Slovenia

Top Slovenia destinations: where to go in Slovenia and what to expect?

posted by Liza 11th May 2016 2 Comments
The main square of Piran, Slovenia. Looks a little bit like Venice

Last updated on December 23rd, 2018

Ever thought of going to Slovenia & not sure which places to visit in Slovenia? Don’t worry, in this post, I teamed up with some amazing travel bloggers to compose this post about the top Slovenia destinations: where to go in Slovenia and what to expect from these top tourists and off-the-beaten-path spots in Slovenia!

First of all, it’s important to understand how long are you planning to stay in Slovenia. If you only can stay for a weekend, then you probably won’t be able to go to many places: consider visiting the capital, Ljubljana and maybe lake Bled, one of the most Instagrammable places in Slovenia. 

However, if you’re staying for 5 days and more, you can visit a lot of amazing touristic and off-the-beaten-path spots in Slovenia, so keep reading to find out, what are these spots. I visited Slovenia as part of my 10-day trip around Central Europe visiting Slovenia, Hungary, Slovakia and Austria. If you’re interested in my itinerary, check this post out. 

How to travel around Slovenia?

If you’re coming to Slovenia for 5 or more days, it makes sense to hire a car. We always hire cars from Avis, however, you can check the deals on Rentalcars to see, if there are any amazing deals. 

If you don’t want to rent a car, you can totally travel by either local buses and trains or you can buy tickets with Flixbus – you can travel to 8 destinations in Slovenia with Flixbus. 

Sunset near Piran, Slovenia
Sunset near Piran, Slovenia

Why go to Slovenia at all? Top Slovenia destinations

Why go to Slovenia? Well, this country has beautiful nature, architecture and culture! It’s sort of mix of Italy (coastal towns), Austria (mountains) and the Czech Republic (and many other countries too). And it has everything! So here are top Slovenia destinations to visit in this gorgeous country! 

Lake Bled – one of the most Instagrammable places in Slovenia

3 best places to visit in Slovenia: Lake Bled
Lake Bled in Slovenia

Lake Bled is probably one of the most Instagrammable and touristy spots in Slovenia and that’s because it’s absolutely gorgeous all year long. It’s stunning in winter, great in spring, warm and beautiful in summer and very photogenic in autumn as well. 

How to get to the Lake Bled from Ljubljana?

So, how to get to the Lake Bled from Ljubljana? Just go to the main railway station of Ljubljana and catch a bus or train that stops at Lake Bled. Please keep in mind that if you catch a train, you’ll need a taxi to get to the lake or you can also take another bus, but it doesn’t seem to go very often. The ride to Lake Bled is about 1.5-2 hours long. 

Where to stay around the Lake Bled

There are plenty of hotels and apartments all around the lake, but it’s better to book your accommodation in advance. I would recommend you to use Booking.com or Expedia and not Airbnb in Slovenia, simply because the prices for the SAME apartments are lower on Booking.com (I checked that myself). It happens because the properties on Booking don’t include the commission fee and the cleaning fee in their price (and you obviously don’t have to pay them).

We stayed in Apartment Muznik for 4 nights are were happy with the location (just a short walk away from the bus stop and Bled town centre) and just 3 minutes away from the lake. Our apartment had 2 rooms and 3 beds and everything looked new and clean. However, you can check other hotels and apartments here.

What to do in Bled?

There are not that many things you can do in Bled: you can relax there, walk around the lake (it’s quite big, you’ll probably need around 2 hours to make a circle), climb up to the castle (the entrance ticket is around 10 euros) and enjoy the beautiful panorama of the lake and mountains. There’re plenty of places to eat and have some drinks in the evening. It’s a great place to just relax and enjoy the nature.

Flowers in Lake Bled, Slovenia
Flowers in Bled

Piran and Portoroz

If you want to see the cheaper version of Italy (accommodation along with the food in the restaurant is much cheaper in Slovenia than in Italy) and swim in the summer, head to Piran or Portoroz (they are located next to each other, just a few kilometres apart).

Despite the fact that Slovenia only has around 30 km of coast, it has a pretty great infrastructure & many hotels. While Piran is a very beautiful & atmospheric city, Portoroz is more suitable for long-stay vacations (all the nightlife, a variety of shops and so on are there). However, both cities are located so close to each other, that it’s actually possible to walk! It won’t be a 15-minute walk (probably around 50 minute-1,2 hour walk depending on how fast do you usually walk), but there’s also a bus.

