Slovenia doesn’t show up on most family travel bucket lists. When I started spreading the word that we were heading to Slovenia with kids, I got some blank looks and had a lot of people asked me why. Is Slovenia worth visiting with kids? What on earth were we going to do in Slovenia with kids for two weeks?
Our family holiday in Slovenia was enriching on so many levels for both kids and adults alike. Beautiful mountain vistas, quaint and charming towns, castles and caves and AMAZING food combined together into a vacation that my kids are still talking about months later!
Here are Slovenia highlights with kids as well as suggestions and travel tips for planning the perfect family holiday in Slovenia
When you are done here, here are some of the other pieces I wrote from our epic trip to Slovenia:
Why Slovenia with Kids?
Is Slovenia worth visiting for kids? How about Slovenia with a baby? Will Slovenia travel be something that will have something to do for everyone? Here are some great reasons to plan a family vacation to Slovenia with kids.
Slovenia is compact and it offers a huge range of climates and activities in a small package. Slovenia is about the size of the US state of New Jersey. We loved that we could explore so much of this compact European country without wasting too much time in driving form place to place. We like a good road trip, but we know that too much time in the car with kiddos is not great for anyone.
Slovenia has deep ties to its agricultural roots. As soon as I started digging into the many abundant and lovely farm stays in Slovenia (each one unique), I knew that the trip to Slovenia was happening in our near future.
Staying in these Slovenia tourist farms offered us a unique view of Slovenian family life and plenty of room for the kids to run around. And animals. Animals and kids are always a win.
Kid Friendly Activities:
There are so many offerings in Slovenia for families. Castles, caves, swimming, family friendly museums, treetop adventure courses, summer toboggan runs all jump right to the top of my mind.
Off the Beaten Path?:
Slovenia is off the beaten path without being too far off the beaten path. We like to try to avoid the most touristy places in Europe, often skimming the surface of popular sites to get out of the big cities to somewhere quieter where we can have a more authentic experience.
With that being said, there is a certain level of ease that comes with not being TOO FAR off the beaten path. Familiar foods, good signage and infrastructure and folks who speak our language do make traveling with kids easier. When traveling to Slovenia with children, the country provided a good balance between familiar and feeling like we were the only tourists around.
While Slovenia is not the cheapest country in Europe, traveling in Slovenia is significantly cheaper than some of the more well known countries in Europe. Food and accommodation choices in Slovenia offer excellent value for your travel dollar.
All of the places that we stayed were of a very high standard for the rate that we were paying. Food at restaurants, while not much cheaper than other countries in Europe, is often home made and usually portioned generously.
A SUPER Family Friendly Culture:
Slovenian culture is centered around family. Many extended families live together with parents, children and grandparents in the same house.
It wasn’t like there were playgrounds on every corner or restaurants that were made for children. It was more subtle than that. Our kids were always made to feel welcome and were graciously accommodated. NO one batted an eyelid if our kids were just being kids and were getting a little antsy.
It was little things that made it evident that our kids were welcomed in Slovenia.
At restaurants, they almost always seated us in a separate section with the kids not to be rude, but so that we could eat without worrying about disturbing anyone. One one memorable restaurant stop, the owner gave our kids magic coins to operate the ancient jukebox in the corner while we waited for our food.
Our kids got SUPER excited watching this Slovenian candy video on Youtube…
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Slovenia Highlights with Kids
There really is a TON of things to see in Slovenia with kids. This is a short list of the things that my kids enjoyed most in Slovenia as well as a few things that we didn’t get to but are at the very top of our list for next time.
Postojna Cave/Predjama Castle:
Our day visiting Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle was a family favorite. The kids loved taking the train ride into the cave and learning about the unique geological formations inside. The castle was also a huge hit with the kids because they liked listening to the audio guide to hear a little story at each numbered stop to learn about the castle.
