The Perfect Slovenia Itinerary for 3, 5, 7 or 10+ Days

The Perfect Slovenia Itinerary for 3, 5, 7 or 10+ Days

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Planning the perfect Slovenia itinerary can be daunting.  With so many utterly jaw dropping landscapes and so much beauty packed into such a small package, how do you know where to start?

Slovenia is a relatively small country.  It is 1/10th the size of Washington State here in the US.  Despite its small size, it contains a surprising variety of different landscapes.  

We spent two weeks in Slovenia and still felt like it wasn’t enough.  I realize that not everyone has this much time to spend in one spot when there is SOOO much of Europe to see.  This is why instead of offering our whole itinerary from beginning to end, I am breaking it apart by components.  

Once I explain the pieces, I will offer suggestions at the end for how to combine them most efficiently, dependent on your interests and how much time you have to spend in Slovenia.

Table of Contents

  • How Much Time to Spend in Slovenia
  • Planning your Time and Getting around Slovenia
  • The Best Places to Visit in Slovenia
  • Putting Together your Slovenia Itinerary
  • Our Complete Slovenia Itinerary for 14 days

    How Much Time to Spend in Slovenia

    Many folks visit Slovenia as an add on to another trip in the area.  They visit on the way to or from Croatia or Venice or another nearby country.  They stay for a couple days, see the highlights and move on to their target. In moving on too quickly, they miss so much of what this amazing country has to offer.

    If at all possible, give Slovenia a few more days.  Even a week or two. You will not regret it. If you don’t, I can promise you that you will be making a return trip to see more of what you missed.

    Planning your Time and Getting around Slovenia

    Slovenia is pretty small, and for the most part the road system is excellent.  If you start in the center, you can get to many parts of the country in under an hour and a half, making much of the country accessible by day trip.  That being said, the further off the main roads you get, the slower you will move. Many secondary roads in Slovenia are mountainous and/or gravel.

    In addition, if you are heading into the mountains, you should add extra time in Slovenia travel itinerary.  Getting up into and around the mountains also takes more time because of smaller roads.

    While there is SO MUCH MORE to see in each of these areas, Piran and Lake Bled CAN be done as day trips from Ljubljana.  Also, if you prefer to stay in a more rural environment and are less interested in immersing yourself in Ljubljana, you can choose to stay near Lake Bled like we did and visit Ljubljana as a day trip from there.


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    The Best Places to Visit in Slovenia

    Not everyone has the same interests when visiting a country.  Some folks like the more outdoors and adventure, some like more cute little towns and castles.  I could go on and on. You get the idea.

    Before I make suggestions for putting together the perfect Slovenia itinerary for your family, I want to give you an overview of the different regions that we visited, the best cities to visit in Slovenia as well as what to see there and in between.  I will also make suggestions based on our experience for a minimum of how long you need to spend in each place.

    The oft photographed church and bridge in Ribcev Laz, on the banks of Lake Bohinj Slovenia.
    The oft photographed church and bridge in Ribcev Laz, on the banks of Lake Bohinj Slovenia.



    Ljubljana

    Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia and it is delightful city to explore.  You can spend your time meandering its’ cobbled streets, taking a lovely free walking tour or peruse the worthwhile Saturday market.  

    Ljubljana makes a great day out for families with its funicular and castle, a great park, lots of ice cream stops and an amusing Museum of Illusions.  A large portion of the city is car free making it less stressful to visit with kids.

    Those with an interest in architecture might enjoy a tour of Jože Plečnik’s notable works of architecture in the city.  In addition, you will want to visit the famed Dragon Bridge and the Triple Bridge. Don’t worry, they are hard to miss…both are right in the heart of Slovenia’s Old Town which is where you will likely be spending the majority of your time.

    Ljubljana is easily worth 1-2 days.  If you are really into history or architecture, you might enjoy more time here.  I felt that 1-2 days was sufficient to see the highlights and not have the kids get bored.

