Slovenia totally captivated me when I visited last summer for a week. The endless mountains, all shades of green and the relaxed atmosphere in the country had my heart stolen. My expectations where not only met but exceeded. If Slovenia is still not on your radar it should totally be. Here’s my best advise on how to build the perfect one week itinerary in Slovenia, where to go and all the information you might need to plan it.
The capital of Slovenia is Ljjubljana in the centre of the country, making it the main point of contact with highways. The language spoken is Slovenian. I did not have any problem communicating in English around the capital and all b&b’s /hotels I stayed at.
I found friendly people and even in the countryside when I got lost due to roadworks, finding out where to go with signs and broken languages was not a tedious experience. The currency they use are Euros. There were ATM’s around the main towns and I had no problem paying with credit card in some restaurants or hotels.
How to get to Slovenia
Ljubljana has an international airport, Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport, located half an hour outside of Slovenia’s capital. There are different airlines flying in from Europe. If you are like me and can’t find flights from your hometown (Barcelona) to Slovenia, don’t worry! There are other options.
- Fly to Venice or Trieste and rent a car there. If you are going to be flying out from there as well it makes sense. You will need to tell your renting company for insurance purposes that you plan to go to another country.
- Fly to Venice and get a bus to Ljubljana
- Fly to Trieste or Graz and take the train to Ljubljana
Driving rules in Slovenia
- Be of legal driving age +18 and have a valid driver’s license
- Do not forget to have your lights turned on at ALL times. It is illegal to not have them on
- The highway maximum speed is 130km/h
- Have your vignette on. It is a sticker that proves you can drive around the country. You can buy it at petrol stations. If you rent a car it will be included
- If it’s winter: winter tyres are mandatory and police and fine you if you don’t have them
Epic one week itinerary in Slovenia
Day 1 – Explore the capital: Ljubljana
To start this one week itinerary in Slovenia ideally you want to arrive the night before so once you wake up you have all day to explore the city. Aim to leave your accommodation before 9 to have time to visit the beautiful city. It is a charming but small capital that can be walked if you are up for the game. Learn the story of why Ljubljana is the city of dragons before you start exploring: it will make the day more interesting!
Things to do: Discover the capital Ljubljana and check out the artistic side of the city.
Where to stay: If you want a centric and cool looking hostel this one’s for you.
Day 2 – Places to see in Lake Bohinj
Drive from Ljubljana to Lake Bohinj taking the 403. If you have time stop at Skofja Loka and stroll the old town. On arrival to Lake Bohinj your breath will be taken away. Lake Bohinj is an alpine lake surrounded by alpine peaks and the scenery around is spectacular. If you are a mountain person like me, I can assure you it will be one of your favourite visited places yet!
Things to do: Al the activities that you can fit in a day at Lake Bohinj.
Where to stay: Rural guesthouse with basic facilities and amazing views.
Day 3: What to do in Lake Bled
For the third day of this epic one week itinerary in Slovenia drive to Lake Bled. This lake was made for fairy tales and everything around it and on it has that princess in castles appeal. From a castle with amazing viewpoints of the lake to the church in the island on the lake – lake Bled has activities for the whole family, for couples and groups of friends!
Things to do: 7 reasons to not go to this lake.
Where to stay: Chose from treehouses, glamping tents, pier tents and eco-friendly.
Day 4 and 5: things to do in Solcava
Drive to the mountains touching Austria. Here you will be able to follow different hiking trails and scenic roads. Make sure to stop at the different farms for viewpoints of the mountains and to try the local food.
Things to do: Road trips and farm made typical food sound good?
Sleep at: Experience the rural accommodation
Day 6 – Sightseeing Predjama, Skocjan and Piran
Rise nice and early and drive to Predjama castle for a guided tour of a hanging on a rock castle, get down on the UNESCO Solcava caves and wander the coastal town of Piran. Make sure to end the day with a good seafood delicatessen by the shore.
Things to do: Visit UNESCO caves and a hanging castle and feel the charm of the small coastal town of Piran.
Where to stay: accommodation in Piran was quite expensive for the dates so I chose to stay outside, about 15 minutes driving.
Day 7 – Drive back to Ljubljana
End your one week itinerary in Slovenia by returning your rental car and flying/taking the bus home or to your next destination.
