Ljubljana - Bled
There's another reason we say Zagreb is perfectly located on the European map: it gives you the possibility to get to other interesting cities quite fast. Of the capitals of the surrounding countries, we point out Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia.
As a whole, Slovenia is a wonderful little country, a geographical wedge driven between Italy and Croatia, touching upon Hungary with its eastern tip. In its very centre, in the middle of a damp basin encircled by wooded hills, lies Ljubljana, one of the smallest European capitals, a grid of pleasant streets impinged by a calm, narrow river. It is studded with architectural gems from diverse periods but mainly splendid and well preserved Art Nouveau buildings.
There, we'll have a look at some of the most important Viennese Secession architecture of this corner of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, stroll along the neatly shaped banks of the river, have a cup of a hot drink lounging in a pleasant coffeehouse next to it, take the funicular to the fort on a hill right in the town centre, enjoy the views reaching all the way to the Alps – and it will be an introduction to the second part of the day, when we'll be visiting a lake and a small town in the Slovenian Alps.
The lake Bled is a small lake nestling between a few imposing mountains, which already belong to the Alpine chain. The Alps are the largest mountain range in Europe. Extending eastward from France, they cross several countries and end in Slovenia, which has known how to benefit from its position: Slovenes are fond of outdoor activities, and they have developed an intense year-round sport tourism.
Bled happens to be a conglomerate of a couple of villages that lie around the lake and have been a beloved destination for spa tourism since the 19th century, much like some Austrian mountain resorts. It offers us its well-maintained footpaths in the woods, its pleasant lakeside walkway, one of the most panoramic mediaeval castles in Europe, and its relaxed, fine restaurants. We are going to avail ourselves of all of it! At the end of the day, we'll travel back to Zagreb, having extended our insight in this region, transitory between the Alpine and Balkan Europe.
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