Slovenia is a fabulous country, but I'm not sure that the cities are the way to see it. Ljubljana itself is a very pleasant elegant city, but there's a lot more to Slovenia than that. We were there for a week in 2005, and spent most of our time in the western half of the country, camping and travelling by car - it's a pretty small country (think Wales). One of the things Slovenia does best are small well-thought-out museums and exhibits of its agricultural and industrial past, dotted around the towns and villages. Highlights and must-sees for me would be:
(1). The Triglav National Park in the north-west, for spectacular secenery, dizzying passes, terrifc old pastoral architecture and the nearby Plansar (tasty) cheese museum. The iconic Lake Bled with its island church is indeed pretty and makes a good place to stay, but maybe just a bit
weighed down by tourists - the wilder country beyond is more rewarding.
(2). Kobarid and the Soca River Valley. As well as being a pretty little town, Kobarid houses one of the smallest and most genuinely moving museums I have ever visited. Brilliantly detailing the bizarre and awful WWI trench-and-tunnel warfare that was conducted almost-unbelievably on and under the snow-bound peaks surrounding the town, it just shouldn't be missed. I usually dislike war museums, but there's something about the frank and unglorified way that the story is told that works supremely well. Flowing down past Kobarid is the amazing Soca river, which is a magnificent colour of blue I have never seen before or since. Its whole valley is beautiful, with forest and small towns dotted along its deeply incised limestone course. Fabulous landscape.
(3). The Idrija Mercury Mines. Guided tours available of this unbelievably huge network of tiny mine tunnels (total tunnel length would stretch to Moscow!), hidden behind an unassuming door in a sleepy rural town. The mines are closed, but you can still see Cinnebar (sp?) ore oozing droplets of mercury, and learn about the terrible toll it took on the miners. On of the strangest and most unlikely attractions we've ever visited, but once you're kitted out in your lurid miner's jumpsuit you'll never look back.
(4). The Lipica Stud and Stables. If you like horses at all, this is the place to go. Not my thing at all generally, but very much my better half's, and yet I really enjoyed it. Great multi-lingual guided tours of a fascinating institution. Located in the Karst region of Slovenia, so there are nice limestone karstic landscapes and caves to enjoy too, such as...
(5). The Skocjan Caves. Breathtaking for their huge heights and magnificent drops rather than their confined spaces, they most closely resemble Peter Jackson's vision of Moria in his Fellowship of the Ring movie. Bit hard on the old legs in places, but worth it!
(6). Piran, on the south-east coast. As Austria's main connection with the sea, the coast may not be Slovenia's greatest tourist asset, what with sun-worshipping Istria just a short hop over the border. Piran, however, is a lovely seaside town with a long promenade, castle, square and Venetian buildings. Can be a bit crowded, but worthwhile nonetheless.
I'm sure there's a dozen things I've forgotten. One word of warning: parking seemed to be an issue everywhere we went in the west of the country - most space is undertsandably reserved for the locals, and most of the rest costs. Beware the frequently small signs explaining this! The west/north-west of Slovenia seems very geared up to the Italian tour-bus trade, and to the organised Adventure Sports minibus crowd, so as yet hasn't adpated to accomodate the independent car-user. Or possibly has adapted too well, to judge by the number of men in peaked caps who make their living selling parking by the hour.