Want to know where I went next? Took two buses (that were delayed) and ended up in Dubrovnik.
NOTE: you could use Ljubljana as your base, because everything is relatively close to the capital. I would suggest not doing so because you will spend more time than needed commuting and staying outside the capital is wonderful.
When I first started planning my itinerary around Slovenia I had never heard of Piran. After some research, everyone’s opinion about the hidden gem on the Adriatic had awakened my curiosity. Piran is a small coastal town of Slovenia. Influenced by the old Venetian Republic, the city has narrow streets with churches and squares. It is easily explored by foot, in fact the charm of the blowing breeze while walking is very appealing.
How to get there
The town is located about 90 minutes away from the capital Ljubljana. Getting there by car is very easy following the highway. There are two giant parking spots before the gate to the city. Only some residents have access to the city itself by car or if staying in a hotel on the inside, they can provide vouchers. The best and cheapest option is to park before the gate. The city provides a free shuttle bus running every 15 minutes that goes to the city centre and back.
Exploring Piran by foot
The shuttle bus drives along the harbour and you can already see the boats and people walking. The little town has steep streets with churches and souvenirs shops along the way. Next to St. George church, on top of the hill, you can climb to the bell tower for Piran’s best views. It only costs 1€!
Although the whole city can be seen from there, the walk down to the sea is another must in Piran. The city has beaches only on the hill behind the church and bell tower. People swim next to the harbour on the rocks and there are stairs to climb up.
The ambience of the city is so calmed and relaxed. There’s not much to see but it is all so beautiful that just strolling around was great. Stopping to see some artisanal works and also having gelato on the coast. The sea and salt were calling me after a hot day of driving and suffering the July’s weather so after finding a secluded rock to leave my bags I changed into my bikini and swam.
The sunset was spent eating calamari and fried sardines, finishing an amazing day of sightseeing with the tasteful fish.
When visiting the central part of Slovenia there are at least two mandatory stops. One of them has to be a cave and the other one is the Predjama castle. The Postojna caves receive all the hype, but they are also so big you need to take a train to visit them. I like to walk (a lot). Considering the Skocjan caves are on the UNESCO World Heritage List and you can walk, the choice for me was quite easy.I had a car to move from one place to the other but visiting both places took only half a day.
The Skocjan caves contain the largest underground gorge in Europe. It is a unique natural phenomenon that creates the Reka river. You have different options to visit the inside but I went with the one that allowed me to just walk at my pace inside – no guides. There is one side of the caves you can’t visit without a guide. It was chilly inside, but nothing a thin jersey couldn’t solve. The route takes you through the underground gorge. You have the chance to see the river and caves that are up to 100m high.
I liked walking through the different caves and bridges. By not having to follow a two hour long guide I could visit at my own pace deciding when to stop and where it wasn’t necessary. I think that was the reason I ended up liking the caves so much – freedom to explore.
The Predjama castle is a renaissance castle built in the 13th century. It is located in central Slovenia and what makes it highly different to any other castle you’ve heard of is that is partially inside of a cave and hanging from a cliff. Yes, you read that right. Take a look at the outside of the castle first.
To visit the inside of the castle there’s an audio guide available. I’m never one for guides (in general) but finally decided to visit the inside. It has the furniture of the 15th century and through the different spaces in the castle and audio’s you can know what that space was used for. During your visit you have the chance to find out about Erazem Lueger, lord of the Predjama castle during the 15th century.
The lord had a conflict with the Habsburgs, and had to barricade himself in his castle. The castle was sieged with the hope that once the food and water supplies were over; the castle inhabitants would have to surrender. During the year that the siege lasted, The Habsburgs knew they had a fresh food and water delivered in the castle. How did they know? Erazem used to tease them by throwing fresh fruit at the soliders. Later on it was discovered that there are secret tunnels carved in the rock that allowed fresh food to be brought from outside. The water was filtered with drying channels from the rock.
Finally they could bribe one of Erazem servants; who told them that the castle was impregnable but the toilet was the only weak part of the castle. By lighting a candle when Erazem was in the toilet, they killed the lord and ended the siege.
Had you ever heard of the Erazem legend? Do you have a favourite story from any of the places you’ve travelled to?
