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Slovenia is without a doubt one of the most naturally beautiful countries in the entire world. As far as hidden gems go, Slovenia is the rarest and most beautiful of diamonds!
Slovenia is known for its mountains, lakes, some of the best show caves in Europe, historic villages, and a cliffside medieval castle. Water in lakes, rivers, and waterfalls runs the gamut from emerald-green to turquoise to powder blue and everything in between! We’ll see all of that and more on this Slovenia itinerary!
If that weren’t enough to convince you to add Slovenia to your travel wish list, it is also one of the most inexpensive countries to travel to in central Europe!
To top it all off the people of Slovenia are warm, friendly, and welcoming AND English is widely spoken.
Personal experience: We had an unforgettable experience in Slovenia that really speaks to how wonderful the Slovenian people are. It wasn’t some grandiose incident, rather a small one that spoke volumes. We had been touring the area all day and were hungry so decided to pull off the road at a random pizza place. We went inside and there were just a few locals drinking beer. The gentleman running the place explained that there was no food on this day, just drinks. He began to communicate to me where we could get some pizza, in German. Although I understood him, he didn’t seem quite convinced.
We headed for the car. Before I could take off, he waved us down, grabbed one of his buddies and they jumped in his car, leaving the restaurant and its patrons unattended. He then gestured for me to follow him. He then drove us to an open restaurant! As we pulled into the parking lot he waved and drove off. I live in rural Kansas where people are generally friendly and helpful, but I don’t think I have ever had an experience like this one.
*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, for more information see my terms and conditions page.
Slovenia Itinerary 5 days
Are you looking for an epic itinerary for a 5 day road trip in Slovenia? Look no further!
I collected info on some of the best things to do in the Julian Alps region of Slovenia and combined them into an epic 5 day road trip itinerary! I’ve included some of the best landmarks and combined them into a tidy little driving route.
I avoid larger cities in favor of small villages. In fact, the largest city we’ll visit on this trip is Bled, population 8,171 (2014)
Overview: Slovenia in 5 days
Travel Style for this trip to Slovenia:
- Historic Medieval towns and cobbled streets
- dense forests
- A dreamy cave castle
- UNESCO World Heritage sites
- bucket list worthy locations
- milky blue rivers and streams
- alpine lakes
- Waterfalls and Gorges
- and so much more! = dream trip!
One week in Slovenia?
Prefer to slow it down? You can easily slow down the pace and make this a 7 Day Slovenia Road trip. There are plenty of optional experiences in this article to fill another two days…or add on the wonderful city of Ljubljana!
This Itinerary for Slovenia road trip route was planned to add as many highlights as possible with as little driving as possible.
Our starting point AND ending point are going to be Ljubljana because it’s the major airport in the area with the most flight options. If you’re coming from somewhere else, join us in Bohinj! (and if it fits your schedule better just flip this around.)
Total Drive time for the entire trip: 7.5 hours
(LJU-Bohinj-Bled-Triglav National Park-Soca Valley-Predjama Castle-show caves-LJU)
Getting around Slovenia
This isn’t the best itinerary for public transportation. You can easily get to Bled and Bohinj from Ljubljana, and there are options to take tours from there. I will try and address those later. Surprisingly, you can reach the wonderful rustic farmhouse stay recommended here by public transportation as well! Basing yourself in one place and taking day trips is another option. You can explore your options on the Rome2Rio website or app. (New to Public Transportation? I have a helpful article for beginners)
Because of the remote locations on this itinerary, a road trip is the best way to do this trip. With your own car you can get around faster.
- 1-Do yourself a big favor and add the GPS onto your car rental or bring one along. We have this GPS unit from Garmin.
- 2- You may need an International Driving Permit to drive in Europe. Get one at your local AAA office.
- 3-Rental Car: Search on Booking.com or Expedia to find the best rates and then book with the company directly for peace of mind.
- 4-You may need to purchase a toll pass (vignette) for the motorways in Slovenia. Inquire with your rental car company. Otherwise, they can be purchased at gas stations. In Slovenia you get a receipt that goes in the glove box instead of a sticker like Switzerland or Austria.)
