Slovenia is a scenic country in the heart of Europe that offers a wide vary of attractions to travelers. On our three-week roundtrip, we've combined Slovenia with Hungary and Italy, but most of our time was spent in Slovenia. You can easily fill up two weeks exploring its main sights.
We've hitchhiked or used public transportation to get around, except for the Logar Valley for which we rented a car. If you're feeling adventurous, it is perfectly doable to do the former, but if you want to travel hassle-free, it would be a good idea to rent a car.
Since we're not so keen on big cities, we didn't spend much time exploring Maribor, Slovenia's second largest city. We've quickly walked through the city center, but didn't stay long. We were more excited to go discover the Logar Valley with our newly rented car!
This landscape park really appealed to me for its amazing alpine views. The rental car did not enjoy the (bumpy) experience, but we were blown away by the many beautiful viewpoints.
That was the beginning. Unfortunately, the weather turned against us (and would do so for most of the time) by blurring our pretty views with clouds. We armed ourselves against the rain with fancy ponchoes and wouldn't let bad weather stop us from hiking to the 90-metre Rinka waterfall. Once there, it is possible to climb to the top of the mountain Planjava at 2394 metres, but the hike to the mountain hut Okreselj at 1378 meters is pretty nice as well. Considering the downpour and thunder by the time we had reached the hut (which was closed, thank you very much), for us it was not even an option to go any further.
This medieval village is one of the oldest vestiges of Slovenia. It is very small, and thus easy to explore by foot. Most of the buildings in the historical city center are protected by UNESCO as cultural heritage. Especially beautiful are the cute houses by the Stone Bridge.
I know we visited this place, but the fact that I have no real memories of this small village, means it was not that memorable. The fact that I only have this photo of Kranj where I'm enjoying myself on the children's playground, says enough. The views over the surroundings were more interesting though.
In the serires 'small towns', Radovljica beats both Skofja Loka and Kranj in terms of small size. After asking for a map in the tourist office, I felt a bit silly when I was handed a map depicting just one street. Radovljica’s (tiny) old town is one of the best preserved town structures in Slovenia with houses dating back to the 15th and 16th century.
Lake Bled is possibly the best-known natural attraction in Slovenia, and rightfully so. In the middle of the turquoise lake stands a beautiful island with a pilgrimage church. You can take an (overpriced) boat to visit the island, but actually the views around it are much better. Hike up to the Ojstrica viewpoint (the best view in my opinion) or walk up to Bled Castle.
Situated at about 1,6km from Bled, the beautiful Vintgar Gorge contains a series of canyons ranging from 50 to 100 m high, formed by erosion of the Radovna River. A 2km hiking trail allows you to walk through the canyon up to the Sum Fall, a 13 meter high waterfall.
If you'd ask me about my favourite spot in Slovenia, I wouldn't have to think twice. It is Bohinj, without a doubt. The lake bears some resemblance to lake Bled, but it is less touristy, more relaxing and the scenery is just totally outstanding. I loved spending the night on the campsite Camp Zlatorog to wake up in the forest, then have breakfast by the water while overlooking the Julian Alps.
Day hikes around Bohinj
The same campsite is also a great starting point for the many day hikes you can undertake in the national park Triglav. We hiked to Dom na Komni at 1600 meters and visited the Slap Savica waterfall. Doing these hikes we prepared ourselves for a greater challenge...
At 2864 meters, this is the highest mountain of Slovenia. You can reach the summit in two days, but think wisely about which trail you pick. We had to give up about 20 meters from the top when the path became way to steep (read: vertical) and we were not equipped for that. Afterwards we heard it would've been easier to reach the summit via the mountain hut Kredarica instead of Dom Planika as we had done.
Most Na Soci
This artificial lake is worth a quick stop when you're in the neighborhood. The bright blue lake is set against the background of beautiful green mountains.
Hike starting at the source of the Soca-river
There is a trail that starts at the source of the Soca river and end in the village Bovec. The total distance is about 20 km, which would take you about 5 hours to complete.
Parenthesis: Venice in Italy
I know Venice isn't part of Slovenia, but for the sake of completeness, I'm adding that at this point in our itinerary we made a side trip to Venice, which I will detail in another blog post.
Small and charming, Piran is a tin0y village on the Adriatic Coast. These old houses with red roofs bring to mind the other coastal town of Dubrovnik, but Piran is much quieter. Make sure to climb the hill to the Church of Saint George for the best views over the town.
Slovenia hosts two famous cave systems, the most famous (and touristic) being Postojnska jama which you visit on board of a tourist train. Skocjanske Jame appealed more to me though because it's less crowded and you can walk through the caves using your own feet. You'll cross the Cerkevnik bridge spanning over a huge chasm and you'll walk through open areas (the Great Hall) so large it is hard to believe you're actually underground. The entire 6km trail is relatively easy, but there are many stairs.
Completely unrelated, but I will also remember Skocjan as the place where I had one of my worst camping experiences ever, staying up all night to catch up the raindrops in the tent caused by a terrible storm.
Not my personal favorite, but Ljubljana gets better at night when all the outdoor terraces fill up and the city comes to life. During the day, take your time to explore the old town. Stroll by the Prešeren square, the Triple Bridge (a group of three bridges across the river Ljubljanica), the Ljubljana Cathedral and the restaurant street Trubarjeva cesta. Using the funicular (or your feet) you can also make your way up to the Ljubljana Castle. One place I have missed out on, is the Tivoli park just outside of Ljubljana, which would be worth visiting too.
Some itineraries suggest a few days would be enough to visit Slovenia, but it would be a pity to miss out on all the breathtaking natural beauty Slovenia has to offer, so take your time and enjoy!