Slovenia is one of these compact countries where you can see a lot even if you are short on time. It is also one of the countries that are very diverse and offer a lot: from charming capitals to breathtaking caves, from the Adriatic Sea to the Alps – these are just some of the best places to visit in Slovenia. No matter how much time you have in Slovenia, if it is 3 days or a week, you will enjoy your stay for sure. After all is there any other country that has “love” in its name?
I was lucky to visit Slovenia a few times and I can say I know the country fairly well. But even if I’ve spent some 2-3 weeks there in total there are still some places I would love to visit – there are just too many great things to do in Slovenia!
I put together the Slovenia itinerary that will help you plan your trip to Slovenia. You can modify it, depending on how many days in Slovenia you have but I believe that 3 days in Slovenia is the absolute minimum to see the highlights.
You can base yourself in Ljubljana, the capital city, and do day trips from there. Most of the place included in this Slovenia itinerary can be reached easily from Ljubljana either by public transport, rented car or with tours (sometimes taking the bus or train is a bit time consuming). I listed all the options so you can choose whatever works best for you.
Table of contents
- 1 Best time to visit Slovenia
- 2 How to get to Slovenia?
- 3 Where to stay in Ljubljana?
- 4 Slovenia itinerary – the highlights
- 5 More places to visit in Slovenia
- 6 What’s next?
Best time to visit Slovenia
There are some great Slovenia attractions available all year long but for me the best time to visit Slovenia is either late spring (May-June) or early autumn (September). The weather should be good but not too hot and there are not that many tourists around as in the summertime but the days are long enough so you have lots of time to enjoy your holidays in Slovenia.
How to get to Slovenia?
Slovenia is located at the crossroads, some say it is Central Europe, others that it is part of the Balkans. Fortunately the location makes it very easy to reach Slovenia, either by plane, bus or by train.
Ljubljana Airport is well connected with numerous cities all over Europe by both regular and low-cost airlines. From the airport frequent buses will take you either to the capital or to nearby Kranj (you can check the schedule here), the journey to Ljubljana takes around half an hour. You can also take the private transfer from the airport to Ljubljana – click here for details.
You can find the best deals on flights to Slovenia on SkyScanner – that’s my default website to go to when I’m looking for flights just about anywhere.
Slovenia has regular train and bus connections with all the neighboring countries (Austria, Italy, Croatia, Hungary) and beyond. You can check the schedules and offers at the websites of Slovenian Railways or Ljubljana bus station (I will reffer to this link a lot later in this article).
Where to stay in Ljubljana?
As I mentioned above, you can base yourself in the capital and do day trips from Ljubljana. It really takes up to 2 hours (but usually less) to any place in the country so there is no point to pack and unpack every other day, especially if you are spending only a few days in Slovenia.
Here is the list of recommended Ljubljana accommodation:
- Budget: Hostel Tresor (8,6/10 on Booking) – located few steps away from the main square and some 10 minutes walking from the train station, this hostel is valued especially for its location, cleanliness and affordable prices.
- Mid-range: Hotel Emonec (8,5/10 on Booking) or B&B Petra Varl Accommodation (9,1/10 on Booking) – both are highly rated for the location, cleanliness and personel.
- Luxury: Hotel Cubo (9,6/10 on Booking) or Grand Hotel Union (9,1/10) – both got excellent notes for just about everything.
You can also browse other accommodation options in Ljubljana – just click here.
Slovenia itinerary – the highlights
Below you can see the Slovenia itinerary, divided into days and with all the Slovenia must see included. These are just the general ideas of how you can spend your Slovenia vacation. You can combine and switch the days however you prefer to create your own perfect plan. You might even create a fun Slovenia road trip from this itinerary!
Day 1: Ljubljana
Start your Slovenia trip in Ljubljana. This is one of the most charming capitals in Europe. It is compact, cute and one of these places you instantly fall in love with. Spend the time wandering along Ljubljanica river or in the backstreets lined with pastel houses, take a funicular up to the castle and find as many dragons as possible.
Once you are done with the Old Town head to Metelkova or Rog Factory to see a different face of the city – alternative Ljubljana. Before sunset visit the cafe on the top floor of Neboticnik – the views from there are the best!
You might be interested in joining the tours in Ljubljana, to get to know the city better. These are the best ones:
- Ljubljana and Ljubljana Castle Sightseeing Tour
- Ljubljana 2-Hour Walking Tour and River Cruise
- Walking Tour of Jože Plečnik’s Ljubljana
- 3.5-Hour Ljubljana Food & Wine Tour
If you plan to explore Ljubljana independently you should consider getting a Ljubljana card that gives you free entrance to numerous attractions and activities. Click here to order a card.
Read more about Ljubljana:
Day 2: Bled and surroundings
On your second day head north, to the Alps, to visit one of the biggest Slovenia tourist attractions and most famous Slovenia lake – Lake Bled. You probably have seen pictures with the church on the island in the middle of the lake surrounded by the stunning Alps – that’s Bled! The picturesque town is located only an hour away from the capital and makes a perfect day trip from Ljubljana.
