2015 marked the year that I took my first ever solo trip. Slovenia was my destination of choice and as you can see from the above photos - I had a whale of a time! You can see my other posts about Slovenia here. You're obviously going to be nervous on your first solo travel trip and other people's blog posts really helped me, so I thought I'd give my two cents! The general consensus regarding "holidays" is that you should be surrounded by loved ones, have a brilliant time together and enjoy each other's presence. Don't get me wrong, I love travelling with my friends, family and boyfriend and sometimes it's nice to have a familiar face on the journey with you. So, why is solo travel so much fun? You can do what you want, when you want.  No squabbles over where to go next, what to see, where to eat. You make your own decisions. Take the long scenic route, go off the beaten track, chase that destination that you've seen on Pinterest/Instagram (I'm guilty of that one) and feel no regret at not having seen/done something. You meet extraordinary people, without even trying. Okay, maybe you do need to try a little bit - the girl I met that spent her entire 4 days in Slovenia in bed certainly didn't make many friends... If you are travelling with friends/family, you tend to stick to those people and don't expand your horizons to meet new people. Whether it's a group of people in the hostel, the people working at the sights you're seeing, local people on the streets/restaurants, you will never feel alone. (Warning: you will inevitably add your new friends on Facebook/follow them on Instagram and then have constant updates as to where they are in the world, therefore expanding your wanderlust bucket list). Absorb the simple pleasures. So, you've gone on a city break with one of your girlfriends and they spend 80% of the time texting their boyfriend, neglecting you and the sights around them. When they're not texting, they are probably moaning about said boyfriend. The answer? Solo travel allows you to take some time to explore by yourself, soak up the silence and the beauty of the places around you. I like to try to go off of the grid (albeit, it is always tempting to post copious Instagram pictures when you're travelling in a particularly beautiful areas!). Obviously check your phone every once in a while so that your family know you are safe too! Grow as a person. What better way to grow as a person than to throw yourself into an unknown territory with nothing but a guide map, a wishlist of destinations and a whole bundle of excitement. Independence, courage, confidence, cultural understanding are all great qualities to have! So, you're thinking about travelling solo, what do you need to know? It's not as scary as you think! As I boarded the plane for my first solo adventure, I was SO nervous. Despite doing every single droplet of research possible and knowing that this was exactly what I wanted to do, I knew it was normal to feel nervous. Within 5 minutes of checking into the hostel and getting out into the city, I knew I'd made the right decision, you will have the time of your life! Do your research! You're going to be nervous and perhaps feel vulnerable if you haven't been in this situation before. Make sure you research your hostel, read other customer's reviews, make sure that they felt safe on their visit too. All cities have safe and slightly more dangerous areas. If you're heading somewhere with a bad reputation, make sure you know the areas to avoid and you will be just fine! Follow the locals and stick to areas that other travellers have recommended. Have your wits about you. There's always things that can wrong while you're abroad (or travelling in your own country for that matter!) and you won't have immediate friends and family to help you. You are therefore responsible for all of your belongings and yourself, if you feel unsafe, remove yourself from the situation. Follow your gut & make sure you have the right travel insurance. Dining alone isn't really an issue. From what I've seen on blog posts about solo travel, a lot of people have a real issue with dining alone. This really isn't something to worry about. If you make friends in the hostel, you will without a doubt end up dining with them most nights - everyone is in the same boat after all! If things don't go this smoothly at first, dining alone isn't something to be scared of. Bring a book/your iPad for entertainment in a restaurant, order room service if you are staying in a hotel, grab quick and easy food that you can eat on the move/at the hostel. Just do it! You'll have the time of your life!