Day 1: Lake Bohinj / Savica Waterfall
stay: 1 of 2 nights: Bohinj or Bled
getting money in Slovenia
IF you flew in and this is your first day in the EU, you may want to hit the ATM and get some Euros before you leave the airport. It’s the fastest, easiest, often least expensive and best way for travelers to obtain foreign currency. Be sure to use your debit card and not your credit card, cash advance fees are normally astronomical. Don’t forget to refuse the Dynamic Currency Conversion (you want the transaction in Euros, not your home currency. They will charge you to convert it.)
pick up your rental car
and head out of town! Depending on your arrival time (hopefully first thing in the morning) you should be able to put in a full day.
Drive to: Bohinj Lake (Drive time: 1 hour)
Lake Bohinj (Slovenia)
Lake Bohinj ( BOH-heen) is a beautiful glacial lake with crystal clear water located in the Julian Alps of Slovenia. It is the largest permanent lake in Slovenia and is situated in the Triglav National Park in the Julian Alps. The lake is surrounded by mountains and forests, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. This lake is much prettier than I expected. We rushed through it and on to the next thing, but I wish I had given it more time. It is also more crowded than expected so if you can hang around until some of the midday crowds have dissipated.
There are tons of things to do at the lake, explore them here. Vogel Cable car up for panoramic views, boat ride on the lake, hiking, cycling, fishing, swimming, and in late May/early June the Flower Festival.
Savica (sah-VEET-seh) Waterfall
One of the most popular attractions at Lake Bohinj is the Savica Waterfall, which is located at the head of the lake. The waterfall is a stunning sight and is accessible via a moderate to strenuous 20-minute uphill trail (553 stairs.) Your reward, a double waterfall that plummets 78 metres into a remarkably pure pool of emerald-green snowmelt. Bring cash for the small fee to access the waterfall. (1.4 miles round trip)
Tip: bring your hiking poles for this one!
where to stay for the first two nights
We stayed at Hiša Pr’Pristavc in Bohinj (central to activities on our itinerary) prices starting at: $139 per night guest rating: 8.7
book it now!
Want more choices? Search with my Booking.com link and help me fund my website!
Day 2: Lake Bled
stay: 2 of 2 nights: Bohinj or Bled
We then drove straight to Bled Castle to beat the crowds. The castle itself was alright. The real draw to this 1,000-year-old cliff hanging castle is the intoxicating views of Lake Bled and surrounding mountains! Outstanding! Pricey paid parking at the castle, restaurant with nice views.
Parking travel tip: Repark the car
Parking in Bled can be challenging. We parked at the Luge lot for free! We never had to show any proof that we were paying customers.
Lake Bled (locals pronounce is Blade)
Lake Bled is one of Slovenia’s top destinations and no wonder! I’ve never seen anything quite like it and to be honest, the pictures don’t do it justice. Here are some of the best ways to spend the day at this beautiful lake:
make your way around the lake
There’s a 3.5-mile path that surrounds lake Bled. Here are some options for getting around the lake: Walk, rent a bike or an ebike, mountian bike, or a tourist train (stops along the way)
A boat ride to the island in the center of the lake-the island and the cute church that occupies are what make up the iconic view of lake bled. To get to the island: electric boat tour OR Cruise over on a Pletna boat (these are the traditional passenger row boats) or rent a rowboat and row yourself over.
Summer tobogganing at Straza Mountain.
We took a few turns on the toboggan run! It was a little expensive but fun, something I’ve been wanting to do for a while.
Where to eat at Lake Bled
anywhere along the lake with a view! The food may or may not be great, but the views are guaranteed to be! Be sure to try the Kremna Rezina or kremsnita layer of cream, layer of custard between sheets of crisp crust.
Massage or wine tasting
Why not schedule a massage while on vacation in Slovenia. Consider making an appointment for tonight to cap off your day.
- Bled: Sava River Rafting Trip
- From Bled: Self-Guided E-Bike Tour to Vintgar Gorge
- Bled: 3-Hour Family-Friendly Rafting Adventure
- Bled: Guided Canyoning Tour with Transport
- From Bled: Full-Day Underground Kayaking
- Bled eBike Tour
I made my way here to check out the Gingerbread Museum located in the Lectar Restaurant. While I was a little disappointed with the museum, the town was an absolute treat! Radovljica is a charming medieval town with a well-preserved historic center, narrow streets, colorful buildings, and a beautiful town square! Take a leisurely stroll through the town’s cobblestone streets and admire the beautiful architecture and historic landmarks or visit the beekeeping museum.
