Slovenia was a surprise to us. We went there for a festival and ending up falling in love with this deeply underrated country. It’s a small place that packs in a lot of delights – from a lively, picture-perfect capital city to fairytale castles and magnificent nature at every turn. Add to that mountains, lakes, wine valleys, and some of the best food we’ve ever eaten, and you have the perfect holiday destination. We highly recommend it, and in this post we’ve put together the perfect 10-day Slovenia road trip itinerary, including where to stay, what to do, and how much it all costs.
About our Slovenia road trip
As a thank you to Steve’s parents for all they did to help with our wedding, we decided to plan a holiday for them. We chose Slovenia because of all the reasons above: it’s an ideal European trip and we were confident they’d love it. We put together a 10-day itinerary based on all the things we’d done on our own trip, adding one place that we haven’t been to – Piran. The feedback was positive: they loved Slovenia as much as we did. This post details all you need to replicate that 10-day Slovenian road trip.
An overview of our 10-day Slovenia itinerary
Days 1- 4: Ljubljana
Days 4-6: Lake Bled
Days 6-7: Vršič Pass and Soca Valley
Days 7-9: Piran
Days 9-10: Vipava Valley
Day 10: Return home
How to make the most of 12 days in Slovenia
We recommend three nights in Ljubljana, Slovenia’s tiny capital. We found it to be an enchanting little city and especially loved spending time wandering around the old town. As well as exploring Ljubljana, we also recommend taking a day trip to the east of the country where you can explore Slovenia’s second city and the Jerusalem wine region. Get a taste of the city in this photo essay of Ljubljana.
Getting to and around Ljubljana
You can catch a bus from Ljubljana airport to the centre of town, or alternatively take a taxi. There’s a photo essay of Ljubljana.
Where to stay in Ljubljana
When we went to Ljubljana, we stayed in the Tresor Hostel, which was nice and clean and very central but it lacked character if that’s what you’re looking for. We heard that the Celica Hostel ( a converted prison) is also a great option and more social. Celica is next to Metelkova Mesto, which is an old Army Barracks that has been squatted since 1993 and now houses artists, galleries and bars with an alternative edge. If you’d like something more than a hostel, we booked this Celica Hostel for Steve’s parents, which they enjoyed. Book with this link to get £25 off your stay.
Where to eat in Ljubljana
Open Kitchen is an outdoor street food market that takes place on Fridays from 10am-11pm in the Central Market, from spring to late autumn. There are around 30 different stalls selling meals from all over the world.
Spajza is a lovely Slovenian restaurant in the old town. Mains costs around €20.
Valvasor is a high-end Slovenian restaurant in the old town. We didn’t get to try it, but it’s highly recommended and is number 3 on Tripadvisor.
If it’s a nice sunny day, you could grab some gelato from Gelateria Romantika place near the castle – considered by many to be some of the best in the world, with a wide variety of interesting flavours.
Things to do in Ljubljana
It’s worth doing a walking tour of the city, which will take you to all the main sights and give you some insight into the history and culture of Ljubljana. Nearly all of them include a trip to the castle, as well as the Triple Bridge and Robba Fountain. Some of the tours include a little boat ride, which is a lovely way to see the city. You can take a free tour with this company or there’s a full list of more formal tours here.
Day trip to Maribor, Ptuj and Jeruzalem wine region
This day trip includes a visit to Slovenia’s second largest city, Maribor and the Jeruzalem wine region, which is said to be one of the most picturesque wine routes in Europe. It also includes a visit to Ptuj, the oldest town in Slovenia. The tour costs €59 per person.
You can either walk or take the funicular to the top – or do one on the way up, and the other on the way down. There are great views of the city from the top, and you can get a cup of coffee from the little cafe up there.
Cathedral of St. Nicholas
This early 18th century Baroque cathedral has an amazingly intricate interior, and an interesting bronze door created in 1996 for Pope John Paul II’s visit.
The city’s biggest park is a beautiful place to go for a walk. The promenade in the centre often holds photography exhibitions.
We’ve also been recommended food walks with Ljubljananjam.
The National Gallery
The National Gallery, Slovenia’s foremost museum of historical art, holds the country’s largest collection of fine art from the High Middle Ages to the 20th century. It also houses a permanent exhibition of works by Zoran Mušič (1909–2005), one of Europe’s leading modernist painters, and various temporary exhibitions.
The Arboretum Volčji Potok is about 25 minutes from Ljubljana, which you might be interested in visiting. It’s a public park extending over 85 hectares, including tulip gardens, rhododendrons, roses and water lilies, trees, shrubs, natural forest and wet meadows.
Lake Bled is one of Slovenia’s most iconic destinations with its fairytale castle, island and church set on an cobalt-blue lake surrounded by mountains. It’s pretty touristy, but beautiful nonetheless. You may also like to visit Lake Bohinj, its less touristy neighbour.
