This 13-day adventure takes you from Ljubljana and Lake Bled, across Slovenia, and into the beautiful Croatian islands, before ending with a few days in Dubrovnik, the "Pearl of the Adriatic." It's a perfect itinerary for travelers who have a bit more time to explore and want to get to know both countries in a single trip.

Highlights

  • Ride a scooter around the olive groves, lavender fields, and vineyards of Hvar
  • Visit Predjama Castle, the largest cave castle in the world
  • Discover the charms of the walled city of Dubrovnik, the "Pearl of the Adriatic"
  • Bike to the beautiful Vintgar Gorge and take a stroll on its wooden boardwalks

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Ljubljana, drive to Lake Bled Bled
Day 2 Explore Lake Bled by bike Bled
Day 3 Lake Bohinj and its surroundings Bled
Day 4 The stunning views of the Julian Alps Soča Valley
Day 5 Wine, caves, horses, and Trieste Ljubljana
Day 6 Lovely Ljubljana Ljubljana
Day 7 Transfer day: Ljubljana to Split Split
Day 8 From Split to Hvar Hvar Town
Day 9 Hvar island Hvar Town
Day 10 Hvar island Hvar Town
Day 11 Hvar to Dubrovnik Dubrovnik
Day 12 Dubrovnik Dubrovnik
Day 13 Depart Dubrovnik  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Ljubljana, Drive to Lake Bled

Lake Bled and its island

Welcome to Slovenia!

Upon arrival at Ljubljana's Jože Pučnik International Airport, you'll pick up your rental car and drive to Lake Bled (30 minutes away). 

Located in the foothills of the Julian Alps, this picturesque lake and its island are one of Slovenia's main attractions.

If you have time, you can climb up to Bled Castle and tour its smithy, wine cellar, and printing press, then head to the castle restaurant for a delicious traditional meal. 

Here are some other suggestions:

  • Choose from a plethora of shorter hikes through gorges (like nearby Vintgar Gorge) or to scenic viewpoints. 
  • Try a traditional Bled cream cake at one of the bakeries in town. 
  • Rent a stand-up paddleboard or a rowboat and sail to the island, or simply board one of the traditional Pletna boats and let the oarsman take you.
  • Visit a local beekeeper and learn about beekeeping tradition.
  • Go fly fishing.
  • Go summer tobogganing.
  • Drive to nearby Radovljica, which has one of the best-preserved town squares in Slovenia. 

Day 2: Explore Lake Bled by Bike

Spend a day biking around Bled

Grab a bike and go on a biking tour through the Slovenian countryside. 

Your first stop is Vintgar Gorge, a 1-mile (1.5 km) gorge that is up to 330 feet (100 meters) deep in a few spots and has a couple of very narrow sections. Wooden walkways are only a few feet above the water in certain places, and give you great views of the gorge. Park your bike before you enter and walk through the gorge, then get back on your bike and continue your ride. 

Your next stop is Zaka Bay. Lock your bike up again and hike up to a beautiful lookout point above the lake. 

When you return from your hike, you can rent a stand-up paddleboard and paddle on the lake, or even go for a swim before biking back to Bled. 

Day 3: Lake Bohinj and its Surroundings

A peaceful day on Lake Bohinj

Today, visit nearby Lake BohinjBohinj is located in the Triglav National Park, only 30 minutes from Bled (by car). There are several easy, scenic walks to nearby viewpoints nearby that take you through gorges and past beautiful waterfalls. 

Here are some suggested activities in the area: 

  • Take the cable car to Mount Vogel, where you'll get beautiful views of the lake and its surroundings. 
  • Rent a bike and explore the nearby alpine villages. There are several mountain biking tour options that you can do on your own or with a guide.
  • Rent a canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard and paddle on the smooth waters of the lake. 
  • Go on a horseback riding tour.
  • Grab a pie or some cheese made at one of the nearby farms. 
  • Hike around the lake and visit Savica Waterfall
  • Walk to the Mostnica Gorge
  • Jump into the lake for a refreshing (and chilly!) swim.

Return to Bled in the late afternoon and spend the evening relaxing. 

Day 4: The Stunning Views of the Julian Alps

Views of the Julian Alps from Vršič Pass

Next, drive across the stunning Vršič Pass in the central Julian Alps. You'll make your way up the winding road and admire the limestone slopes of the mountains up close. There are several optional hikes you can do nearby. Then, stop for lunch at a cozy mountain hut before continuing on to the Soča Valley

Learn about the valley's WWI history—portrayed in Hemingway's novel Farewell to Arms—by meeting a local history teacher and visiting the area's WWI museum. 

Then, continue on to your hotel in the evening. 

Total driving time: 3.5 hours

Day 5: Wine, Caves, Horses, and Trieste

Lipizzaner horses at Lipica Stud Farm
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Today, leave the Alps behind and explore southern Slovenia. If you like horses, visit the Lipica Stud Farm, home to the famous Lipizzaner horses. You can tour the grounds and watch the official training at Lipica's classical riding school. 

Then, continue on to the Škocjan Caves, a stunning underground canyon that's also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and take a two-hour walking tour. 

Another option is to cross the border into Italy and explore Trieste and Stanjel

In the afternoon, drive to Ljubljana, with a short stop at the famous Predjama Castle, which is built into a cliff. Return your rental car at your hotel in Ljubljana.