Be sure to have your battery full as you will take lots of pictures in Bled and beyond as these are true Slovenia highlights and many consider them the most beautiful places in Slovenia! Once you arrive you should talk a walk along the lake, climb up to the castle and take a boat to the island to visit the well-known church.
Bled is also famous for its cream cake – it is a real calories bomb but so worth it! You won’t regret a single piece you taste. The cake was originally invented in the Hotel Park but you should head to Vila Bled (where the legendary ruler of former Yugoslavia used to spend his holidays) and Cafe Belvedere located on its premises. Not only you will be able to try the famous delicacy, but you will also be able to admire Lake Bled and surroundings from yet another perspective.
Once you are done with Bled sightseeing you should catch a bus to your next destination – Lake Bohinj. For me personally, this is one of the most stunning places I have ever seen and you definitely should include it in your Slovenia itinerary and Balkans trip.
Take the bus to Ribcev Laz – a charming village at the shore of the lake. From there catch the boat to the other side of the Lake Bohinj – the views along the way are impressive and once at your final stop, you can admire a completely different landscape. If you still have time you can catch the cable car up to Mount Vogel (the lower station is a short walk away from where the boat drops you off in Ukanc) or just take the bus back to Ljubljana.
How to do it: You can travel independently and it is doable, just check the schedule before so you won’t get stuck anywhere as the buses might run every hour or so.
You can also take the tour from Ljubljana and I definitely recommend it if you don’t want to bother with dealing with public transport. You might also see more when going with the tour as it might include Radovljica (a charming little town some 10kms away from Bled towards Ljubljana) or Vintgar Gorge. Here are some of the options:
- Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj trip from Ljubljana
- From Ljubljana: Day Trip to Bled and Vintgar Gorge
- From Ljubljana: Lake Bled and Whitewater Rafting Tour
- Lake Bled and medieval town of Radovljica with lunch
Read more: Slovenian Alps – a paradise on Earth!
Day 3: Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle
Did you know that the second largest cave is located in Slovenia? Postojna Cave, as that’s the name of the place, is located only an hour away from the capital and is easily accessible as a day trip from Ljubljana too!
When visiting Postojna Cave you first take the small train that will get you deep into the cave and from there you will start wandering along underground passages. You will see only a small part of the cave but still, you will be impressed how enormous and diverse it is (or maybe it is just different lighting in various parts).
Postojna is the most visited cave in Europe and that is for a reason as this place is really incredible. I didn’t expect to be amazed by some underground structures so much, to be honest!
Only a short ride away from Postojna you will find Predjama Castle – one of the most famous Slovenia attractions. The castle dates back to the 13th century but it became well-known two centuries later when the owner, Erazem, was besieged for one year and one day.
What makes this place special is that the castle is partly built into the cave. It’s worth to visit the interior of the castle not only to see rooms and exhibits but also to check how it is incorporated with nature.
How to do it: There are only three bus connections per day from Ljubljana to Postojnca Cave but it is possible to do the trip independently. In the summer season you can use the free shuttle between Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle, you only need to have the entrance ticket to the cave. If you don’t want to get stuck in Postojna or if you travel outside of the summer months you should join the organized tour – click here for the details, current rates and to book the tour.
More places to visit in Slovenia
Now, that you know the best places to visit in Slovenia it’s time to see some more of the country. Below I give you suggestions on how to spend the rest of your Slovenia holidays and you can choose what exactly to do, based on the time you have left in the country and your interest. You can mix the days, spend more time in some areas or do everything as day trips from Ljubljana. Whatever you decide you will have a blast for sure!
Slovenian coast and Skocjan caves – 2 days
While Croatia is the most known of the countries on the Adriatic coast, Slovenia got its share of the seaside too. The coastline is only 47 km long but offers some real gems.
The biggest town is Koper which is partly a big harbor but you can find a small yet charming old town too (don’t miss going up the tower to see the view from above). You should also visit Portoroz, Izola and especially Piran that is known as the gem on the Slovenia coast (and it surely is picturesque!).
On the way to the seaside, you should stop at Skocjan Caves – second famous underground system, after Postojna Cave. The place is part of the UNESCO World Heritage List and was awarded the title mostly for one of the largest underground canyons in the world.
Even if it is located not that far Postojna this cave is a bit different than the more famous sister and it deserves the visit too. Fortunately, the entrance is only 5 km off the main road from Ljubljana to Koper so it’s easy to do a quick detour.
Before you reach Koper you should also stop for a quick visit at the 12th-century church in Hrastovlje. You can admire here an old and unique painting on the wall showing the Dance of Death (Danse Macabre).
How to do it: there are several bus and train connections from Ljubljana to Koper, the journey takes around 2 hours. From Koper, you can easily get to the towns further down the coast: Izola, Piran or Portoroz. If you are short on time you can also go on a day trip from Ljubljana – click here for details and current rates.
