Bovec is a rural town just 53 miles (89 km) from Lake Bled. But with the two towns set on opposites sides of Triglav National Park, the journey isn’t direct. The fastest way to reach Bovec is by rental car which takes 1.5 - 2.5 hours depending on the route. Keep in mind that the routes require either narrow roads and/or mountain passes.
Those who opt to rent a car can easily extend their exploration of this scenic region, particularly along Vršič Pass where there are many stopping points for hikes, picnics, and views. This 8-day tour explores the best of the area: Lake Bled, the Julian Alps, and the Soča River Valley.
Another option is a seasonal bus, which takes a slightly longer route around the south side of the park. This extends the distance to 68 miles (109 km) and increases the journey time to three hours.
By Rental Car
Duration: 1.5 - 2.5 hours
The most convenient way to reach Bovec from Lake Bled is by rental car following one of three routes. Due to the distance and complications of the routes, private transfers are not consistently available. The three options include: the northern route via Predil Pass (open year-round), the northern route through Vršič Pass (closed during winter), or the southern route through Kobarid.
The fastest option at about 1.5 hours is via Predil Pass, which crosses the Italian border. Luckily, both Slovenia and Italy are within the Schengen Zone, meaning you won’t need to stop at the border. Once you reach Tarvisio, Italy, you’ll head south on SS54 and eventually cross back into Slovenia and onto Predil Pass.
Aside from extreme weather conditions, the pass is usually open year-round. Kranjska Gora is a good stopping point for a meal; or if you prefer to picnic, you can take a short detour to Lake Fusine on the Italian side. (If traveling into Italy, you may need to pay an additional fee with your rental car company.)
The northern route via Vršič Pass takes about two hours. You'll pass through Kranjska Gora, which has a quaint old town with many restaurants and cafes. This route can close during the winter months due to heavy snowfall, but is usually open from May to October.
If you’re traveling during the summer, it’s a great choice as it’s full of historic and scenic views, plus many day hikes. Lake Jasna is a great stop for a picnic lunch, as is the small village of Trenta. You'll encounter some narrow roads and tight turns on this route, so an early departure time is best to avoid any heavy summer traffic.
If taking the southern route, you’ll leave Lake Bled from its western side and pass through many small villages, some along rural roads. Although not as scenic as the other routes, you will get the famous turquoise views of the Soča River. Along the way is Lake Bohinj, a good option for a picnic lunch.
Kobarid and its surrounding area is also worth a stop, offering a few day hikes and restaurants. This route is a good alternative if both passes are closed, but it’s the longest (2.5 hours) and utilizes narrow roads that may be tricky for foreign drivers.
Rental cars are available in the town of Bled, or in many other cities in Slovenia. Conveniently, Slovenian law allows drivers to pick-up and drop-off rental cars in different locations without additional fees. So you can easily get your car in Bled and return in the capital, Ljubljana, for example.
Duration: 3 hours
Although not as convenient as driving, Slovenia’s network of regional buses is a reliable alternative for anyone skittish of mountain passes or narrow roads. Timetables between to the two cities are very limited, however, with just one departure each afternoon. The route takes you south and around Triglav National Park, which increases the journey time to about 3 hours. Keep in mind that this is a seasonal route and only runs during the summer months.
By Bike & Hike
Duration: 3-5 days
If you're up for an adventure, you can bask in Slovenia's endless outdoor appeal with a multi-day journey from Lake Bled to Bovec. The route starts with 28 miles (45 km) of cycling from Lake Bled to Kranjska Gora, following paved country roads or designated bike paths. Next, you'll hike along the Soča Trail through Triglav National Park to Bovec. The Soča Trail is a segment of the famous Alpe Adria Trail that stretches from Austria to Italy via Slovenia. You will complete Stages 23 and 24 of the trail: Kranjska Gora to Trenta, and Trenta to Bovec.
Although the trip is doable in three days, you can opt for a more leisurely pace and extend the journey by a few extra nights. There are many mountain huts to accommodate overnight stays, but be sure to inquire ahead of time during the busy summer months. Kimkim's local experts in Slovenia are happy to help you organize any logistics.