Nestled between the Alps and the Adriatic, Slovenia is an incredible photography destination with a growing reputation, but it still has the feel of being a little known paradise with some hidden gems yet to be discovered. May was the perfect month for Photographer Jeremy Flint to spend a week travelling around this small but beautifully formed country. Here’s how he got on photographing Slovenia in a week:
“Slovenia has been a place on my bucket list for many years ever since seeing pictures of the country in a travel magazine. I decided to spend a week visiting there in May this year. It’s is a relatively small country in Central Europe yet is packed full of jaw-dropping beauty. From the towering Julian Alps to sparkling emerald-green lakes and the picturesque Adriatic coast, Slovenia has a lot to offer. Besides an abundance of natural wonders, you can also find architectural treasures from Venetian harbour towns to charming hill-top churches.
Planning a trip here was mainly done using a guide book to help decide where to stay and which places to visit. Luka Esenko’s SNAPP Guides to Slovenia were great resources in finding some of the best photo locations during my travels including Lake Bled, Ljubljana and Piran. I also discovered a couple of less well-known spots through internet research and whilst out walking. Here are some of the highlights of my trip and a few tips on things to photograph if you are planning a visit to Slovenia.
First I visited Velika Planina, an alpine pastureland where shepherds graze their cattle and live in traditional huts. These huts are unique to the area and provide great subjects for photographs. From the top of the plateau, you can walk around the pristine fields and soak in the amazing views.
Next, I headed west towards the medieval town of Skofja Loka, one of the most beautiful and oldest settlements in Slovenia and the iconic Saint Thomas church. This 16th century church is like something out of a fairy tale and is perched on a slope before a backdrop of the mighty Slovenian Alps. The valley itself is a great spot for photography with mountain and village views in the vicinity.
When you think of Slovenia, Lake Bled is probably the first place that comes to mind. Seeing the lake for the first time is an amazing moment and a visual treat. Its crystal clear lake, iconic church on an island, beautiful castle perched atop a steep cliff and majestic mountains are nothing short of spectacular.
The lake can be photographed from any vantage point around its perimeter and you can walk up one of the slopes for an elevated view of the lake. I decided to capture the church and mountains from the lakeside so found a suitable location to photograph this scene. Calm days offer the best chance to capture reflections and it’s worth using a tripod to experiment with shutter speeds.
As Lake Bled is becoming more and more popular with visitors and photographers it is worth venturing south west to Bled’s appealing neighbour Lake Bohinj which can be more peaceful. The lakefront offers great views of the water and surrounding mountains.
Mount Triglav is Slovenia’s highest peak at 2864 metres and is the centrepiece to Triglav National Park, located in the Julian Alps of north-western Slovenia. Popular with hikers, skiers and water sports enthusiasts, this pristine park offers nature lovers river gorges, lakes, forests, meadows, waterfalls and a lush green landscape.
One of the places I enjoyed visiting was Lake Jasna. It is a stunning alpine lake and a popular tourist destination. The lake is guarded by a statue of a Zlatorog (golden horn), the legendary Chamois (goat-antelope) of Mount Triglav and is a popular recreation area amongst visitors.
The Soča Valley occupies the beautiful Soča River, considered as one of the most photogenic rivers in the world. Its emerald colour and mountainous landscape above offer brilliant photo opportunities for landscape photographers. The water flows across waterfalls and cascades as well as through rocky gorges. Due to the nature of the location, there is no real light in the valley at sunrise or sunset so the river is better suited to daytime photography.
The Istrian Coast is just a skip south west from the Soča River valley where picturesque Piran is a pearl by the ocean. Piran sits at the tip of a narrow peninsula and is a gem of Venetian Gothic Architecture. Its Old Town is one of the best-preserved historical towns along the Adriatic. I found the winding alleyways, the sunsets and the interesting buildings to be some of the town’s most alluring features.
For the final leg of my journey, I drove to Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital and largest city. Ljubljana offers several interesting subjects for photographers as it’s graced with beautiful buildings and an impressive old town.
The Ljubljanica river flows right through the heart of the city and makes an interesting subject, besides the churches, fountains and bridges. Ljubljana is also a popular place for locals and tourists with many café’s, restaurants and bars appealing to street photographers. Don’t miss the castle, there are some great views overlooking the city.
On reflection, Slovenia is a captivating country with a great landscape and an abundance of attractions to rival a country many times its size.”
Jeremy Flint is the author of a SNAPP Guide to photographing Oxford and used Luka Esenko‘s guides to photographing Slovenia to travel around the country. Discover more SNAPP Guides to help you plan your next photography trip and find some of the world’s most photographic spots.