Slovenia - top destinations to visit in Slovenia
Slovenia - top destinations to visit in Slovenia

If you’re looking for accommodation in Piran or Portoroz, check Guesthouse PachaMama or Piranika. If you’re looking for something more special, why not stay at Grand Hotel Portoroz?

Ljubljana

Another one of the top destinations to visit in Slovenia is the capital, Ljubljana. If you want a very relaxing city getaway, you should totally head to Ljubljana. The capital of Slovenia is very cheerful, but at the same time not crowded and quite chilled, and that’s great!

What is there to do in Ljubljana?

Well, first of all – nice walks around the city: walking around Ljubljana is truly a pleasure.

Ljubljana City centre - 3 places to visit in Slovenia
Ljubljana City centre – 3 places to visit in Slovenia

Secondly, you can climb the main hill of Ljubljana, where the castle is. The castle is not a must-do, but nonetheless, if you have some spare time, you can visit it. In case, you don’t want to discover the castle inside, you can see it from outside and enjoy the beautiful panorama of Ljubljana.

The view from the castle in Ljubljana
The view from the castle in Ljubljana

Go out: even though Ljubljana is not very famous as the nightlife-paradise, there’re plenty of bars for tourists, where you can spend the evening.

Discover many of churches and museums of Ljubljana.
Visit the crafts market near the river.
Grab a bite in one of the places with the local cuisine. Yummy!

Moreover, other countries are also pretty easy to reach from Slovenia: you can always go to the train station and buy the tickets to Hungary or Croatia, for example.

You can use Flixbus to travel around Slovenia or travel to different countries from Slovenia!

Finally, there’s another tip for you: In case, you arriving in Ljubljana by plane quite late in the evening or very early in the morning, be ready that you have to take a taxi to the city. And the taxis aren’t precisely cheap in Slovenia (if you can bargain, that’s fine, but usually drivers ask for around 50 euros for a ride to the city centre from the airport).

Where to stay in Ljubljana?

In Ljubljana, we stayed at Bed & Breakfast Sincere 1830 – it had a good price and a great location – walking distance from the city centre of Ljubljana. However, now I would probably choose something like Vander Urbani Resort.

Velika Planina

Less than an hour drive northeast of Slovenia’s capital of Ljubljana, near the historic town of Kamnik is the enchanting high mountain pasture and herdsmen’s settlement of Velika Planina. Visitors can ascend to the mile high plateau via a cable car and chairlift on a fun and scenic adventure. The herders’ settlement was established centuries ago to provide summer pasture land for their cattle. This tradition of moving the cattle from the valley below up to the mountain pasture and back again in the Fall survives to this day. Around this farming practice evolved a unique culture with a distinct architectural style.

Though most of the original wooden herder’s huts were burnt down during World War II, they’ve been replaced with exact replicas that look authentic, and the style and outward appearance appear the same. One hut that is maintained as close to original as possible has been turned into a tiny museum, the Preskar Museum, and can only be seen with a guide, and should be seen to get a full appreciation of how these folks lived and thrived for centuries in this environment. Although the herdsmen return to the valley below in late September, Velika Planina is an amazing place to hike and is open year round.

Place suggested by Lori from Travelinmad

Top Slovenia destinations - Velika Planina
Velika Planina – photo by Lori from Travlinmad

Soča Valley

Soča Valley is a spectacular region located in western Slovenia. This valley was created by one of the most beautiful rivers in Europe – Soča river. Its emerald color makes this river an unique natural wonder. In Soča Valley there are many interesting places to visit – it is a true paradise for outdoor aficionados. Kayakers, hikers, climbers, cyclists – they all will feel amazed at the wide variety of possibilities in Soča Valley.

One of the most scenic places is Great Soča Gorge. It is 750-metre long, 15-metre deep and, at some points, only 1-metre wide gully. There is not an official trail leading along the gorge, but it is possible to get down to the bottom of the gully, or admire it from the top of the rocks.

Nature lovers should also visit Boka waterfall. It is the highest waterfall in Slovenia – it reaches 136 metres. It is the most impressive in the spring, when the melting snow coming from the mountains makes Boka waterfall enormous.

Another must-see places are Kojzak waterfall and Tolmin gorge. Kojzak waterfall is not very high, but because of its beauty, it is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Soča Valley. Tolmin gorge is a nice option for a walk – it takes about 1.5 hour to explore this beautiful nature formation.

The best place to stay in Soča Valley is Bovec. It is a picturesque mountain town located close to Triglav National Park.

