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Accomodation and things to do

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Last Post This thread is marked as being about Slovenia
1. Posted by scorer22 (Budding Member 15 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Can anyone suggest suitable cheap accomodation in Ljubljana in Slovenia and places worth visiting in the city including historical sites and bars?

2. Posted by james (Travel Guru 4138 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Is you question about where to stay?

Like everywhere, it all depends on what your budget is. For France, if you are tight for money there is a chain of very, very cheap hotels called Formule 1. However, they are very basic also. Each room has double beds, TV, hairdryer, bathroom, etc. but the rooms are more like caravans or traliers or something. But they have 24 hour automoatic check-in, and are very safe and very clean.

In Paris, I recommend a chain of 2 start hotels called Tim Hotel. These are not cheap (what is?), but I've stayed in many of them and they are good.

Also, try Ibis, Accor, Novotel and some others.

For London, most accommodation is very average, but also expensive at the same time. Lower your expectations! There are some cheap places around Earls Court, and one that I can recommend is called the "Exhibition Court 3" hotel (they have 1 and 2 also). I have only stayed in "3" and it was really good for the money. A great room, average breakfast, but clean, quiet and comfortable. However, I have heard bad reports about this place, but I can only go on my experiences.

Good luck on your wedding day.

3. Posted by james (Travel Guru 4138 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!


I went to Ljubljana as a kid years ago. I can't remember much about it, but there is a beautiful lake nearby called Lake Bled. You must visit this place!

4. Posted by james (Travel Guru 4138 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Here is something I read in the paper over the weekend:

The reason most people can't confidently locate Slovenia or its unpronounceable capital, Ljubljana, on a map is that until 1991 it hid behind the Iron Curtain within Yugoslavia. The country did emerge, ever so briefly, into view at the end of World War I, but after just 10 giddy days of nationhood - during which Italy annexed huge slabs of its Adriatic coastline, including Trieste - it bunkered down again into the Kingdom of Serbians, Croatians and Slovenians. For six centuries before that it was concealed within the Hapsburg Empire, save for five halcyon years as the capital of Napoleon's Illyrian province.

There was, for example, no one else in sight when we pulled over to gaze at the snowy alpine splendour flanking the 1611-metre Vrsic Pass, Slovenia's highest road. When we stood on a suspension bridge in the Soca Valley, marvelling at the petrol blue rapids of the Soca River and the fields of wildflowers stretching to the horizon, the experience was ours alone. And only the occasional farmer or cow popped up as we motored through the exceptionally pretty wine country of the west, famous for its reds and prosciutto.

Even when I visited in June, the streets of Ljubljana (say Lyoob-LYA-na) were jumping but not jammed. The buzzy cafes lining the Ljubljanica River carried flyers for such diversions as the Castle Party at Stari Grad in Goriska Brda, featuring a "techno dungeon" with DJs from Italy and the UK. It was beyond cool, which pretty much sums up Slovenia. Whether you're 17 or 71, it's a brilliant place for a holiday.

Shattered by an earthquake in 1895, modern Ljubljana was remodelled after Prague and feels today like a living museum of neo-classical, art nouveau and baroque architecture, complete with traces of its medieval past.

It is built on a small, distinctly human scale, so much so that the free tourist map lists the only skyscraper in the new city as a "landmark". Most buildings in the old town rise just four or five storeys above the narrow and endlessly absorbing cobbled streets. The Ljubljanica cuts like a canal through the centre; the streets lining the river - Trubarjeva, Wolfova and Copova - hum with cafes and galleries, boutiques and bars.

Looming above the old town, and lending it a sense of grandeur far beyond its size, is a castle so ancient its origins have been lost in time (though the earliest document mentioning its existence is a land sale contract dated 1144.)

The castle is one of the two symbols of Ljubljana; the other is the dragon. It's said that the Argonauts had to slay a dragon when they came here with their booty en route to the Adriatic. Two fine specimens now guard each end of the Dragon Bridge over the Ljubljanica; local lore has it that their tails wag when a virgin crosses the bridge.

Nearby, in front of the Bishop's Palace where Napoleon and Alexander I of Russia once were guests, is the market square. Gardeners have been hawking their produce here for 200 years and the market remains the social hub of the 250,000-strong city today. On Saturdays it's a real scene as city dwellers pick up food and flowers then retire to one of the charming riverside cafes to see and be seen. Even while Ljubljanites, cool socialist types that they are, roll their eyes at this trendy capitalist ritual, they all partake in it.

As you would, too, if you lived here. Ljubljana's old town is gorgeous and I couldn't get enough of it during my visit. There was always another captivating alleyway of shops or fine architecture to explore, another bar to prop up, another cafe to savour, another local's story that would make me realise how safe and predictable my life is by comparison.

A friend, Maja, described the darkly surreal experience of being at university during the 10-day war to liberate Slovenia from Yugoslavia in which 78 people died. Much of the fighting took place along the Austrian border and at the airport, but she only knew her country was at war because access to Ljubljana had been blocked and fighter planes streaked the sky.