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Danielle1

Slovenia has well and truly stolen my heart. I fall in love with every European city and town that I visit, but not very often do I feel enthralled by an entire country. From the capital city, to the coastal towns, to the little villages, mountains, lakes and even just driving around in the middle of nowhere, everything is beautiful (especially on a sunny day!). Slovenia isn't on the typical tourist map and this is why I think I loved it so much. A lot of travel bloggers have fallen in love with the country recently and I felt so desperate to go that this was my very first spontaneous solo trip. Top Facts Currency: Euro Population: 20.1 million (For perspective, London alone has a population of nearly 9 million) Capital: Ljubljana Language: Slovenian Well known for: mountains (The Julian Alps), outdoor sports and activities, lakes and beautiful scenery. Where to Stay?  It's safe to say that I was nervous about my accommodation in Slovenia given that this was my first solo adventure. I knew that I wanted to be situated in the capital city Ljubljana, so I headed straight to HostelWorld to see where the best place to stay would be. After much debating and my family asking me countless times whether I'd seen the horror movie "Hostel", I settled on The Zeppelin Hostel and it was definitely a good decision. A lot of travellers stop off in Slovenia to relax and unwind, so don't expect a crazy party hostel. The hostel is small, cosy and definitely makes you feel welcome. From the relaxed vibe, to the clean rooms, to the local restaurants that send the hostel cakes as a thank you for sending customers to them, everything was perfect and nothing was ever too much for the staff. Ljubljana is the perfect place to stay throughout the entirety of your trip to Slovenia. Day trips can be made to the surrounding areas easily as the country is so small! My Top Tips! 1) See Everywhere: Slovenia is tiny and can be driven across in a matter of hours, so make the most of your time here and combine a number of different stops into one trip, the whole country is truly gorgeous! Use the capital city (Ljubljana) as a base for your travels and then move around as you wish each day. See below for my top day trips from the city! 2) Be Careful with taxis: I made the mistake of getting a taxi from Ljubljana airport to my hostel. Please make sure you get into a licensed taxi (these are the ones that have prices listed on their windows). It's sometimes hard to avoid the scam taxis (as I found out) as you are herded into the next available taxi with no regulation, therefore it cost me a hell of a lot more than it should have to get into the city centre! 3)Use the Airport Shuttle Bus:If you don't want to get a taxi from the airport, there are buses that run directly from the airport to the city centre. Alternatively (and my preferred option), there is a shuttle bus that runs between the airport and a number of hotels in the city centre, speak to your hotel/hostel to see which is the closest stop off point to you, it will save you a lot of money compared to a taxi! 4) Rent a Car: I am a nervous driver and I spent a fair amount of money on my trip to Slovenia by doing guided tours across the country. In doing so, I spent a lot of time on the road and decided that Slovenia is one of the few European countries that I would feel comfortable driving in (despite it being on the opposite side of the road to the UK!). If I were to return to Slovenia (which I hopefully will in the near future!), I would hire a car and drive around to ensure that I see as much of the country as possible. You will however need to purchase a vignette (sticker) at the border or from a petrol station if you want to drive on the Slovenian highways. 5) Check the Weather: This is a mistake that I made on my trip to Lake Bled! Slovenia can have fairly temperamental weather and if you have plans that could be scuppered by bad weather, re-arrange them! This is a truly beautiful country and should be seen at it's best! I visited in September and the weather ranged from 28 degrees Celsius and very sunny to torrential rain and storms, to overcast and cold days - and I was only there for 4 days! 6) Plan plan plan! There's so much to see and do in Slovenia, make sure you use your time wisely and know exactly what you want to see and do. On the other hand... having relaxing days and enjoying ice cream in a cafe on the River Ljubljanica is just as great too! Top Places to See 1) Ljubljana (see my post here) 2) Lake Bled, Lake Bohinj & Vintgar Gorge (see my post here) 3) Piran (see my post here) 4) Postojna Cave 5) Predjama Castle (see my post here) 6) Škocjan Cave (see my post here) 7) Maribor 8) The wine region in the east 9) Hiking in the Julian Alps 10) Water sports in the Soca Valley 11) Day trip to Venice, Italy 12) Day trip to Zagreb, Croatia

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own. Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Danielle1

