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Looking for the best Slovenia itinerary? So was I, not so long ago. After my trip around Ljubljana, Bled, Lake Bohinj and Piran, I think I cracked the perfect route. In this guide, I’ll advise you how long to spend in each destination and what to do there, as well as other tips & tricks for making the most of your trip to this unbelievably beautiful country.
Following the, ahem, events of 2020 and 2021, I was thrilled to visit Slovenia because it was my first new country in over 2 years. I’d run out of time when I was backpacking in Romania, Slovakia and Bulgaria in 2019 so it had been a long time coming.
How long to spend in Slovenia?
I spent 10 days in Slovenia and stayed overnight in four different places. However, you could see the big names (Ljubljana and Bled) in as little as 3 days if you’re pushed for time. Personally, I would recommend at least a 7 day Slovenia itinerary because you can get past the must-sees and check out a few other wonderful destinations.
Best time of year for a Slovenia itinerary
I would always recommend shoulder season to visit Slovenia. April to June and September to October offer pleasant weather, lower prices and reduced crowds compared to the busy summer months of July and August. During this season, small but popular destinations like Bled become totally overwhelmed and you’ll be lucky to find a spare bed!
If you don’t mind the cold, you can even visit Slovenia in the winter. You’ll get bargains on accommodation and perhaps see the lakes frozen. Ljubljana also hosts Christmas markets.
5 day Slovenia itinerary: 2 days Ljubljana, 2 days Bled, 1 day Bohinj
7 day Slovenia itinerary: 2 days Ljubljana, 2 days Bled, 1 day Triglav Nat Park, 2 days Bohinj
10 day Slovenia itinerary: 2 days Ljubljana, 2 days Bled, 2 days Bohinj, 1 day Triglav Nat Park, 3 days Istria.
Slovenia itinerary for up to 10 days
Now let’s get stuck into the details. I’ll share what to do in each place to help you plan a fun trip packed with sights, food and… well, more food!
Slovenia itinerary day 1 – Ljubljana
Most people’s Slovenia itinerary will start in the capital. You can get there by flight (I recommend Skyscanner for finding the cheapest tickets), car, bus (I arrived on the Flixbus) or train.
Ljubljana is a small but lovely city with a historic Old Town, castle, river with many impressive bridges, and places to eat and drink outside.
Ljubljana is a fitting capital for Slovenia. Electric kavaliers transport people around (for free!), the main statue in the central square is of a poet not a war hero, and there are large green spaces for picnics and woodland walks. The city is developed and systems are efficient but nature and culture are prioritised. It feels like a blueprint for how cities should be.
Things to do in Ljubljana:
- Start the day with a free walking tour to learn about the city
- Climb or catch the funicular to Ljubljana Castle (entry from €10)
- See the buildings and statues in Prešeren Square
- Feel cultured at the many museums and galleries including the Museum of Contemporary History and the National Gallery
- Drink famous orange wine and other local varieties with Wine Tasting Ljubljana
- Browse the Central Market and eat lunch at My Dumpling or Kodila Gourmet
- Stop for an afternoon drink on Petkovšek Embankment
- Take a leisurely walk in Tivoli Gardens
- Go for a sunset drink at the top of Nebotični skyscraper
- Wander quirky outdoor arts centre, Metelkova.
Read next: 38 things to do in Ljubljana
Where to eat & drink in Ljubljana
Now for the important stuff! I ate so much in Ljubljana, once during my first trip when my friend Kerrie and I were catching up after being separated for the turbulent years 2020-21. We had terrible weather so spent most of the trip in cafes and bars.
During my second trip solo, I ate and drunk even more! I don’t mean to brag (okay, that’s a lie) but I offer the BEST food advice. Here were some of the highlights.
- Atmospheric Slovenian restaurant – Figovec
- Slovenian lunch cafe – Kodila Gourmet
- Famous dumpling cafe – My Dumpling
- Best cake cafe – Cacao
- Best cafe serving local desserts – Pri Vodnjaku
- Social enterprise – Second Violin
- Best veggie restaurant – Gujžina
- Best brunch – Ek Bistro
- Best Asian takeaway – Niam Niam
- Best drunk food – Burek Olimpija
- International eats – Abi Falafel, El Patrón Tacos & Store, Riksa wok
- Top tea house – Cajnica gallus
- Speciality coffee – Črno Zrno.
