3 OCTOBER 2007

Their champagne sipped, Willem and Maxima toured the fairytale-like, ninth-century castle - one Slovenia's oldest. Arranged around two courtyards, the structure includes a cellar where wine is bottled, and sealed with beeswax, as it was half a millennium ago.

Below the castle lies one of Slovenia's most popular tourist destinations, Lake Bled, which features a small island reached by taking a traditional pletna boat.

The royal pair also spent time in the capital, Ljubljana. Renowned as a centre of art and culture the city, with its narrow streets, riverside markets and historic centre, draws visitors from throughout Europe.

While Slovenia can lay claim to only 40 kilometres of coastline, its gateway to the Adriatic, the picturesque town of Piran, is not to be missed. Perched on a narrow headland, the town's terracotta roofs, winding streets and sun-drenched piazzas reflect its proximity to nearby Italy and give the town its special charm.

Photo: Rex
The royal duo enjoy the lakeside views from the vantage point of Bled Castle
Photo: Rex
Willem-Alexander and Maxima kick off their four-day official visit to the central European country with a glass of bubbly
Photo: Rex
Famous for its glacial lake with pretty central island, Bled is one of Slovenia's most popular destinations