I am here to let you in on a little secret.
Tucked away between Austria and Croatia exists a magical country, full of breathtaking mountain views and enchanting forests, begging you to get lost in them. Slovenia has everything to offer, especially since it's still under the radar of the average tourist.
So my fellow wanderers, here are eight reasons Slovenia is the perfect place to spend your next trip off-the-beaten-path:
1. It's a tree hugger's dream come true.
With over 60 percent of the country covered in forests, it's impossible to escape nature. I have yet to meet a Slovenian who doesn't have a deep appreciation for the great outdoors, which I believe is a result of their unbelievable surroundings.
2. Warmth exudes from the hearts of Slovenes.
In Slovenia, everyone is family. I can't count the number of times I have arrived at a Slovenian's home as a stranger and left as a friend.
If their love isn't enough to convince you, perhaps their national pride will. Although small in size, Slovenians are proud of their home, and rightfully so. If you're lucky, they will enjoy sharing its magic with you.
3. It's a great place for water lovers to make a splash.
With a combination of stunning lakes, incredible rivers and even a bit of ocean, Slovenia offers it all. Plus, with the country measuring only 118 miles from side-to-side, you could mix it up and see all three in one day.
4. It's full of uniquely enchanting villages.
Slovenian towns are charming. From villages constructed entirely from stone to brightly colored pastel homes, you will be wowed by its atmospheric diversity.
In fact, the villages not only differ architecturally but also culturally. You can expect locals that live only a town or two from one another to eat different delicacies, follow different traditions and even speak a different dialect.
This leaves the adventurer to explore different worlds in a matter of hours. Pretty neat, huh?
5. Coffee-holic? Slovenia has you covered.
If you're anything like me, you run on coffee. Imagine a place where it's acceptable, even encouraged, to drink coffee constantly. This place exists.
You guessed it. In Slovenia, enjoying coffee with friends at breakfast, lunch and dinner is part of your daily routine. Are you in love yet? I know I am.
6. The mountains are always calling.
Snowcapped alps and rolling hills fit for Julie Andrews to sing on make the mountain scene in Slovenia a sight that will leave you breathless.
I am convinced that hikers could spend their entire lives exploring the mountains in Slovenia and still long for more. And for the hiker seeking a challenge, look no further than the summit to Triglav, a Slovenian tradition that suggests all Slovenes hike to the highest peak in the county.
7. Castles, dragons and tales, oh my.
Tales of dragons and mythical creatures echo from the castles adorning the green hills in Slovenia.
For the traveler who adores a good old-fashioned fairytale or has an appreciation of history, all you need to do is open your eyes. Spend a day traveling the country's winding roads and it's easy to see where the stories stem from.
If the sparkling rivers and whispering forests don't make you believe in the story of Zlatorog or the dragon of Ljubljana, take a trip to Postojnska Jama, where you will have trouble convincing yourself that the newly hatched olms aren't baby dragons.
8. Calling all foodies: Get ready to make your stomach sing.
If Slovenia hasn't captured your heart yet, it's time to sit down and enjoy a meal.
Slovenians have mastered the art of flaky, buttery goodness through an array of burek options. Sweet or salty, if it's layered in filo dough, count me in.
Also, don't bother putting sugar in your coffee, instead order a piece of cake. The richness of a slice of prekmurska gibanica or the cloud-like consistency of a piece of kremna rezina, is bound to leave you smiling for days.
For dinner, order a hearty dish of golaž, filled with melt-in-your-mouth beef and a side of freshly baked bread. Talk about comfort food.
And what better way to finish an incredible day than sipping an ice-cold Laško and taking in the views?