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Slovenia in Autumn
2023 Trip Report

Slovenia is among the pair of European countries I’ve visited most. Its picturesque countryside, amiable inhabitants, visually appealing cities, towns, and medieval villages, delectable cuisine, and abundant art, culture, and history make every return feel like slipping into a cozy, familiar sweater. As an overall photography destination, it is without doubt my favorite “undiscovered” and hassle-free European country.

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As a wildlife photographer for most of my life, the realization that I could find joy in capturing images of medieval architecture, local markets, undulating vineyards, and national parks with sparse wildlife was a surprise. The advent of digital photography years ago opened new photographic horizons for me, particularly in the Old World. Prior to this, Norway was the only European country I visited regularly, primarily for its arctic Svalbard archipelago for incredible polar bear photography and the stunning winter landscapes and aurora borealis of the Lofoten archipelago.

Fresh from our Alps in Autumn journey through Austria and Germany, three of us from that group embarked on a short road trip to Ljubljana, Slovenia’s vibrant capital. With a free day sandwiched between our adventures, we immersed ourselves in the city’s charm, meandering through the expansive pedestrian zone downtown. Our cameras captured the lively café district, and the fruit and vegetable market, brimming with color.

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The following day, we welcomed the new members of our travel group and drove to an attractive chalet-style hotel nestled in the hills above Lake Bled. The record-breaking temperatures of the previous weeks had begun to dip, ushering in the long-awaited autumn. The trees, once stubbornly green, were now starting to tinge with the first hints of yellow.

With five days in this Julian Alps region that stretches from Italy through Slovenia and almost to the Adriatic, we had lots to photograph within spectacular Triglav National Park. During the week we shot at Lake Bled (with 11th century Bled Castle, and Bled Island with its crowning 17th century baroque church) Lake Bohinj (the largest lake in Slovenia) as well as striking Vintgar Gorge carved by the Radovna River.

In 1891, the hidden gem of Vintgar Gorge was unveiled to the world by Benedikt Lergetporer, a photographer, and Jakob Žumer, a cartographer. Initially, the gorge’s raw and untamed nature rendered it inaccessible and impossible to traverse. However, by 1893, over 500 meters of bridges and boardwalks were constructed, transforming the once impassable gorge into an accessible scenic marvel.

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We had a great time and an almost perfect day of photography in the gorge. But that night, it rained buckets. It was the type of torrential rain that makes rivers overflow their banks, and some of the Vintgar boardwalk was damaged as the surging water squeezed through the narrow canyon. Had we visited one day later it probably would have been impossible. In fact, the extreme rain went on for several days and lots of rivers had reached flood stage. But luckily for us virtually all that rain fell each night when we were comfortably tucked in our beds following a delicious dinner.

On our last day in the Julian Alps, we were up on the highest mountain pass in Slovenia at around 2100 meters (about 7000 feet.) The larch trees were not quite in full yellow hue due to recent record high temperatures—but good enough for lots of colorful landscapes. There was no snow which is surprising for the season. This winding mountain road is always good for a colorful sunset or dramatic clouds and this visit did not disappoint.

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Trips are always very different, and I had to laugh to myself because the last time I was up there the snow was deep, falling hard and driving the slippery winding roads was about as breathtaking as the scenery.

We had timed our visit to be in the Jeruzalem Wine Region in time for peak fall color in the vineyards. But—you guessed it—peak color was a week or two late due to record high temperatures (almost worldwide.) It also had been raining here quite a bit. But that did not stop us from getting good vineyard shots, enjoying wine tasting at a winery as well as with our dinners. One silver lining to the weather change was the addition of ethereal mist that swirled over the graphic rows of grapes on the hillsides, adding a magical touch across the landscape.

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Would it have been nice to have “knock your socks off” fall color? You bet! But as usual, Slovenia did not disappoint and I found myself, once again, thinking its no wonder the Slovenia tourist board promotes the “love” in sLOVEnia!

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New Trip for 2025!

Timeless Landscapes of Slovenia and Croatia

Imagine stepping into a storybook where every scene is a work of art. That is what awaits you in Slovenia and Croatia—two tiny, enchanting photogenic countries that embody “Europe in miniature.” Photograph the best of their national park landscapes, countryside, and medieval architecture on this trip.

October 11 - 22, 2025
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