Where to stay: It depends on you if you would just quickly see the coast or if you would like to relax here a bit longer. If you decide to stay there are plenty of places to accommodation options to choose from, all over the coast. Click on the name of the place to find the best accommodation there:
Koper | Izola | Piran | Portoroz
Bovec for adventures seekers – 2 days
If you like adventure and adrenaline rush you should include Bovec in your Slovenia travel list. But before you get there you should stop in Vipava valley, famous for its wine. Even if you are not a big fan of this drink you should see this picturesque valley, it’s really beautiful.
Bovec is known as the Slovenian capital of adventure and you can try all sorts of adrenaline based activities here: rafting, canyoning, rock climbing or zip line, just to name a few. When I visited the weather wasn’t really on my side and the zip-line I finally convinced myself to try was closed on that day. But everyone I talked to says Bovec is a perfect destination for adventure lovers and you can’t be bored here.
How to do it: The main reason to come to Bovec is to do all the activities so plan your stay here according to what you want to do. You can also combine the trip to Bovec with the rest of Julian Alps, especially if you travel by car. There is an interesting and unique way to cross the mountains from Most na Soci near Bovec to Bohinjska Bistrica (between Lake Bohinj and Bled) – by mototrain. You can find the details here.
There are two direct buses from Ljubljana to Bovec, the journey takes around 4 hours. You can also get directly from Bled to Bovec, but only in the summertime.
Book the activities:
- 3.5-Hour Rafting on Soča River
- Full Day Rafting With A Picnic On Soča River
- Sušec Stream Canyoning in the Soča Valley
- Kayaking on the Soča River
- Rock Climbing Tour
- Mounatin Caving Adventure
Where to stay: There is a high demand for Bovec accommodation so it’s better to book a place to stay as soon as you decide to visit the town. Click here the accommodation for your trip to Bovec.
East Slovenia: Celje, Maribor, Ptuj – 2 days
Eastern part of Slovenia is often overlooked by tourists but it is definitely worth your time too! You can find here some of the charming towns, typical for Central Europe with red rooftops and distinctive architecture from the turn of the 19th and 20th century.
When visiting this region don’t miss Maribor (the second largest city in Slovenia), Ptuj or Celje – they all offer lots to do and see, you can also relax and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of the place.
How to do it: There are both trains and buses connecting Ljubljana with Celje and Maribor. To Ptuj you can only use the train. You can also use public transport to travel between the cities. If you are short on time you can also go on a day trip from Ljubljana. Click here or here to find out the details.
Where to stay: the best option would be Maribor since it’s a fairly big city with a lot to offer and numerous accommodation options to choose from. Click here to find the best place to stay in Maribor.
Read more: Ptuj, Slovenia – a charming little gem
More time in the mountains
If you like mountains you should definitely give it more time as Slovenian Alps are spectacular. Besides Bled, Lake Bohinj or Bovec you should also consider visiting Kranjska Gora with the biggest ski jumping hill in the world – Planica.
The town can be also a good base for hiking around in the Triglav National Park (so is Lake Bohinj and surroundings). More experienced travelers might even consider going to the highest peak of Slovenia – Triglav (2 864 meters above sea level).
How to do it: You can easily get to Kranjska Gora from Ljubljana by bus, there are frequent departures through the day. The journey takes around 2 hours. You can also go for a day trip from Ljubljana – click here for the details and current rates.
Where to stay: if you would like to explore more of the area the best places to stay would be either Kranjska Gora, Lake Bohinj or Bled. Click below on the name of the place to find the best accommodation there:
Kranjska Gora | Lake Bohinj | Bled
Now, that you know where to go and what to see in Slovenia you most likely would like to continue your trip further to the Balkans. If you do so I wrote other articles that you might find useful or interesting when planning your trip:
- Your ultimate Balkan travel guide
- Balkan highlights – your ultimate list of what to see in the Balkans
- Day trip from Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes
- 17 best places to visit in Bosnia and Herzegovina
- My favorite things to do in Sarajevo
- Kotor Old Town and beyond – why you should spend at least 2 days there
- 50 pictures that will inspire you to visit Belgrade, Serbia
- Is Kosovo safe for travelers?
- What to do in Skopje, the kitschy yet cool capital of Macedonia
- What to see in Albania – my favorite places and more!
- and many more!
And last but not least – don’t forget about the travel insurance! I believe it is a must to have good insurance during your travels as you never know what might happen (I learned my lesson in Malta…). World Nomads offers the insurance suited for travelers – click here to check their policy and get yourself insured for your trip to Slovenia!
For the end I left a few announcements that might interest you:
- Join my Facebook group about Eastern Europe, the Balkans and former USSR and connect with fellow travellers and enthusiasts of these regions – just click here!
- If you don’t want to miss new posts and news from me click here to sign to my newsletter! You can also follow me on Bloglovin!
- Would you like to travel to Central/Eastern Europe or the Balkans? Let me help you with travel planning! Click here for more details!
- I’ve included a few handy links of services and products I personally like and use so you can plan your own trip to Slovenia too. They are often affiliate links. This means I will get a small commission if you book/purchase anything through my links, at no extra costs for you. If you like what you are reading and seeing here and would like to support me and my blog please consider using those links. It would be like getting me a virtual drink that you don’t have to pay for! Thanks!
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