- Stroll along the scenic Ljubljanica River with dozens of outdoor cafes and wine bars
- Take a 2-hour hike toward the limestone Škocjan Caves
- Raft along Slovenia's turquoise Soča River while stopping for swim breaks
- Snag a table at House Franko, run by the World's Best Female Chef in 2017
|Day 1||Arrive in Venice, Transfer to Ljubljana||Ljubljana|
|Day 2||Explore Ljubljana||Ljubljana|
|Day 3||Tour the Škocjan Caves, Drive to Lake Bled||Bled|
|Day 4||Hiking & Swimming in Bohinj||Bled|
|Day 5||Tour the Peričnik Waterfall & Vršič Mountain Pass||Bovec|
|Day 6||River Rafting in the Soča Valley||Bovec|
|Day 7||Drive from Bovec to Goriška Brda||Goriška Brda|
|Day 8||Transfer to Venice, Depart|
Day 1: Arrive in Venice, Transfer to Ljubljana
Welcome to Slovenia! Upon arrival, you'll be picked up by a private driver in Venice* and transferred to Ljubljana. Once you've settled in your hotel, get out and explore the capital's lovely city center.
(Optional add-on.) A local guide will take you on a walk around the city to introduce you to Slovenian cuisine and culture, including some of the secrets of the Open Kitchen market. Located at the Central Market, the Open Kitchen offers the chance to speak with chefs and sample a variety of Slovenian and international dishes.
While you're exploring the city, check out the architecture of the Central Market's permanent fixtures along the river. The buildings were designed by Jože Plečnik, one of Slovenia's star architects.
*Alternate airports include Ljubljana and Zagreb (87 miles / 140 km).
Day 2: Explore Ljubljana
Set out in true local fashion, via foot or bicycle, and enjoy some city sightseeing. Guided tours are available if you'd like an inside perspective on stories of the Ljubljana's history and culture or secret food spots. Or choose to explore and stumble upon your own discoveries.
Start by strolling on 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. Many of the restaurants offer a multi-course prix fixe lunch menu, perfect for midday lingering.
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.
Day 3: Tour the Škocjan Caves, Drive to Lake Bled
Today after breakfast in Ljubljana, you'll transfer to the Karst region, where you'll take a 2-hour walk through the canyons of the limestone Škocjan Caves—a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Boardwalks will 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 drawn to their majesty since the Iron Age.
You can head back to the surface when lunch hunger strikes. Choose between a visit to a local wine and prosciutto producer or have a traditional lunch in a restaurant serving classic Slovenian cuisine with a contemporary twist.
After you've refueled, continue with a drive to the fairytale shores of Lake Bled. A popular destination for honeymooners and adventure-seekers alike, Bled can certainly fill an afternoon and then some. Climb up to the castle and tour its smithy, wine cellar, and printing press before enjoying a traditional dinner in the restaurant, or simply pack a picnic and row (or paddleboard) across the placid waters during sunset. 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 there's more time in the area, you can bike the quiet 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.
Day 4: Hiking & Swimming in Bohinj
After breakfast in Bled, you'll take a day-trip to Triglav National Park where you'll hike through the enchanting spruce forests of Pokljuka. This route passes several viewpoints with picture-perfect angles over Slovenia's highest peaks and into the Bohinj Valley, so keep your camera close. Your taste buds won't be left out as you sample products from the many local shepherds, either in traditional mountain huts or in the fields to the gentle bleats of friendly sheep.
Wash off the dust with a plunge into Lake Bohinj at the bottom of the trail. Though it's not as well-known as neighboring Lake Bled, Bohinj's tranquil scenery, crystal clear water, and lack of crowds surely set it apart. After some leisure time, you'll head back to Bled where you can dress up and dine like royalty at Bled Castle. Otherwise, there are plenty of more casual dining options in town.
Day 5: Tour the Peričnik Waterfall & Vršič Mountain Pass
Today, after breakfast in Bled, you'll check out of your hotel and continue traveling through the glacial valley of Vrata. Drive through towering mountains in every direction as you head up to the Peričnik waterfall, where you'll get walk underneath the cool rush of water. From here, make your way to the cliffs of the Vršič Pass, Slovenia's highest pass, for epic views. You'll also traverse a road built by Russian prisoners of war during World War I as you stop for lunch and take in the landscapes.
This historic road leads to more hidden spots of the Soča Valley, including WWI forts, river gorges, and eventually the mountain town of Bovec, where you'll spend the night. After checking in to your hotel, relax in the town's local microbrewery, Thirsty River Brewing.
Day 6: River Rafting in the Soča Valley
After breakfast in Bovec, you'll start the day with a rafting adventure in Slovenia's famous Soča River. This up-close experience will show you why the Soča is also called the 'Emerald River' for its beautiful blue-green hue. Stop for breaks as often as you'd like so you can swim in river pools or explore scenic spots on the river bank.
At the end of the rafting journey, you'll make your way to the town of Kobarid, home of a notable WWI museum, in order to learn about the region's wartime history and influence before you return to Bovec for the night. Try some of the region's popular fresh river trout at the Dobra Vila restaurant, known for its traditional cuisine, and get a taste of the river that you rafted earlier in the day.
Day 7: Drive from Bovec to Goriška Brda
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.
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).
When you're ready to retire for the evening, try dinner at one of the region's local inns and sample the local produce alongside specialty cured meats and cheeses. For the ultimate dining experience, visit Ana Roš, voted World's Best Female Chef in 2017, with a reservation at House Franko restaurant. Fun fact: Ana's husband is the sommelier!
Day 8: Transfer to Venice, Depart
After breakfast, you'll say goodbye to Slovenia with an early morning transfer to Venice Marco Polo Airport.*
*Alternate airports include Ljubljana (87 miles /140 km) and Zagreb (165 miles / 265 km).