Take a little bit of Bavaria, a sliver of Mediterranean Riviera, a stretch of the Danube, a touch of Venice and a slice of the Balkans—and you have Slovenia, one of Europe's best-kept secrets.

This charming little country, which declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, walked away relatively unscathed from the turmoil that engulfed the rest of the region. It took along with it some of everything that travelers enjoy in this part of the world: mountains and lakes, castles and Alpine forests, vineyards and meadows, beaches and island resorts.

Lying at a natural hub of European routes at the eastern tip of the Alps, Slovenia's lovely baroque capital, Ljubljana, is just a two-hour drive from Venice and a three-and-a-half-hour drive from Vienna.

Although the country may not be as large as Austria, Italy or Greece, it is certainly less crowded. With a culture that is both modern and traditional, a trip to Slovenia is worth your while, especially since it's easy to travel around the country.

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