10 Days in Slovenia

10 Days in Slovenia: The Perfect Itinerary for Your First Visit

Julie Slovenia 6 Comments

10 days in Slovenia is the perfect amount of time to visit the highlights of this amazing country. Tour lovely Ljubljana, spend several days exploring Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj, journey into the Julian Alps, go on a scenic road trip, and end with several days on the Adriatic Sea on this Slovenia itinerary.

Why You’ll Love This Trip

This trip is perfect for families, hikers, and those who love a great road trip. Most of your time will be spent outdoors, either strolling along picture-perfect lakes and mountains, hiking in Triglav National Park, or exploring scenic gorges.

If city sightseeing and museum-hopping is not your idea of perfect vacation, you’ll love Slovenia. Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital city, is more about eating, shopping, and exploring the scenic city streets than hopping from museum to museum. And with all of the opportunities to be outdoors (and with little time spent in museums) Slovenia is a great place to take the kids.

This Itinerary is Designed as a Road Trip

This itinerary is designed as a road trip so you will need to rent a car.

You will need a vignette for the rental car. A vignette is a sticker that you attach to the windshield that shows you have paid the highway taxes. If you are renting the car in Slovenia, this should come with the car. However, it’s a good idea to double check this when picking up your rental car. Learn more about the vignette here.

If this is your first time renting a car in Europe, I recommend you read our article 10 Things You Should Know Before Renting a Car in Europe. You can read about all kinds of exciting things, like how to choose a rental car company, International Driver’s Licenses, and cross border fees.

Day 1

Arrive in Ljubljana

Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia and the largest city in the country. Even so, it feels wonderfully small. This is the kind of city where it is simply fun to wander without a long list of attractions to visit.

Get settled in your hotel and then spend the afternoon strolling the pretty streets of Ljubljana. Walk along the banks of the Ljubljianica River, visit Preseren Square and the Triple Bridge, and end your day on Stari trg. This pedestrian only street is lined with boutique shops and wonderful restaurants. For dinner, we recommend Julija or Druga Violina.

Ljubljana

Lovely Ljubljana

Ljubljana in Summer

Don’t miss our article 14 Best Things to do in Ljubljana. Get the scoop on the best things to do in Ljubljana, with operating hours and prices of attractions, and more recommendations on where to eat.

Where to We Stayed in Ljubljana: We stayed at the Barbo Palace Apartments and Rooms. The name makes this place sound very fancy since these apartments are located in the historic Barbo Palace. I would not describe the rooms as fancy, but they are well decorated, clean, and quiet. The Wi-Fi and air-conditioning work very well. Plus, the Barbo Palace is less than a five-minute walk to the riverfront.

Day 2

Ljubljana

Ljubljana Castle

It’s a good idea to start your day at Ljubljana Castle to avoid the crowds. During the summer months, the castle opens at 9 am. To get here, you can either take the funicular or walk up to the castle entrance.

If you are visiting Ljubljana with kids, they will love the escape room game. Rather than touring the castle room to room with an audio guide, this game/scavenger hunt gives you a more thrilling tour of the castle. Your goal is to complete the five puzzles and save the dragon.

Visit the official website for updated hours, cost, and more information on the escape room game.

Sightseeing in Ljubljana

Take the funicular back to town. Near the lower funicular station is Central Market, an outdoor market where you can try local foods or purchase fresh fruit and vegetables.

Visit the Cathedral of St. Nicholas, walk across Butcher’s Bridge, and see the dragons on the iconic Dragon Bridge.

Dragon Bridge

For the afternoon, I have several suggestions for you.

Metelkova Mesto is a neighborhood that is covered with graffiti. If you read other blog posts, some people rave about this spot and say it was their favorite experience in Ljubljana. I can’t say the same thing. We stumbled across needles and syringes on the ground here and recent reviews mention anti-social and drug-related behavior in this neighborhood. If you are curious or have an interest in graffiti art, this may be worth it for you. Otherwise, you might want to skip Metelkova Mesto.

