Slovenia is a country that completely took me by surprise. We visited on a combined trip with Croatia and I really only had my sights set on visiting Lake Bled, the jewel of Slovenia. However, after researching Slovenia a bit more before our trip I could have spent a full week or two alone in Slovenia.
I have included some spots in this post that we didn’t get a chance to see, since I severely underestimated the time I could spend in this beautiful country. But I want you to have all the options and you can bet that I am adding them to my list for when we eventually return!
In this post, I’m going to show you the best things to do in Slovenia on your next vacation!
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Ljubljana is one of Europe’s smallest capital cities and one of the quietest capital cities in Europe! However, that doesn’t mean that it is boring.
Ljubljana is home to a university giving rise to its outdoor café culture and many museums.
The Ljubljana airport is the main airport in Slovenia, and likely where you fly into if arriving internationally.
#2 Predjama Castle
The Predjama Castle in Slovenia is a Renaissance castle built into the cliff side. It is honestly one of the most unique castles I have ever seen! Not the largest, but definitely the most unique.
However, Predjama Castle is the largest CAVE castle in the world! There is a network of secret tunnels, from where the knight Erazem of Predjama would set out on his plundering expeditions. The cave under Predjama Castle is also home to a colony of bats.
The Predjama Castle is located in Postojna Park which encompasses the Postojna Cave, Predjama Castle, and Vivarium.
It is free to visit the outside of the castle, and as we arrived after the tour times in May, we could not actually go inside. Instead we spent sometime admiring the outside and taking photos with only a few other people around.
You can purchase single or combo tour tickets here in advance for the multiple attractions within Postojna Park. If you are purchasing tickets for multiple attractions in the Postojna Park, make sure to check out the timetables as different tours run at different times.
Getting to Predjama Castle
The Predjama castle is about an hour west of the capital city of Ljubljana. The easiest way to get here is via a rental car (we always book via Discover Cars), especially if you are planning to visit additional spots in Slovenia.
However, if you are short on time an want to base yourself out of Ljubljana, you may want to book one of the following tours (I know traveling can be unpredictable – so all experiences recommended can be cancelled 24-hours beforehand for a full refund):
#3 Soča Valley
The Soča Valley is one of those hidden gems in Slovenia that we only discovered too late and wish we could have spent more time here. The Soča Valley is generally made up of four towns – Bovec, Kobarid, Tolmin, and Kanal.
We opted to stay one night in Kanal ob Soči on our way to Lake Bled. There really isn’t anything notable to do in town, however I loved just walking around exploring the quiet streets alone. It felt like we were the only tourists here. This is the only part of our trip where getting by with just our English was slightly tougher – but not impossible. Everyone we met (hotel check-in, restaurant servers, bakery owner) were extremely friendly and happy to see us.
The best thing to do in the Soča Valley is rafting, kayaking or canyoning on the Soča River, generally starting from the town of Bovec:
Getting to the Soča Valley
Getting to the Soča Valley from Ljubljana is possible via public transportation, however it will take about 2.5 – 3 hours and a couple bus changes depending on which town you want to visit. This area of Slovenia is more remote and less visited by tourists, therefore the easiest way to get here is via a rental car.
The roads are easy to navigate and you will find road signs in Slovenian and English. If you are accustomed to driving in Europe, you will have no troubles in Slovenia.
#4 Tolmin Gorges
The Tolmin Gorge is located within the Soča Valley in the town of Tolmin. The Tolmin Gorge is the start to the Triglav National park in the most southern part. It is also the lowest point of the national park at the point where the Tolminka and the Zadlaščica River converge.
There are multiple things to see at the Tolmin Gorge including the Thermal Springs, Bear’s Head, Devil’s Bridge, and Dante’s Cave all located within an out and back walking trail. The trail in steep in certain places and may be slippery if it has recently rained.
The trail is 2km long (1.2 mi) and will take about 1.5 hours to complete. You can purchase your tickets in advance here.
#5 Lake Bled
Lake Bled was the main reason that brought us to Slovenia and it was absolutely magical. Visiting Lake Bled should be a must on your Slovenia itinerary. Watching the sunrise over the lake, canoeing on the lake, visiting the Assumption of Maria Church, and enjoying the bakeries and restaurants are some highlights.
There are so many things to do around Lake Bled with its proximity to the Triglav National Park, Lake Bohinj, the Vintgar Gorge, visiting the Bled Castle, and the Logar Valley.
If you can, I would plan to stay at least 3 days in Lake Bled to explore all this area has to offer. However, if you are short on time, many people do arrange day trips from Ljubljana or Zagreb to see Lake Bled.
If you are looking for a highly rated tour to Lake Bled, I can suggest the following (I know traveling can be unpredictable – so all experiences recommended can be cancelled 24-hours beforehand for a full refund):
Getting to Lake Bled
Lake Bled is about 50 minutes north of the capital city of Ljubljana. The easiest way to get here is via a rental car (we always book via Discover Cars), especially if you are planning to visit additional spots in Slovenia.
However, if you want to take public transportation there is a bus running from the Tivoli station in Ljubljana to the Bled Mlino station in Bled. A one-way trip will take about 1 hour and 30 minutes. If you are not up for figuring out public transportation, consider one of the tours listed above!
#6 Triglav National Park
There are so many things to do within the Triglav National Park including hiking the Juliana Trail, water sports on the lakes, chasing waterfalls, castles and multiple gorges.
And the best part? The Triglav National Park is actually free to enjoy!
You could spend a whole week exploring all that Triglav has to offer, but below I have laid out a few of my personal favorites if you don’t a full week to spare.