Day 3: Vintgar Gorge/ Lake Jasna/ Triglav National Park and the Julian Alps
travel time for the day: 3.5 hours drive
stay: 1 of 2 or 3 nights: Klavze 28
Make this stunning mile long gorge a priority! Transverse wooden boardwalks and bridges deep below in the valley of this gorge. Allow 1.5 hours round trip from entrance. See the official website for details. This is an incredibly popular attraction so if you can, show up when they open.
Pokljuška Soteska Gorge
is a narrow and deep dry gorge that was formed by the Radovna River over thousands of years. The gorge is approximately 2 kilometers long and features stunning steep rock formations, caves, narrow passages, cliff hugging wooden walkways, waterfalls, lush vegetation, and crystal-clear pools. It’s a nature lover’s dream!
Lake Jasna (Jezero Jasna)
As we continued our journey, suddenly the most stunning emerald-green lake with a mirror-like surface reflecting the surrounding mountains came into view. You’ll want to work a little time into your schedule for this one!
Get more details: in my Jasna Lake article!
The Julian Alps/ Triglav National Park
Vršič Pass (vur-SHEECH) Pass Scenic drive
This amazing high-altitude drive (5,285 ft) through the Julian Alps includes 50 hairpin turns (each numbered and labeled.) (We’ll be doing it backwards so starting at 50.) There are frequent pull outs along the way so stop for the views. #24 is the highest point (summit.) Stop at the cozy Tičar Lodge for refreshments and stunning views.
FULL disclosure I was completely intimidated by the thought of this drive. I am glad we did it because it was such a joy!
Would you rather someone else do the driving??? You can take guided tours from Bled, Bohinj, and even Kranjska Gora that include the Vršič Pass! Shop your options on Get Your Guide!
This trail is a fairly easy hike that leads to a dramatic cascade plunging 50 feet through a narrow cavern into a beautiful pool. 1.5 hours round trip. Just before you reach Kozjak Waterfall you’ll need to stop and buy a ticket so bring cash.
Brv Cez Soco Suspension Bridge, a great spot to stop on the trail to Kozjak Waterfall.
As you follow along the route, you’ll want to make frequent stops to enjoy the remarkable clarity and milky blue waters of the Soča. Napoleon’s bridge is a good spot for a quick stop at this neat bridge for photos. Be sure to slow down the pace and stop at scenic spots on the river. You’ve probably never seen anything like the blue color of the Soča River. (We visited in September during a dry spell. While we were there the rains came in and “muddied” the waters so to give you the full effect of the beauty of this area I had to use some stock photos in this article.)
It’s hard to peg the exact color of the Soča. Sometimes it’s a milky blue, sometimes milky green, but the best way to describe it is BEAUTIFUL!
Klavze 28 is a rustic farmhouse bed and breakfast located in a secluded area of the Soca Valley. Two old restored farm houses sitting pretty in an idyllic valley surrounded by mountains, rolling hills, meadows and forests. Yes, this is our wonderful, amazing accommodations for the next two nights, but make no mistake this isn’t just a place to lay your head but a wonderful EXPERIENCE!
Klavze requires a 2-night stay. I gladly rearranged our entire itinerary to make it work.
This area is remote. You may want to ask Klavze in advance of your arrival to make a dinner reservation for you at one of their recommended restaurants. Hisa Polonka in Kobarid is recommended by Rick Steves (closed Tuesday and Wednesday)
Get more details: Read my in depth review of Klavze 28 here
or if you prefer, just book it now!
Want more choices? Search with my Booking.com link and help me fund my website!
Day 5: the Soča River Valley / relax!
total driving: minimal
stay: 2 of 2 or 3 nights: Klavze 28
The Soca River Valley
Spend more time enjoying this stunning river and Sova Valley! This beautiful river deserves more of your time!