Metelkova Mesto

Here are several more ideas for your afternoon in Ljubljana. Stroll through lovely Tivoli Park. For an aerial view over Ljubljana, go to Neboticnik, a skyscraper with a terrace that offers one of the best views of the city. If you are here with kids, visit the Museum of Illusions. If you are here without kids, take a tour at the Union Beer Experience.

End your day with dinner and drinks.

Day 3

Lake Bled

First thing in the morning, drive to Lake Bled. This drive takes 45 minutes, longer if there is traffic. And during the summer months, there can definitely be traffic. Lake Bled is a very popular spot and traffic jams to get into and out of Lake Bled are common during the summer months. I recommend leaving Ljubljana no later than 8 am so you can get right to Lake Bled without hitting traffic.

It is possible to visit the highlights of Lake Bled in one day. However, on this itinerary, you will have more time, so you do not have to rush around Lake Bled like you are in a race. Take your time exploring Lake Bled. What you don’t get to today, you can do on day 5 of this Slovenia itinerary, after visiting Vintgar Gorge.

While at Lake Bled, tour the lake by rowboat or pletna, visit Bled Island and Bled Castle, go stand up paddle boarding, try Bled Cream Cake, and hike to Mala Osojnica for the best view of the lake.

Lake Bled in August

Lake Bled Rowboats

Slovenia Itinerary

The view from Mala Osojnica

Plan your perfect visit to Lake Bled with our article 8 Amazing Things to do in Lake Bled. This article has a lot more information, like how to rent a rowboat or pletna, how to hike to Mala Osojnica, and where to rent paddle boards.

Where to Stay

Lake Bled

Beautiful Lake Bled is a gorgeous spot to make your home base for the next few days. However, with its popularity, expect large crowds and expensive prices. Plus, hotels can sell out months in advance, especially for the summer months.

LUXURY:  Vila Bled. Located right on the shore of Lake Bled, this was once the summer home of President Tito. This is a gorgeous hotel and its location is hard to beat. From here, you have one of the best views across the lake and you are located near the hike to Mala Osojnica as well as our favorite paddle boarding spot.

MIDRANGE:  Lake Bled Apartments. This highly-rated apartment is located right on Lake Bled. This three-bedroom apartment can accommodate up to six people. From the balcony, enjoy the view over the lake.

BUDGET:  Garden House Bled. This is a highly rated hostel on Lake Bled. The hostel is located on a side road just a short distance from the shore of the lake. Don’t expect lake views, but prior guests rave about the breakfast, the garden, and the comfortable beds.

Lake Bohinj

Lake Bohinj is similar to Lake Bled, but it is quieter and a little less touristy. However, you will have to drive past Lake Bled every time you day trip to another destination in Slovenia. That’s fine if you don’t mind a little extra driving time (and maybe time sitting in traffic jams during the summer) for a little more peace and tranquility than staying in Lake Bled.

For our list of recommended places to stay in Lake Bohinj, read our Lake Bohinj Travel Guide.

Kranjska Gora

Kranjska Gora also makes a great option for your home base for the next few days. If you are having a hard time finding available accommodations in Lake Bled, or are traveling on a budget, consider Kranjska Gora. This is where we stayed and we had a great experience.

Kranjska Gora is just 30 minutes from Lake Bled. This small town is filled with wonderful restaurants and is set with the backdrop of the jagged, rocky Julian Alps. Since it is not in a tourist hotspot, prices are cheaper than Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj. Plus, you won’t have to deal with traffic problems like you do in Lake Bled.

Kranjska Gora

Kranjska Gora

We stayed at the Apartment House Berghi in Kranjska Gora. We loved Kranjska Gora, but I can’t say that we loved our apartment at the Apartment House Berghi. This apartment had a huge amount of space, with three bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a full kitchen. But the apartment is not soundproofed well (every night we could clearly hear our neighbors talking and moving around) and this wasn’t the cleanest place we have stayed in. But it did offer lots of space, fast wifi, and a great location. If we did it again, we would probably stay at Hotel Skipass in Kranjska Gora.

