off for the island. I was in a boat with Taylor and Luke (from Laurier) and Cristina (from Spain.) Luke rowed all the way there while we took in the view. In the far distance, you could see the alps, and the water was such a beautiful colour. It took us about 30 minutes to row there. It’s a rather small lake, only being about 6.5 km in distance. We spent some time exploring the island which had a huge staircase to a church. The view from the top was definitely worth it! Usually when you’re climbing to the top of the church or a watch tower, you see a bird’s eye view of the city and tops of houses, but here it was so different and refreshing to see just the lake, a few houses and the alps. On the way back, I was apparently trusted enough to row (partially) back. That was so much fun! I’ve never been rowing before and I definitely was a little worried I’d be rowing the boat in circle or tip the boat but I didn’t and we were all safe! Thank God.
Sunday, our final morning in Bled, we went on a hike to the top of the castle. Definitely a good way to wake up and get the day started! We then went back to hostel, packed up, made a big family breakfast and headed to the bus station. There was only one bus leaving from Ljubljana to Vienna that whole day, so we had to book the early bus from Bled. I’m a little disappointed we couldn’t stay a bit later to explore the town a little more, but honestly these past few days have been so great, and I’m excited to make a trip back in the future.
That’s the island that we rowed to!
Our transit schedule for the weekend:
Krems- Salzburg-Ljubljana (train, €50)
Bled- Ljubljana (bus, €6.50)
Bled- Ljubljana (bus, €6.50)
Ljubljana- Vienna (bus, €22)
2 metro lines to Vienna train (€2)
Hostel Vrba in Ljubljana: €9.
Castle Hostel in Bled: €10
I think if we booked our train ticket more in advance or looked more into buses, we definitely could have saved on the way here. However, this has so far been one of my favourite trips. I definitely would like to make another trip to Slovenia in the future and see other towns. Besides personal recommendations, here are some sights I based my trip off of:
My next adventure brings me to Dublin, Ireland and I cannot wait!