Here are a few ideas for ways to fill out your day:
horseback trail riding
If you are looking for horse riding opportunities check out Konjeniški klub ranč Pelance (equestrian club) suitable for both beginners and experienced riders. Choose from 2-hour, 3-hour, or full day rides. They also offer photo shoot packages of riders on horseback in the Soča River!
Nortra Ebike Rental, bicycle rental service (including ebikes)
Ladja Lucija boat tours
Spend a lazy afternoon floating down the colorful Soča river to the accumulation lake and the dam at Doblar. May-September, 1 hour (cash only)
SUP Tours (Stand up Paddle Boats)
Get a quick lesson on paddling and safety for beginners and off you go on this 3-4 hour guided tour on the stunning waters of the Soča River!
Banway also offers guided SUP tours that leave from Most na Soci.
Is a one stop shop for adventure activities including: canoeing, kayaking, mountain biking, white-water rafting, caving, diving, climbing. They also offer bike rentals.
Maya Outdoor Center
Offers opportunities for rafting, kayaking canyoning, ziplines and more! See their website for a full list of activities and rental information.
fishing/ trout fishing / fly fishing services
The Soca Valley website has all the information you’ll need if you are interested in fishing.
See the Komoot website for the best hikes in the area.
Google lists several options for paragliding in the Tolmin area, like Kobala Takeoff Paragliding location.
Make the most of your stay at Klavze
There’s really no reason to leave this wonderful property if you don’t feel the need. Wander the meadows, head down to the crisp clear river, sip a glass of wine from a local vineyard while reading a good book. Pick up a few groceries and prepare a simple meal with herbs from the herb garden. Pull up a chair and get toasty by the evening bonfire. Just soak in the rustic atmosphere of this hidden gem. It’s possible you will never have felt so relaxed in your entire life.
Day 5: Predjama Castle and a show cave
total driving: 3-3.5 hours
stay: either back to Klavze or head to Ljubljana, you choose!
Today you’ll take a very long day trip.
(rather take a tour?)
(Prehd-YAH-mah)/ Predjamski Grad is an over 800-year-old cave castle (the largest in the world) that was actually on both mine AND my husband’s bucket lists! This castle really had a great feel that seemed to shine through even though it was SUPER CROWDED! Self-guided audio tour, pay the entrance fee and head in, no need to wait for “tour times.” You’ll want to get an early start but don’t miss the wonderful breakfast at Klavze!
There’s a Stone Age cave behind the castle but Rick Steves says that it’s skippable, so we did. We figured our time and money would be better spent at one of the world-class show caves, our next stop.
Choose a cave: There are two popular show caves in this area. Postojna Cave (10 km ride the underground train!) and Škocjan Caves (35 km) Due to time constraints you are going to have to choose.
drive to Škocjan Caves: 30-minute drive
We chose UNESCO World Heritage Škocjan Caves. We love to add World Heritage Sites to our itineraries and the caves comprise Europe’s largest underground Canyon. In fact, they are known as “the Underground Grand Canyon” because they are some of the largest subterranean chambers in the entire world. There’s a raging underground river that flows through the Skocjan Caves. Visitors experience a guided 2-mile hike, that includes 400 stairs, through the caves.
Warning: We arrived late in the day and tickets were sold out! Entry denied! It was such a disappointment. You may want to consider pre purchasing tickets.
Dinner in Italy?
If you happen to be at Škocjan Caves, then you also happen to be only 25 km from Italy. I had never been, so it was just too tempting, and I had to cross over. Why not stop in Trieste and have dinner overlooking the Adriatic Sea? From there it’s a 1 hour 45-minute drive back to Klavze.
Vipavski Križ. If you’re headed back to Klavze and still have some daylight, consider a quick stop to check out this hidden gem. I stumbled on it by accident! Vipavski Križ is a picturesque 14th century medieval town situated on a hilltop. You’ll really feel as if you’ve taken a step back in time as you explore this historic village.
where (and what) to eat
My favorite place to search for the best places to eat is Tripadvisor. You get customer review ratings and lots of photos!
When in Rome (Slovenia cuisine)
If you’re like me, then the best part of the trip is usually the food! When in Rome, try the local cuisine!