Day 4

Lake Bohinj

Lake Bohinj is another one of Slovenia’s lovely lakes. It is just a short drive from Lake Bled but it is a much different experience.

While you are here, hike to Savica Waterfall, go stand up paddle boarding, ride the Vogel Cable Car into the mountains, hike to Mostnica Gorge, walk the trail around Lake Bohinj, and see the iconic view of St. John the Baptist Church.

10 Day Slovenia Itinerary

Lake Bohinj in Summer

Savica Waterfall

Savica Waterfall

For ideas on how to plan your time in Lake Bohinj, check out our article Lake Bohinj Travel Guide: Itineraries for 1, 2 & 3 Days.

Day 5

Vintgar Gorge

Vintgar Gorge is a 1.6 km long gorge located in Triglav National Park. Boardwalks crisscross their way through the gorge, creating an enchanting landscape that is photogenic and fun to explore.

This is one of Slovenia’s most popular spots to visit so it gets to be very crowded midday. For the best experience, plan on getting here just before opening time. Even if you arrive just one hour later, the boardwalks will be packed with people, making this a much less enjoyable experience.

Vintgar Gorge

Vintgar Gorge Day Trip

After your visit to Vintgar Gorge, you have the afternoon free. Spend this time in Lake Bled or Lake Bohinj, relaxing by the lake or doing some of the things you didn’t have time for earlier.

Day 6

Hiking in Triglav National Park or Soča Valley Road Trip

Today you have a choice: go hiking or go on a road trip. Both of these involve a drive up the winding Vršič Pass, the highest mountain pass in Slovenia.

Hiking the Julian Alps

There are tons of hiking trails in Triglav National Park. For a great experience, drive to the top of the Vršič Pass and go hiking from here. The drive lops off a lot of elevation gain so you can get those high mountain views without a lot of climbing.

We did a great 5-mile hike from the Vršič Pass that we highly recommend. On this hike, enjoy amazing views of the Julian Alps, hike through flower-filled valleys, and on a clear day, look out over Austria and Italy. This is a great way to get a taste of the Julian Alps without doing a huge day hike or needing special equipment.

Hike Julian Alps

Hiking in Slovenia

Hike Slovenia

Another popular thing to do in the Julian Alps are via ferrata type hikes where you climb the rocky faces of the mountains while using rock climbing equipment.

You can also summit Triglav, Slovenia’s highest peak. This is a two-day trek. It is possible to do this on this itinerary. Combine Vintgar Gorge and Lake Bled into one day, giving yourself the extra day for this two-day trek.

If you plan to go hiking in Slovenia, I recommend purchasing the book Walking the Julian Alps of Slovenia by Roy Clark and Justi Carey. We referenced this book a lot while in Slovenia and it has great hiking ideas not only in the Julian Alps but also around Lake Bled, Lake Bohinj, and Soča Valley.

Soča Valley Road Trip

This road trip takes you up and over the Vršič Pass. Then, you follow the gorgeous Soča River through Bovec and out to Tolmin Gorge, another stunning gorge similar to Vintgar Gorge. You even have the option to do the white-knuckle drive up to the Mangart Saddle, the highest mountain road in Slovenia.

Triglav National Park

Julian Alps at the Vrsic Pass

Soca River

Soca River

Tolmin Gorge

Tolmin Gorge

This road trip will take a full day. It’s a wonderful way to explore a gorgeous part of Slovenia. It feels quieter and more off-the-beaten-path than Lake Bled and Vintgar Gorge, so if you like the idea of smaller crowds, this is a great way to spend a day in Slovenia.

Day 7

Predjama Castle, Škocjan Cave, and Piran

Most of Slovenia is landlocked with the exception of a tiny sliver of land that stretches out to the Adriatic Sea. Called Slovenian Istria, this small stretch of coastline is home to three colorful towns. Piran, the largest and prettiest town to visit, is our final destination today. However, there are two unique spots to visit on the drive out to the coast.

Predjama Castle

Predjama Castle is the largest cave castle in the world. A visit here is relatively quick. If you follow the audio guide, a visit here lasts about one hour.

