Slovenia…this small, mountainous country is one of Europe’s best outdoor destinations. Hike the Julian Alps, explore the karst caves, raft the crystal clear aquamarine rivers, and paddle board on the lakes…these all make the list of the best things to do in Slovenia.
If you are planning a trip to Slovenia and need some ideas on where to go, this is a great place to start. Here are 20 epic things to do in Slovenia.
Best Things to do in Slovenia
Visit Picture Perfect Lake Bled
A visit to Slovenia would not be complete without a visit to Lake Bled. This is one of Slovenia’s most popular destinations. With its castle on the hill, a pretty island to visit, secluded swimming spots, and short hiking trails, Lake Bled is not to be missed.
How to Visit Lake Bled: For the best experience, plan on spending at least one full day here. You can visit Lake Bled on a day trip from Ljubljana, Lake Bohinj, or Kranjska Gora, or make Lake Bled your home base for several days.
Explore Vintgar Gorge
Vintgar Gorge is one of the most magical places to visit in Slovenia. For 1.6 km, boardwalks crisscross their way along the Radovna River, creating an enchanting landscape that is very photogenic and fun to explore.
It’s gorgeous, it’s easy to walk, it’s easy to get to, and it’s fun for the entire family.
How to Visit Vintgar Gorge: Vintgar Gorge is located just 5 km northwest of Bled. Get here right at opening time to avoid the worst of the crowds. A visit here lasts 2 to 3 hours.
Visit Lovely Ljubljana
Ljubljana is Slovenia’s capital city. It’s colorful, it’s lively, it’s compact, and there are more dragons here than museums. This is the kind of city where it is just fun to explore without a long list of things to do.
While you are here, play an escape game at the castle on the hill, stroll the colorful streets, and take your pick from an amazing number of highly rated restaurants.
How to Visit Ljubljana: One day is just enough time to experience the best of Ljubljana. Two or more days allow you to slow down, try more restaurants (one of our favorite things to do here was to eat), and really get to know this charming city. You can stay longer, using Ljubljana as a home base for day trips to Lake Bled, Lake Bohinj, Predjama Castle, and more.
Hike Triglav National Park
One of the best things to do in Slovenia is go hiking. And one of the best places in Slovenia to go hiking is Triglav National Park. Located in the Julian Alps, this rugged, rocky mountain range is an epic destination for hikers and rock climbers.
We did an amazing hike right from the Vršič Pass, hiking to Slemenova Špica. On this thrilling hike, we walked through fields of wildflowers and had views over Italy, Austria, and the Julian Alps.
For the ultimate experience you can hike to the top of Triglav, a two-day trek where you will need rock climbing gear (and most likely a guide) to hike to the highest point in Slovenia.
Visit Piran, Slovenia’s Gem on the Adriatic Sea
Piran is a small, colorful coastal town that sits right on the Adriatic Sea. Stroll the city streets, take your pick from numerous seafood restaurants, and walk along the medieval walls for one of the best views of the city.
How to Visit Piran: Piran is a popular day trip destination from Ljubljana (it’s just 1.5 hours away by car). We visited Piran as a day trip from the Istrian Peninsula of Croatia. You can also spend several days in Piran and day trip to the Istrian Peninsula.
Koper is a small coastal city that’s just a short drive from Piran. Climb the bell tower for the best view of the city, visit the Praetorian Palace, and go shopping.
Getting Here: Koper is just a short drive from Piran so it’s best to combine both of these towns into a day trip. If you only have time for one, we liked Piran more than Koper.
Spend the Day at Lake Bohinj
Lake Bled may be Slovenia’s most popular lake, but Lake Bohinj comes in a very close second place. Go hiking, go paddle boarding, ride a cable car for one of the best views over Triglav National Park, and go swimming in the lake.
How to Visit Lake Bohinj: Most people visit Lake Bohinj on a day trip from Lake Bled, Ljubljana, or Kranjska Gora. Lake Bohinj is a little less touristy than Lake Bled, so if you are looking for a quiet but scenic spot to spend a few days, consider Lake Bohinj over Lake Bled.
Explore the Soča River Valley
The Soča River starts in the Julian Alps and meanders through western Slovenia, traveling through Bovec, Kobarid, Tolmin, and ending in the Adriatic Sea. This river is brilliant aquamarine for most of its length.
You can go white water rafting from Bovec or simply drive along the Soča River, enjoying the view as you go.
Tolmin Gorge is similar to Vintgar Gorge. Walk along the crystal clear Tolminka River, photograph the moss-covered canyons, and walk on a suspension bridge high above the gorge.
Tolmin Gorge is located off of the main tourist trail so there are less visitors here than Vintgar Gorge. However, if you only have time for one, the Vintgar Gorge is the better experience in our opinion.
How to Visit Tolmin Gorge: Tolmin Gorge is not located near any city or tourist destination in Slovenia (which helps keep crowds low even during the busy summer months). It’s roughly a 2 hour drive (one way) from Ljubljana, Lake Bled, or Kranjska Gora, so it’s best to combine this visit with the Soča River Valley. A visit here lasts 1.5 hours.
Visit Predjama Castle
Predjama Castle is the largest cave castle in the world. It’s an easy, quick day trip from Ljubljana and can be combined with either the Postojna Caves or the Škocjan Caves.
How to Visit Predjama Castle: It takes one hour to drive from Ljubljana to Predjama Castle. Having a rental car is the most convenient method of transportation but you can also take a tour or use public transportation. A visit lasts 1 to 2 hours.