    Here is a link to our full rundown of how we spent our time in Ljubljana with kids.

    Exploring Ljubljana with kids
    Ljubljana was a lovely, peaceful city to explore with little ones.


    Lake Bled

    Lake Bled is truly stunning.  It really is as beautiful as it looks in all of those pictures you see of it plastered all over the internet.  It also is one of the most touristy spots in the country. Despite this, it really needs to have a prime spot on your Slovenia itinerary, even if you are only visiting for a few days.

    While in the area, you will want to walk around the lake to get all possible views of its epic beauty. You will want to take a pletna boat out to the island.  Many folks also enjoy taking one of the short hiking trails up to one of the viewpoints on the west end of the lake for better views. There are also lovely views from Straza Bled, the hill with the mountain roller coaster near the lake (our kids LOVED this!)

    If you have more than once day in the area, you will also want to make sure that you take the easy hike at Vintgar Gorge.

    Lake Bled Pletna boat
    The Pletna boats of Lake Bled are a must on any Slovenia itierary.


    Staying outside of Lake Bled will give you a break from the tourist crowds.  In the summertime, you will want to make sure to visit the most popular Lake Bled attractions early in the day to minimize crowds.

    Because many of these sights are weather dependent, we chose to spend six nights in the area.  During this time, we saw Lake Bled, Vintgar Gorge, Lake Bohinj and the Vrsic pass as well as two days in Ljubljana. Spending more time in the area will give you a better chance of being able to see key sights on days when you have stellar weather, and to fill in better “rain day” activities on other days.

    To summarize, you will need one day to see Lake Bled (and this CAN be done on a daytrip from Ljubljana).  You need a second day to hit Vintgar Gorge, one additional day for Lake Bohinj and/or AT LEAST one extra day for the Vrsic Pass.

    Here is a link to details of the time we spent near Lake Bled:

    Lake Bled with Kids

    Hiking the Vintgar Gorge

    Lake Bohinj Slovenia with Kids



    Vrsic Pass/Triglav National Park

    The Vrsic Pass drive typically starts about 45 minutes from Lake Bled in the north of the country near Kranska Gora with Lake Jasna.  From here, you will continue up and over the mountain pass eventually ending in the Soca Valley and Bovec.  This region is epic and the water of the Soca River really is as blue as you see in the pictures.

    Try to plan your drive over the pass for a sunny day for best views and river shots.

    If you start early, you can drive the Vrsic pass in one day.  If you need to get back to Lake Bled, there is a car train that you can get on to take you back and shorten your return drive a bit.

    Here are the details of our day driving the Vrsic Pass and the beautiful Soca Valley.


    The Vrsic Pass, Triglav National Park, Slovenia


    Soca Valley / Bovec

    Bovec is the city on the far side of the Vrsic Pass.  This is a haven for adventure sports such as rafting, hiking, via ferrata, etc.  It is also a region rich in WWI history. While the pass can be done in one day, adding on the Soca River AND the sights around Bovec in one day is a stretch, especially if you need to get back to Ljubljana or Lake Bled.  

    Geographically, there really isn’t a good way to get back here again because it is cut off by the mountains, so we squashed it all into one day. We did it, but it was a long day and we missed some things that we wanted to see.

    Spending a second day in this area is ideal to avoid feeling rushed.  Trust me. After getting down from the pass at around lunch time, we spent a chunk of time taking photos of the captivating blue river.  Then we continued our whirlwind tour by hiking to a waterfall and seeing an open air WWI history museum. By the time we finished all of that it was dinner time, and we got back to our accomodation in Lake Bled well after dark.

    Other sights in the area that we missed include the Tolmin Gorge, an excellent WWI museum in Kobarid and Slap Kozjak (one of the most visited waterfalls in the country.)


    We couldn’t do this tour with the kids, but I wished that we could. An amazing day of beautiful scenery and adventure including the Vrsic Pass and rafting the Soca River. A great way to see a lot in a little time!


