This five-day route will take you north through Slovenia and Croatia and give you the chance to see many of each country's most iconic sights. Begin in Ljubljana, the Slovenian capital, before working your way down toward the Croatian coast and Kvarner Bay. Then make your way to Zagreb through the Plitvice Lakes National Park. You'll drive through beautiful Slovenian landscapes to reach the crystal blue waters of the Adriatic Sea. 

Highlights

  • See iconic Plečnik architecture throughout Ljubljana
  • Fall in love with the romantic atmosphere around Lake Bled
  • Discover the underground world of the Postojna Cave
  • Take a walk in the footsteps of Empress Sisi and the Austro-Hungarian Noblemen in Opatija
  • Tour Zagreb, one of the most beautiful capitals in Europe

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Ljubljana, Pick up your Rental Car Ljubljana
Day 2 Drive from Ljubljana to Lake Bled Ljubljana
Day 3 Drive from Ljubljana to Opatija, via Postojna Opatija
Day 4 Drive from Opatija to Plitvice Zagreb
Day 5 Depart Zagreb  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Ljubljana, Pick up your Rental Car

The riverfront promenade is great for walking and biking
Ljubljana riverfront promenade

Welcome to Slovenia! Once you land at Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport, pick up your rental car before heading to your accommodation. Get settled with a welcome drink before heading out to explore Ljubljana's lively city center.

First, stroll down the main street along the banks of the Ljubljanica River, which is lined with lots of small boutiques, outdoor cafés, and wine bars. Ljubljana is one of the greenest cities in Europe and is just the right size to explore on foot or by bicycle. You'll have the chance to see Ljubljana Castle, churches, parks, and more. As you explore more, you'll notice the work of modern architect Jože Plečnik all around the city, including the National Library, Central Market, Triple Bridge, and Plečnik's own home-turned-museum, all of which sit under the watchful eyes of the city's many signature dragons.

When you get hungry, head to the Central Market to sample local cuisine at one of the many stalls.

Day 2: Drive from Ljubljana to Lake Bled

Photo taken by Janis R
Arriving at Lake Bled

After breakfast in the capital, you'll drive to Lake Bled. This postcard-perfect lake with an island in the middle is one of Slovenia's main attractions. Here you'll be able to choose between lots of shorter hikes through beautiful gorges or up to panoramic 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 Bled Castle and tour its smithy, wine cellar, and printing press before enjoying a traditional Slovenian meal at its restaurant, or row or paddleboard across the placid waters of the lake.

If you decide to go to 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 wishes. Then, cycle your way through typical Slovenian countryside, visit a local beekeeper, or simply sunbathe by on the lakeshore with a slice of delicious Bled cream cake. In the evening, return to Ljubljana for dinner and a relaxing night at your hotel. 

Day 3: Drive from Ljubljana to Opatija, via Postojna

Postojna

After breakfast, you'll drive to Postojna to visit the famous Postojna Cave. This cave is the largest show cave in Europe and is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful caves in the world. You'll get to ride the miniature electric train down the cave's long tunnel and take an hour-and-a-half-long guided tour, where you'll learn about the cave's unique karst topography. You'll also see the five-meter-high stalagmite known as Brilliant, visit the oldest underground post office in the world, and see the most famous cave-dwelling animal—proteus, "the human fish." 

After this tour, you'll continue your journey to Opatija, a tourist resort town often called the "Croatian Nice." Opatija has been a spa town since Roman times and has offered rest and relaxation to visitors for millennia. Once you arrive, spend the evening exploring Opatija on your own before heading to your hotel for a good night's rest. 

Day 4: Drive from Opatija to Plitvice

Traveling from Opatija to Plitvice

Today, have breakfast at your hotel before heading to Plitvice Lakes National Park, the most famous Croatian national park and a registered UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Inside the park, you'll find a magical world with sixteen lakes, waterfalls, and moss-covered forests connected by foaming cascades. Take a sightseeing walking tour that includes a boat ride and allows you to experience the beauty of the surrounding lakes and waterfalls up close. 

After your visit to the national park drive to Zagreb to spend your last night in Croatia. 

Day 5: Depart Zagreb

Sip coffee in a café onTkalčićeva street
Zagreb in the morning

Enjoy your last free morning to visit one of the many café-bars in downtown Zagreb. Try the pedestrianized section around Bogovićeva and Preradovićeva or the popular Tkalčićeva street for a morning coffee and pastry, and do some people watching. Then,  say farewell to Zagreb and head to the airport for your flight home. 

Map

Map of Ljubljana to Zagreb:  Lake Bled, Opatija & Plitvice - 5 Days
Map of Ljubljana to Zagreb: Lake Bled, Opatija & Plitvice - 5 Days