Where to stay in Ljubljana
- Hostel – I stayed at Hostel Tresor which has dorm & private rooms, laundry facilities and social areas, right in the heart of town. Book from €25. I also heard great things about Hotel Celia inside a refurbished prison! It’s had a funky refurb and hosts events and activities (note – I hear it can be a bit loud at night).
- Budget hotel – for a clean, spacious hotel with indoor & outdoor seating, White House Bela Hiša has coffee machines in every room and fantastic reviews. Book from €75.
- Splash out hotel – treat yourself at uHOTEL with its rooftop wellness centre, swimming pool, fitness centre and renowned buffet breakfasts. Book from €150.
- Apartments – check out Stella Sky with equipped studios and swimming pools with city views and Castle View Apartments with hot tubs and private parking.
- Browse all Ljubljana hotels on Booking.com and hostels on Hostelworld.
1 or 2 days in Ljubljana?
If your itinerary for Slovenia is tight, it’s easy to see the highlights of Ljubljana in a day. I’d prioritise a free walking tour, lunch at Central Market, walking up to the Castle and visiting a museum or gallery.
With a second day, you can see the city at your leisure, spending a full afternoon relaxing in Tivoli Gardens if you have good weather. You’ll also have time for alternative attractions like Metalkova arts centre and Trubarjeva Cesta street with its diverse cafes and restaurants. If you enjoy the Ljubljana nightlife and take a bar crawl, you’ll appreciate the extra day to relax.
So, if you like the sound of taking it slow, dedicate an extra day to Ljubljana!
Slovenia itinerary day 2 – caves
One of the best surprises of my Slovenia itinerary was visiting the vast Postojna Cave complex and finishing the day at Predjama Castle built into a karst cliff.
I hadn’t researched these destinations much because I’d been told I couldn’t take a day trip to them both by public transport. As a result, I booked a GetYourGuide day tour and waited to find out about them when I got there. It’s nice to switch off and let someone else do the work sometimes!
Both were impressive but Postojna Cave was my highlight. This vast underground wonderland is 3 million years old with eerie sculptures and 100-year-old lizards that only eat once a decade! A ticket gets you a mini railway ride and a guided tour. It’s undeniably touristic so might not be everyone’s cup of tea.
Predjama is an 800-year-old castle lodged in a karst cliff complex. In high season, you can visit the cave complex under the castle. Here I heard the folklore tale that the Erazem of Predjama was killed on the toilet after being betrayed by one of his servants. Ouch!
Budget tip – for a day trip, I’d suggest bringing a packed lunch and eating it in the castle grounds. There’s a decent restaurant onsite but, as is to be expected, prices are inflated.
If you’re visiting Predjama and Postojna, there’s another set of caves just a 20-minute drive away in the town of Divača. UNESCO heritage Škocjan Caves are more than 200 metres deep with 6km of passageways.
Take a guided tour of the karstic complex (€18), follow the Reka River underground for 3-5 kilometres or take an above-ground 2km loop along the Škocjan Education Trail.
From Ljubljana, you can drive, take a train to Divača or an Arriva bus.
Slovenia itinerary days 3-4 – Bled
A spot that I’m sure will be on everyone’s ideal Slovenia itinerary is world-famous Lake Bled. The town of Bled is where you’ll stay overnight but it’s not very exciting: it’s more a launching point for exploring the wonderful lake.
I visited in May and had perfect weather: not too hot but beautifully clear. The Julian Alps were still snow-capped. Just two days later at Lake Bohinj, the weather sucked so I’m happy the rain gods played ball for me here!
Things to do around Lake Bled:
- Walk around the lake path (which takes a couple of hours depending how often you stop to snap photos and lust over the views) or hire an e-bike
- Hike up to Osojnica viewpoint on the opposite side of Lake Bled from the town. It’s a steep hike with lots of steps but the views are just phenomenal!
- For a real bucket list experience, go paragliding! A few people in my hostel did this and loved it
- Visit Bled Castle dating back to 1004. Even if you don’t want to pay the €13 entry (my hostel were quite honest and told me it’s not worth it), it’s a nice hike to the summit
- Hire a paddleboat at a cost of around €12 an hour
- Board a pletna (taxi boat) to take you to the island
- On the island: climb 99 steps to the Assumption of Mary Church bell tower and ring the Wishing Bell, thought to make your desires come true.
Honest thoughts – the ticket to ring the Wishing Bell and climb the tower on the island was expensive at €10 and neither attraction was very impressive. The only thing I was wishing for my money back!