    Our favorite Soca River Slovenia photo stop. Beautiful azure blue water.
    The water of the Soca River really is THAT blue.

    Slap Virje was one of the most beautiful waterfalls that we have ever seen.


    Piran

    Piran and the region around it are Slovenia’s beautiful Mediterranean coastal jewel.  The scenery changes dramatically as you approach this area, shifting from mountainous to downright tropical very quickly, leaving you wondering when you suddenly crossed the border into Mediterranean Italy by accident.

    Piran is the main draw in this area, but this region is also an ideal base for exploring some the countries most popular tourist sights including Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle.  The region is awash with little towns and villages to explore, each one cuter than the next.

    Piran itself is small and compact and it can be explored in a day or even a half day.  If you are planning on seeing Postojna Caves or Predjama Castle from here, add another day.  If you have more time and are interested, you could easily spend another day drinking your way through the wine region near here and perusing a few more pretty villages, or spending a day at one of Slovenia’s few Mediterranean beaches.

    Shanna and kids in Piran Slovenia
    Me with the kiddos on the lovely, cobbled streets of Piran.


    Here are details of our time spend in and around Piran:

    Piran Slovenia with Kids

    Koper and Izola Slovenia: Picture Perfect Towns on Slovenia’s Mediterranean Coast

    Predjama Castle and Postona Cave


    Eastern Slovenia

    We did not make it into eastern Slovenia on this trip.  Most folks visit Western Slovenia because of the high concentration of epic scenery.  While he scenery in Eastern Slovenia may not be as dramatic, the region is known for producing wine and it has a number of worthy cities and sights.

    The region is anchored by the cities of Maribor and Ptuj.  Outside of exploring these, I had also noted a few castles to explore as well as a variety of lovely hot springs.  I am sorry that I cannot yet offer more insights here – we had to leave this for another trip.

    Putting Together your Slovenia Itinerary

    3 Days in Slovenia

    Unless you are LITERALLY just passing through one city on the way to somewhere else, 3 days in Slovenia is the minimum amount of time to “see” something of Slovenia.  Ljubljana and Lake Bled are two of the most visited parts of Slovenia for a reason. Seeing these highlights will give you a small but sweet taste of what the rest of Slovenia has to offer.

    I would suggest spending one day in Ljubljana and two in Lake Bled or vice versa.  This will depend on what your interested in. If you are more into cities, spend extra time in Ljubljana.  If nature is more your thing, spend an extra day around Lake Bled and hike the Vintgar Gorge or explore lake Bohinj.

    If you won’t have a car, getting between Ljubljana and Lake Bled is an easy connection with trains regularly throughout the day.  There are also a number of wonderful tours that you can take to see Lake Bled from Ljubljana.

    If one or the other of those cities to visit in Slovenia aren’t of interest to you, Postojna Caves/Predjama Castle or Piran are also doable as day trips from Ljubljana and could be substituted in this Slovenia trip itinerary.

    Predjama Castle is a easy addition to your Slovenia itinerary. It is an easy day trip from Ljubljana or Lake Bled.


    Option 1 (2 Days in Ljubljana, 1 in Lake Bled):

    • Day One (Ljubljana): Free Ljubljana Walking Tour, Ljubljana Central Market, Ice Cream at Vigo
    • Day Two (Ljubljana): Ljubljana Castle and Funnicular, Lunch in Tivoli Park (eat a horse burger at nearby Hot Horse if you are feeling adventurous). Dinner at Gostlina Sokol and wander around the old town after dark for some of those stunning night views of the bridges.
    • Day Three (Lake Bled): Get an early start and head up to lake Bled.  Walk around the lake. Eat some of that amazing Bled cream cake.

