Slovenia may be one of the newer countries on the block (after all, it only gaining its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991), yet this hasn’t stopped the place from rising up to become one of coolest places in central Europe. Guide books keep naming Slovenia Europe’s hidden gem, which means it isn’t going to remain “hidden” for too much longer. Here’s five reasons why you should visit Slovenia NOW:

1.    The capital city is beautiful

1. Ljubljana Triple Bridge at Night

2. Ljubljanica River

With a shimmering river flowing through the heart of the city, complemented by the alabaster bridges, elegant buildings and bursts of greenery which lining its banks, Ljubljana may just be one of the prettiest capital cities you’ve ever laid eyes on. If aesthetics isn’t enough to convince you, it is also considered to one of the greenest, most liveable cities on the continent, winning the European Green Capital Award for 2016.

2.    The nightlife is vibrant

12. Ljubljana at Night

5. Ljubljana Metelkova City Art & Nightlife Hub (2)

For a small city, the nightlife in Ljubljana really does thrive! With a student population 64,000 strong, you’ll not only find plenty of clubs and bars in the city centre, you’ll also find great variety in the type of nightlife Ljubljana has to offer. If you are after a more colourful evening experience, head to Metelkova. A former military barracks, Metelkova is now an autonomous social centre that comes alive at night with all kinds of music, from hardcore to jazz to dubstep to techno.

3.    The castles are straight out of a fairy tale

7. Ljubljana Castle


If you want to feel like you’ve been transported in to a fairy tale, Slovenia is the place to go. Of the many castles you’ll find dotted around this country, the most famous would have to be the Ljubljana castle. This 15th century fortress stands high above the city on Castle Hill and is rather impossible to miss. Go a little further out of the city and you’ll find Predjama Castle, which was built in the renaissance in the mouth of a cave and is another stunning feat of architecture.

4.    The food scene is thriving

9. Ljubljana Open Kitchen Markets

8. Ljubljana Open Kitchen Markets

‘Slovenian cuisine’ may not have much global rapport, but rest assured- the food scene in this country is thriving.  Harmonious with Slovenia’s focus on “being green”, fresh, organic, locally-sourced produce is all the trend here, particularly in its capital city. Above and beyond the vast array of quality dining options within the city, the most exciting part of Ljubljana’s food culture is its markets. Alongside a daily open-air central market, in summer, Pogačarjev trg Square turns in to an Open Kitchen Food Market like no other. The heart of Ljubljana comes alive with a unique market of local delicacies, prepared by all the top gastronomic providers throughout Slovenia. Live music often fills the air as locals unwind with a plate of food and a glass of wine on the nearby steps.

5.    The lakes are magical

10. Lake Bled

11. Lake Bled

If you want to witness breathtaking beauty, you need to go to Lake Bled. This glimmering, turquoise body of water is nothing short of transcendent in its splendour. Surrounded by a backdrop of rugged mountains, the centrepiece is a quaint church on top of a tiny island in the middle of the lake, its bells often echoing through the air. In summer, you can cycle around the lake, or row a boat out to the island and ring the church bell for yourself. In winter, you can see Lake Bled in its all frozen glory.