Total driving time: approximately 2 hours

Day 6: Lovely Ljubljana

Lovely Ljubljana

Take a full day to explore Slovenia's lively capital. You can walk around on your own and visit the castle and Tivoli Park. Or, choose a guided walking tour to explore the city by bike, or have a food expert introduce you to the city's culinary scene.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Stroll along the riverbanks of the Ljubljanica River on your own or with a local guide.
  • Check out Metelkova Mesto, the capital of alternative culture. Every year Metelkova Mesto hosts more than 1,500 alternative events and is considered to be one of the most successful urban squats in Europe.
  • On the way to Metelkova, stop by the Ethnographical Museum and learn about Slovenian culture.
  • Book a bike trip around Ljubljana to see some interesting parts of the city that you would otherwise miss. 
  • Meet a local food expert and try local specialties.
  • Rent a canoe or a stand-up paddleboard and paddle on the Ljubljanica River. You can also paddle upstream, as the river is very slow.
  • Have a walk in Tivoli Park, Ljubljana's largest green space, and a great place to get away from the busy streets. If you have the energy, you can walk all the way to Roznik Hill.

Day 7: Transfer from Ljubljana to Split

Spend a day in Split

An early morning transfer will take you from your hotel directly to Zagreb Airport, and catch a flight from there to Split

Once you arrive in Split, a transfer will take you to your accommodation. 

Spend the rest of the day strolling through the city center of Split, or get a local guide to show you around and tell you more about the history of this ancient city. 

Day 8: From Split to Hvar

Hvar is a popular destination known for its beautiful natural setting and mild climate

After a relaxing morning in Split, head to the port and board a catamaran for Hvar Island (a one-hour boat ride). Once you reach Hvar, check into your hotel and enjoy an afternoon on the island. You can explore the town, hike up the hill to the fortress, and go for a swim in the beautiful Adriatic Sea

After an easy morning in Split, get a ride to the port and board a catamaran heading to Hvar island (app. 1 hour boat ride). Reach Hvar and check-into your lovely villa in the old town. Explore the town, hike up to the hill fortress and have a swim in the beautiful Adriatic sea.

Day 9: Hvar island

Hvar is known for its clear turquoise waters

Hvar is known for its beautiful weather, great wine, clear turquoise waters, summer parties, and chic hotels, and has become one of the most visited islands in Dalmatia. Today, you have free range to explore Hvar at your own pace.

A great way to discover the island is to rent a scooter in Hvar Town and drive along the coastline through olive groves, lavender fields, and vineyards. In the afternoon, switch gears and join a half-day wine tour to sample some of the region's best wines. Then, grab a bottle of wine and head to Tito's Caves, just north of Stari Grad, and watch the sunset from these hidden-away caves. 

The more athletically inclined might prefer an early morning start to trek up to the 16th-century Španjola Fortress for views over Hvar Town and the Pakleni Islands, followed by a cycling tour around Hvar to explore the interior of the island. 

One last option is to explore the nearby Pakleni Islands. You can rent a private taxi boat to tour the islands and visit Jerolim and Stipnska or continue on to other islands further out. For the more adventurous, there is also the option to go on a guided full-day or half-day sailing or kayaking tour of the islands.

Day 10: Hvar island

The island has lots of activities to choose from

Today, walk along the southern shore from Milna to Hvar. It's a beautiful 5-mile (8 km) walk with several great spots for swimming along the way. Stop at a local inn for a fresh seafood lunch. 

Day 11: Hvar to Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik is known as the "Pearl of the Adriatic" 

Take a catamaran from Hvar to Dubrovnik (approximately 3.5 hours). Dubrovnik is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that's often referred to as the "Pearl of the Adriatic," and is one of the most photographed cities in Croatia. It's known for its great location overlooking the clear blue waters of the Adriatic, its unspoiled beaches, it's centuries-long history, and its topnotch bistros serving fresh seafood. 

After you arrive, spend some time exploring the city. Highlights include Onofrio's  Fountain, the 15th century Rector's Palace, Luza Square, the Church of St. Blaise (St. Vlaho), and the café-lined streets of Brsalje Street

Day 12: Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik at sunset

Spend a full day visiting neighboring islands on a sailing tour. You'll visit all three of the beautiful Elafiti islands, swim to beautiful secluded beaches, and explore small historic villages. 

Day 13: Depart Dubrovnik

Old Town glows at dusk
Old Town lit up at dusk

Depending on when you depart, you may have time to visit one of Dubrovnik's museums, like the Franciscan Monastery and Museum. This large complex houses many treasures, including the world's third oldest pharmacy dating from 1317.

Alternatively, for a collection of 15,000 pieces of interesting works, visit the Rector's Palace and Cultural Historical Museum. Wander this well-preserved palace-turned-museum and explore its exhibits, some detailing life in the Republic of Ragusa during medieval times.

The drive to the airport from Dubrovnik takes around 45 minutes with normal traffic.

Map

Map of From Slovenia to Dubrovnik: Lake Bled, the Soča Valley,  and Hvar - 13 Days
Map of From Slovenia to Dubrovnik: Lake Bled, the Soča Valley, and Hvar - 13 Days