Spend 2 weeks exploring Slovenia and the Istrian Peninsula with this active 14-day adventure. Start by touring Ljubljana, bike around Lake Bled, go hiking in Velika Planina and much more on this outdoorsy itinerary that includes canyoning, ziplining, rafting, sailing and more through some of Slovenia's most beautiful countrysides.

Highlights

  • Take a stroll on the banks of Ljubljanica River
  • Explore Krizna Cave, Lake Cerknica, and Predjama Castle
  • Explore the Julian Alps, the fairytale shores of Lake Bled, and the Soca Valley
  • Visit the spectacular UNESCO-protected Skocjan Caves
  • Discover the charms of the Istrian Peninsula 

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Ljubljana, Transfer to your Hotel Ljubljana
Day 2 Full Day in Ljubljana Ljubljana
Day 3 Exploring Križna Cave and Lake Cerknica Ljubljana
Day 4 Drive from Ljubljana to Bled (hiking in Velika Planina) Bled
Day 5 Explore Lake Bled by Bike Bled
Day 6 Hiking in Bohinj or Pokljuka Bled
Day 7 Drive & hike from Lake Bohinj to Bovec Bovec
Day 8 Canyoning & Zip-lining in Bovec Bovec
Day 9 Rafting in Bovec & drive to Goriska Brda Goriška Brda
Day 10 Drive from Goriska Brda to Rovinj Rovinj
Day 11 Sail & Relax in Rovinj Rovinj
Day 12 Visit Pula and hike in Kamenjak Peninsula Rovinj
Day 13 Drive from Rovinj to Piran, Explore Istria Piran
Day 14 Drive from Piran to Ljubljana, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Ljubljana, Transfer to your Hotel

Land in Ljubljana, Slovenia's capital

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: Full Day in Ljubljana

The picturesque banks of the Ljubljanica River

Take a full day to explore Slovenia's lively capital. You can walk around on your own and visit the castle and Tivoli Park. Or, choose a guided walking tour to explore the city by bike, or have a food expert introduce you to the city's culinary scene.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Stroll along the riverbanks of the Ljubljanica River on your own or with a local guide.
  • Check out Metelkova Mesto, the capital of alternative 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 by the Ethnographical Museum and learn about Slovenian culture.
  • Book a bike trip around Ljubljana to see some interesting parts of the city that you would otherwise miss. 
  • Meet a local food expert and try local specialties.
  • Rent a canoe or a stand-up paddleboard and paddle on the Ljubljanica River. You can also paddle upstream, as the river is very slow.
  • Have a walk in Tivoli Park, Ljubljana's largest green space, and a great place to get away from the busy streets. If you have the energy, you can walk all the way to Roznik Hill.

Day 3: Exploring Križna Cave and Lake Cerknica

The Cave Castle
Predjama Castle, built in a cave mouth

After breakfast, take your rental car and drive to Križna Cave and visit its underground wonders. 

Križna Cave is a natural cave with several underground lakes that you can sail across on a small raft. You will get in and out of those rafts several times to get from one lake to the next. The entire visit takes about 4 hours. 

After exploring the cave, drive to Lake Cerknica, which is famous for "disappearing" in the summer. Learn about its underground ebbs and flows by visiting a local museum. If you choose, you can also take a nice walk to Rakov Škocjan and see more Karstic formations. 

Before you go back to Ljubljana, drive to Predjama Castle to visit the castle built in a cave and learn about Erasmus, the  "Slovenian Robin Hood." 

Driving time: 2 hours 45 minutes (in total)
Driving distance:  114 miles (184 km)

Day 4: Drive from Ljubljana to Bled (hiking in Velika Planina)

Velika Planina Meadow
The unique Alpine architecture of Velika Planina Meadow

Today, visit one of Slovenia's most charming alpine pastures, Velika Planina (the Big Meadow, in English). Here you'll discover unique alpine architecture and peaceful green pastures. You'll also learn about the local shepherds and their culture by visiting one of the oldest huts in the area and trying some fresh, homemade dairy products.

In the afternoon, continue to Lake Bled and check into your hotel. Climb up to the castle or go for an easy walk by the lake.

Hike: 8.5 miles (14 km) / elevation gain +1,300 ft (400 m), -1,300 ft (400 m) / approx. 4 hours

Day 5: Explore Lake Bled by Bike

The church on Lake Bled's island

A full day in Bled gives you the best chance to fully explore the area. Pick up a bike and go on a biking trip through the Slovenian countryside: 

  • Visit Vintgar Gorge, a 1 mile (1.5 km) long gorge. In some spots, the pretty wooden walkways are only a couple meters above the water and are designed to give you a perfect view of the gorge. Park your bikes, walk around, and gorge and then bike back to Bled.
  • Then, visit Zaka bay. Lock up your bikes and on a hike to a beautiful lookout above the lake.
  • When you return from the hike, rent a stand-up paddleboard and paddle on the lake. If the water is not too cold you can even go for a swim.