#7 Lake Bohinj
Lake Bohinj is within the Triglav National Park and is the largest natural lakes in Slovenia. Many say it is even more beautiful than Lake Bled. With the Fužine massif in the north and the Bohinj mountains to the south, the lake fills the valley that was carved by glaciers.
Lake Bohinj is a 30 minute drive from Bled.
#8 Zelenci Nature Reserve
Another spot that is actually part of the Triglav National Park is Zelenci Nature Reserve. Here you will find tiny emerald-green pools, which are surrounded by a variety of plant life and wooden boardwalks.
The foliage in the fall transforms this area into a bright orange and red hues which looks spectacular against the emerald lakes.
Most people will base out of Bled to explore all that the Triglav National Park has to offer. As the Zelenci Nature Reserve is located at the north end of the park near the Italian and Austrian boarders, it will take you about an hour to reach from Bled.
#9 Vintgar Gorge
Substantially more well known than the Tolmin Gorge, due to its proximity to Bled, Vintgar Gorge is one of Slovenia’s most visited attractions.
Although part of the Triglav National Park, visiting the gorge is not free. Make sure to reserve tickets online a couple days ahead of time to make sure they don’t sell out.
Vintgar Gorge itself is about 1 mile and should take about 30-45 minutes to walk through depending on how many breaks you take along the way.
Getting to the Vintgar Gorge
The best way to get to the Vintgar Gorge from Bled is to use the free shuttle that operates during the high season from July to August. This will allow you to avoid parking problems that have been occurring recently near the gorges. You can read more information on the free shuttle timetables and pick up locations here.
If you are starting from Bled, it is also possible to rent a bike and enjoy a calm 30 minute ride to the Vintgar Gorge. It is also possible to drive, but you will need to park in one of the designated parking lots and walk 20 – 30 minutes into the gorge area. For more ways to reach the Vintgar Gorge, you can check out their website.
#10 Planina Zajamniki
Planina Zajamniki is a mountain village located on the Pokljuka Plateau with views of the Julian Alps and the Triglav National Park!
You can either drive to this spot, or hike through the surrounding forests from Rudno Polje which will take about 3 hours round trip. Although is you are driving, there is no designated parking. We just pulled over safely off of the road for about 20 minutes without any trouble.
#11 Logar Valley
On our way out of Bled, we decided to drive through the Logar Valley, which is a stunningly green valley with farms you can visit with local produce for sale, animals roaming free, perched churches, and waterfalls to explore. The Logar Valley (Logarska dolina) is one of the most beautiful Alpine glacial valleys in Europe.
You are supposed to be able to see the Julian Alps in the background, but unfortunately we chose a very rainy morning to make our drive.
There is supposed to be a 7EUR fee that you will pay at a booth at the start of the drive. However, when we drove by it was either too early, or too rainy, for anyone to collect a fee from us.
One day we will be back to do this drive again, and I will plan to stay overnight in the area at the famous Hotel Plesnik.
Getting to the Logar Valley
The Logar Valley is most accessible by car, and is 1.5 hours driving East of Bled. The good news is that car rentals are very reasonable in Europe (especially Slovenia) and the roads are well maintained getting to the Logar Valley.
While driving through the Logar Valley, depending on the route to take, we did encounter some unpaved roads that we have to take slower. It was also raining during our drive, so that slowed us down even more. If you take it cautiously when needed, driving here should not be a concern.
Piran is like the riviera of Slovenia! You are not going to want to miss putting this city on your itinerary.
You come to Piran to enjoy slow days, cafe hoping, or swimming in the Adriatic Sea.
Don’t expect to have a packed full day of activities. However, some notable things to do in town are to walk along the town walls, visit St. George’s Cathedral, enjoy the Tartini main square (pictured here), and walk along the marina.
Piran is a very walkable city, you actually need to park your car at one of the parking lots at the marina, and walk into town.
Getting to Piran
Piran is about 1.5 hours from the capital city of Ljubljana via car. It is also possible to arrive via bus in 2 hours. There are also day trip options available if you are limited on time, or want to base yourself out of Ljubljana for your trip to Slovenia.
#13 Heart Shaped Road
One of the most unique roads in the world can be found in Slovenia making a heart shape in the middle of a vineyard. This is located at the Sloveske Gorice Hills in the municipality of Kungota near the border with Austria and Hungary.
Visiting Slovenia FAQs
Here are the quick tips for visiting Slovenia.
Is English spoken in Slovenia?
English is very widely spoken in Slovenia, especially in the tourist spots. We did not have a problem communicating with anyone during our time in Slovenia.
However as always, it is a good idea to learn some basic words whenever you are traveling abroad.
When is the best time to visit Slovenia?
The best time to visit Slovenia is May or September, in the shoulder season before tourism and prices really pick up June through August. We visited in May and had some rainy days, but all around great weather.
Is Slovenia cheap to visit?
Slovenia is considerably cheaper to visit than its neighbors Austria, Switzerland, or Italy. It is also equally as beautiful (if not more) than its neighbors, has great wine and food, and truly authentic towns to explore!
You will really get value for your money when you plan a trip to Slovenia.
How long should I spend in Slovenia?
Spending at least 7 days in Slovenia would be the perfect amount of time to see a wide range of what the country has to offer. We severely underestimated the amount of time we could spend in Slovenia. Slovenia is much more than just Lake Bled.
That being said, if you only have a couple of days, I would base yourself out of the capital city Ljubljana and try to take day trips from there.
I hope that you now have all the tools you need to plan your itinerary for Slovenia. If you are currently planning a trip to Slovenia and have any questions, drop them in the comments below. For more travel inspiration and tips, follow me on Instagram for current updates.