Ideal for travelers looking for a natural getaway packed with outdoor recreation, this exploration of Slovenia's rugged western region combines picturesque lake vistas with high-alpine mountain huts in Triglav National Park, cave spelunking, and sunsets on the coast. The trip begins in Ljubljana, a European Green Capital, and continues north to the unforgettable scenery of lakes Bled and Bohinj and the Julian Alps. You'll then travel south through the emerald waters of the Soča River Valley and lush hillsides of Goriška Brda wine region, ending your adventure with a dip into the waters of the Adriatic Sea.

Highlights

  • Row a wooden boat across the fairytale scenery of Lake Bled
  • Sleep in a traditional alpine hunt while enjoying views of Slovenia's Julian Alps
  • Watch the sun melt into the Adriatic Sea in the enchanting coastal town of Piran
  • Spoil your taste buds with a culinary tour in the Goriška Brda wine region
  • Try your luck at spelunking in the UNESCO-protected Škocjan Caves

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Slovenia - Lake Bohinj Bohinj
Day 2 Discover the region of Lake Bohinj Bohinj
Day 3 Hiking in Lake Bohinj Bohinj
Day 4 Explore the fairytale scenery of Lake Bled Bohinj
Day 5 Conquer Triglav National Park via Vršič Pass Kranjska Gora
Day 6 Hike into the scenic Soča River Valley Trenta
Day 7 Descend into the alpine village of Bovec Bovec
Day 8 Explore the outdoor oasis of Bovec Bovec
Day 9 Discover the rest of the Soča Valley Bovec
Day 10 Brave the highest road in Slovenia Bovec
Day 11 Arrive in Goriška Brda Wine Region Goriška Brda
Day 12 Culinary adventure in Goriška Brda Goriška Brda
Day 13 Explore Škocjan Caves and the seaside - Piran Goriška Brda
Day 14 Final day in Ljubljana  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Slovenia - Lake Bohinj

Scenic overlook at Lake Bohinj

Welcome to beautiful Slovenia! After arriving to Ljubljana's airport, which set just north of the capital city, a transfer will greet you and whisk you away to one of the country's most enchanting lakes: Lake Bohinj. This will be your first experience in the country's largest and most famous park, Triglav National Park. Use this day to enjoy the peaceful nature of the lake and to beat jet lag.

Suggested activities include:

  • Take a stroll and relax along the lake's shore. There are several paths that circumvent the lake, the most scenic being the one that follows its north side. 
  • View the historic frescoes of St. John the Baptist's Church, which was built in the 15th century in the small settlement of Ribčev Laz. To reach the church you must first cross the stone bridge, which you will certainly recognize from the famous photos of Lake Bohinj!
  • Take the gondola up to Vogel Ski Center for breathtaking views of the Julian Alps. 

For a meal, try one of the restaurants along the lake. Many open terraces during the summer months for open-air, lakeside dining.

Day 2: Discover the region of Lake Bohinj

Lake Bohinj
Lake Bohinj

Now that you've settled into Lake Bohinj, today's the day to explore the area's pure, unspoiled nature. The main highlight is the glacial lake itself, which offers an atmosphere of outdoor adventure. The day is yours and can be enjoyed with walks, bike rides, fishing, and/or discovering some of the neighboring villages.

Suggested activities include:

  • Rent a bike and explore the highlights of the region. Lake Bohinj is a cycling paradise, with routes that range from flat and light to steep mountain biking treks. Via bike, you can explore typical alpine villages, enjoy waterfalls, visit scenic outlooks, and discover the area's famous alpine pastures.
  • Jump into the lake and go for a swim! The lake certainly maintains a chilly temperature; but on a hot, summer day nothing is more refreshing than a dip in Lake Bohinj. There are several swimming spots along the shores, although you'll find plenty of tourists and locals enjoying the shallow waters near the town of Ribčev Laz.
  • Rent a canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddle board. To truly capture the scenery of Lake Bohinj, it's best to get into the water itself. Boat and paddle board rentals are available along the lake in several spots. And with such calm waters, it's a leisurely and enjoyable activity suited for all abilities.
  • Go on a horseback riding or fly fishing trip. A large, local ranch operates horseback riding around the alpine pastures of the lake. You'll catch views of Lake Bohinj, the surrounding mountains, and some of the traditional villages. Or stay at the lake and try your luck with a fly fishing experience!

