Slovenia truly is a nature-lovers dream. This young country is home to thousands of caves, beautiful lakes, soaring mountains and flowing rivers.
Well, what if I told you it has gorgeous castles, cute and charming cities and one of its most traditional foods is cake?
I know. Sounds too good to be true, right? That’s just Slovenia, read on to find out the best way to see all of this wonderful beauty in the ultimate seven-day itinerary.
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Travelling in Slovenia simply screams road trip, with so many cute towns to stop in and many destinations located in the heart of nature, having a car will really give you the freedom you need to truly enjoy this amazing country.
Not wanting to drive? That’s no problem, all of our overnight stops will be accessible by public transport, and you can take tours or taxis to the more rural destinations to not miss out. Slovenia is even part of Europe’s fabulous Interrail Network, read more about how that works here.
Day 1: Ljubljana – the capital
Ljubljana is a thriving but quaint capital city. The streets are lined with colourful buildings and it has a somewhat whimsical vibe. You’ll start and finish your journey here, doing a circular route through most of Slovenia’s top destinations.
What to do and see in Ljubljana?
Ljubljana; the city of dragons. Whilst walking around this fabulous city you will see dragons everywhere! Thankfully not real dragons, but statues, figures and stair bannisters everywhere you look. This cute capital city has a very homely vibe, feeling more like a small town than the decently sized city it really is.
Begin by taking a stroll around the old town, along the coast of the river with the same name. Here you will wander past colourful buildings, cute cafes and friendly locals.
Feel free to allow yourself to get lost around the centre of the city for a while, just soaking in the magic and enjoying the architectural delights. If you want to grab a coffee or a snack, head to one of the city’s many pedestrian streets, all packed with cafes, restaurants and stores. Here you can try some of the many traditional Slovenian pastries, each with a lovely sweetness you’re sure not to forget.
After meandering around the old town for a while, spotting dragons everywhere you go, head towards Preseren Square, a large pedestrian square lined with a beautiful pink church and many other attractive buildings. As you do, take note of the many bridges that line the river, each one a spectacle in its own right. I often just walk up and down the river simply crossing each bridge and enjoying the beautiful design of each one.
Head back towards the old town, crossing the triple bridge towards the central market where you will get a taste of local culture, foods and wares. This is a great place to try Slovenian honey, something they are very proud of. In fact, one in every 70 people in Slovenia keep bees, making it a buzzing business.
Next, you will head up to the castle, there are a few ways to do this depending on how you’re feeling and how hot/cold it is. The walk is only around 15 minutes and so is far from a hike, but there is also an option to take the funicular or even drive up if you’ve picked up your car already.
This 11th-century castle is a testament to Slovenian architecture, towering over the city and providing lovely views of the surrounding area.
Now you’ve experienced some of the beautiful buildings of the city, time to had to the lovely nature! Tivoli Park is a huge area with ponds, forests and many walking trails. This is a great spot to unwind after exploring the city, or even to bring a few more of those Slovenian pastries I’ve been talking about and have a picnic.
As the evening rolls in, head back to the river where the energy will be starting to pick up. Ljubljana has an exciting nightlife and you’ll see many restaurants and bars opening their doors and patios for locals and tourists alike.
Where to eat in Ljubljana?
- Mesarstvo Krusic – For a local delicacy…horse meat
- Gujzina – The best place to try a whole range of different local foods
- Monstera – A creative fine-dining experience where the menu changes daily depending on what’s fresh and available
Where to stay in Ljubljana?
- $$$ – Zlata Ladjica Boutique Hotel
- $$ – Hotel Heritage
- $ – Boutique Hostel Angel
Day 2: Bled
Travel time: Around 35 minutes by car, or an hour by public transport.
No visit to Slovenia would be complete without a visit to the pretty little town of Bled and the world-famous lake of the same name. Sitting right on the edge of the lake, there is a lot to do in this gorgeous location. Or you can do nothing and simply take in the views.
