Do you like skiing? How about combining a ski trip with some culture while in the Alps? Aside from some of the finest skiing in the world, the Alps are located within close proximity to many historic cities.
So where do you start? Why not try someplace out of the ordinary and ski the Slovenian Alps? They may not offer the largest slopes in Europe but definitely will offer an experience to remember.
Kranjska Gora, Slovenia
Located towards the eastern end of the Alps, Kranjska Gora is ski destination not commonly visited by North American tourists but is a popular vacation destination for German, Austrian, Croation and Italian skiers. Although this ski hill may not be familiar to Canadians, it is the top ski destination for Slovenians. Ten minutes down the road, Planica is home to one of the most popular ski jumping world championship events in the world. Recently renovated facilities give the traveler extra reason to visit this area in March.
Aside from heaps of fresh powder and world class ski jumping, this area offers unique Alpine cuisine. Many of the hotels are small family operated chalets and are home to in-house restaurants offering food to their guests and visitors. Typical to the area, the ‘mixed grill’ is a meal designed for the mountain man. Normally shared between two people, the meal could feed an entire family with 2 pork chops, 2 schnitzels, 2 chicken breasts, and 2 sausage patties served over potatoes and rice. Before you get to the mixed grill, make sure to try the beef Tartar. Even if raw meet normally doesn’t suit your palette, this fresh mixture is sourced from the finest ingredients so it won’t upset your stomach. Wondering if the waitress speaks English? Don’t be surprised if she speaks up to 11 languages to cater to the diverse group of people that visit this area.
Day Trip to Bled
Another well kept secret by the Slovenians, Bled is small tourist town located around a lake in the middle of the mountains. On an island in the middle of the lake sits a church that is a popular location for weddings. The only way to access the church is by paddle boats which can be rented at various locations along the 6 km circumference of the lake. Overlooking the lake Bled Castle sits high on the cliffs giving this serene landscape a hint of its historical significance.
Day Trip to Ljubljana
Following the same road past Bled leads to the capital of Slovenia. Only about an hour away from Kranjska Gora, this is an ideal location to do some shopping and get out of the mountains for the day. Italian architecture dominates the cityscape creating the vibe you would expect from a city in northern Italy. Sit on a patio and try a Lasko or Union, half a litre will only set you back 2 Euros.