Day 3: Hiking in Lake Bohinj

the glacial valley
Lake Bohinj and the Julian Alps

Continue your time in Lake Bohinj by enjoying a hike or two. With the surrounding mountains and dense forests, there are many trails suited for all ages and abilities. 

Suggested activities include:

  • Take the cable car to Mount Vogel, which offers beautiful views of the lake and its surroundings. Several alpine trails are available from the ski center, with some connecting back to Lake Bohinj.
  • Enjoy the rushing cascade of Savica Waterfall.
  • Hike along the clear waters of Mostnica Gorge.
  • Feeling brave? Gain your altitude in a unique way by paragliding into the Bohinj Valley.

Day 4: Explore the fairytale scenery of Lake Bled

Bled Island on Lake Bled

Enjoy a day trip to Slovenia's other famous lake, Lake Bled. Today is all about exploring the area's endless charm. Many start with a quick climb to the castle to tour its smithy, wine cellar, and printing press before enjoying a traditional meal (and gorgeous views) in the restaurant. Some other activities to consider include:

  • Walk or bike around the lake, or tackle the hike to Mala Osojnica for those famous views.
  • Take your bike further and explore the roads that whisk through typical Slovenian countryside.  
  • Explore Bled Island! Getting to the island is half the fun. You can rent a stand-up paddle board or a row boat, or simply hire one of the traditional Pletna boats and let the oarsman do the work.
  • Visit a local beekeeper and learn about the tradition of beekeeping in Slovenia.
  • Go summer tobogganing at Straža Bled.
  • Rent a car and drive to Radovljica, a small town, not far from Bled, which has one of the best-preserved town squares in Slovenia. Or explore the emerald waters of Vintgar Gorge.

Day 5: Conquer Triglav National Park via Vršič Pass

The Julian Alps as seen from Vršič Pass

Transfer to the town of Kranjska Gora, the northern gateway to Triglav National Park. From here, you'll hike towards the central Julian Alps and ascend the famous Vršič Pass. Surrounded by some of the highest peaks and impressive limestone walls, several trails offer amazing viewpoints. Enjoy a chilly and (hopefully) star-filled night while sleeping in a mountain hut.

Hiking: 13 km, elevation +900 m, -300 m, 4-5 hours

Day 6: Hike into the scenic Soča River Valley

Traditional alpine villages along Vršič Pass

As you emerge from your mountain hut this morning, enjoy the quiet wilderness before prepping for the next leg of the hike. Following along the trail via Vršič Pass, your route descends to the stunningly beautiful Soča River Valley. Visit the river's source and continue to a local farm and sleep in a homestay.

Hiking: 17 km, elevation +400 m, -1000 m, 5-6 hours
Optional: a sunrise hike to an amazing viewpoint

Day 7: Descend into the alpine village of Bovec

The emerald waters of the Soča River

Today's hike follows the Soča River down into the pristine valley. Discover the river's hidden spots while you relax or dip your feet into the cold water, or even opt for a swim.  After about one hour of walking, you'll swap your hiking boots for wheels and continue towards the town of Bovec by mountain bike. Take a few breaks by the riverside, soaking in Triglav National Park's pure nature. You'll arrive in Bovec—Slovenia's outdoor sports capital—by the afternoon.

Hiking: 20 km, elevation +300 m, -550 m descent, 5-6 hours

Day 8: Explore the outdoor oasis of Bovec

Cycling in Bovec

Enjoy a full day exploring Bovec and its surrounding region. Bovec is the starting point for most adventure sports in the area, including river rafting along the Soča River's famous blue-green waters. There are several hikes to conquer, some featuring waterfalls and gorges. Here are some suggestions on what to do:

  • Go hiking on your own or with a guide and explore hidden spots of Soča Valley
  • Rent a bike or book a biking tour. There are several dedicated biking routes on designated roads and paths.
  • Go whitewater rafting or kayaking. Soča is the most popular and exciting river for white water rafting in Slovenia!
  • Go canyoning, sliding down waterfalls and swimming in natural pools. 
  • Go on a zip-line.
  • If you're a foodie, book a table at House Franko - home of Ana Ros, the world's best female chef in 2017.
  • Rent a car and drive to Kobarid, where you can visit the Italian Charnel House, a WWI museum, and a stunning waterfall all in one day.

