Slovenia is a tiny country, about half the size of Switzerland, blessed with natural beauty, rich culture, a picturesque coastline and plenty of adventure in its national parks. Situated in the heart of Europe, it's perfectly placed between the Alps and the Mediterranean Sea. A little green gem, with half its surface area covered in ancient forests, it's home to abundant wildlife and is a mecca for adventurous travellers.
There are more than 11,000 karst caves to explore, emerald green rivers and lakes for swimming and kayaking, the majestic Julian Alps to climb and plenty of opportunity to spot bears in the forests. Slovenia is also a fantastic foodie place to visit as well as the first country in the world to be declared a green destination based on the Green Destinations Criteria.
Lake Bled is the jewel of the Julian Alps, home to the country's only island with its legendary tales and tiny baroque church. Reach the island on a traditional wooden boat, called a pletna, then climb 99 stone steps to reach the church - listen to the bell and ring it yourself - legend has it this will make your wishes come true. One of the most stunning views of the lake, its island and the surrounding peaks is from the 12th century castle perched on the lake-side cliffs.
For up close and personal sighting of bears head to the forests in the Notranjska and Koevska Regions. These forests are home to over 400 bears that are also part of a much wider European Dinaric population. This area has protected status under Natura 2000 and is in close proximity to the Notranjska Regional Park and Risnjak National Park. These forests are also home to lynx, wolf, Ural owls and the three-toed woodpecker.
Ljubljana, Slovenia's compact and sophisticated capital, is full of incredible Baroque and Habsburg buildings and is a great place to visit before or after a safari trip. Stay a couple of extra nights to explore the old city, visit the concert halls or take a guided food tour.