With just five days, this scenic road-trip itinerary allows you plenty of time to explore Slovenia's countryside. Starting from the laidback riverside cafés of Ljubljana, you'll drive to the fairytale shores of Lake Bled, the rocky passes of the Julian Alps, and the rolling hills of Goriška Brda wine region before finishing along the Adriatic coast. Sample the views and outdoor activities Slovenia has to offer, not to mention castles, caves, and history dating back to the Middle Ages.

Highlights

  • Rent a bike and explore Ljubljana's riverfront, lined with outdoor cafes 
  • Row a boat over to Bled's fairytale chapel in the center of its namesake lake
  • Stay a night in Bovec and dine on fresh trout plucked from the Soça River
  • Relax in Slovenia's resort town of Piran, surrounded by Venetian architecture

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Ljubljana Ljubljana
Day 2 Drive from Ljubljana to Lake Bled Lake Bled
Day 3 Drive from Lake Bled to Bovec Bovec
Day 4 Drive from Bovec to Piran Piran
Day 5 Drive from Piran to Ljubljana, Depart  

Day 1: Arrive in Ljubljana

Check out the capital's leafy riverfront on two wheels

Welcome to Slovenia! Upon arrival to Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport*, you'll pick up your rental car and drive to your hotel. Settle into your accommodation and meet them team over a welcome drink to discuss your trip details.

Afterward, explore the lively city center and saunter down the main street along the banks of the Ljubljanica river, stopping in whatever small boutique, outdoor cafe, or wine bar terrace strikes your fancy as you breathe in the fresh air of one of the continent's greenest cities. A classic European castle, parks, and churches are all on offer as you wind your way around by foot or bicycle.

You'll notice the legacy of modern architect Jože Plečnik around the city at worthwhile stops such as the National Library, Central Market, Triple Bridge, and Plečnik's own home turned museum, all under the watchful eyes of the city's many signature dragons. The Central Market is also a key site for sampling local cuisine (and buying local souveniers) at its many stalls.

*Alternate airports include Venice (144 miles / 231 km) and Zagreb (87 miles / 140 km).

Day 2: Drive from Ljubljana to Lake Bled

The Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Maria on Bled Island

After breakfast in the capital, you'll drive to Lake Bled. This picture-postcard lake with its island is one of Slovenia's main attractions. You can choose between a plethora of shorter hikes through gorges or to scenic viewpoints. The craggy walkways and waterfalls of the popular Vintgar Gorge are just 2.5 miles (4 km) from town.

You can also climb up to the castle and tour its smithy, wine cellar, and printing press before enjoying a traditional meal in the restaurant, or row or paddleboard across the placid waters. Once you reach the fairytale island at the lake's center, climb up the church's 99 steps, where legend has it the ringing of the bell can grant your wishes. If that's still not enough, enjoy cycling on side roads through typical Slovenian countryside, visit a local beekeeper, or simply sunbathe on the lakeside with a slice of the famous Bled cream cake from the Park Hotel or Slascicarna Zima bakery.

Driving time: 45 minutes
Driving distance: 34 miles (55 km)

Day 3: Drive from Lake Bled to Bovec

One of many scenic detours along the way

After breakfast, you'll check out of your hotel and get back on the road. It's time to change locations and drive across Slovenia's highest pass, the Vršič Pass (5,285 feet / 1,611 m) in the central Julian Alps. Admire the nearby limestone walls as you make your way up the winding road with potential detours to several view-filled walks of varying lengths, including a stroll into the region's history on paths built by Russian prisoners of war.

After you've stretched your legs, have a coffee with a scenic mountain view and a typical alpine lunch in a cozy hut. In the afternoon, drive to the Soča Valley to explore its hidden spots, including WWI forts, river gorges, and mountain town of Bovec, where you can relax in a microbrewery when you settle in for the night.

Driving time: 2 hours
Driving distance: 54 miles (87 km)

Day 4: Drive from Bovec to Piran

Keep an eye out for the brightly-hued Soça River along the route

After breakfast in Bovec, you'll have the chance to discover more of the hidden spots of the Soča River as you drive south towards Slovenia's Goriška Brda wine country, eventually making your way to Piran on Slovenia's Adriatic coast. 

Dotted with family vineyard estates, petite churches, and cypress trees, the region earns its nickname of the 'Slovenian Tuscany.' Climb a village tower to enjoy the best view from the Slovenian Alps to the Adriatic Sea, bike through the hillside, or visit a winemaker or two (or four). 

In the afternoon, continue driving towards the coast and get lost among the picturesque narrow streets and squares of Piran. Sitting snugly seaside on its peninsula, Piran's old city walls, Venetian-style architecture, and stony beaches are filled with history and charm. Enjoy the evening on the Adriatic at one of Piran's many seafood restaurants before you retire, with a casual drink and fresh seafood snacks off the blackboard at Cantina Klet, family-size platters at Restaurant Neptune, or an elegant evening at Riva Piran.

Driving time: 2.5 hours
Driving distance: 107 miles (173 km)

Day 5: Drive from Piran to Ljubljana, Depart

Sneak in a bit more scenery before you go

It's time to say farewell to Slovenia! Enjoy your last moments in this beautiful country with a leisurely breakfast and nature stroll before you drive to Ljubljana for your return flight home.

Driving time: 1.5 hours
Driving distance: 80 miles (128 km)

*Alternate airports include Venice (119 miles / 192 km) and Zagreb (158 miles / 254 km).