As a solo traveller, the only downside to visiting Lake Bled was wanting to hire a paddleboat but not having anyone to split the costs and rowing with. I hoped to meet people in the hostel but alas, no one’s sightseeing plans lined up with mine. Still, I can’t complain because Bled is paradise! I had a great time.
Bled cream cake
No Slovenia travel itinerary would be complete without eating Bled cream cake (Blejska Kremna). I had it twice in two days. It tasted better than it looked with a layer of sweet custard and a layer of cream sandwiched between flaky pastry dusted with icing sugar. More than 15 million portions have allegedly been served and I can see why!
Try it at:
- Confectionery Zima – this is one of the OG places to eat cream cake with a history of more than 50 years.
- Grajska Plaza Restaurant – here I ate Bled cream cake with beautiful views of the lake. The cake itself was a little better at the first place but it was still very tasty and the views are unrivalled.
Where else to eat in Bled
- Mega Burger Bled – although it doesn’t look much from the outside, this takeaway place serves amazing burgers with loads of options including truffle burgers in black buns, fried chicken burgers, veggie burgers, wraps and healthy boxes. Grab a burger and eat it by the lake.
- Oštarija Peglez’n – I can’t rave about this place enough and, with over 2,000 reviews almost all positive, neither can anyone else it seems! It’s an atmospheric restaurant with a local feel and shaded courtyard area. Slovenian food like meat, seafood and pasta comes in enormous portions. I had a giant chicken fillet with ham, cream sauce, crispy potatoes and roasted veggies.
- Pizzeria Rustika – I didn’t have time to eat here but my hostel recommended it. The reviews mention fantastic pizzas and indoor & outdoor seating areas.
- Old Cellar Bled – for excellent risottos, pastas and other dishes with creative ingredients plus fantastic local wines, don’t miss this atmospheric evening venue.
Where to stay in Lake Bled
- Hostel – I stayed at Bled Hostel which was a great base with cooking facilities, a bar and friendly staff who will give you maps and help you organise everything about your trip. Highly recommended! Book from €20.
- Budget hotel – a great option is Nature Hotel Lukanc with comfy rooms, parking and a garden area. Check availability from €90.
- Mid-range hotel – just 2 minutes from the beach and set inside a 19th-century mansion, Vila Prešeren is a charming base. Check availability from €120.
- Apartments – for all your home amenities, check out Apartments Mojca and Apartments Skok.
- Browse all Bled accommodation on Booking.com and Hostelworld.
Half a day in Vintgar Gorge
Even if you have just 7 days in Slovenia, I’d suggest squeezing in a trip to Vintgar Gorge while visiting Bled. This natural paradise is one of the loveliest places I visited with a cool, misty climate even on a hot day. The beautiful blue water cuts through the jagged cliff as you meander on boardwalks above.
Entry to Vintgar Gorge costs €10. Operating with a one-way system, you’ll start at the ticket gate near Podhom village and end at Waterfall Šum near scenic St. Katherine Church.
How to visit Vintage Gorge from Bled: walk (but make sure to bring enough water and sunscreen as there’s no shade), ride an e-bike, take a shuttle bus or drive.
Even if you want to see Vintgar Gorge but you’re not staying overnight in Bled, it’s possible. Tours from Ljubljana visit Lake Bled & Vintgar Gorge during one day.
Slovenia itinerary days 5-6 – Bohinj
I added this second lake town to my Slovenia itinerary as an afterthought and I’m so glad I did. I wondered if it would underwhelm after spectacular Lake Bled but I was stunned by its beauty. Lake Bohinj is a lot bigger than Lake Bled and has different activities on offer.
It’s a highly seasonal destination as you can swim in the waters of up to 24 degrees in summer but the lake often freezes in winter!
Read next: guide to visiting Lake Bohinj, Slovenia
Things to do around Lake Bohinj:
- Take a boat ride across the lake between Bohinj town and Camp Bohinj. This sightseeing boat has the dual purpose of transporting you to the start of the Savica Waterfall hike & the Vogel Cable Car.
- Hike to Savica Waterfall. Although there’s a car park and restaurant at the beginning of the hike, you can make it longer by starting at Camp Bohinj and walking through the Fairy Trail forest. If you’re super energetic and don’t mind a 4-hour return walk, you can even start in Bohinj town and hike along the north bank of the lake.
- Hike in Mostnica Gorge, a beautiful wooded area 6km from Bohinj. I hiked all the way to Planinska mountain hut serving hearty meals, beers and honey tea with jaw-dropping views of the valley.
