Start your adventure in Ljubljana, then explore northern Slovenia's rugged alpine landscape and crystal clear lakes before continuing south to wine country for a dazzling culinary experience that includes wine fine dining and wine tasting. For a change of pace, visit the underground depths of the Škocjan Caves before finishing your trip in the coastal town of Piran.

Highlights

  • Explore the underground depths of the UNESCO-protected Škocjan Caves
  • Discover the charms of Ljubljana
  • Taste Slovenian wines in Goriška Brda, the country's wine region
  • Hike through the stunning scenery of the Julian Alps

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Ljubljana Ljubljana
Day 2 Lovely Ljubljana Ljubljana
Day 3 Full day at Lake Bled Lake Bled
Day 4 Lake Bohinj Day Trip Lake Bled
Day 5 Julian Alps &  Vršič Pass Bovec
Day 6 Drive from Bovec to Goriška Brda Goriška Brda
Day 7 Vineyards, Karst and the coast Piran
Day 8 Piran and the caves Ljubljana
Day 9 Depart Ljubljana  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Ljubljana

Ljubljana

Welcome to Slovenia!

Upon arrival at Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport, you will get a transfer to your hotel in Ljubljana (30 minutes away).

Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia, and with a population of around 300,000, it's also the country's largest city. Ljubljana is so old that it even predates the Romans, but its city center was shaped much later, during the Middle Ages. The area is a pedestrian zone and is very easy to walk around. You can explore the narrow streets or stroll along the banks of the Ljubljanica River.

At the top of the hill above the city, Ljubljana Castle is another great place for a short walk with a beautiful view. Have a drink along the riverbanks or take the funicular up to the castle. Then, have dinner in one of the city's many restaurants, which are run by young talented chefs. 

If you arrive early, you can also join a biking tour and explore Ljubljana on two wheels or have a food expert take you around the best local bars, bistros, and cafes to discover the local food scene. 

Day 2: Lovely Ljubljana

Ljubljana

Take a full day to get over the jet lag and explore Slovenia's lively capital city. You can walk around on your own and visit the castle and Tivoli park, or choose a guided walking tour. Another option is to rent a bike, or join a culinary tour led by a food expert and to taste lots of Slovenian treats. 

Later in the day, we will meet you for a welcome drink and go over the details of your trip together. 

Day 3: Full day at Lake Bled

Lake Bled

Located at the foothills of the Julian Alps, this postcard-perfect lake and its island are one of Slovenia's main attractions.

Touring Bled Castle and visiting the island are two of the most popular activities in the area. Bled is also a great place for outdoor sports like hiking and biking through the surrounding mountains to see forests, gorges, and old villages. 

Have a stroll around the lake, and make sure to visit a local cafe and try a traditional Bled cream cake.

You can also visit the nearby town of Radovljica, meet a local bee-keeper, or walk through the famous nearby Vintgar Gorge.

Day 4: Lake Bohinj Day Trip

The lake's scenic surroundings
The lake's scenic surroundings

Nearby Lake Bohinj is less well-known than Lake Bled, but its beautiful landscapes give its neighbor some serious competition. There are countless hikes in the area suitable for all different levels. Another option is to go rock climbing instead.

Don't forget to pay a visit to the statue of the Zlatorog, or Golden Horn, a mythical stag believed to live in the mountains.

If you're in the mood for a day on the water, you can also canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard on the Lake before you return to Bled to spend the night. If you haven't visited Bled Castle yet, consider splurging on a royal dinner with a view at its restaurant.

Driving time (Lake Bled to Lake Bohinj): 30 minutes

Day 5: Julian Alps & Vršič Pass

View of the Julian Alps

Today, drive through the central Julian Alps and across Vršič Pass, the highest pass in Slovenia. You'll get great views of the mountains and abrupt limestone rock, and be able to go on a series of short hikes as you make your way to the Soča Valley. Spend the night in Bovec

If you plan your trip for early Spring, be aware that the road might still be closed due to snow (alternatives will be provided). 

Day 6: Drive from Bovec to Goriška Brda

The rolling hills of  Goriška Brda
The rolling hills of  Goriška Brda

After breakfast in Bovec, you'll have the chance to discover more hidden spots on the Soča River as you drive south towards Slovenia's Goriška Brda wine country. 

Dotted with family vineyard estates, tiny churches, and cypress trees, the region has earned its nickname of "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!

Driving time: 1.5 hours
Driving distance: 43 miles (70 km)

Day 7: Vineyards, Karst and the Coast

Piran

Spend the morning exploring Goriška Brda wine country on foot or by bike, then continue on towards the coast. You'll drive through the heart of the Karst region and stop in fortified hilltop towns and villages for a taste of their famous prosciutto and Teran wine. 

As a bonus, hop over to Italy to visit Miramare Castle and sip an espresso at Piazza Unità d’Italia in Trieste. Finally, reach Piran in the late afternoon. 

Day 8: Piran and the Caves

Škocjan Caves

Spend your morning enjoying the lovely Venetian town of Piran. Explore its narrow streets, and go for a swim in the Adriatic Sea. Then, it's time for a change of pace and a trip underground to the UNESCO-protected Škocjan Caves. The caves were shaped out of an underground river canyon created by the Reka River. Prepare to be amazed at this underground wonderland. 

If you are interested in horses, make sure to visit the Lipica Stud farm, home to the famous white Lipizzaner breed. Afterward, continue towards Ljubljana. If time permits, stop at nearby Predjama and tour the castle built in the face of a mountain.

Day 9: Depart Ljubljana

The riverfront promenade
The riverfront promenade

Depending on your departure time, you can visit a local museum or simply sit by the riverbank, relax, and enjoy an ice cream before your flight. 

Driving time: (Ljubljana to the airport) 30 minutes

Map

Map of Self-Driving Highlights of Slovenia: Ljubljana, Lake Bled & Piran - 9 Days
Map of Self-Driving Highlights of Slovenia: Ljubljana, Lake Bled & Piran - 9 Days