How to get to and around Lake Bled
Depending on your priorities, you could either spend a little longer in Ljubljana on the morning of 28 August or head straight to Lake Bled. Bear in mind that you need to leave Lake Bled early on the Tuesday morning. The trip from Ljubljana takes just under two hours.
This is where the road trip part of your journey begins, so go to collect your car just before your drive to Lake Bled. We recommend searching for car hire with RentalCars.com who always have the cheapest deals in our experience.
Where to stay in Lake Bled
We stayed at a special eco resort in Lake Bled called Garden Village, which offers stylish glamping in gorgeous nature with an environmental conscience. There tree houses are particularly amazing, and I’ve written a full review here. Prices start at around €80 for a tent beside the river. There was no availability there during Steve’s parents’ stay, but they enjoyed two nights at Penzione Berc, which costs around €85 per room.
Where to eat in Lake Bled
The restaurant at Garden Village is brilliant, and very unusual in that they serve all the food on a small lawn of grass embedded in the table!
Finefood Penzion Berc
The restaurant at Penzione Berccomes highly recommended. They serve local produce in a lovely garden setting.
Penzione Berc restaurant comes highly rated, with a great view of the lake.
Things to do in Lake Bled
Lake Bled Island
You can catch a gondola or hire a row boat to get to the island in the centre of Lake Bled. Once on the island, you can visit the Church of the Assumption and a small museum, but the best bit is the ride out there!
Lake Bled Castle
We didn’t have time to visit the castle, but admired it from afar. It’s perched on top of a cliff, 100m above the lake and is bound to offer magnificent views of the surrounding area. There’s a museum inside that traces the lake’s history from earliest times to the development of Bled as a resort in the 19th century. If you book a table at the Castle Restaurant, entry to the castle is free.
One of the most popular half-day trips from Bled is to Vintgar Gorge, some 4km to the northwest of Bled village. The highlight is a 1600m wooden walkway through the gorge, built in 1893 and continually rebuilt since. It criss-crosses the swirling Radon River four times over rapids, waterfalls and pools before reaching 16m-high Šum Waterfall. The entire walk is spectacular, although it can get pretty wet and slippery in bad weather. There are little snack bars at the beginning and the end of the walkway; the path to view Šum Waterfall is behind the kiosk at the walkway’s end. The walk through the gorge takes around 45 minutes and is considered a “must do”.
There’s a lot of debate about which lake is more beautiful: Bled or Bohinj. We didn’t get to Bohinj, but people say that, while it lacks Lake Bled’s glamour, it’s much less crowded and is an ideal place to indulge in relaxation and active pursuits, including swimming, cycling, walking, kayaking, hiking and horseback riding. The lake is a 30-minute drive from Lake Bled.
Vršič Pass and Soca Valley
On day six, you’ll spend the day driving over the scenic Vrisic Pass through the Triglav National Park and beautiful Soca Valley. Arrive in the afternoon and check into your special hotel before enjoying one of the best meals we had in Slovenia! Note that although you’ll now be near to Kobarid, you will have time to explore the next day, so enjoy the drive and the hotel and don’t feel rushed.
Getting there and around
Drive to Kobarid via the Vršič Pass (2.5 hours). There is an alternate route to Kobarid, but we highly recommend taking the Vrisic Pass route as the scenery is stunning. However, if the weather is bad then give this a miss as the road is very winding and steep (The trip involves 50 heart-racing hairpin turns and dramatic vistas as you cross the Vršič Pass at 1611m!).
Where to stay in Kobarid
Hiša Franko was one of the highlights of our time in Slovenia. The special restaurant and guesthouse in the magnificent Soca Valley has been included in a list of the 50 best restaurants in the world, and we definitely think it deserves that accolade. We recommend getting to the hotel in the afternoon so you can enjoy the scenery before dinner. Be sure to take a look at Hiša Franko’s impressive kitchen garden.
Where to eat in Kobarid
For the drive, you could take a picnic and stop at one of the scenic spots along the way. You could also stop in Bovec for lunch, which is on the other side of the Vršič Pass. In the evening, we highly recommend eating at Hiša Franko. The restaurant is open for dinner from 7-10pm with last food orders at 9pm.
Things to do in the Soca Valley
On your first day entering the Soca Valley, we recommend enjoying the drive, scenery, hotel and meal. You’ll likely be stopping lots to take photos just like we did! If you get to Hiša Franko early enough, you might like to explore a little of Kobarid and the surrounding area. Otherwise leave that to the following day. These are some of the things to do around Kobarid.
The Kobarid Historical Trail
The Kobarid historical trail links places around Kobarid, where important historical, cultural and natural monuments can be seen. It’s a 5km walk that takes 3-4 hours and is described as easy-moderate. During the walk you can see The Kobarid Museum; Prehistoric and Roman settlement on Gradic; Italian Charnel house; Soca Gorge; Tonocov grad; Italian line of defence; Kozjak waterfall; Italian line of defence; Napoleon bridge; Historical ethnological collection; and Od planine do Planike. You can do a self-guided or guided tour.