Minka, my guide, was typically sanguine when I asked her what the latest challenge to Slovenian sovereignty - its accession to the European Union in May - held in store. "I think it is going to be OK because Slovenians are tough. In 100 years we have had the Hapsburgs, communism, then capitalism, and now the EU. You have to be very strong to survive."

It's probably unwise to judge a people by their national anthem, but when I later read the words of Slovenia's national song it seemed to give some insight, however superficial, into the social and political complexion of the people.

The drive to the resort town of Bled is an easy 40 minutes from the capital. Easy, that is, if your driving partner remembers to release the handbrake and if she remembers not to hit the brakes every time she sees merging traffic ahead (on a 130-kilometre autobahn). Mine didn't, so by the time we bunny-hopped up the hotel driveway our relationship was looking as shaky as my hands.

Fortunately we'd booked somewhere quite nice to stay. Vila Bled is an old mansion on the shores of Lake Bled that used to be the presidential palace of Marshall Tito and, before that, the site of the Yugoslav royal family's summer palace. It has just been refurbished and the massive suites, though sparsely furnished, exude Cold War glamour. There's a (not great) Relais and Chateaux-listed restaurant on site, sprawling grounds, tennis court and wooden boat, or pletna, for exploring Lake Bled.

Children's book illustrators should come here for inspiration. Lake Bled, like much of the countryside, appears to be straight from the pages of a fairytale. A misty drizzle was falling when we arrived and clouds nestled in the Slovenian Alps behind, framing this extraordinary green lake with its island church and castle perched precariously on a cliff high above the shore.

Bled is celebrating its 1000th birthday this year so it was hardly surprising to find we were not the only people enjoying its famed cream slice and Illy coffee. Of all Slovenia's beauty spots this is perhaps the best known: there are many hotels, a garish casino and tourist buses arrive regularly. Despite its celebrity we still managed to do a lap of the six-kilometre lake, past the Olympic rowing facilities and endlessly lovely views, without passing more than a handful of other holidaymakers.

Up the road at Lake Bohinj, more rugged but equally stunning, there were even fewer tourists visible in this first week of summer. Later, carefully negotiating the hairpin-heavy ascent of the Vrsic Pass in the Triglav National Park, we spotted the occasional insane hiker or biker but otherwise felt, yet again, as if we had this wonderland largely to ourselves.

If you are an enthusiastic photographer it is wise to hire a car, as we did, because you will want to stop every few minutes to capture the latest exquisite panorama. Slovenia's countryside is littered with hundreds of castles, and you will lose count of the number of picturesque towns you pass, each one green and idyllic and crowned by the baroque steeple of the village church.

Towns like Kobarid, with its stone houses flanking ridiculously narrow streets (I must apologise here to the woman whose hand I clipped with my side-view mirror); or pretty Kanal with its flourishing window boxes of petunias and geraniums. These villages signal the descent from the Alps to the western wine region where "vinska cesta" (wine route) signs point in every direction to gentle hills striated by vines.

Keep driving down, down from the Alps and you reach the sliver of coastline Slovenia managed to wrest back from Italy. The highlight is the medieval town of Piran, which tumbles into the sea in the most attractive way. Traffic access to the town centre is restricted, so most people park at the top of the mount and hobble down the cobbles on foot, drinking in the views and imagining how pleasant it would be to live here for the rest of their lives.

Unlike the rest of Slovenia, Piran felt distinctly touristy but, like the rest of Slovenia, its small size and absence of world-class attractions keep the numbers down to manageable levels. And, really, when you wake at the Hotel Piran, open the balcony doors to the sea and feast your eyes on the twinkling blue of the Jadransko Morje (Adriatic to you) and shimmering coastline of Croatia beyond, you won't be complaining.

Given we were so close to Italy we decided to drive to Trieste for lunch. But given I'd left my licence in Australia I had to hand the wheel to my holiday partner for the border crossing. I regret this. Coasting along the coast road out of Piran our Opel veered onto the soft verge at about 90kmh. We were hurtling towards a deep ditch on our left and a signpost directly ahead. I resisted the urge to scream but the dread of impending death drove me to shout at my friend and lurch for the steering wheel. We survived, obviously, and the damage to our friendship is nothing that a year or two of counselling back in Australia won't heal.


In Ljubljana, the Grand Hotel Union Executive is an art nouveau pile in an excellent location. Double rooms from about 170 euro ($285) a night, including good buffet breakfast. Phone (0011 386 1) 308 1270, It is also possible to rent apartments for longer stays in the capital – see Vila Bled, phone (0011 386 4) 579 1500,, doubles from 160 euro a night.

In Piran, the Hotel Piran looks dodgy from the outside but has comfortable seafront suites with the best views in town from about 80 euro a double. Phone (0011 386 5) 676 2100. Australian passport holders do not need a visa to visit Slovenia.

5. Posted by scorer22 (Budding Member 15 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Many thanks for that James. Will study the info you have sent.



6. Posted by tali (Budding Member 10 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!


This are the sites that you should look on the web:

Have a nice time in Slovenia!