A glittering paradise alongside the North Adriatic Sea, Slovenia’s natural beauty knows no limits. This is a country that seems to have been purpose-built for outdoor pursuits, a place where you can enjoy world-class skiing, cycling, sailing and hiking, or head to the unspoilt beaches to relax in total tranquillity.

Slovenia is Italy’s closest neighbour on its eastern side, which makes it incredibly easy to access from Portopiccolo. Ljubljana, the country’s beautiful capital, is just an hour north by car. The scenic route, which takes in mountain, plain and forest, is almost worth the trip alone.

But stay a while and explore, and you’ll soon fall in love with this charming country. Ljubljana itself is a pretty jewellery box of a city, with car-free streets that are ideal for exploring on foot. Take in the views from Ljubljana Castle, a 16 th century fortress that sits calmly above the city, then head to the cafés that line the emerald green river to eat, drink and socialise with the locals.

But it’s out in the countryside that you’ll find the real Slovenia. Fast-moving rivers cry out to be rafted, epic peaks beg to be scaled, and an extensive network of cycle paths make for easy exploration.

The hiking here is some of Europe’s finest, with a range of trails to suit all abilities. Perhaps the most famous is the route to the peak of Mount Triglav. Climbing this three-headed mountain, which adorns the nation’s flag, is considered a rite of passage for Slovenians, and you can understand why – on a clear day, the views from the top are breath-taking.