Day 6: Hiking in Bohinj or Pokljuka

View above Lake Bohinj
The clear waters of Lake Bohinj

Today is reserved for hiking. There are 2 popular options nearby, depending on the weather and the difficulty level you want. 

The easy option: go on a leisurely walk up to a viewpoint above the lake, through a nearby gorge, and then along by the lakeshore.

The challenging option: Drive to Pokljuka Plateau (30min from Bled) and go on a longer hike to one of the summits to see amazing views of surrounding Slovenian peaks, including Mt. Triglav.

Day 7: Drive & hike from Lake Bohinj to Bovec

The limestone mountains of the Julian Alps

 

After breakfast, you'll check out of your hotel and get back on the road. Drive across Vršič Pass, Slovenia's highest mountain pass, located in the Julian Alps. Admire the limestone mountains as you make your way up the road. You'll have the option to make several detours and short hikes of varying lengths, including one with a dark past—it was built by Russian war prisoners. 

After your hike, stop for a coffee and a traditional Slovenian lunch at a cozy mountain hut with great views. Then, continue your drive to the Soča Valley and explore its hidden gems, including WWI forts, river gorges, and the mountain town of Bovec, where you'll spend the night. Once you've settled in, be sure to grab a drink at one of the town's many microbreweries.

Driving time: 2 hours
Driving distance: 53 miles (85km)

Day 8: Canyoning & Zip-lining in Bovec

Hiking in Soca Valley
Hiking in Soča Valley

Bovec is the region's outdoor adventure sports capital. Spend a full day enjoying the area by going canyoning in the morning, and then ziplining in the afternoon. For canyoning, you can choose between two different difficulty levels: Fratarica Canyon (more advanced) and Susec Canyon (easier). 

Day 9: Rafting in Bovec & drive to Goriska Brda

Goriska Brda wine hills
Goriska Brda wine hills

After breakfast, have one final adventure in Bovec and go rafting on the Soča River. The Soča River is one of the most beautiful rivers in the world and is famous for its blue-green waters. 

Afterward, continue south and stop in Kobarid, a small historic town. Here you'll learn about the region's WWI history and visit the local WWI museum. Make sure you stop to see the stunning Kozjak Waterfall nearby. 

In the late afternoon, continue to the wine hills of Goriska Brda. Slovenia's wine country is filled with vineyards, fruit orchards, and roads that wind their way through tranquil villages. Visit a local winery to taste a few local wines. 

Driving time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Driving distance: 40 miles (65km)

Day 10: Drive from Goriska Brda to Rovinj

Rovinj, a coastal town across the border in Croatia

After breakfast, visit the Slovenian Karst region and the Adriatic Coast. Head underground into 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 since the Iron Age. 

In the afternoon, continue driving towards the Adriatic coast, cross the border into Croatia and check in to your hotel in Rovinj. Though Rovinj remains an active fishing port today, it wasn't until 1763 that it became a part of the mainland. As such, its restricted access resulted in the narrow, cobblestoned streets you see today. Here are some options for what to see: 

  • Explore the town and climb up the tower of Saint Euphemia's Church and enjoy the view.
  • Discover the Bronze Age ruins of Monkodonjo outside of the city.
  • Sample some of the seafood the city is known for in the tavernas of Old Town.
  • Stop for sundown at La Puntulina.

Driving time: 3,5 hours
Driving distance: 115 miles (185 km)

Day 11: Sail & Relax in Rovinj

Rovinj
Rovinj, a city on the Adriatic Coast

Go sailing in the morning and relax on the shores of the Adriatic Sea in the afternoon. Have a walk by the coast, explore the streets of Rovinj and sample fresh local seafood at one of the town's restaurants. 

Day 12: Visit Pula and hike in Kamenjak Peninsula

Rovinj
Boats passing Rovinj

In the morning, drive to Cape Kamenjak and go for a hike along the coast. On your way back to Rovinj, stop in Pula to check out the amphitheater and other Roman ruins.

Driving time:  2.5 hours (total)
Driving distance: 66 miles (107 km)

Day 13: Drive from Rovinj to Piran, Explore Istria

Oprtalj
Oprtalj

Drive through the Istrian Peninsula—often referred to as "Terra Magica" (magical land), and explore a region full of vineyards, olive groves, stunning coastlines, and hilltop towns. Here are a few suggestions to see in the area:

Explore inland and visit Grožnjan (Grisignana), an Istrian medieval hilltop town known for its artists, and Motovun (Montona), an ancient little town located atop a 909-foot hill.  We can arrange a meeting with the local truffle hunter who can tell you everything about the tradition of truffle hunting in the region.

Then, drive to Piran return your rental car and check into your hotel.

Driving time:  1 hour 10 minutes
Driving distance: 47 miles (76 km)

Day 14: Drive from Piran to Ljubljana, Depart

Ljubljana, the first and last stop of your trip

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

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

Map

Map of Active Adventure in Slovenia and Istria: Ljubljana, Lake Bled, Bovec, & Rovinj - 14 Days
Map of Active Adventure in Slovenia and Istria: Ljubljana, Lake Bled, Bovec, & Rovinj - 14 Days