You've all seen the pictures of Lake Bled that are making their way around the travel blog scene. It's safe to say that this is one of the most romantic and beautiful areas in Europe, a  real hidden gem. If there's one word of advice I can give you before travelling to Slovenia, it's check the weather forecast. I stupidly decided to ignore the weather forecast for the second day of my trip to Slovenia and booked a trip to Lake Bled, Vintgar Gorge and Lake Bohinj in torrential rain and fog. My photos of Lake Bled aren't quite as beautiful as those you may have already seen given the fact that fog was surrounding the entire area. Lake Bohinj was unrecognisable and we couldn't get out of the car because the weather was so awful. We also couldn't enter Vintgar Gorge because of how dangerous it would be. It did make for an interesting boat trip across the lake to the island of Lake Bled however... for someone that's afraid of boats, I did pretty well at keeping my calm in a tiny wooden boat during the middle of a torrential storm! Typically, a girl at the hostel visited Lake Bled the next day and had glorious sunshine for the entirety of the day. I guess this is an excuse for me to go back in the future! For some really beautiful sunny shots of the area, visit the beautiful Adventurous Miriam who seems to be as in love with Slovenia as I am! As I didn't have a lot of time in Slovenia and I wanted to cram as much in as possible while feeling safe given that this was my first solo adventure, I decided to book the Alpine Fairytale Tour with Roundabout Travel and I would highly recommend this company, our tour guide tried to make the trip as special as possible, even though we were severely hindered by the weather. If you don't wish to do a guided tour of this area, Lake Bled is easily accessible from Ljubljana by bus/train, although I've been warned that there is a fair walk from the train/bus stations to the main base of the lake. Many people also choose to stay the night in this gorgeous area, The Ace of Spades Hostel is highly recommended by the people I met in Slovenia! It's advisable to book this hostel in advance in the summer months as Lake Bled is such a popular destination with travellers! Top Things to do at Lake Bled
  1. Hire a Pletna Boat and rowing to the island in the middle of Lake Bled
  2. Visiting the church on the Island
  3. Climbing to the top of the hill and visiting the Castle
  4. Taste the famous "Bled Cake"

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own. Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Danielle1

This was without a doubt, my favourite day of the entire trip to Slovenia. Given that I was so impressed with the tour given by Roundabout Travel the previous day on my Lake Bled day trip (despite the weather set-backs), I decided to give them another chunk of my money and booked the Karst and Coast Tour. This was also the hottest day of my trip. The weather was around 28 degrees Celsius (in September) and was absolutely beautiful (thanks weather for not co-operating on my trip to Lake Bled - not!). Predjama Castle First stop was Predjama Castle, the famous castle in the side of a cliff! We were recommended not to waste time looking inside the castle as there isn't much to see (I believe it has been turned into a small museum) but I would definitely recommend checking out the outside of the building and the surrounding mountain areas - absolutely beautiful! Skocjan Caves

Photo credit: Skocjanske Jame Website

Next, on to the Skocjan Caves! There are two main cave networks in Slovenia, these being Skocjan and Postojna. While I didn't have time to visit both, I made my decision on which one to visit based on the advice that Postojna caves are like the "Disneyland caves" as you sit on a tourist train and work your way around the caves whereas Skocjan is a lot more raw and authentic. No internet research told me quite how much of a work out the Skocjan caves are - be warned, there's a lot of walking, a lot of stairs and a lot of steep climbs! But it's definitely worth it for the spectacular beauty of these caves. Unfortunately pictures aren't allowed in the caves due to artificial light affecting the colour of the cave structures, however this gives you more time to soak up the cave's beauty without looking through the lense of a camera! You are advised to wear jeans/covered shoes for the tour of the caves as it gets quite cold down in the caves, ignore this warning on a hot day! You will get sweaty for the rest of the day and the caves are such a work-out that you'll heat up even while a couple of hundred foot underground! Lipica Stud Farm Lipica Stud Farm is one of the few places on my trip that I hadn't heard about prior to my visit. It is the home to the beautiful white Lipizzaner horses. We stopped here briefly on our way to Piran and boy is it beautiful. Vast open green fields in the glorious sunshine filled with hundreds of beautiful white horses, I've never been somewhere so relaxing. Prosciutto, Ham & Wine Tasting The area of Karst is also well known for Kraški pršut (The Karst Prosciutto Ham). This tour takes you to a little beautiful restaurant where you are able to sample the amazing ham, cheese and wine while sitting in the glorious sun, shaded by a grape vine. This is one of my favourite memories of the trip. Our tour consisted of me, a male solo traveller in his 30s, a young couple in their 20s and a couple who were in their 60s. We sat drinking wine, eating amazing food and getting to know each other. The older couple were two of the most interesting people I have ever met and we all sat enthralled by their round-the-world travel stories. Travel isn't always about the places, but the people you meet too. Piran And finally on to our last stop, Prian! Piran is a beautiful seaside town where the weather seems to be eternally great! We started our trip to the area with a stop at Prian Wall which overlooks the town from a cliff for a breathtaking view of the tiny Slovenian coastline, as well as the neighbouring coastlines of Italy and Croatia! From here we were given free time to explore the town and do as we pleased (obviously, this meant a stop for ice-cream). Piran is absolutely beautiful and I would definitely recommend this as a town to get lost in.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own. Follow my blog with Bloglovin