After discovering Ljubljana and spending a couple days in lake Bohinj and lake Bled we headed out to the moutains. We stayed in a lovely farm in the cute village of Solcava and decided to explore the majestic mountains next to us. What got my attention at first were the flowers. Yes, flowers. Everywhere, in every house, in every balcony and doorstep. We started the day in the Logar Valley or Logarska Dolina and continued driving through the Solcava Panoramic Road.
Logarska Dolina is a valley nested in the Kamnik Alps. The protected area is home to different farms that offer accommodation and food and there are several natural attractions. The entrance to the valley is already captivating. We paid an entrance fee of 7€ (There are different prices depending on vehicle that you can check here for the latest updates) and slowly drove up. The landscape starts flat with trees and fields on each side of the road, while the stunning mountains creating a circus can be seen far away.
After checking the leaflet provided upon entry we drove the car to the parking on Slap Rinka. With a fall of 105m the waterfall is the second highest waterfall in Slovenia and the water drop walk is very accessible. You need to be able to walk on gravel-rocky roads, but they are wide and don’t require much level of fitness. The walk from the parking lot takes about 15 minutes and the views are spectacular. Depending on how the wind blows you get water splashed if you decide to stay underneath it.
We decided to walk into the forest following a walking path and afterwards drove through the valley. It is impressive driving under a tunnel of trees only free of trees right on the sky, passing green area and green fields everywhere.
Solcava Panoramic Road
The Solcava Panoramic is a scenic mountain road with different points of interest in its 37km. The points of interest are highland farms with spectacular views, lookouts along the bendy roads and points of interest such as caves or churches. As you can see on the map below, there are 3 different available routes that you should choose considering your means of transport and available time.
We choose to drive through the green and blue routes.
Although our main interest where the views we ended up doing quick stops in most of the places – basically for the views! The powerful sensation of being on top of everything is exciting. We stopped in a lovely highland farm and made friends with pigs, goats and dogs while waiting for a delicious Slovenian meal. We had a vegetable soup with “meat dumplings” and a very tasty and sugar free raspberry cake. It was delicious!
On the blue route we decided to cross the Pavlic Pass. The Pavlic pass is the mountain pass that goes from Slovenia to Austria. It was a short detour and worth the views. We just drove there and back on the same road.
Has anyone tried the delicious soup with dumplings? I can’t remember the name so if you know please comment below.
Now that we’ve covered the awesomeness of Lake Bled, we can move on to another Slovenian lake: Lake Bohinj. It is the biggest lake in the country and the main gateway to the Triglav National Park.
Located only 20 minutes away from lake Bled it is already an entirely different world. Surrounded by the Alps, lake Bohinj is the perfect escape for nature lovers. It is far less crowded than lake Bled. The feeling of calm on Lake Bohinj and the connection with nature and landscape is just automatic once you get out of the car. There’s something about breathing mountain air that does the trick for me.
The Slovenian word for waterfall is slap, so following Slap Savica directions was quite easy. The roads are narrow so be aware of that when you drive on the winding forest roads.
The walk takes about 20 minutes going up stairs. I have to say that although it was early enough in the day, the summer heat was already tough. On arrival there are various groups of people trying to get their shots – so be patient!
Vogel ski resort
If the beauty from land was not enough to impress you, there’s just a perfect solution: hop on the Vogel cable car to the top. It will take you up to 1540m! Right outside the cable car there’s a little lookout area hanging on top of the mountains. From up there you can see the lake and its surroundings. To top it off, in front of you the majestic Alps rise high. It is really beautiful.
One of my favourite things to do up there was just sitting quietly and observing the beautiful mountains around me. There’s something special about sitting quietly and reconnecting with yourself and your thoughts while you are in the mountains.
There are a number of activities up high during summer, ranging from restaurants, to hiking trails higher up or down to the parking lot, ziplines or panorama lookouts.
Swimming in Lake Bohinj
On a hot summer’s day, the parking provided in different areas around the lake makes for the perfect beach. Unless you want to go to the most crowded area in the south, you should park in any of the spots that go from the south area (where the church of St. John the Baptist is) to the Ski resort cable car.
Locals and travellers share the little pebble coast to swim in the water. Considering the lake is fed by glacier water it was surprisingly warm to swim in!
After taking time with each of the activities I can assure you you’ll be ready for a glass of wine in the Slovenian countryside.
