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5 things you didn't know about Slovenia

Although it's one of the most popular holiday destinations in Central Europe, there's a great deal more to Slovenia than meets the eye. Its history takes in Holy Roman Empire influences as much as classic, gothic and Hungarian flavours, plus plenty of local legends gives Slovenia a unique identity.

If you're planning a trip here, make sure you brush up on your knowledge, as Slovenia has plenty of aces up its sleeve. Our five fast facts are just the start of what this intriguing little nation has to offer.

1. Reaching for greater heights

There's certainly no shortage of places to ski in Europe, and many of us are used to the slopes of Austria and the Alps of Italy.

However, in Slovenia they've upped their game to tremendous effect, with the magnificent Planica ski resort, close to the Tamar Valley.

It's here that one of the highest ski jumps in the world is located, and throughout the last 80 years or more it's been home to over 60 world records for brave souls who've conquered its slope, to soar beyond.

2. The daring pair

In 1990, history was made in the Himalayas as Slovenian married couple Andrej and Marija Stremfelj were the first husband and wife duo to conquer Everest. Slovenian people are no strangers to mountaintops, since the country is rich with peaks and valleys, but Everest is always a tall order no matter where you're from.

Doubling up on the record-breaking, Marija herself was the first Slovenian woman ever to reach the summit of Everest. It's something to ponder as you explore the hills and valleys of Slovenia on your next trip.

3. Keeping chivalry alive

If a Slovenian couple can conquer Everest, it stands to reason that a wedding here is a great way to start your lives together on the right foot. A popular wedding spot in Slovenia is Bled Island, which is as beautiful as a fairytale realm, with a chapel just as fantastically styled. However, there's also a local superstition that's said to bring those couples who marry here good fortune throughout their matrimony.

On the day of the wedding, the groom is to carry his new wife up all 99 of the stone steps of the island's church, and once he reaches the top, the newlyweds can ring the bell and make a wish.

4. Visit the loved one

The capital of Slovenia is Ljubljana, a beautiful city rich in mystery, history and beauty. Slovenia's flair for the romantic shines through once again here, since the capital's name translates as 'the loved one'. It's pretty apparent how much they love their city.

If that's not awesome enough for you, consider that the symbol of Ljubljana is the mythical dragon. It's said that this great winged fire-breathing brute once terrorised the city in days gone by, until Prince Jason of Ancient Greece – who happened to be passing through – offered to slay it. This he did, yet it's the fallen monster who's heralded the hero and loved by the locals today.

5. Wine every which way

You might be familiar with the tipples of Italy, Spain and Portugal, yet Slovenia shares an accolade with Malta as one of Europe's unsung heroes of the wine world. It's safe to say that they adore wine here, since there's a winery or vineyard for every 70 people across Slovenia.

The most famous Slovenian wine is perhaps Teran red wine, said to promote a healthy heart and a lively mind, when enjoyed responsibly of course.

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