In September, I embarked on my first ever solo trip to Slovenia and I am far too excited to share my pictures/stories from this trip with you. Flicking through my camera photos from this trip made me very nostalgic, Slovenia is absolutely beautiful and I would recommend it to anyone. Over the next few weeks, I will be uploading a series of blog posts about Slovenia and what there is to do in this beautiful country. First things first, the city of Ljubljana! Ljubljana is the capital city of Slovenia and while it may not have the most tourist attractions or take very long to see, it's definitely worth your time on a trip to Slovenia! The city is oozing with charm and I could have spent hours just wandering the beautiful streets. It's never a very good idea to arrive in a city without a clue on how to pronounce the name of said city (this led to a very awkward conversation with a taxi driver) - so FYI, it's pronounced Lube-li-ana. Triple Bridge  If you've seen a photo of Ljubljana, it's probably taken from Triple Bridge looking up at Ljubljana Castle as this is one of the iconic sights of the city. Triple Bridge isn't the only riverside location you should check out, make sure that you take a stroll down the river, visit the other bridges, look into the cute independent shops, sample the amazing food and generally soak up the relaxed riverside atmosphere. Preseren Square Preseren Square is the main square of Ljubljana and is adjacent to Triple Bridge. The square is the home of the famous "pink church" formally know as Franciscan Church (Franciskanska Cerkev). This is a great place to relax, use as a meeting point or just explore - the church is definitely worth your time! Cathedral of St Nicolas  The Cathedral of St Nicolas is a beautiful cathedral indeed. Even the door is to die for. It's definitely worth peeking inside (while there isn't a service obviously) to soak up this beautiful architecture. If you can, try and join a walking tour or visit the church when a walking tour is about to go past, the history of this building is very interesting! Metelkova Metelkova is an "alternative" social centre. The buildings are crazy, colourful and you won't know where to look, there's too much going on! The area is made up of ex-army barracks and was squatted in 1993. There are plenty of bars, art galleries and small concert halls within the area, I'd love to come back and see the place light up at night! Ljubljana Castle Up on the beautiful hillside of Ljubljana stands a picturesque castle. The walk to the top is steep but the views are well worth it (walk round to the back of the castle for a beautiful view over the outskirts of the city). The castle itself has a small entry fee and there are always small exhibitions in some of the rooms - when I visited a very dark exhibition on torture devices was on! Central Market Ljubljana's central market is a situated in the city centre and is perfect for browsing if you have some spare time! It's mainly fresh fruit and vegetables that are sold on the stalls, so perhaps not the best if you're only in the city for a day. But it's nice to immerse yourself in the local culture, you'll find a lot of Slovenians doing their food shopping here on an early morning! Walking Tour Ljubljana is only a small city, and can easily be seen in a day or two. However, I love to take a free walking tour when I arrive in a city and Ljubljana was no exception despite it's size. Not only are these tours are great way to learn where things are within the city, my inner history nerd becomes unleashed as I love finding out about the history and culture of new cities! Explore the Beautiful Streets & Adorable Shops The streets of Ljubljana are beautiful. The buildings and architecture are colourful and reminiscent of the streets of Budapest or Prague. It's a great city to get lost in and take all the sights. Eat All the Ice Cream Italy is known for its beautiful ice cream, so given that Slovenia is only a few miles away (some tour companies even offer day trips to Venice from Ljubljana), you'd expect that Slovenian ice cream is just as good! Slovenia gets particularly hot during summer and Cacao Cafe is a must-try. There's an overwhelming number of flavours to choose from - go wild and at least try a few!

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own. Follow my blog with Bloglovin