What to do and see in Bled?
Bled is, in my opinion, one of the most picturesque locations in Europe. Start by wandering through the town, getting a feel of the cute little streets before heading down to the lakeside and enjoying the magic before your eyes. Bled is a beautiful destination all year round, but I recommend autumn when the weather is still pleasant and the leaves are beginning to change colour. There will be less tourists than in summer too, which is always a bonus.
Take a stroll along the coast, gazing at the amazing church that floats atop the lake before heading upwards to Bled Castle. Although a bit of a climb, the walk up to Bled Castle shouldn’t take you more than 15 minutes.
Here there is a museum to explore, but the true wonder is the spectacular views of the lake. If you want to have an even more breathtaking view then head to Mala Osojnica, a short 45-minute hike which is by far the most amazing spot to watch the sunset over the lake.
Visit Soteska Vintgar, a scenic walkway along a beautiful gorge, or simply sit along the lake shore eating pastries and sipping wine.
Where to eat in Bled?
- Finefood Berc – A fine-dining restaurant with romantic live music and a beautiful terrace and garden
- Bled Castle Restaraunt – Here you will have spectacular views of the lake while you enjoy some flavourful dishes
- Murka – For a more local feel offering traditional dishes
Where to stay in Bled?
- $$$ – Adora Luxury Hotel
- $$ – ECO Boutique Hotel AMS Beagle
- $ – The Best Hostel
Day 3: Day trip to Lake Bohinj
Travel time: Around 30 minutes driving or 1 hour and a half via public transport.
You will be spending the night in beautiful Bled again, so no need to pack your things. Today is all about nature and relaxation.
What to do and see in Lake Bohinj?
Lake Bohinj is another of the most beautiful sights to see in all of Slovenia, and it even gives its rival Lake Bled a run for its money in terms of stunning scenery. The main difference between the two, however, is that Lake Bled is likely inundated with tourists, whereas Lake Bohinj will give you a much more tranquil experience.
You have many different options for how to spend your day, I’d recommend grabbing breakfast in Bled and packing a picnic before heading over. Similar to the rest of Slovenia, Lake Bohinj can truly be enjoyed all year round, with a special kind of magic appearing in winter. I would definitely recommend going in spring or autumn though, as this is when the temperatures are pleasant, the colours are beautiful and the rest of the tourists are still at home working.
On arrival, take some time to admire the views before embarking on one of the many hikes and short walks in the area. A great stop is St John the Baptist Church.
Another common attraction is Zlatorog, a Slovenian god in the form of an ibex. This famous statue is located around the edge of the lake and offers beautiful views.
If you like hiking then you are truly in the perfect place! There are many hikes from the base of the lake, including Mostnica Gorge (a 12km round trip but can also be done in shorter sections), Savica Waterfall ( a short 1-hour round trip) and Mount Vogel (around 6 hours for most people).
The Mount Vogel viewpoint is something that should not be missed in Lake Bohinj, and if you’re not a fan of hiking all the way up then there is a convenient cable car that will take you there. From the top, there are many other hiking trails, as well as another chairlift that takes you even higher to more incredible views. I
n the winter this whole area is a ski resort and so is a great place to get your snow fix in!
Some other amazing activities to enjoy at Lake Bohinj are:
- Stand-up Paddle Boarding
- White-water Rafting
- Rock Climbing
- High Ropes Course
Where to eat in Lake Bohinj?
- Restavracija Kramar
- Triglav Bohinj
- Majerca Hotel and Restaurant
Day 4: Bovec
Travel time: 1 hour and a half driving or 2 and a half hours on public transport.
Sitting in the heart of the Julian Alps, this colourful town is often described as being an outdoor paradise. On your drive here you will cross some beautiful mountain passes with incredible views so be prepared to stop along the way when it is safe to do so.
What to do and see in Bovec?