Predjama Castle

Getting here: From Lake Bled, it takes an hour and fifteen minutes to drive to Predjama Castle. You will drive right past Ljubljana on the way. If you stayed in Kranjska Gora or Lake Bohinj, it takes one hour and forty-five minutes to drive to Predjama Castle.

Škocjan Caves

The Škocjan Caves are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the largest underground canyons in the world. The cave can only be visited on a tour and tours last 2 hours. For a little more money (and a little more time) you can extend your visit where you follow the Reka River underground.

Skocjan Cave

Getting Here: From Predjama Castle it is a 30-minute drive to get here.

You will no doubt hear a lot about the Postojna Caves. These caves are located very close to Predjama Castle and they are larger and more touristy than Škocjan Caves. Since we did not visit the Postojna Caves I cannot comment on how good they are. However, I can tell you that we were amazed by the Škocjan Caves and we don’t feel like we missed out on anything by skipping Postojna Caves.

Get all of the details on how to visit the Škocjan Caves and Predjama Castle: How to Day Trip to Škocjan Caves and Predjama Castle in Slovenia

Piran

From the Škocjan Caves it is a 45-minute drive to Piran. You will drive right past Koper, another town on Slovenian Istria that is worth a quick visit. Depending on the time of day, you can stop here for a quick visit or continue on to Piran.

Piran Slovenia

Once in Piran, check into your hotel, have dinner, and enjoy the sunset.

Where to Stay in Piran: For our hotel recommendations in Piran, read our article 6 Great Things to do in Piran.

Day 8

Piran

With one full day in Piran, you have more than enough time to visit the highlights of this colorful coastal city. Walk the medieval walls, enjoy the view from the Bell Tower, and wander the maze of streets in the old town.

Piran

Piran from Ljubljana

You also have the option to visit Koper, another small town on the coast, or Strunjan, a nature park that sits right next to Piran.

Learn more about what there is to see and do in Koper in our article One Day in Piran and Koper.

Day 9

Return to Ljubljana

If you plan to fly home from Ljubljana, I recommend driving back to the city today. Some international flights leave Ljubljana at 7 am, so you need to be in town the day before your flight. You can either stay in a hotel near the airport (more convenient) or stay in a hotel in the city (more fun). It just depends on your flight time the following day.

If you want to spend more time on the coast, spend the day in Piran and drive back to Ljubljana in the evening. Or, drive to Ljubljana in the morning and spend the rest of the day in town.

From Piran, it takes an hour and a half to drive to Ljubljana.

Day 10

Fly home. Or, for those with more time, continue on to your next destination.

With More Time

Venice

From Piran, Venice is just two and a half hours away by car. Tempting, isn’t it?

Consider spending several days in Venice. You can either fly home from Venice or return to Ljubljana and fly home from here.

Istrian Peninsula

With several more days, you can visit Croatian Istria. This coastline is dotted with more wonderful seaside towns. Rovinj, Pula, Porec and more are all waiting to be explored. This is a great way to visit Croatia but avoid the crowds that flood the more popular cities such as Dubrovnik, Split, and Hvar.

Maribor

Maribor

Maribor is a small city located in eastern Slovenia. This is the second largest city in Slovenia. Take in the view from Pyramid Hill, see the oldest grape vine in the world, and stroll along the colorful streets and squares. It feels a lot quieter here than Ljubljana and Lake Bled, so if you are looking to escape the summer crowds in Slovenia (and you like wine) this is a nice place to visit.

You can do this as a day trip from Ljubljana. By car it takes 1.5 hours to drive from Ljubljana to Maribor. If you want to explore one of Slovenia’s best wine regions or want to see another part of the country, consider a day trip to Maribor.

With Less Time

If you need to shorten this itinerary by a few days, here are several ways to do it.

Rather than spending three full days in Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj, eliminate one day. Visit Vintgar Gorge and Lake Bled on the same day, starting bright and early at Vintgar Gorge. Visit Lake Bohinj on the second day.

You can visit Predjama Castle, the Skocjan Caves, and Piran all in one big, long day trip from Ljubljana. In fact, there are many tour companies that offer this as a day trip.