A shorter alternative to the Kobarid Hostorical Trail is the 30-minute walk that leads to the photogenic, 15m-high Kozjak Waterfall, which gushes over a rocky ledge in a cavern-like amphitheatre into a green pool below. Access the trail from various spots: from a footbridge from Kamp Lazar campground, or from a car park opposite Kamp Koren. Alternatively, it’s also part of the Kobarid Historical Trail.
Piran sits at the tip of a narrow peninsula and is an atmospheric place to spend some time on the Slovenian coast, enjoying the seafood, sunsets and pretty seaside town. Piran’s old town is especially beautiful and an exquisite example of Venetian Gothic architecture.
Getting there and around
Piran is just over two hours from Kobarid. Along the way, you could stop in Trieste if you wanted to and had time. It’s about halfway between the two.
Where to stay in Piran
Where to eat in Piran
It’s all about the seafood in Piran. Pirat is rated highly for its atmosphere and top notch food at good prices. Gostilna Park is commended for its great service, cosy atmosphere and generous portions. Riva is one of the best seafront options. And finally Cantina Klet sounds like a good option for some fishy snacks and wine.
Things to do in Piran
We haven’t been to Piran, but it sounds like a very pretty town where you can wander around and enjoy all the seafood. There’s a warren of ancient and cobbled streets that are meant to be particularly charming, filled with convents, Venetian houses and churches to explore.
Other points of interest include:
- The cathedral, its small museum and belfry.
- The defensive walls where you can get a good view of Piran.
- Or you could drive 20 minutes to the Sečovlje Salina Nature Park, which are the northernmost salt flats in the mediterranean. They are famous for their unique bird and plantlife. There are two parts, the north and south. If you want to go to the south part, where there’s a museum, you have to pass into Croatia so will need your passport.
For your final night, you’ll be staying at Majerija, a beautiful farmhouse and restaurant in the Vipava Valley, and area famed for it wine. Other things to explore while in the area include the Škocjan Caves and the iconic Predjama Castle.
Getting there and around
The drive to Majerija takes one hour from Piran. You could stop at the Škocjan caves along the way (about halfway between the two). From Majerija back to Ljubljana airport takes one hour. Or, if you choose to stop a Predjama Castle, that is 30 minutes from Majerija and then one hour from the airport.
Where to stay in the Vipava Valley
Majerija was a highlight of our time in Slovenia and Steve’s parents said the same. The hospitality is impeccable and it’s the perfect place to unwind. Plus the food is incredible! The rooms are underground but ceiling windows mean they get plenty of natural sunlight, and breakfast is also included. A double room costs €96 per night.
Where to eat in the Vipava Valley
Don’t miss eating at Majerija, which has some of the best food we ate while in Slovenia. Do check in advance that it will be open though. Another highly recommend restaurant in the area is Gostilna Pri Lojzetu, which is just a ten minute drive away.
Things to do in the Vipava Valley and around
The Vipava wine valley has wineries to visit, and the Majerija farmhouse itself is a lovely place to relax or go for a walk.
It’s also definitely worth taking a trip to the Škocjan Caves, which are 30 minutes away and considered a “must see” in Slovenia. We would perhaps recommend going to the caves on your way to Majerija from Piran as they are half way between the two. There’s a two-hour tour that’s recommened.
Predjama Castle is another iconic spot in Slovenia and considered one of the most dramatic castles in the world. It’s on the way back to Ljubljana so you might like stop there on your way home.
You could also go to the Postojna Caves, but the Škocjan Caves are said to be better.
If you have more time
If you have a little more time, I recommend adding a night’s stay in Goriška Brda, Goriška Brda, a charming hilltop town nestled between the Alps and the Adriatic Sea. We stayed at a a full review here, a working vineyard and farm, and were instantly welcomed with some excellent homegrown wine. It’s another peaceful place to kick back and enjoy the countryside. I’ve written more about that area here.
For car rentals, we recommend booking with Rentalcars.com. They always have the cheapest deals for mainstream retailers.
If you decide to book any AirBnB apartments, use this link, as it’ll give you £25 off your first trip.
Don’t forget your travel insurance! We recommend World Nomads or True Traveller who both offer reliable, comprehensive cover, including medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities. You can buy both True Traveller and World Nomads insurance even when you’ve left home, which is unusual for travel insurance companies.
If you’re planning a trip, be sure to check out our travel planning pages. We also have full, detailed itineraries for How to relax in Goa and Kerala; The ultimate South Africa honeymoon guide; How to make the most of 10 days in Japan; Finding hygge in Copenhagen, and 48 Hours in Dublin. See all our itinerary posts here.
More posts on Slovenia
We’ve written plenty more on Slovenia, including: a post about how it captivated us; a Ljubljana photo essay; a tour of gourmet vegetarian Slovenia; and three posts about our road trip, split into Lake Bled; Vipava Valley and Goriska Brda; and Soča Valley and Vršič Pass.