Small but spectacular, Slovenia punches well above its weight in terms of looks and attractions. Often thought of as a fairy-tale kingdom full Sound of Music style scenery, it has far more to distract and delay the casual visitor.
The capital Ljubljana boasts fine Baroque and Hapsburg architecture and is guarded by an imposing hilltop castle. Pleasant riverside cafés and a fun night scene provide a nod to the present.
Lipica is home to the famous Lipizzaner horses that were originally bred by the Austro-Hungarian aristocracy for the Spanish riding School in Vienna. Only 3,000 remain in the world but you can visit to see a performance of classical riding or even saddle a horse of your own.
Lake Bled is the setting for an idyllic island church and atmospheric castle where you can take a dip in the blue-green waters, go boating or stroll along the water's edge in summer and skate or curl on the frozen ice in winter. Lake Bohinj is less visited but just as serene.
Outdoor enthusiasts should go white water rafting on the Soca River or head to the Julian Alps, one of Europe's least spoilt mountain ranges, with walking trails to appeal to both novices and hardened mountaineers. Skiing is another popular pastime and there are some 20 ski resorts throughout the mountains; Kranjska Gora is one of the best known.