If you are looking for an easy way to visit these iconic Slovenian tourist stops from Ljubljana without worrying about renting a car or figuring out public transportation, this tour is a super convenient option!
Ice Cream and Puffy Pancakes in Ljubljana (and a castle):
To be completely honest, to a small child, Ljubljana (or almost any European city for that matter) is not all that exciting. Walking around looking at pretty streets and buildings just doesn’t fit their idea of fun.
It’s a good thing there is a castle in Ljubljana here as well as an abundance of gourmet quality ice cream stops to use as bribe material. There are also other kid worthy stops in Ljubljana. Our kids absolutely LOVED the Puffy Pancake Shop. They liked it so much we stopped twice!
Swimming in Magical Lake Bled:
In the heat of the Slovenian summer, I can think of nothing nicer than cooling off in magical, fairytale like Lake Bled. There are a couple of different spots to swim – the Lake Bled Public Lido as well as a nice beach at the western end of the lake near Camping Bled.
The Vintgar Gorge:
This was a pretty easy hike with the kids for some pretty impressive scenery. The steep walls of the gorge cradle a beautiful blue river at the bottom. Walkways are built into the side of the canyon making it mostly flat and level. Start early in the day for the least crowds (especially important in the summer).
This tour is an easy option from Ljubljana for those without a car. It combines two of Slovenia’s most popular attractions – Lake Bled and the Vintgar Gorge, into one afternoon!
Glamping in Slovenia:
Glamping, or “glamorous camping” has become HUGE in Slovenia. There are a huge number of glamping sites popping up all over the country. A stay in a tree house, yurt or other memorable accomodation is sure to make a big impression on your kids! At the top of our Slovenia glamping wishlist were Camping Bled (love how close this is to Lake Bled), Glamping Ribno (loved the little houses with private hot tubs) and Garden Village Bled (treehouses by the river? Yes please!).
Vogel Cable Car:
The Vogel Cable car rises high above Lake Bohinj and riding it up the steep mountainside, high above the lake was really fun for the kids. The views were amazing, the Vogel Trail provides a family friendly, 1.4 km hiking option at the top. There was also an excellent restaurant serving kids friendly fare for lunch, making this a solid afternoon of family fun.
Water, Water EVERYWHERE!
Kids love water. Moving water. Standing water. Falling water. There is a lot of all of these sorts of water in Slovenia. We enjoyed viewing a number of beautiful waterfalls (Slap Virje was our favorite). The bright blue green hues of the Soca River were also particularly captivating for the littles (there are some good options for family friendly rafting trips on the Soca.)
There are a lot of castles scattered all over Slovenia, but Celje Castle is arguably the one that kids will find most authentically “castle like”. Its crenellations and towers rise high above the town below making it a captivating place for the kids to play knights and dragons for an afternoon.
The Technical Museum of Slovenia:
The technical museum of Slovenia was a surprise hit on our Slovenia itinerary. The museum is located between Ljubljana and Predjama Castle, Postojna Cave. The museum is located in the buildings of an old monastery which is fun to explore just on its own. Being able to poke in and out of its’ rooms discovering old cars, trains and other machines from Slovenia’s pas was a lot of fun for the kids.
Planning a trip to Slovenia? You need this book…
Slovenia for Kids by Region
Ljubljana for Families
Ljubljana is a super family friendly, pedestrian friendly, all around nice city. It also happens to be the capital of Slovenia, so you will likely pass through here at some point during your trip.
Days Needed: 1-2 is sufficient with kids
What to Do in Ljubljana with kids:
- Ljubljana Castle and Funicular
- The Ljubljana Central Market
- Tivoli Park
- The Museum of Illusions
- Lots of choices for ice cream
You can read more about what we did with our kids in Ljubljana here.
Lake Bled with Kids
Lake Bled honestly looks like something out of a fairy tale. The picture of the church on the island in the middle of the lake is what I think draws many people to visit Slovenia as it is so beautiful and it is ALL over the internet. Luckily, Lake Bled is one of those rare places that really is as beautiful as it looks in pictures. It is also really fun and magical for kids.