- Burek: Savory phyllo-dough pastry
- Struklji: dumpling cakes stuffed with cheese, meat etc.
- Repa is a turnip prepared like sauerkraut.
- Not common to ask for tap water but try asking for a voda iz pipe.
- Potica walnut roll
When is the best time to visit Slovenia?
Spring and Fall are ideal times to visit this region of Europe. However, mountain regions may already or still be dealing with snow.
Winters are cold. Expect to deal with winter weather road conditions, particularly because most of this Slovenia itinerary is located in the mountainous region. Some mountain passes may be closed.
Summer is prime time to visit for summer activities like swimming and boating, but it will be crowded.
crowd beating tips
The commonsense rule of thumb for avoiding the worst crowds at popular tourist attractions are:
- Visit early morning or late in the day (i.e., the first or last tour of the day)
- Weekdays are often less crowded than weekends.
- Travel in the shoulder or off season
cost and money saving tips
How much can you expect to spend on this Slovenia trip?
|Hotel (based on double occupancy||$750 (5 nights)|
|Tours and admission||$150.00 (does not include any of the optional experiences or choices for Day 4)|
|estimated total for two people||= $1,150 (plus the cost of food/drinks)|
Don’t forget to add the cost of airfare (we fly free, learn how here!) PLUS sign up for “Going” (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights) to get FREE flight deals sent to your inbox! see the world for less!
This discount card provide guests of partnering accommodations for at least two nights with:
(for purchase at Tourist Information centers and some hotels. Check with your host)
- Free transport: by bus and by train
- Free parking in Bohinj (valid with parking card).
- Free panoramic boat ride on Lake Bohinj
- Free tickets for attractions (Savica Waterfall, Mostnica Gorge, all three museums, St. John the Baptist Church)
- Free bus transportation, mountain bike rental, 1 free ride on the Straža Chairlift, discount on a boat ride with traditional Pletna or Bled Boat Line to the Bled Island, taxi and Bled Shuttle discount, summer to
- discount on the entrance fee to Bled Castle and Bled island
- Free guided tour of Bled (lake promenade / old town – every Fri
- Buy 2 get 1 free for summer tobogganing at the Straža Bled
- discount on bike, e-bike and e-kick scooter rental
- Restaurant discounts
- Free maps
- and more!
SOČA VALLEY Discount Card
The Soča Valley has a discount card too. The card offers free and discounted transportation, free entrance to sites, attractions, and museums. You can even take the cable car up to the Alpine beach on Kanin. Or opt for the free hop-on-hop-off bus or shuttle through the Soča Valley.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which is the best month to visit Slovenia?
If I had to choose just one month, it would be September. You should be able to get in and out before the snow starts falling on the mountains. It’s warm enough to enjoy outdoor activities, the crowds are beginning to dissipate, and summer prices are a thing of the not-so-distant past.
Is 5 days enough for Slovenia?
While 5 days is not enough to see everything this wonderful country has to offer, it is enough to see some of Slovenia’s best highlights! After getting a taste of what Slovenia has to offer, you’ll be itching to come back for more!
Plan your 5 day Slovenia itinerary
Want to create your own unique Slovenia Road trip? Plan the perfect Slovenia travel itinerary in just 6 simple steps! Looking to travel Europe on a budget? Get the best Slovenia travel Guide on the market, Rick Steves Croatia and Slovenia Guide, the absolute best books on traveling Europe!
Nervous about not speaking Slovenian? No problem! I have a guide to overcoming the travel language barrier so you can relax and enjoy your travels! Learn these three words to ensure a friendly reception everywhere you go: Please (prosim) thank you (hvala) and hello (zdravo)
Consider using these:
- Google Translate
- Duolingo (free and fun!)
- Pimsleur Language Courses (not cheap but highly effective if you want to learn even more German)
- Lingopie (let’s you watch your television programs with German subtitles!)
Protect yourself with trip insurance
Road trips in Slovenia cost money. Protect your investment with “cancel for any reason” trip insurance. Shop for one at the Travel Insurance website! but don’t delay, most CFAR policies need to be purchased within 14-21 days of your initial trip payment, depending on the policy.