Get the Postcard View at Mala Osojnica
For the iconic view over Lake Bled it’s a short but strenuous hike to the Mala Osojnica viewpoint.
How to Get Here: Mala Osojnica is located on the western side of Lake Bled. It takes roughly one hour to hike round trip to the viewpoint. Read our article 8 Amazing Things to do in Lake Bled for more details.
Photograph Savica Waterfall
The Savica Waterfall, also called Slap Savica, is Slovenia’s most famous waterfall.
How to Get Here: Located on Lake Bohinj, it’s a one hour hike round trip to Savica Waterfall. No swimming allowed…you are only permitted to take photos from the viewpoint.
Savica Waterfall may be Slovenia’s most popular waterfall but Peričnik Waterfall is a lot more fun to visit. From the hiking trail, enjoy the view. If you are feeling adventurous you can walk behind the waterfall…a very refreshing experience during the hot summer months!
How to Get Here: Peričnik Waterfall is located in Triglav National Park. From the town of Mojstrana, you will drive 5 km on gravel roads to the parking area for the trailhead. It’s a short, uphill hike to the viewpoint and from here you can walk behind the waterfall.
Drive the Vršič Pass
The Vršič Pass is a paved road that was constructed by Russian POW’s during World War I. At 1611 meters, this is the highest mountain pass in the eastern Julian Alps. There are 50 hairpin turns along the road, 24 on the Kranjska Gora side and 26 on the Trenta side.
On the drive, make the quick stop at the Russian Chapel (on the Kranjska Gora side of the pass). Park at the top of the pass and walk to Ajdovska, aka the Face in the Stone, to see the image of a woman’s face on the side of Prisank Mountain.
For the ultimate experience, cycle to the top of the Vršič Pass from Kranjska Gora.
Ideas for Your Visit: You can simply drive up and over the Vršič Pass while exploring Slovenia by car. From the top of the pass it is just a short drive to the Soča River Valley. There are also a bunch of wonderful hikes that start at the Vršič Pass.
Ride the Vogel Car for More Amazing Views
For more awesome views over the Julian Alps, ride the Vogel Cable Car from Lake Bohinj. From the upper station you have a stunning view over Lake Bohinj. If you want to keep going farther, there are more chairlifts and hiking trails that take you higher into the mountains.
How to Get Here: The lower station of the cable car is located at Lake Bohinj. A visit here lasts just an hour or two, if you just want the view, or you could spend all day on the hiking trails. This is also a skiing destination during the winter months.
Go Wine Tasting in 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 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.
Getting Here: By car it takes 1.5 hours to drive from Maribor to Ljubljana. If you are short on time, it’s not worth driving this distance just to visit Maribor. However, 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 (or more time) in Maribor.
Journey to the enormous, subterranean world of the Škocjan Caves. These caves are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the largest underground canyons in the world. I’ve never been “wowed” by a cave until I visited this place.
You can visit Škocjan Caves on a day trip from Ljuabljana. It is very easy to combine this visit with Predjama Castle. A visit here lasts about three hours.
Škocjan or Postojna Caves? Postojna Caves are more popular and more touristy than the Škocjan Caves. There are a lot of gimmicks to attract people to the Postojna Caves, like a ride on an underground railroad and Murano glass chandeliers hanging in the cave. If you want a more authentic cave experience, and if you want to share the visit with less people, we recommend Škocjan Caves.
Cool Off at Lake Jasna
This is yet another one of Slovenia’s very pretty lakes. Located near Kranjska Gora, this is a popular swimming spot in the summer months.
A White Knuckle Drive on Slovenia’s Highest Road
For a white-knuckle experience, drive on the highest road in Slovenia. Topping out at 2,072 meters, you can drive to the Mangartsko Sedlo, where you have panoramic views over Slovenia and Italy.
This truly is a white-knuckle drive. We have driven on a lot of crazy, winding roads around the world but this just may be one of the craziest. It is a narrow, winding road with numerous hairpin turns that do not have guardrails. In order to do this drive, you need excellent driving skills, nerves of steel, and a good head for heights.
How to do this: This road starts near Log pod Mangartom and ends at the Mangartsko Sedlo. It is a dead-end road, so you will drive it in both directions. This is also a toll road. Before the real climbing started, we had to pay a small fee (€5) at a ticket booth in order to continue on our way. It takes roughly one hour round trip to do this drive, longer if you spend time on the saddle enjoying the view.
Kranjska Gora is a very small town that is located just north of Triglav National Park. This town makes a very nice home base if you plan to do any hiking in the Julian Alps. We also used this as our home base for day tripping out to the Soča River Valley, Lake Bled, and Lake Bohinj.
About Kranjska Gora: There are a handful of very nice hotels and restaurants in town. Accommodations were cheaper here than staying at Lake Bohinj or Lake Bled, plus, it was just a short drive to some of the best hikes in Triglav National Park.
See Them All on a Map
Comment below if you have any questions or if you want to share your experience.
You Might Also Like:
- Croatia: Plitvice Lakes: How to Have the Best Experience
- Austria: One Perfect Day in Salzburg
- Europe: 10 Days in Central Europe: Budapest, Vienna & Prague
- Slovakia: Hiking the High Tatras of Slovakia: How to Plan Your Visit
- Greece: 10 Days in Greece: Athens, Mykonos, Santorini & Naxos