Top 5 Day Trips in Slovenia

Slovenia Day Trips

Dragon Bridge in Ljubjana

Each year I hear Slovenia described as the next big tourist destination in Europe. An untouched region on the Mediterranean. A must see country before it becomes overrun by tourists. But each year nothing really changes. I still meet people who have never heard of Slovenia or know little about it. I’m sure visitor numbers are increasing but not to the extent where you feel overwhelmed with people around. It’s not like Croatia.

Lake Bohinj Boats and Kayaks

I understand many visitors to Europe want to visit the most popular cities like London, Paris and Rome. I’ve spent time in those cities so I get. They are amazing places to visit. But once you’ve been there then what? I suggest places like Prague and Budapest but after that why not Ljubljana and the rest of Slovenia? It’s beautiful in so many ways. It’s easy to get around, relatively cheap and most people speak English. There’s no reason not to go.

Once you make the decision to visit Slovenia the next question is where to go exactly. The capital Ljubljana is quaint with its pedestrian streets along the river, the cafe culture and the castle on the hill. But the real reason to visit Slovenia is outside of the capital. The Julian Alps, the Venetian coastal towns, stunning gorges and the glacial lakes are all incredible.

Slovenia Day Trips

I find Ljubljana to be a little quiet for a capital city but I adore the rest of the country. I suggest basing yourself in Ljubljana for a week or so to give you time to enjoy the cafe and restaurant scene but to take day trips to see the sights in the rest of the country. Slovenia is relatively small and easy to get around and taking day trips is the most practical way to see the country.

Ljubljana's River

For me the top 5 day trips in Slovenia are to Lake Bled, Piran, Lake Bohinj, Vintgar Gorge and Maribor in the east (in that order). If you have time you might also want to head to Trieste in Italy which is just across the border. Trieste is worth visiting for some seafood, artisan gelato and to visit Castello di Miramare. Tweet me for tips on visiting Trieste.

Lake Bled

Lake Bled is Slovenia’s crown jewel. It’s by far the most popular day trip in Slovenia and rightly so. It’s an emerald coloured glacial lake with a pretty island in the centre and a castle hanging off the cliff. With the Julian Alps as a backdrop it’s quite spectacular. This is one place in Slovenia you don’t want to miss. Yes, it’s the most touristy place but it’s gorgeous, peaceful (usually) and they have a famous dessert.


RELATED: Lake Bled: Stunning Views from Tito’s Private Villa


Lake Bled Island


RELATED: Bled Cream Cake Recipe


Piran

I’m a huge, huge fan of Piran. It’s Slovenia’s main coastal resort town and the Venetian architecture is incredible. It’s like a mini version of Venice but without the canals (unfortunately) and without the crowds (thankfully). It’s off limits to cars so you can walk around the ancient, cobblestone streets and lunch on just caught seafood in peace. If you can only take one day trip in Slovenia, Lake Bled is for nature lovers and Piran is for city people.


RELATED: Day Trip to Coastal Piran


Piran: Venetian City in Slovenia

For a little more Venetian architecture you could make a quick stop by Koper which is on the way to Piran (and not far from Trieste) but there are fewer buildings of note and most are currently in need of restoration.

Venetian Building in Koper

Lake Bohinj

Lake Bohinj has the beauty of Lake Bled but without the castle and crowds. If you want a peaceful day by the lake Bohinj is definitely the place to choose. There’s a bit of rivalry between Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj and it’s hard to say which is more beautiful so try to visit both if you can to see for yourself. I visited both lakes on the same day trip but I’d only recommend doing so if you’re pressed for time. Both lakes deserve a day on their own. I spent my time in Bohinj hanging out on the foreshore and around the bridge area but you can hire a kayak or go swimming if it’s not too cold.

Day Trip to Lake Bohinj

Vintgar Gorge

Vintgar Gorge isn’t just for nature lovers. I’m totally a city girl but loved the 3km round trip walk. I wouldn’t even describe it as a hike as it’s such a comfortable walk along well maintained paths which is mostly flat. Anyone with a basic level of fitness could do this walk and it’s totally worth it. Gorges are always beautiful places to visit and at Vintgar there are plenty of rapids, waterfalls and calm pools to keep you happy.

Vintgar Gorge Bridge

Savica Waterfall is a similar walk which you could do on the same trip or you could combine it with a day trip to Lake Bohinj.

Maribor

Not many visitors take the time to visit the eastern part of Slovenia but if you do Maribor is a cute town with Habsburg era architecture and the oldest grape vine in the world. I’d suggest taking the other day trips before heading to Maribor but if you have time there’s plenty to see and you can stop in Ptuj on the same trip. You could also stop in Maribor on the way to Budapest or Pecs in Hungary or to amazing Romania.


RELATED: Maribor: Eastern Slovenia’s Prettiest City


Ljubljana to Maribor

Other day trips worth considering:

  • Postojna Cave
  • Predjama Castle
  • Škocjan Cave
  • The wine region in the east.
  • Hiking in the Julian Alps
  • Zagreb in Croatia

Where to Stay in Ljubljana

Ljubjana is a modern city with many boutique hotel options. I recommend Vander Urbani Resort or Hotel Cubo if you’re looking for somewhere central and stylish or the Bit Center Hotel if you’re on a budget.

Slovenia Day Trips: A Summary

  • Slovenia is tiny, you can get from one end to the other in a few hours.
  • Taking day trips from the capital Ljubljana is an easy way to see the country.
  • Bled is the most touristy place in Slovenia. Arrive early to avoid the crowds.
  • My favourite hotel in Ljubljana.
  • My recommended Airbnb apartment in Ljubljana (I’ve stayed in many).
  • Top restaurants in Ljubljana.
  • Where to eat in Bled.
  • Drive yourself around the country. Public transport can be tricky.
  • Don’t forget to buy a vignette for your car.
  • Book a tour if you don’t drive or don’t want to organise your own visit.