- Ride the Vogel Cable Car to Vogel Ski Resort. Even if you don’t ski, it’s worth visiting the top for the best views around.
- Hire a kayak or canoe to explore the lake or go swimming.
For a 5 day Slovenia itinerary with a car, base either in Bohinj, Bled or anywhere in between for the final 3 nights and spend a day in each lake town then a day in Vintgar Gorge or Triglav Nat Park.
Where to stay in Lake Bohinj
- Hostel Pod Voglom – I stayed here and it was cheap with great buffet breakfasts including access to a cheese toastie machine! However, the place hasn’t been renovated for decades so don’t stay expect any luxury! Book from €16.
- Hotel – stay at Bohinj Eco Hotel for 4* peace and comfort, views of the Julian Alps and access to the wellness resort. Book from €100.
- Apartments – check out Cvetek Apartment in Ribčev Laz, and Apartment House Jager just out of town.
- Browse all Bohinj accommodation on Booking.com and Hostelworld.
Slovenia itinerary for 7 days – Triglav Nat Park or Soča Valley
If you’re staying in Bled or Bohinj, you’re surrounded by national parks and nature. For your 7th day, consider one of the following:
Triglav National Park: named after Mount Triglav, the highest peak in the Julian Alps, this region incorporates Nadiža karst spring, Soča spring, Martuljek Waterfalls and countless other natural attractions. Browse Triglav tours and activities.
Kranjska Gora: just north of Triglav is this alpine resort with options for climbing, hiking and, in the winter, skiing and other snow sports.
Soča Valley: found in the east of Slovenia, this region is easily accessible from both lake towns. The Soča River is one of the most beautiful in Europe, bright emerald in colour with plenty of options for kayaking, rafting and canyoning.
Top activities & excursions include:
- Triglav National Park tour inc 3 nature hikes (€99)
- Julian Alps tour inc Kranjska Gora and Soca Valley from Bled (€80)
- Canyoning adventure from Bled (€74)
- Kayaking on the Soca River adventure (€58)
- Zipline over Sava River (€30)
- 3 day self-guided Mount Triglav and Lakes Valley hike from Bled inc accom & transport (€200).
Slovenia itinerary days 8-10 – Istria
At the top of the Istrian peninsular (also home to parts of Croatia and Italy), Piran and the surrounding region make an excellent addition to any Slovenia itinerary. This was my first stop after crossing the border from Croatia and it made for a wonderful introduction to Slovenia, even though it feels culturally distinct.
With a 10-day Slovenia itinerary, you have time to spend the last 3 days exploring lovely Slovenian Istria.
Getting to Piran
From Ljubljana, drive in 1 hour 20 minutes or catch an Arriva bus in 2 hours 40 minutes. Some buses will drop in Portorož rather than Piran so hop on a quick €1 bus or in a taxi. From Bled or Bohinj, you can drive in around 2 hours or catch a bus transferring through Ljubljana or Trieste, Italy.
Things to do in Piran:
- Admire the key buildings in Tartini Square and stop for a coffee
- Walk the Walls of Piran dating back to the 7th century and offering spectacular views
- Climb to the bell tower of St. George’s Parish Church for yet more amazing views
- Visit the quirky Magical World of Shells Museum
- Take a walk around the headland. There are plenty of cafes and beach bars where you can drink in the views… And Aperol Spritz! Continue along Fiesa footpath until you’ve had your fill.
Where to eat in Piran, Slovenia
- Rostelin – two words: truffle pasta! They also serve other dishes but I only tried the tartuf fuži, a traditional type of pasta native to Istria. Large strips of pasta are cut diagonally to make diamond shapes.
- Fritolin Pri Cantini – right beside Rostelin, this is another highly-rated restaurant with outdoor seating. Mussels, sardines, whitebait and calamari are all on the menu. I heard great things but didn’t eat here because the menu is largely based around platters for multiple people and I was travelling solo.
- Ladja Podlanica Piran – the best meal I had in Piran was at this super local restaurant aboard a docked boat in the harbour. There’s no menu, just a few fresh seafood dishes of the day explained by the staff. It’s wonderful!
- Gostinstvo Jasmina Račan – this was another gem I stumbled upon with excellent reviews and quality local fare. The squid I had was super fresh and very affordable.
- Piran Pirano PastIccerIa – the best gelato in town with SO many flavours!