Lake Bled seems like it belongs in a Disney movie. It is a charming fairy tale location and every romantic person dream place. As one of the top attractions in the country, Lake Bled offers its visitors different activities to do. Some of them are musts and so every tourist and local has had to do/see them. But there is also some off the beaten path things to do.
LIST OF 4 MUST SEE THINGS IN LAKE BLED
1. Walk, run or take the tourist train around the lake
Depending on your preferences, you have three great ways to go around Lake Bled. You can walk or take a bike. The lap around the lake is a little bit more than 6 km. The route is easy and only has a climb of 7,3 metres all around the lake. There’s the option of taking the tourist train, which costs 4€ and also goes around the lake. It has different stops around the lake and during summer season you will be able to jump on it every 45 minutes. Any of these three options will ensure you get to see the Baroque church of the Assumption of Mary from different viewpoints.
2. Go to Bled Castle
Driving takes less than 10 minutes from the side of the lake where all hotels and restaurants are located. Parking cost 3€ for 2 hours, and that is the maximum stay you are allowed. There are buses from lake Bled that take you there and hiking routes (they go up almost vertical, so you need proper shoes and water bottle for the hike). Castle in Slovenian is Grad. There are signs indicating the grad everywhere. The entrance fee is 10€ and you get to visit the castle and see the lake from a higher lookout point. Again, you can see the church of the Assumption of Mary from up high. The views are truly breath taking. There is a lot of people in the castle (compared to the rest of the country) but I wouldn’t describe it as crowded.
3. Feast on the Bled cake
The Kremšnita cake is the typical dessert for the region. It certainly should be one of your mandatory stops. It is a sweet and delicious bite to have overlooking the lake. The recipe has been maintained mostly intact over the years. It is made of puff pastry with a layer of whipped cream on top and again another puff pastry layer. On top there is vanilla sugar.
4. Visit Vintgar Gorge
Merely 4 kilometres from Bled we can find this nature beauty. The gorge is 1.6 kilometres long and offers incredible views, turquoise water and little waterfalls along the way. A relaxing walk along wooden bridges accessible for everyone without much fitness required – it is mostly flat, but I would not push a wheelchair, as it gets narrow at some points. It finally leads to a 16 metre high waterfall at the end: Šum Slap. You can find toilets and refreshments at both end of the path, parking is free and entrance is 5€ per adult.
Pro tip! Vintgar Gorge is a very touristy place. It gets crowded easily because the paths and wooden bridges won’t let a big amount of people walk at the same time. There are buses running from Bled starting at 10:30am. The gorge opens its doors at 8am, and by getting there between 8 a 8:45 you can ensure a mostly quiet walk to appreciate the stunning nature.
TOP 3 DIFFERENT THINGS TO DO IN LAKE BLED
5. Swim in the lake
5.1 Get in the lake wherever you are (after double checking you can swim there) and swim.
5.2 I’m a fan of water parks (and I’ve never been in one… I know) but the kid in me never wastes a chance to jump of a trampoline or slide in a water slide. During my lap around the lake I saw the Castle Bathing Area or Grajsko Kopališče. It is located right underneath the castle and it is the only designated bathing area on the lake. It has one waterslide, outdoor swimming pools and big Lillo structures that kids can climb onto. They have 1000 lockers and also changing rooms. It really makes for the perfect place to chill after a hike – water, sun, and adventurous activities.
6. Swing into the lake with a rope
Following my inner kid, imagine my happiness when on my walk around the lake I found there was a swing! I could tick off another of my Bucket List ideas and swing from a rope into the lake!
The rope is located not more than 500m away from Mljno restaurant and hotel walking towards Vila Bled. It started raining when I decided that even with rain I would jump to the lake with the rope, so I ran in my bikini from my car (with queuing cars looking at me 😉 ) and jumped into the lake and enjoyed a fifteen minute rope swinging in the rain. Unfortunately, due to weather conditions, I don’t have photo to proof this.
7. Stop at the Bled Heart
Every couple, family and group of friends mandatory stop, the heart of Bled is a red wooden heart structure in the hotels and restaurants area of the lake. You walk past is when you’re doing the lap around the lake and most people walking in front of us stopped and took turns for the picture.
Do you have any other reason to never go to Lake Bled? If so please share them below!