TRAVEL GUIDE: Eyewitness Slovenia


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Lake Bled Slovenia

About Andrea

Andrea Anastasakis is the founder and author of road trip blog Rear View Mirror. She is currently driving her Fiat 500 around Europe. Follow her travel adventures on Instagram.


Comments

  1. Agh, these all sound awesome, Andrea! I’ve only ever heard amazing things about Slovenia, and your post is realllly making me want to go there! I’m definitely a city boy, so Piran and Maribor would be my top choices for day trips, although the lakes do look gorgeous, so there’s no way I’d pass on Lake Bled, either. I’m glad Slovenia hasn’t been overrun by tourists yet, like Croatia – sounds like it’s benefiting from not being a stop on the cruise ship itineraries yet.

    • I’ve found most of Slovenia to be fairly quiet. Bled can definitely get busy but it’s not at all on the same scale as places like Dubrovnik and Plitvice Lakes in Croatia. Not saying Croatia isn’t amazing, I love it too just not so much in July and August. 🙂 Do go to Slovenia if you can, it’s a fantastic destination!

  2. A very nice summary. Very glad to see you singing the praises of Piran. 🙂 I’ve been living in Ljubljana for the past ten years. Visitor numbers are on the rise and at times it could seem busy, but it’s hardly annoying and it’s not yet remotely close to reaching the “horde” level.

    Both are very nice spots but you can add me to those you prefer Bohinj over Bled. It’s a bit more quiet and better situated for longer day hikes or multi-day treks. Also, a slight correction: Bled is indeed extremely popular among visitors, but the most visited spot in the country are the Postojna Caves. Cheers!

    • Ah ok, thanks for the correction. I haven’t been to any of Slovenia’s caves as I prefer to stay above ground but I had heard they are popular. I considered living in Ljubljana myself as I love that it’s such as eco friendly city with organic markets and shops plus it’s very bike friendly. It’s just a touch too small for me. How do you like living there?

      • I was born in SLO but spent most of my life in the US before moving back to Europe permanently in 2004, and was very much attracted to Ljubljana. As major cities go, it is small which lends quite a bit to its charm. As a capital, it’s fairly cosmopolitan and there’s always plenty going on. And yes, it’s very bike friendly. <– That's important from someone who will never again own a car. 🙂 I travel fairly regularly for work, particularly in the late spring and summer months, and LJ is a nice place to return to.

        And thanks for the tweet, very much appreciated. 🙂

  3. What a fantastic post! I’m going to Slovenia for the first time in the next few weeks and these pictures have made me so excited! Planning to see Bled, Skocjan and Piran but I had been wondering whether or not it would be feasible to see Zagreb one day too – great to hear that it is manageable as well!

  4. Zagreb is only 140km from Ljubljana and it’s a small city so you’ll have plenty of time to visit if you only have a day. Let me know how your trip goes, you should be there at the perfect time of the year!

  5. I have really been wanting to go there. The only thing is I don’t find any cheap airlines going there 🙁
    Do you happen to know any?

    • Easyjet flies to Ljubljana and Ryanair flies to Trieste in Italy but not direct from Portugal. Adria is Slovenia’s national airline and I see flights with them are around €250 return from Lisbon if that’s where you’re flying from. https://www.adria.si/en/

  6. I totally agree with you about Slovenia. It is such a beautiful country and easy to get around. In a way, it is strange to see that it is still not very well-known and on the other hand, I enjoyed visiting the place so much more that way.

  7. Nice article! I would however add at least a few destinations onto the list: river So?a valley (for me #1 destination in Slovenia), Postojna & Škocjan caves and Brda wine region. There are many other places worth mentioning (e.g. numerous places within the Triglav national park), but these definitely belong to the top of every such list.

    Have fun, keep travelling and don’t stop blogging bout it. 😉

  8. Hello! I’ve been following you on Instagram for a while and now I’ve started reading your blog. Congrats, it’s really good. I think it will be really helpful on my next trip. Do you think it’s possible to do Bled and Vintgar Gorge on the same day from Ljubljana?
    Thanks

    • Yes definitely. Walking through Vintgar Gorge should only take an hour or two then you could spend the rest of the day at Bled.

      Thanks for following!

  9. I’m falling in love with Slovenia and I’ve never even visited. Thank you for this post, I’ve been looking for a list of the best day trips from Ljubljana for a while now. Glad you had an amazing time!
    Danielle

  10. Hi Andrea,
    All the places sound beautiful! I’m just wondering what do you think is the best way to get around. Is the public transport good to get to the gorge and lake bohinj or did you have a car?

    • I had my own car. I haven’t taken public transport in Slovenia but I imagine it’d be quite difficult to get around without a car, especially to the gorges and Triglav National Park. Hire a car if you can.

  11. Hi, an interesting blog you have going. Have you been to Izola by any chance? If yes, how does that compare to Piran please? Which would you consider more charming?

    • I have not been to Izola. Piran, Portoroz and Izola are all very close and you can easily reach them on the same trip. My impression is that Piran has the lovely historic old town while Portoroz and Izola are more modern resort and residential towns and therefore not particularly charming.

  12. Hi
    I plan to go in mid of sep. For a week! So happy to find your blog?
    I don’t plan to drive?Is it still possible to do the walk at Vingar gorge? And all the sites you have mentioned? Thanks lynn

    • It’s possible without a car but much more difficult. Vintgar, for example, is at least 5km from Lake Bled so you’d need to find a bus, if there is one, or maybe you could hire a bike. Ask the locals or tourist office about getting around or you could always do a tour.