Time Needed: 1-2 days for Lake Bled
Kid Friendly Things to do in Lake Bled:
- Take a pletna boat out to the island (or save money and rent your own).
- Ring the church bell to make a wish.
- Walk around the lake to enjoy the views stopping for Bled cream cake and ice cream on the way.
- Swim on the shores of Lake Bled.
- The summer toboggan at Straza Bled is also great fun with kids.
- Easy hiking at the Vintgar Gorge.
You can read more about our time in Lake Bled with kids here.
Vrsic Pass/Bovec/Soca Valley with Kids
The Vrsic Pass through the heart of Triglav National Park and the Julian Alps hold some of the country’s most stunning and epic scenery. The most captivating emerald blue water flows out of the Triglav mountains down the Soca River, located on the far side of the Vrsic Pass. Bovec is the biggest town in the Soca Valley and is a great base for experiencing the many family friendly activities in the area.
Days Needed: 2
Kid Friendly Things to do on the Vrsic Pass / Soca Valley
- Start in Kranjska Gora by visiting Lake Jasna. Explore and let kids throw rocks into the lake (mine always like that).
- Visit with the goats and have a snack at the hut at the top of the Vrsic Pass for beautiful views of the Julian Alps
- Picnic by the Soca River
- Whitewater rafting
- Explore beautiful waterfalls
- A tree top adventure course
- Kanin cable car
- An easy hike through the Tolmin Gorge
If you are looking to see the Vrsic Pass and Soca Valley from Lake Bled but don’t have a car, this tour offers a lot of value. It fits a lot of activities into one amazing day!
Here are our tips for doing the Vrsic Pass and Soca Valley with kids.
Piran/Mediterranean Slovenia with Kids
Piran and the rest of coastal Slovenia truly feel like they a world away from the rest of Slovenia. Coastal Slovenia has a different feeling than the rest of the country. The mountains of the north yield to a more Mediterranean landscape that offers different views, food and culture. This corner of Slovenia offers a lot of activities that will appeal to children and adults alike. Something for everyone!
Time Needed: 2-3 days (less if you do Postojna and Predjama as day trips from Ljubljana)
Kid Friendly Highlights around Piran
- Predjama Castle and Postojna Cave
- Exploring pretty Piran and its town walls
- The Piran aquarium
- The Lipica Stud Farm, beaches and oceans
- Visit Izola Slovenia and enjoy the ocean views from the oceanfront playground, the sit in a beautiful square and drink wine while the kids run around
- Climb the bell tower in Koper for spectacular views of the city
- Take a day trip to Venice.
This walking tour of Piran with a local guide is a great way to see the hidden corners of this beautiful city (and the price is for a group, making it an economical tour for families)
Here are our highlights and insights about our time near Piran with kids.
The Solcava Panoramic Road / Logar Valley with Kids
This region gets passed over for more popular Triglav national Park and the Vrsic Pass, and it really is a shame. It is a little further off the beaten path, but equally as epic and memorable. The Solcava Panoramic Road is a tourist route that is dotted with farms for you to stop at to enjoy farm fresh food and beautiful views.
Days Needed: 2-3
Family Friendly Activities near Solcava/ Logar Valley:
- Drive the Solcava Panoramic Route, stopping at farms on the way for treats and good local foods.
- Enjoy the easy to access Logar Valley and a short hike up to Slap Rinka.
- Relax and slow down (time moves at a different pace here
Here are highlights from our time exploring the Logar Valley and Solcava Panoramic Road
Southeastern Slovenia with Kids
We did not make it to this particularly off the beaten path corner of Slovenia on our trip (even more off the beaten path than the rest of Slovenia). Anyone who makes the trip out here will surely be rewarded with abundant nature and small villages and castles nearly all to themselves. Novo Mesto is the main town in the Dolenjska region of Slovenia and is a good place to start your explorations.
