Slovenia?! Where’s that?
I have a bit of a confession. When I grew up in New Zealand, I regularly mixed up Slovakia and Slovenia. I couldn’t place either on the map of Europe. Lets say it was NOT high on the list of my places to visit when I ended up making to Europe. That was my first mistake. The second mistake I made was that Slovenians were quiet and didn’t enjoy partying much.
The first Slovenian I met was in Brazil, in Florianopolis, a guy named Mat. He seemed like a quiet lad when we first met him, who stayed in a six bed dorm with me and my mate Huw. Huw and I arrived quite late on one day into Florianopolis and there with no one else in our dorm. We were thinking jackpot! We can spread out a bit, a private room for the price of a dorm. We proceeded to do so, then went out to find out what the local nightlife of Floripa (as it is known) was like (trust me -its good, everyone should go to this island!). We came back late, and discovered Mat in our dorm room, went to sleep, after making a ton of drunken noise, and woke up late the next day, nursing an almighty hangover. We wake up and see this guy there, thinking oh man we have ruined this room for him, hopefully he’s not too angry, he looks Russian, lets not bother him.
Turns out, we couldn’t have been more wrong about Mat. After having breakfast and going out to do work off the hangover during the day, we came back to the hostel for night two in Floripa. The first thing Mat did upon seeing us in the room was say – hi I’m Mat, where-ever you guys went last night, I want to come tonight! My second mistake about Slovenians was quickly rectified, and we proceeded to have a great few nights in Floripa with Mat and some other guys and girls from our hostel, before travelling further south to Punta del Diablo in Uruguay (another amazing place, post to come soon!). At this point we all went our separate ways – Huw flew to Canada to go skiing, and Mat and I continued onto different places in Uruguay. We remained Facebook friends and he ended up coming to meet me in Bariloche in Argentina, and then I promised him Huw and I would come visit his country when we made it to Europe.
Slovenia – a country of great beauty, friendly people and amazing outdoor adventures
Slovenia is a small country just south of Austria in Europe, which has very wide and varied climate and terrain. Which makes it a great country to tour as a microcosm of Europe if you had a week to 10 days – the coast to the west has a very Italian flavour (highlighted by drinking espressos on the beach at Piran) the north has mountains for mountain biking and skiing and the east is closer to Eastern Europe (highlighted by drinking turkish style coffee at the second largest city, Maribor).
Sport Mix Bovec
One of the highlights of my week long trip to Slovenia was Bovec, a small town on the Soca River. After doing a lot of research, we decided to go with Sport Mix Bovec for all of our adventure activities, and we were so glad we did! Everything was easy, they were flexible when we wanted to change our plans, and all of the guides were very professional. We signed up for four adventures – a kayak lesson, mini-rafting, a downhill mountain bike adventure and canyoning (picture below).
Kayak school – €45-50
The first morning we went kayaking in the soca river. I was a bit nervous about this – as I’m very inflexible and have struggled kayaking before. Sure enough – I was the first upside down and having to unclip before I drowned in the first minute of being in the kayak! Once I got the hang of it, I was a lot more confident, but I still finished the kayaking in a lot of pain! We went at the end of July, and as you can see in the photo below it was a bit cloudy and wasn’t super warm but the cloud around the mountains definitely added to the mystique of kayaking through this amazing river.
Minirafting – €40-45
The next day we went mini-rafting, on a part of the river that had a few more rapids than kayaking!! I have white water rafted around the world – in New Zealand, Argentina, Peru, Colombia and Honduras – with a range of different classes and sizes of rafts. While this wasn’t the most scary of the white water rafting I have done, it was definitely up there with the most fun! The small 2-3 person rafts are a lot of fun and mean you have a lot more control over what you do. At first it was very tough – our raft ending up more backwards than forwards – but once you got used to the river and realising how much time you needed to make a move around the rapids, it was awesome!
Canyoning – €45-50
Canyoning was one of my favourite parts of the trip. It pretty much is a natural water park – you have natural slides, rock pool jumps, and at the end an almost vertical slide/jump into a deep pool – which was pretty damn scary!
Downhill Mountain Biking – €45-50 MTB Galaxy Tours
We booked some downhill mountain biking with Marko through MTB Galaxy Tours. It was proper single track down hill, which was quite tough for some of my friends who hadn’t done it before. I loved it, but definitely ask Marco if you want to do an easier trip – he is super helpful and would definitely tailor your trip to your ability.
Getting to Slovenia/ Bovec
Bovec is in north-west Slovenia and the closest airport is Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. There are buses to Bovec daily from Ljubljana but we hired a car, which is the best way to explore the whole of Slovenia in one trip. I have regularly used Argus Car Hires which is an aggregator website and you can also search for pick up and drop off at different locations.
In my other Slovenia post, I have flight details to and from Ljubljana or other options such as flying into Zagreb (which we did on the way in)