    Option 2 (1 Day in Ljubljana, 2 in Lake Bled):  

    • Day One (Ljubljana): AM: Ljubljana Castle and Funnicular, 11am Free Walking Tour, Ljubljana Central Market, Dinner at Gostlina Sokol, ice cream for dessert at Vigo.  This is doable in one day because Ljubljana is so compact and all of these things are in the same area.
    • Day Two (Lake Bled): Get an early start and head up to lake Bled.  Walk around the lake. Eat some of that amazing Bled cream cake.  Spend the night in Lake Bled area.
    • Day Three (Lake Bled): Either get an early start and head to Vintgar Gorge before the crowds, or go to Lake Bohinj for a more rural, rustic lake experience.

    Options 3 (Highlights of Slovenia):

    • Day One (Ljubljana): AM: Ljubljana Castle and Funnicular, 11am Free Walking Tour, Ljubljana Central Market, Dinner at Gostlina Sokol, ice cream for dessert at Vigo.  This is doable in one day because Ljubljana is so compact and all of these things are in the same area.
    • Day Two (Lake Bled): Get an early start and head up to lake Bled.  Walk around the lake. Eat some of that amazing Bled cream cake.  Spend the night back in Ljubljana.
    • Day Three (Postojna Cave/Predjama Castle): Drive or take public transit from Ljubljana to Postojna Cave/Predjama Castle. Spend the day exploring these beautiful sites which are among the most popular tourist destinations in the country.


    5 Days in Slovenia

    Pick one of the above options for a 3 day itinerary to give you a solid base for your trip.  To it you can add one of the following to make a well rounded itinerary for 5 days in Slovenia:

    Option 1: Two days in Driving the Vrsic Pass/Soca Valley

    Views from near the top of the Vrsic Pass
    Just Past the Top: The Viewing platform just past the top of the peak of the Vrsic Pass was definitely worth stopping at!
    • Day One: Leave from Lake Bled early.  Head for Kranska Gora which is at the start of the Vrsic Pass. Enjoy views of Lake Jasna before heading over the pass.  Spend a couple hours driving over the Vrsic Pass and continue through the Soca Valley. Plan on staying in or around Bovec.
    • Day Two:  Spend the second day exploring one of the areas stunning waterfalls, the Tolmin Gorge, or one of the many enlightening WWI historical sites.

    Option 2: Two Days Exploring Piran and the Coast

    Stunning views of Piran Slovenia from the old city walls in Piran
    • Day One: Head for Piran and those epic views of the Mediterranean that you see all over Pinterest. Enjoy exploring this coastal gem.  If you are carless, there are tours that will take you to Piran and to explore some of the coast from Ljubljana.
    • Day Two:  Postojna Cave/Predjama Castle – These are super popular tourist spots in Slovenia for good reason.  They really are pretty amazing. They are an easy drive from Ljubljana or Piran, or if you are carless you can easily book a tour.


    1 Week in Slovenia

    If you are lucky enough to have a week in Slovenia, consider picking your favorites from the above options.  You also have time to dig in a little deeper, to get past some of the main tourist sites that EVERYBODY goes to and to explore themes that interest in you in a deeper way.

    Radovljica Slovenia is a super cute little town not far from Ljubljana and Lake Bled that makes a great little stop. There were very few other tourists and the kids had some space to explore without cars.

    Here are some more options for you to consider for making 7 days in Slovenia:

