Castles, Knights and White Horses, and World-Class Wines Extend the Crystal River Experience
Slovenia’s capital and largest city, Ljubljana, might surprise you. It is the epicenter of the country’s economic, administrative, educational and cultural operations. And yet, what will strike you at first sight upon setting foot into the city center is the color green. Ljubljana is a bustling city whose most valuable infrastructure is leafy and green, with towering treetops surrounding the streets along the equally emerald-hued Ljubljanica River. The city center allows no car traffic, which means that pedestrians, cyclists and students can enjoy the jewel box of architectural gems and thriving riverside eateries without battling gridlock.
Piran is a forest of a different kind. It sits at the tip of a peninsula reaching into the Adriatic like the official welcoming party of Slovenia. This role suits Piran beautifully, as a gloriously preserved medieval town that lays out its history through its narrow walkways like an outdoor museum, and inviting visitors to explore. Piran conjures images of Venice, with seaside sunsets, aromas of freshly baked pastries and cappuccinos, and the occasional “buon giorno!” thanks to its proximity to the Slovenian/Italian border. Officially bilingual and completely pedestrianized, Piran is a fascinating mix of cultures and flavors, if you can tear your eyes from the impossibly beautiful views.Two cities. Both worthy of extensive investigation by any savvy traveler. And both part of a fairytale-like holiday available pre- or post-cruise with select Crystal River Cruises sailing the Danube River. Before you embark on your luxury river cruise, or when you leave your Crystal ship, not wanting the journey to end, take advantage of the opportunity to extend your Crystal Experience to a comprehensive land program that includes all the details overseen by Crystal’s expert team.
Spend three days exploring “Slovenian Treasures” with a brand new Extended Land Program, which includes Ljubljana centerpieces like Ljubljana Castle, marketplaces, bridges and cathedrals, as well as Piran’s intertwined Italian stories and other influences, like celebrated wines. Enjoy the fully curated experiences designed to showcase the country’s most significant sites, and “Design Your Time” to include a quest to Lake Bled in the Slovenian Alps.
You’ll also come to appreciate the legendary side of Slovenia, with visits to Predjama Castle, built directly into a rocky hillside cave outside Piran in Karst, and said to be haunted since it was built in the 1200’s. In fact, the castle is packed with mysteries and curiosities, from the complex cave system beneath and behind it and notorious tales of the evil knight who presided over it, to a 16th-century chest filled with treasure (found in the cellar in 1991).
A legend on the lighter side of Slovenia is that of the pristine white steeds for which the countryside is famous – Lipizzaner Horses. The gleaming white horses are known for their grace and elegance, and have been synonymous with Slovenia since the late 1500’s. Greet the horses in their home stables as you learn about their significance, then indulge in a private luncheon during which your hosts will share more background on the surrounding Karst region.
Like all Crystal Extended Land Programs, the “Slovenian Treasures” program is the answer when you are waiting for your journey to begin, or simply do not want it to end. This program takes the attention to detail, impeccable service and expertly knowledgeable guidance you enjoy during your cruise and extends it beyond the ship, into one of the most intriguing countries in Europe.
All that’s missing is you.