Slovenia is one of the most beautiful countries I’ve visited: fairly untouched by tourism in most places and full of nature, mountains, fresh air and breath-taking views. This is certainly a place to go to unwind and re-charge. Slovenia is a Schengen country too, so it makes it even easier to travel to once you’re in Europe!
Even though there’s only one international airport in Slovenia, it’s close enough to Italy, Austria and Croatia. The best way to explore the country is to rent a car and drive around to take in some incredible alpine views, discover romantic lakes and get that authentic alpine life (log cabin included).
What are the best places to visit in Slovenia?
Slovenia is famous for the beautiful and insta-famous Lake Bled, though there’s so much more to this country that you can spend easily a week exploring it.
1. Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital city
The best way to discover Ljubljana is to just get lost in it. Slovenia’s capital has such a chilled vibe and is all accesible by foot. All in all, a really nice day out. The best thing is that you only need a day here!
I’d start with a morning stroll to see the well-known sights in Slovenia’s capital: the 3 bridges, then up to Ljubljana Castle for a great view across the city, followed by discovering the remains of the roman wall.
After all this exploring, you’ll be ready for lunch in a traditional Slovenian restaurant. A good option would be a place called ‘Julija‘, in the back streets of the main pathways and out of the way of tourists. This lovely restaurant is well worth visiting, and the food is amazing.
After gorging, a walk along the river seems something sensible to do. Go and find Ljubljiana green dragon bridge, explore the city centre and get lost around the streets.
2. Triglav National Park via Vrsic Mountain Pass
I stumbled upon Vrsic Pass by chance on a blog , for some reason it didn’t seem to be that well publicised though I was so glad I found it! Triglav is the only national park in Slovenia and it is full of so many beautiful sites and incredible views. It takes roughly 1 hour to go through the pass, though you will be stopping a lot along the way.
With 50 sharp mountain turns in the road, a Russian chapel to see, your own rock formation to build, a creepy tunnel to explore, beautiful turquoise rivers and gorges to admire, this is certainly one of the best road trips I have ever had in Europe.
3. Lake Bled and Bled Castle
Lake Bled is probably the most touristy place you will find in Slovenia, though it is still worth the visit. And when I say touristy in Slovenia. The lake is stunning, reflecting the surrounding landscape like a mirror with a pretty church in the middle on an island.
Even though the most romantic thing is to take a boat out to ride to the island, I’m more of a walking kind of guy. Walking the whole perimeter of this awesome lake is just 4 miles on a very flat and easy path. You get to see Lake Bled and its beautiful surroundings from so many different view points, it makes for some great pictures! You can also visit Bled Castle, an incredible medieval castle dated more than 1000 years back and well worth a visit.
4. Vintgar gorge
Driving to the Vintgar Gorge was great, as I went through tiny village roads. What I didn’t expect was to reach a large car park with about 5 busses of Chinese tourists. I guess this was the most touristy experience during my whole time in Slovenia!
I got my hiking boots on and followed the trail all they way. There are plenty of photo stops and it takes around an hour and a half there and back (1.6k). The water here is amazing: it literally seems like a tropical paradise. And when you reach the hut at the end, there is a pretty cool waterfall waiting for you. Though a secret tip is to walk down the steps on the right of the hut, there is a small bridge to cross & a forest trail to follow for a few minutes. The reward is that you come out right by the bottom of the waterfall.
5. Postojna Caves: the biggest cave in Europe
I read about this a few months before visiting Slovenia, so I really wanted to visit Postojna Cave. Heading to the big cave I felt unsure of how it would make me feel, after the unforgettable adventure in Vietnam to Hang En cave, could anything even come close?
This is not only the biggest cave in Europe, though also the first of having a train built inside. Queuing to get into the cave was the weirdest experience ever! You have to go and stand by a pole dependent on which language you speak: “if you are English stand here, Italian stand here, German stand here”. It was really strange. Once boarded on the open air train you realize that it goes faster than expected, so make sure you wrap up!
The train goes through a few twists and turns and then opened up into the cave, it is breathtaking. I had never seen so many stalactites & stalagmites. The rock is full of rich red, white and grey colours, it was much bigger than I had expected. The train then stops and you walk part of the trail on foot, learning about the history of the 25km cave and making your way through contrasting chambers. The tour ends in a pretty cool way too: you get to see cave dragons (a species of salamander) that live in the cave.
6. Exploring Jezersko
Jezersko is a beautiful place that almost seems lost in time, I’d definitely rate it as a Slovenia must see. With scattered farm houses, open fields and meadows, surrounded by the stunning Alps, you really feel detached from city life. That’s for sure!
The route took me on a path to explore a local church – Church of St Andrew, which had the oldest Fresco art in Slovenia, you feel quite privileged to see this. There is also the Jenkins Barracks Museum, more than 500 years ago this building was used to offer lodging for merchants who travelled between Carniloa and Carinthia.
Overall & top tips
Slovenia is a great option if you are looking to get away from the hustle and bustle. You can feel at one with nature and really appreciate stunning natural landscapes. Over the course of the week I spent just over €300, this included the fuel and food. An always good idea is to stay away from touristy places.
My top recommendation would be to do this by car, don’t stay in Ljubljana for a city break as this only gives you a very small insight into Slovenia. The beauty of this country lies in the untouched parts, in its mountains and national park. They will leave you feeling completely refreshed and appreciative of Mother Nature.
If there is anything you want to know that we haven’t answered please ask away!