Beside well known tourist places such as Bled, Ljubljana, Bohinj and Postojna cave, Slovenia also offers a number of smaller and more charming towns which are not so well promoted, but have a unique beauty. Because they are not full of tourists, they are more authentic and offer astonishing surroundings. Their city cores conjure a feeling of timelessness.
Štanjel is a picturesque enclosed village in Karst. Typical for Štanjel are very narrow streets and the stony construction of houses and wells. The image is of a typical coastal town. The main attraction is Ferrarijev vrt (Ferrari’s garden), a work of a famous architect Maks Fabiani.
Novo mesto, literally New city, is the capital of the Dolenjska region. Its position is in the river bend of the emerald colored Krka river. The city has a beautiful ancient city centre. As in most other cities in Slovenia, in Novo mesto you do not need a lot of time to move from the city to nature – it is all around. You can promenade down by the river and breathe in the fresh air. In the surroundings there are other places worth seeing, such as Otočec and two health spas Šmarješke Toplice and Dolenjske Toplice.
Piran is a coastal town in Slovenian Istria. Like every town in the Primorska region, Piran is also a bilingual area. As I mentioned in one of the last blog posts, Slovenian and Italian are spoken here. The Italian name for Piran is Pirano. It has a medieval image with narrow streets, which create a very Mediterranean temperament. Tartinijev trg is the main square in Piran.
It is famous for its ancient city core, which is best preserved in Slovenia. The best places to see in Škofja Loka are Mestni trg (City square) and Škofjeloški grad (Škofja Loka castle).
Ptuj (Latin Poetovio) is one of the oldest towns in Slovenia. Above the city stands Ptujski grad (Ptuj castle). It is situated by the Drava river. The Štajerska region (Styria) is known for winemaking. In Ptuj they keep the oldest wine in Slovenia. Ptuj is also known for its winter Carnival, called Kurentovanje na Ptuju.
Idrija lies in north-west Slovenia. It is well known for its mercury mine (rudnik živega srebra), Idria lace (idrijske čipke) and a culinary specialty called idrijski žlikrofi – already mentioned in our culinary blog post. The Idrian mercury mine is also classified in the list of UNESCO world heritage.
For even more authentic experience of these and many other small Slovenian towns, such as Kamnik, Žužemberk and Kanal ob Soči, it is invaluable to know some expressions in Slovenian. If you would like to learn some of our language, we can help. Take one-on-one Skype lessons and try our self-learning e-books.