    • Logar Valley/Solcava Panoramic Road (two days): Because the drive here is a little longer than some of the others, you should really plan for a minimum of two nights here.  You will also need to rent a car to get around here. If you want to see this stunning corner of Slovenia but won’t have a car, here is an excellent tour of the area that can be arranged from Lake Bled.
    • Wine Lover:  Consider digging deeper into one of the Slovenian wine regions that are close to Ljubljana.  Slovenian wine is a little off the beaten path and it is made with some varieties of grapes that at not well known elsewhere. I read some lovely things about visiting the Vipava Valley west of Ljubljana.
    • Eastern Slovenia:  Head to Eastern Slovenia for stunning castles, hot springs and wine.
    • Velika Planina:  We did not make it here (I DID tell you that 14 days in Slovenia was not enough for us, didn’t I?)  It was not for lack of desire because this area looks truly stunning. In the summer time, you can visit the herdsman settlement here and see how the cow herders live as well as try fresh dairy and local foods for an authentic cultural experience.
    • Spend a Day or Two Exploring Small Villages: Slovenia is awash with picture worthy small villages, many of them nearly devoid of tourists and just begging to be explored.  Skofja Loka, Radovlica, Kamnik or any of the other small villages around Ljubljana would make lovely places to visit.
    • Get Even more off the beaten path in Bela Krajina: Slovenia is pretty off the beaten path by almost any standards.  The Bela Krajina region in southern Slovenia even more so. Visit stunning Novo Mesto with its medieval old town.  Swim in the Kolpa River, one of the warmest swimming spots in Slovenia and right on the border of Croatia. Immerse yourself in nature and embrace a slower pace. Pop across the border for a day trip to Zagreb, Croatia.


    If you are passionate about getting off the beaten path like we are, you really need to get this book. This was the best book that I read while planning out trip to Slovenia:

    10 Days in Slovenia (or more!)

    Is 10 days in Slovenia too long?  We spent 14 days in Slovenia and we still felt rushed.  There are a ton of sights that I had to put onto a list for our next trip.  

    Three nights in each spot is not as much time as you would like it to be. Travel time to the next spot takes part of one day in between, so three nights equals two full days of sightseeing and a travel day.

    We chose to arrange our trip a little bit differently.  Instead of spending time in Ljubljana using that as a base, we chose to base ourselves near Lake Bled for a large portion of our trip and we made day trips to Ljubljana from there.  We prefer to be in a more rural environment and we find it easier with the kids to stay in a place with green space for them to run around.

    While not for everybody, this worked really well for us because we were able to fit the activities that really needed nice weather into the sunny days, and we fit other day trips in around that.

    The individual posts for each piece of the trip are linked below for your reference.

     

    Our whole family had an amazing time in Slovenia. Even with two weeks, we didn’t have nearly enough time!

    1 Night in Ljubljana

    Vila Veselova made a convenient base for exploring the old town and its many bridges. It was only a few blocks away but located in a safe, quiet neighborhood. The hostel had a quircky charm that we loved. Our room was PERFECT for our family of five.

    ***We had originally booked one night here to get our bearings, thinking that we would be tired from driving.  We discovered that the drive from Ljubljana to Lake Bled was easy and we could have skipped this night in Ljubljana. We used that first evening to explore the old town a little bit at night.

    • Day 1 – Ljubljana: Explored Ljubljana Old Town, free walking tour, ice cream at Vigo.  Dinner at Gostlina Sokol.

    6 Nights Near Lake Bled

    We stayed for the next 6 nights of our trip at Tourist Farm Dolinar Krainer, about 10 minutes outside of Lake Bled in a small village up in the hills. In addition to a large, well appointed apartment, we were spoiled with the most lovely, farm fresh breakfast every morning. An amazing base for exploring Lake Bled. You can read a full account of our farmstay experience here.

    3 Nights Near Solcava

    We spent the next three nights near Solcava at Tourist Farm Ramsak. This gem was in a quiet valley up the road from the village of Solcava. We had the most adorable little chalet all to ourselves, with a stunning view of the mountains from our balcony. We were extremely well fed here as well (I particularly LOVED the homemade yogurt from the cows each morning!)

    3 Nights Near Piran

    We spent the last three nights of our stay at Tourist Farm Tonin, located in the small village of Puce, not far from Piran. We had two lovely apartments here (we booked both apartments and had the whole place to ourselves). Such nice views of the beautiful Mediterranean sunsets from here.

Shanna Schultz

We are Shanna and Aaron + kiddos. We are a travel addicted family of four who love to escape at every possible opportunity. When we travel, we love to focus on creating meaningful travel experiences that help us all learn about the world together and bring us closer as a family. Shanna also writes about travel in the Midwestern part of the United States at her blog A Midwest Travel Companion

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