Spot suggested by Joanna from Overhere

Touristic and off the beaten path spots in Slovenia
Photo by Joanna from Overhere

Predjama Castle

Built in the 12th century, Predjama Castle is one of the most unique castles to have ever been built in Europe. This castle is a Renaissance fortress that is built within a cave. Located just under an hour from Ljubljana in the south-central part of Slovenia, it is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the country. If you’re doing a trip around Europe and you think you may get “castled out”, I urge you to leave this one on the itinerary.

It is impossible not to be mesmerised by the regal protrusion from the cave mouth of the mountain. By opulence standards, it hardly stands up to some of the more famous castles, but you can’t help but wonder how they did this over 800 years ago. The best vantage point to take a photo is the
viewing platform before you get to the castle entrance. 

This 4-storey building with 15 rooms is an impregnable fort, 123m up above the cliff face. The walls of the rooms inside the castle are that off the natural cave walls which means that the winters were bitterly cold. The medieval marvel is the largest cave castle in the world, listed in the Guinness World
Records. It has a network of secret caves that saw some unsavoury activities. You can view the armoury, kitchen, chapel and even their torture chamber. I feel privileged to have been able to gawk at this amazing construction.

Submission by Amy from Family Globetrotters

Predjama Castlen - top spots to visit in Slovenia
Photo by Amy from Family Globetrotters

We also agree – Predjama castle is definitely one of the most impressive and Instagrammable spots in Slovenia. 

Maribor

One of my favorite areas of Slovenia was the northeast city of Maribor. It only takes two hours to drive to and it’s a direct route from Ljubljana. Their old city center was a particular highlight and the outskirts were wonderfully picturesque to drive through. 

The city center has a lot of great restaurants, a few parks and meandering walkways you’ll fall in love with. I enjoyed people watching as I sat outside having coffee at a cafe on a beautiful fall afternoon. You can also walk towards the water where “the oldest wine in the world” is; it’s over 400 years old. It still produces a bit of wine every year and its bottles are reserved for nobility and celebrities. (We heard it doesn’t taste very good!) Be sure to go inside the “Old Vine House” for a fantastic wine tasting. 

If you rent a car you can explore the region surrounding Maribor. You’ll discover hilly terrain, rich with vineyards. Though there are three distinct wine regions in Slovenia, this particular area is known for white wines. My favourite was the “Sipon” variety, unique to Slovenia. Be sure to try their “orange” wines too, that uses the process of how red wines are made except with white grapes. (And don’t let the name throw you – we learned they aren’t always orange in colour either!)

Spot suggested by Mikkel from Sometimes Home

Top travel destinations in Slovenia
Maribor by Mikkel from Sometimes Home

Kamnik

Located in northern Slovenia and encompassing a large part of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, Kamnik is a picturesque medieval town that’s actually one of the oldest in Slovenia. Although Kamnik is only tiny (with a population of just under 14,000 inhabitants), you’ll find the ruins of two castles here, along with an important Franciscan monastery, and it’s possible to visit all three (and have lunch) with just a few hours at your disposal.  

Other sights you might want to check out while you’re in town are the pretty Glavni trg square, a medieval guildhall called Šutna, and a magnificent ancient library.  But the highlight for us was the short climb up to Mali Grad (little castle) From the castle grounds you’ll be rewarded with some spectacular views across Kamnik and towards the tree-covered or snow-capped (depending on what time of year you visit) peaks of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps.

Considering that most travellers head northwest towards Bled when they leave Ljubljana, Kamnik made for a welcome foray into the lesser-visited parts of northern Slovenia Kamnik is only 25 kilometres from Ljubljana so it makes a nice easy day trip either by road or by train (trains run every 20 minutes and the journey time is 50 minutes; by car it takes just 30 minutes).
The high mountain plateau of Velika Planina is also easily accessible from Kamnik.

Suggested by Kiara from Galloparoundtheglobe

top destinations in Slovenia
Photo by Kiara from Galloparoundtheglobe

Triglav National Park

Triglav National Park is Slovenia’s one and only national park. The park corresponds to the Eastern Julian Alps, a mountain range defined by strings of lakes and limestone mountains. In summer, wildflowers and edelweiss carpet the mountain slopes and alpine ibex wander about purposefully. This alpine wonderland is best discovered over the course of a few days. You can explore Triglav National Park on a series of day hikes from different towns, including Kranjska Gora, Trenta, Bovec, Stara Fužina. Alternatively, you can trek across the park on a hut to hut hike. There’s a network of mountain huts throughout the Slovenian Alps, so you can overnight in the mountains in great comfort. Experienced hikers with via ferrata experience should consider summiting Mount Triglav (2864 m), the highest peak in the park and the tallest mountain in Slovenia.