There are many cute coffee shops and colourful houses in Bovec, so I recommend taking a little time to walk around the main street of this pretty little town. Grab some lunch before heading off to the Soča Valley. Here you can do many adventure sports, but I simply recommend doing the walk along the canyon, which offers stunning views of the fast-flowing river with many hanging-bridges, waterfalls and mountain views.
Where to eat in Bovec?
- Kuhnjca – For local street food with vegetarian options and fresh ingredients
- Sovdat – This place has dishes local to Bovec as well as Slovenian dishes and some more common foods such as burgers and salads
- Dobra Vila – For a fine dining experience in an intimate atmosphere
Where to stay in Bovec?
- $$$ – Hoel Soča
- $$ – Rooms pr zajčku
- $ – Hostel Bovec
Day 5: Goriška Brda
Travel time: Around 1 hour 20 minutes driving, but be prepared to make lots of stops. 3 hours on public transport.
The drive here is almost as amazing as the destination itself so be ready to pull over at every turn to enjoy many of the area’s attractions.
What to do and see in Goriška Brda?
Along the drive, you will follow the Soča River, known for its emerald-coloured waters. You will also journey through many vineyards, cute villages, lush forests and spectacular viewpoints. If you’re interested in history then stop off at Kobarid, where there is a great WW1 museum.
Goriška Brda itself is known as Slovenia’s wine region and so wine enthusiasts will have no end to their enjoyment here. Aside from wine tasting, there are some beautiful sites in the area, including Kromber Castle, the world’s largest stone bridge (Solkan Bridge), and some fabulous lookouts to view the town. You can easily spend your day lazily wandering the old dusted streets of this pretty little town.
Where to eat in Goriška Brda?
- Gredič – A magical place which gives meaning to its food
- Belvin – For local delicacies and great wine
- Bužinel – For Mediterranean cuisine coupled with wine
Where to stay in Goriška Brda?
- $$$ – Aldilà Art Rooms, Apartment and Vacation House
- $$ – B&B Calligaris
- $ – Affittacamere Fiumicello
Day 6: Piran
Travel time: Around 1 hour 45 minutes via Škocjan Caves driving. It is difficult to reach Škocjan Caves without your own vehicle, but still possible. It is around 4 hours on public transport to get to Piran.
Today you will be visiting the incredible Škocjan Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage site considered to be one of the most important cave systems in the world. Then you will enjoy the beautiful lakeside town of Piran.
What to do and see in Škocjan Caves/Piran?
Head straight for the Škocjan Caves where you will be immersed in the underground ecosystem of some of the world’s most stunning caverns. A visit here is completely free, and, although can be visited via public transport, it is quite out of the way so having a car is best.
After diving deep below the surface in this majestic cavern, continue your journey onwards to Piran. Explore the old town, which has a very different feel to it than the rest of Slovenia. Some highlights here include the Adriatic Coast, the medieval walls, the Church of St George and Tartini Square.
Head down to the lighthouse for sunset to enjoy the sky lighting up beautiful colours.
Where to eat in Piran?
- Ladja Podlanica – A floating seafood restaurant with fresh catches every day
- Pri Mari – One of the best-known restaurants in Piran and not one to miss
- Porta Marciana – For amazing pizzas
Where to stay in Piran?
- $$$ – Hotel Kempinski Palace Portorož
- $$ – Villa Bellevue Portoroz-Portorose
- $ – Adriatic Piran
Day 7: Ljubljana
Travel time: An hour and a half driving or 2 hours on public transport.
Take your time on your last day in Slovenia, enjoy a nice breakfast on the lake in Piran before heading back to Ljubljana where you can unwind for the afternoon before heading home or on to your next destination.
Well there you have it, not only have you explored the warm Slovenian culture, you’ve eaten some delicious pastries and seen some of the best views that nature has to offer. All in just one week. Truly amazing, right?
Not sure where to head next? Why not spend a weekend in Budapest?