Slovenia and Croatia aren’t the most well-known of European countries, but their smaller size means that you can see a lot in just a week, especially if you focus on the northernmost part of Croatia.

So, what are the top things to do in Slovenia and Croatia, when you’re limited for time?

To listen, hit play below or find episode 255 in iTunes or Soundcloud:

We threw our time in Slovenia and Croatia open to all as we prepared for IndieRail, and we’re glad we did. The three recommended places we had time to visit each had a unique charm, and balanced city and countryside perfectly.

The highlights of Maribor

One of this year’s European Cities of Culture, Maribor is small and easily walkable. There’s plenty of cute little streets where old and new collide, a lively street-art scene, and the river-valley is pleasantly surrounded by vineyards and forest.

Vinag Wine Cellar

Arrive at 1pm to tour these cellars – one of the most exclusive in the old Czechoslovakia. Your €3.50 tour fee also gets you a glass of wine to finish off with.

Inside the Vinag wine cellars, Maribor
Inside the Vinag wine cellars, Maribor

Visit the world’s oldest vine

The oldest grape vine in the world is still producing grapes, and they are still being made into wine! Arrive in early March for the annual cutting festival, and join the party.

Oldest vine in the world maribor slovenia
The oldest grape vine in the world

Walk up Piramide hill

One of the several hills, Piramide has several walking paths, so you can choose your route and escape the city for as long as you like. We spent an hour up here, looking through the ruins, the vines, and enjoying the view.

Hiking piramide hill maribor slovenia
Hiking up Piramide hill… Not too far!

The top 10 monuments and things to do in Maribor

Linda’s put together this video of the top 10 things to do in Maribor.

The highlights of Bohinj

You’ve heard of Bled? This quieter neighbour helps you to avoid the resorts while still enjoying everything that Lake Bled has to offer.

The lake

It’s just as beautiful as everyone says.

Lake and church in Bohinj, Slovenia
Bohinj, Slovenia.

The countryside

Forest, farms, local produce… What’s not to like? We’ll be back here with a week or two of hiking in mind.

Walking along the quiet roads, enjoying the mountains.
Walking along the quiet roads, enjoying the mountains.

Highlights of Zagreb

We first visited Croatia’s capital in 2007, but it seemed like a different city this time around. We loved its grungy energy, and specifically enjoyed…

The markets

Bridging the upper and lower towns, these huge outdoor markets bring in local farmers and little old ladies who have been out collecting mushrooms or making fresh cheeses. The grill restaurants on the stairs are highly recommended.

Lunch - found by the markets in Zagreb.
Lunch – found by the markets in Zagreb.

Religious buildings and artworks

Luckily, many of Zagreb’s religious buildings survived the Communist era. We were surprised by the beauty of many, as we ducked inside.

Many of Zagreb's attractions are churches.
Many of Zagreb’s attractions are churches.

A beer at Jarun

The large lake and water-sports complex south of the city is an easy tram ride away from the centre. The perfect place to have a wander, and sit lakeside with a beer.

Have a beer at a lakeside bar at Jarun.
Have a beer at a lakeside bar at Jarun.

Two very different museums in Zagreb

The Museum of Broken Relationships is certainly unique, showcasing dozens of items representing the grief, anger, and sometimes joy, of the break-up. The Archeology Museum is sometimes poorly curated, but houses some fascinating exhibits, including the longest Etruscan text in the world.

Entrance to the Archaeology Museum of Zagreb.
Entrance to the Archaeology Museum of Zagreb.

To hear the stories behind the highlights, hit play above or search for “indie travel” in any podcast app. This is episode 255, and it’s free in iTunes.

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Your thoughts on "Top things to do in Slovenia and Croatia"

  • Good episode. Have a friend who vacations often in Slovenia and loves it. Been wanting to visit Croatia for a couple of years now. Have heard great things about it. Maybe this summer -- tack it on to a trip to Hungary to visit my wife's family. Two suggestions on comments in this episode - 1. Check out this episode ( of the BBC's In Our Time podcast for a discussion of Etruscan civilization. I think you're not finding much information about them because they didn't leave too much behind 2. I suggest using a bit of music to denote the beginning and end of each episode. I do it on my podcast and find it successful. Indeed, I use music to denote new topics/segments in my podcast. It's an old radio trick. I wouldn't like to see several seconds of silence. I typically build an ad hoc playlist of podcasts to play during my bicycling rides. It would be very annoying to have to stop, unclip, and skip past the silence to the next podcast.

    on December 4, 2012 at 10:15 am Reply
  • Hi Mark, yes it's well worth a visit! Thanks for the link to the Etruscan podcast. I've had a listen and it's great. I listen to a lot of In Our Time, but missed that one. We're still thinking about adding some kind of music, but we're still on catch-up mode after a disastrous six weeks. It might be coming early in 2013.

    on December 20, 2012 at 7:10 am Reply

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