Days Needed: 2-3
Best Activities for Families in Dolenjska
- Swimming in the Kolpa River (one of the warmest in Slovenia)
- Exploring the old town of Novo Mesto
- Struga Castle
- The Otocek Adventure Park
- Pleterje Open Air Museum
- Take a little day trip into Croatia with kids.
Best Places to Stay in Slovenia with Kids
Ljubljana Family Accommodations:
We loved our stay at the Villa Veselova. It is technically a hostel, but we booked a lovely private room that was perfect for our family with a private bathroom right down the hall. The hostel is in an old mansion within walking distance of Ljubljana Old Town. It is also within walking distance of Tivoli Park. Ljubljana is more expensive than much of the rest of Slovenia. This hostel was a really great budget friendly option!
Here are some reviews and photos of Villa Veselova on Tripadvisor!
Lake Bled Family Accommodations:
Farm Stay Dolinar Krainer is one of the best accommodations near Lake Bled Slovenia for families. It is located a quick 10 minutes from Lake Bled. It was nice being a little bit outside of the busyness of Bled while not being too far away. We had a lovely little apartment that was perfect for our family of five and the most lovely farm fresh breakfast every morning. Heaven.
Our second choice for staying near lake Bled would have been Camping Bled. It is super convenient as it is located right on the shores of the lake (and they have a little beach for swimming). They have great glamping cabins that would be perfect for a family.
Vrsic Pass/Soca Valley Family Accommodations:
Tourist Farm Jelencic looks like an outstanding option for families looking to stay in the Soca Valley. It is located right near the Soca River. They offer a playground for the kiddos and and exceptional, farm fresh food to nourish you during your stay.
Kamp Korita is a great budget friendly option in the Soca Valley. If camping isn’t your thing, they offer hostel accommodations as well as super cute little A frame cabins near the river. We would absolutely stay here on a return trip. It was really in a nice location (right on my very favorite Soca River photo stop!)
Here is a link to Tripadvisor reviews of Kamp Korita.
Solcava Panoramic Road/Logar Valley Family Accommodations:
We really felt welcomed in our little chalet at Tourist Farm Ramsak. We had a private cottage all to ourselves with the most amazing views of the surrounding mountains. For breakfast each day we were served homemade yogurt and other farm fresh delicacies. This was a perfect place to base our explorations.
Here is a link to Booking.com to see more photos of Tourist Farm Ramsak!
Piran Family Hotels and Accomodations:
We stayed a little outside of Piran at Tourist Farm Tonin. It is located in a small village in the hills above Piran. Our rooms were perfect for a family with a queen size and a pullout sofa in each (there are only two rooms and we booked both). They have a small but quite adequate kitchenette and serve a really lovely breakfast each day. This was a perfect base for us to explore Piran and the coast.
If you want to be closer to the heart of the action, Hostel Piran has a lot of family friendly rooms with varying numbers of beds. This budget friendly choice is right next to the Piran Aquarium. We would most certainly not hesitate to stay here on a return trip!
I also wrote more in depth about Tourist Farm Tonin in this blog post about our experience at three Slovenian tourist farms.
Southwest Slovenia/Dolanska Family Accommodations:
Camping Bela Krajina is a very solid choice for families. They offer fully furnished mobile homes with all of the fixings to make traveling with kids easier. The campground has a restaurant onsite an a lovely kids playground.
The Kolpa Resort offers that iconic, Slovenia glamping experience that has become popular in recent years. I admit that this is a little bit of a splurge, but it would be super fun for a night or two. The glamping tents are arranged around a beautiful natural swimming pool perfect for little ones.
Getting Around Slovenia with Kids
Depending on the length of your trip and your interests, it is possible to get a taste of Slovenia without a car. Ljubljana and Lake Bled are the two main tourist hotspots, and they are connected by train. You can use either as a base to take tours from into the surrounding countryside.