Best Time to Visit Slovenia

Summer is a great time to visit Slovenia, but this is also the most crowded and most expensive time to visit. If you like the idea of paddle boarding on the lakes and sunbathing in Piran, summer is the best time to go to Slovenia.

Spring and Fall are wonderful. Temperatures are pleasant and the crowd levels are lower. To see Lake Bled in autumn with the fall colors would be magical.

Winter is the off-season. Expect cold temperatures and snow. However, snow can also create a magical experience at Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj, and the opportunity to go skiing in Triglav National Park.

About Our Visit

We visited Slovenia in August 2018. We started on the Istrian Peninsula of Croatia, did a very similar road trip through Slovenia, and then continued into Austria.


If you have any questions about this 10 Day Slovenia itinerary, comment below!

Important Links for Planning Your Trip to Slovenia:

Planning a trip to Slovenia? Read all of our articles in our Slovenia Destination Guide.

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Comments 6

  1. Hi. I am planning a 10 day visit to Slovenia next week. I am so excited after reading this article, it was so helpful. I am travelling by myself from Ireland and was thinking of renting a car while in Slovenia. I feel a bit nervous at the thought of it though as they drive on the other side. Did you find it fairly easy driving while there? I am usually a confident driver while in Ireland, but i think the idea of doing it on my own is whats worrying me. I really like the idea of just going at my own pace and stopping and taking photos and i know i wont get this experience from public transport!! Any help would be greatly appriecated.
    Thank you

    1. Post
      Author

      Hello Amy. They drive on the right, so that will be different for you. If you haven’t done that yet, it will take a little adjustment. We found it easy to get around Slovenia by car. The roads are wide, with lots of signs in English, and easy to drive. We have been to Ireland and have driven on some of those narrow, country roads. Those are more difficult to drive (in my opinion) than the roads in Slovenia. I think if you are used to driving in Ireland, the roads in Slovenia are easier to drive, once you get used to being on the other side of the road. Have fun…Slovenia is a wonderful, beautiful place! Cheers, Julie

  2. I am planning to follow a very similar itinerary in August. We will fly into Venice (cheap ticket prices) and then drive to Ljubljana for a few days, Bled/Bohinj/ Triglav for a few days, and finish up our trip by traveling down to the Istrian Peninsula (with some brief stops along the way) for a couple days before driving back to Venice. Do you know how easy it would be for us to drive a rental car from Venice in both Slovenia and Croatia? What can we expect? I’ve done some research, but do you have any suggestions that would help us have the smoothest travels possible?

    Thanks!

    1. Post
      Author

      Hello Grace. This sounds like a very nice trip! Sometimes it can be an issue renting a car in one country and driving into Croatia. It depends on the rental car company. So, when you are making your reservation, you will have to confirm with the company that you are allowed to drive into Croatia. Since you are returning the car to Venice, you can avoid the drop fee, which is a huge savings. You will have to do a border crossing when entering and exiting Croatia. You will show your passport, just like passing through border control in an airport. There can be lines at the border which might add on some driving time. We have an article about driving in Europe that might give you some more information. But the roads are in great condition with lots of signs. We use Google Maps for navigation. Cheers, Julie

  3. Great Article , as are all your readings on the site. I also find them a great help.
    I am in the middle of planning my Slovenian adventure. I will be starting from Venice (as it is much cheaper to fly to) maybe spending the start or finish in Venice on a 10 to 12 day vacation.
    I would love to follow a similar itinerary to this as i love nature and hiking. I do not drive so would firstly need to get a train from Venice to Ljubijana but what i would like to know is if it is possible to do or adapt this itinerary to using public transport or booking tours? like yourselves i would like to spend a few days in Bled/Bohinj/ Triglav.

    Thanks in advance

    1. Post
      Author

      Yes, you can use public transportation or tours to visit Lake Bled. I would take a look at the Slovenia tourism website for information on how to get around using public transportation (we had a rental car so I don’t know the details about using the public transportation). Cheers, Julie

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