Slovenia, beautiful Slovenia. You have so much splendor packed into such a small package, it is almost like traveling through a fairy tale. Slovenia is one of those rare places where just about everything looks as pretty as it does in the pictures.
When I got home looked over our pictures and saw the sheer number of truly postcard worthy shots of beautiful Slovenia, I was truly stunned by all of the beauty that we had witnessed. Here is a solid list of Slovenia highlights and must do’s for your Slovenia itinerary:
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The Most Beautiful Places in Slovenia:
This is another of the top tourist spots in Slovenia. Predjama Castle is an easy day trip from Ljubljana. The castle is built directly into a rock face. A system of caves runs behind the castle, which helped one of the castle’s most famous residents withstand a siege for over a year. A visit to the dramatic looking castle includes a really interesting audio guide tour, and is usually combined with a visit to nearby Postojna Caves.
Here are more details from our visit to Predjama Castle!
The Solcava Panoramic Trail / Logar Valley
The Solcava Panoramic Trail an Logar Valley fall a little off of the normal tourist path of Ljubljana, Lake Bled, Piran. This network of roads connects a series of tourist farms where you can stop in the summer to sample fresh, local produce.
The views from the Solcava Panoramic Trail and from driving up the nearby Logar Valley seemed almost too beautiful to be real. This is one of the most beautiful places in Slovenia. If you have a couple days to add to your itinerary to explore this region, you really should.
Here are details of our amazing time on the Solcava Panoramic Trail and exploring the Logar Valley.
The Vrsic Pass and Soca Valley
Driving over the Vrsic Pass, seeing the Julian Alps and exploring the Soca River on the other side are highlights of a trip to Slovenia. Not only is this one of the most beautiful places in Slovenia, but it is truly a part of the Slovenian national identity. It is the centerpiece of their flag, but I have heard that climbing Mount Triglav at its heart is a right of passage for every Slovenian.
The Vrsic Pass starts about 45 minutes from Lake Bled. The views of the Julian Alps from the pass, and the blue Soca River on the other side were truly captivating. If you start in the morning, you should be able to drive over the pass with photo stops and get to the river by lunch time. Again, another spot in Slovenia that really is as pretty as it looks in the pictures. Wow, just wow.
Here are details from our day exploring the Vrsic Pass and Soca Valley (and what we really would have done differently if we had only known!)
Piran is a pretty, pretty jewel on Slovenia’s Mediterranean coast. The ancient city has a distinctively Venetian feeling to it, with an impressive central square replete with bell tower. Time worn, cobbled alleys wind outwards from the square until you get to the ocean. You will want to make sure to head up for views from the old town walls, and to stop for gelato as you walk around the point. This is one of the most popular cities in Slovenia for good reason – it was really postcard perfect.
Here are our insights about our day in Piran (and the one restaurant that you HAVE to eat at while you are there!)
Lake Bohinj is less frantic than busy Lake Bled, but not less beautiful. It has a more rugged, natural beauty than well manicured Bled. The best views of the lake are arguably from near where you come into Ribcev Laz by the iconic bridge. You can also take a boat across for a change of scenery. For epic views from above, go to the Vogel cable Car at the far end of the Lake. There are some great hiking opportunities from up here, or you can just enjoy the cable car ride up and have lunch with a view at the top.
We spent a really great day in Lake Bohinj, and would highly recommend a stop here if you are going to visit nearby Lake Bled.
This was our favorite waterfall in Slovenia. The water drops delicately into a deep, green pool. It looks like there should be fairies flitting about. The best part? It was a really easy walk with the kiddos, making it a family favorite and one of our Slovenia highlights. Slap Virje is located on the far side of the Vrsic Pass, just outside of Bovec, Slovenia.
This waterfall is close to Lake Bohinj. The water seems to come straight from the rock face and falls in an “A” shape into a deep, emerald pool. It was stunning, but the hike up was a leg burner. Completely worth it! This is an easy addition to a trip to Lake Bohinj.
TIP: The best time of the day to visit is between 9-10am, when the sunlight is most likely to reach the bottom of the pool!
Lake Bled is one of the most popular tourist places in Slovenia, but it is a title well deserved. A visit to Lake Bled is the one thing that just about EVERYONE who visits Slovenia does. A church on an island set against bright blue waters, looked over by a dramatic castle with mountains in the background. You really can’t get much prettier than this.
Take a traditional Pletna boat out to the island and ring the bell for good luck. You will want to spend a day walking the whole way around the lake (we did it, even with small children). Lake Bled also makes a great base for exploring other points of interest in the area.
Here are details (and of course pretty photos) of our day around Lake Bled!
The Vintgar Gorge is not far from Lake Bled. This is an easy hike down a deep gorge carved out by a beautiful, azure blue mountain river. There have been walkways carved and built into the side of the gorge to make the trail generally level and easy to traverse. The hike is about 1.5 km each way. You should start early in the day to avoid crowds and be done by lunchtime. This tour is an easy way to see Lake Bled and Vintgar Gorge from Ljubljana without a car!
Here is a full account of hiking the Vintgar Gorge with our kiddos (trust us, if we can do it, just about anybody can)!
The Kolvrat Open Air Museum
The sheer level of beauty here, up in the hills on the border between Slovenia and Italy, was a true surprise. The beauty makes it hard to envision the terrible fighting and loss that happened here during one of the most brutal battles of WWI. The museum has preserved and restored some of the bunkers and trenches used during the war, making it easier to imagine the fighting and what life was like for the soldiers.
Little Izola Slovenia is often overshadowed by more the more popular cities of Piran and Koper. This is a shame, as this was one of our favorite cities in Slovenia. A beautiful waterfront promenade with a playground wound its way gracefully past a picture perfect harbor. From here, we wandered into a small maze of cobble stoned streets and found a lovely wine bar to enjoy while the kids played in a car free square. Pretty, relaxing and just the right size to explore without feeling overwhelmed.
Here is what I wrote about our visit to Izola (and nearby Koper).