Hiking trails in Triglav National Park are usually well maintained. They’re marked by the Knafelc Waymark, which is a red circle with a white center. The best time to hike in the Julian Alps is from late June to end of September. The park’s karst terrain can be extremely challenging, so proper equipment is a necessity. For high alpine routes, you’ll need a via ferrata kit, polarized sunglasses, and sufficient water. To learn more about Triglav national park and how to best plan a trek across the park, read our Triglav National Park Hiking Guide.

Submission from Sabrina from Moon & Honey travel

most photogenic spots in Slovenia
Photo by Sabrina from Moon & Honey travel

Škocjan Caves

Slovenia is one of the most beautiful countries in the world and the Škocjan Caves are one of the best sights in the country. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the cave system at Škocjan should be top of the list for anyone visiting Slovenia.

The Škocjan Caves are part of one of the largest underground canyons in the world and are one of the most impressive natural sights we’ve seen in Europe. After joining a guided tour, we descended into the caves and the sheer scale of the cave system immediately became apparent. Visitors walk through a large section of the 6km of the canyon that is currently accessible. The tours walk along a winding, elevated trail path and the views from the path are incredible as you make your way through a cavernous section of the caves.  Some of the caverns are truly massive and its only as you gaze down into the massive caverns from the pathway that you can really grasp the size of the caves.  

The caves can only be visited by organised tour and photography is not allowed inside to protect the delicate interior of the caves. During the summer months, the caves are very busy with visitors so it is advised to visit early in the morning to secure a tour time and avoid long lines.

Suggested by Elaine & David from Show Them The Globe

Top destinations in Slovenia to visit
Photo by Elaine & David from Show Them The Globe

Kobarid

Kobarid is a picturesque Slovenian mountain town a quick drive over the border from Italy or about two hours’ drive from Ljubljana. It’s definitely worth visiting if you enjoy nature, hiking, and eating. From town you can see the high mountain peaks covered in snow, even outside of wintertime.
The local walking trails are beautiful and bring you past old stone bridges crossed by Napoleon’s troops, along hanging bridges to a waterfall, into a battle zone of World War I concrete bunkers, caves, white sheep grazing and colorful beehives.

In Slovenia it is traditional to paint beehives—some have intricate old fashioned paintings of scenery that look like they could be from the middle ages while others are brightly painted in primary colors. The local transportation into town is very limited, but my couchsurfing host collected me in a nearby city. However, once in town, it’s very walkable.

Foodies should make their reservation for Hiša Franko in advance as it’s now more popular than ever since being featured on Netflix’s Chefs Table, Season 2. Breakfast goods are delicious at the local bakery and delicious table wine is available straight from the barrel at the supermarket.
Bring your own container or buy a jug.

Spot by Jess from Longest Bus Rides

Top Slovenia travel destinations
Photo by Jess from Longest Bus Rides

Lake Bohinj

Lake Bohinj as seen from Ukanc, meaning ‘the end of the world’ in Slovene. Locals once believed this was the furthest anyone could ever reach, there being an insurmountable wall of mountains ahead. Everyone knows better now, but the innocence still hangs in the air, untouched by the centuries. For now and (let’s hope) forever. In any case, there’s something highly reassuring about a park bench with that view at ‘the end of the world’.

Slovenia’s largest permanent lake, Lake Bohinj is a glacial lake in the Julian Alps. A two-hour and 8 Euro bus ride from the country’s capital Ljubljana, it is far more accessible than you’d expect of any slice-of-heaven setting. While Lake Bled is the glamourous well-googled face of Slovenia, Lake Bohinj is the quiet timeless beauty that didn’t bother with the PR. The kind of place where it takes a long time to believe your eyes, and even longer to walk away. Spare yourselves the fate of having to leave these lakes to catch the last bus back to the city, and find a lakeside stay.

Legend has it: Once upon the beginning of time, when the creator was distributing land among the people, he forgot about one group of people who were standing around silently awaiting their turn. Not demanding like the others. Moved by their humility and patience, he gifted them the most ethereal land of all. The land he had set aside for his own retirement. Hence the name Bohinj, Boh meaning God. The guide on the boat enacted this tale with all the conviction of a true Slovene. Looking around, it didn’t seem far-fetched at all.

Suggested by Namita from Radically Ever After

Instagrammable places in Slovenia
Photo by Namita from Radically Ever After

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2 Comments

serovital gnc 3rd November 2016 at 2:23 am

I got what you mean, saved to bookmarks, excellent site.

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7 Awesome Winter Holiday Destinations in Europe 20th November 2016 at 11:41 am

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