Day 9: Discover the rest of the Soča Valley

Hiking in Soca Valley
Hiking in Soča Valley

Give your feet a bit of a break and grab your rental car (delivered to your accommodation in the morning). The remote, western side of Triglav National Park and the beautiful Soča River Valley are rich in natural wonders and historical significance. There are many hidden alcoves to discover, whether it means swimming in sparkling pools or simply walking along the twisty Soča River. Take your car a bit further to the town of Tolmin and walk through some of the country's most beautiful scenery via Tolmin Gorges.

Day 10: Brave the highest road in Slovenia

Photo taken by Janis R
The Soča River

After breakfast, enjoy a scenic day trip along the Koritnica River Valley via the highest mountain road in Slovenia, Mangart Pass. Known as the most beautiful drive in Slovenia, the highest point reaches 2055 m above sea level. Walk around the saddle and enjoy panoramic views over three countries - Slovenia, Italy and Austria. Enjoy lunch at the hut on the saddle, plus dramatic views and local specialties. 

Driving time
: 1.5 h
Driving distance: 33 miles (54 km)

Day 11: Arrive in Goriška Brda Wine Region

Views of Goriška Brda and the Karst Region

After breakfast in Bovec, drive south from the Soča River Valley towards the town of Kobarid. Kobarid holds significant WWI history, as described by Ernest Hemingway in his book Farewell to Arms. Walk on the Path of the Peace or explore the Kolovrat Open Air Museum.

By the afternoon, you'll arrive in the 'Slovenian Tuscany', Goriška Brda Wine Region. Dotted with family vineyard estates, petite churches, and cypress trees, you'll quickly understand the reference. 

Driving time: 1.5 hours
Driving distance: 45 miles (72 km)

Day 12: Culinary adventure in Goriška Brda

The medieval village of Šmartno

Embrace a new type of adventure in the Goriška Brda Wine Region. Low-traffic, country roads expose scenic overlooks of the valley, highlighting tranquil, panoramic villages. Gorgeous vineyards and fruit plantations dot this hilly region, creating endless local wine and food experiences.

If you want to keep up the active pace, there are numerous options for hiking and cycling. Tour a few wineries in the afternoon, or enjoy a wine tasting with dinner. Discover the medieval village of Šmartno or the beautiful scenery of Dobrovo.

Day 13: Explore Škocjan Caves and the seaside - Piran

Skocjan Caves
Škocjan Caves

Today is about discovering Slovenia's coveted Karst Region, which is set just south of Goriška Brda. Your guide will first take you to Predjama Castle—also known as the Cave Castle—where you will learn the story of Erasmus, Slovenia's version of Robin Hood.

Afterwards, explore the stunning canyons of the limestone Škocjan Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Boardwalks lead you through the specialized ecosystem of one of the world's largest known underground caverns. The caves are believed to have been visited by humans since the Iron Age. 

On the way home, take a brief detour to Slovenia's sliver of coastline along the Adriatic Sea. The charming port village of Piran is the perfect place to end your day and watch the sun set from the Old Town's walls above the city.

Driving time: 4 h 
Driving distance: 158 miles (255 km)

Day 14: Final day in Ljubljana

Ljubljana

Trade Goriška Brda for another charming experience: your final day in Ljubljana, Slovenia's Green Capital. Here, you'll return your rental car. 

Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia and, with a population of around 300.000, the largest city. Ljubljana is very old as it predates the Romans; but it was in the Middle Ages when the old city center got its shape. The city center is where the majority of the highlights are located, and because it is pedestrianized it is very easy to explore the narrow streets and the banks of the Ljubljanica River. On the top of the hill above the city, Ljubljana Castle is "guarding" the town and inviting you for a short walk and a beautiful view.

Take a stroll and have a drink on the riverbank and have a lovely dinner in one of the many restaurants run by young, talented chefs. After spending only an hour in Ljubljana you will fall in love with the city. Other suggested activities include:

  • Explore the narrow streets and riverbanks of Ljubljanica river on your own or with a local guide.
  • Check out Metelkova Mesto the alternative capital of 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 in the Ethnographical Museum and learn about Slovenian culture.
  • Book a bike trip around Ljubljana, which widens your area of exploration!
  • Take a food tour with one of the city's local food experts and enjoy traditional delicacies.
  • Rent a canoe or a stand-up paddle board and cruise the Ljubljanica River.
  • Take a stroll in Tivoli Park, Ljubljana's largest park and a great place to get away from the busy streets. If you have the energy, you can walk all the way to Rožnik Hill.

Driving time:  1.5 hours
Driving distance: 75 miles (120 km)