Where to stay in Piran
- Hotels – Art Hotel Tartini is decorated with art by Slovenian artists and has an enviable breakfast buffet (€100) / Hotel Piran is right in the centre of town with a restaurant, terrace and patio with sea views (€120)
- Apartments – Morski Val (€65) / traditional Piran house (€55)
- Browse all Piran accommodation on Booking.com and also check Portorož (a short bus ride away) for more options
More places to visit in Slovenian Istria
If you have limited time for the Istria leg of your Slovenia itinerary, I would recommend basing in Piran. It’s so charming! However, if you have any time for excursions, there are other places you can visit. Having a car here will enable you to see a lot more of the region in a short space of time.
This was where my Flixbus from Croatia arrived. Although I didn’t stay long, it’s a popular destination with a fancier vibe than Piran. There are hotels, beach bars and cafes. Cafe Central is known for its famous cakes so of course I swung by with all my luggage before heading to my accommodation in Piran. Priorities in check!
This traditional coastal town in Slovenian Istria is a lovely place to wander by the water or enjoy the many outdoor restaurants and cafes. Visit Da Ponte Fountain (a replica of Rialto Bridge in Venice), learn about the town at the regional museum, admire the Praetorian Palace or pay €5 to climb 241 steps to the Bell Tower.
Reach Koper from Piran in 25 minutes by car or catch a local bus.
This scenic fishing town has a couple of small beaches and several significant buildings including churches and palaces. The lack of huge must-dos means it’s sleepier and quieter than its neighbours: perfect if you hate crowds! Izola is halfway between Piran and Koper so makes an easy stop between the two.
If you have more time to spend in Europe, consider crossing a border.
I spent 3 months living in Croatia so it’s somewhere I’ll always love and recommend to fellow travellers. The popular Dalmatian coastal cities like Split, Dubrovnik and Zadar aren’t especially close to Slovenia, however Zagreb is approximately a 2-hour journey by car, bus or train from Ljubljana. Ticking off the best things to do in Zagreb would make a cool 2-day city break.
Likewise, if you’re visiting Piran, it’s only a short drive over the border in Istria to reach Croatian destinations like Pula and Rovinj. Pula has well-preserved Roman ruins and boat trips to the Brijuni Islands while Rovinj is ridiculously quaint and charming with fantastic food and colourful streets.
Read next: the ultimate Croatia itinerary
From Slovenian Istria, you’re just a few kilometres from Italy. The closest city is Trieste, a port city full of culture. The medieval Old Town takes influence from Italy, Slovenia and the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. Visit Miramare Castle, eat seafood, tour the museums and enjoy being in the Italian city that consumes the most coffee!
You can also reach Venice in under 2 hours from Ljubljana. This is what I did, catching the Flixbus at the end of my Slovenia itinerary and finally ticking Venice off my bucket list. This city can be expensive and crowded (and dirty compared to Slovenia) but it’s a wonder of our world. See it before it’s too late!
After that, I continued my Northern Italy itinerary and departed from Milan airport. This would make a great route if you have the time and energy left over!
Thanks for reading!
Read my other Slovenia posts:
- 38 things to do in Ljubljana, Slovenia
- Where to eat and drink in Ljubljana, Slovenia
- Lake Bohinj travel guide
- Review of Wine Tasting Ljubljana
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TRUSTED RESOURCES FOR VISITING SLOVENIA
Getting around by air – I use Skyscanner and search by month to see the cheapest dates.
Driving in Europe – use Rentalcars.com to compare car rentals in European countries (and all around the world).
For trains, I use Trainline. The search feature allows you to compare prices, and they show live departure times on the website.
For buses, I use Flixbus. Find journeys between European countries from €1!
Use Omio to compare trains and buses in one search. It’s so handy!
For hotels and self-catering apartments, I use Booking.com. You can filter by review score and price to find the best-rated budget places. For hostels, I use Hostelworld.
To save money on accommodation, I use Trusted Housesitters, a website that connects homeowners going away and travellers who can sit their homes & pets.
Browse tours and activities on GetYourGuide and Viator.
Need travel insurance? I use True Traveller (for UK & Europe residents) since it’s affordable but covers everything you’d need including various activities, valuables and pre-existing conditions. Unlike some companies, they insure you if you’re already travelling / don’t yet have your flight home booked. Get a quote.
For travel insurance for other nationalities, I recommend Hey Mundo and for long-term digital nomad travellers, I suggest Safety Wing.
Check out my resources page for more travel discounts and budget tips from my 10+ years on the road!