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Slovenia
 
Slovenia’s past includes links with Rome, Venice, Hungary, post-war Yugoslavia – and Greek myths. Facing Venice across the Adriatic, the country nevertheless looks mostly inwards. Ljubljiana, the capital, is in the centre and the inland mountains and woodland areas are arguably the most attractive regions. Within easy reach of Ljubljana, is Bled with one of the loveliest lakes in Europe complete with an island church and fairytale castle. The south-west is where you’ll find the ‘Karst’ area. The product of water and limestone erosion, there are thousands of caves, potholes and springs, with many caverns easily accessible to tourists. The geology also means there are a number of natural health resorts such as Rakitna, just outside the capital. Ljubliana is on a river – which is where the Greeks came in. Jason and the Argonauts brought the Golden Fleece from Colchis via the Ljublijanica River, founding the city there. Jason fought a great battle with a fierce monster, which features on the city’s arms as well as the ‘Dragon’ river bridge. The city boasts many attractive parks and gardens – the best known being Tivoli – and several front on to the river. There has been a Ljubljiana castle since the 11th century – although the present colorful building, with a superb painted ceiling to its church, is ‘merely’ from the 15th.
 
Ljubljana
 
A settlement since the Bronze Age, Ljubljana boasts an impressive 5,000 years of history rich in architecture, culture & tradition. However, the city has by no means rested on its historical laurels and visitors can expect as many trendy bars and nightclubs as there are cultural events and stunning buildings. Like many of its Central European cousins, Ljubljana has emerged from its Cold War cocoon into a young and vibrant city that combines many of the best traits of its eastern and western neighbours. The gastronomic cuisine is just one example of this European fusion... with menus featuring everything from hearty Hungarian goulashes to pizzas and pastas that would rival any Italian city. Add to this the balmy summers that trump many of its Mediterranean neighbours and you have a city that offers the best of Old Europe with a chic but bohemian twist.
 

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