HOWEVER, when traveling with kids, we often find that the car is the most convenient option. You will be able to get further off the beaten path in Slovenia and be able to adapt your sightseeing more easily to their schedule.
Car rental was not SUPER expensive during our trip (we quite a bit ahead of time). We paid $400/week for a spacious van and felt that the flexibility was well worth the cost. Slovenia is one of the easiest countries to drive through in Europe. The roads are generally in excellent condition and signage is plentiful and accurate.
Slovenian Foods for Kids
Honestly, Slovenian foods are only somewhat kid friendly. Please don’t mistake this for me saying that we did not enjoy Slovenian cuisine. Its just that more often than not, we had to resort to feeding the kids nuggets and fries or the old standby – pizza. The kids were super stars at trying all sorts of new foods during the trip, but they just weren’t appealing to them.
Each meal generally comes with homemade soup which my kids liked. Dumplings are common here and my kids could honestly take or leave those. They really enjoyed eating lots of strudels and other pastries.
Slovenian cuisine is heavy. Fried foods were very common. Good salads were a little hard to find. Vegetarians might have trouble.
The standard “kids” meal offered in most places is almost invariably chicken nuggets and french fries. Pizza was also readily available and cheap. I was not crazy about the kids eating so much carb heavy food during our trip. If this will bother you, seek out opportunities to get fresh fruits and veggies at the plentiful farms stands and local markets.
When there were really no options, we could always count on being able to order a sausage and french fries for the kids to split.
A great thing about restaurants in Slovenia with the kids? Most of the traditional gostlinas (the Slovenian word for a simple, family style restaurant) had a separate room that they put us in with the kids. This might sound odd or offensive, but it was actually really nice. We didn’t need to worry that they were bothering other diners. It was a win, win for everyone!
Food Highlights for My Kids in Slovenia
Here is a rundown of the meals/treats/snacks that my kids enjoyed most from our Slovenia travel:
- Fresh fruit from the Ljubljana Central Market
- Ice cream at Vigo in Ljubljana
- The fun, authentic atmosphere at Gostlina Sokol in Ljubljana
- The Puffy Pancake Shop in Ljubljana
- Trying Bled Cream Cake near Lake Bled
- Eating gelato while walking around Piran
- Eating fish nuggets and fries at a lovely little restaurant outside in a courtyard in Piran
- We all enjoyed a lovely meal at Naburji in the hills above Piran (a little bit of a splurge, but SOOO worth it!)
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The Best Slovenia Tours with Kids
Slovenia is a country awash in opportunities for tours. Here are some of my favorite Slovenia tours that I found during our travel research for doing with kids in tow.
Soca Rafting: Soca Rafting offers an easy rafting tour of the Soca River that is an appropriate length and level for small children. It is a perfect trip for families, and at only 34 euros/person it is a pretty good deal for a rafting tour.
Slocally: Vesna at Slocally tours is a wealth of local knowledge (her blog is a great place to do travel research about Slovenia…I found so many great tidbits of information there!) She offers a wide variety of tours covering various aspects of Slovenian culture and history, and I get the impression that they can be quite customizable to your interests and to suit your kids’ needs.
Taste Radolca Tours: We don’t usually consider doing food tours with little kids either, but hear me out. Adele at Taste Radolca Tours (which also has an amazing, information packed blog) offers some great, kid friendly tours.
The “Music, Mountains and Village Life” tour sounds particularly kid friendly. It stops at a ruined castle, takes a short walk on the Begunje Village trail with a stop in the park and stops at two restaurants to try local delicacies. The tour is only two hours, and with that many stops, there isn’t really enough time for anyone to get bored. This is definitely on our short list for our return trip!
Panoramic Hike in the Julian Alps: This hike is listed as family friendly and is a great way to see some amazing views of the Julian Alps without any super difficult hiking!