Experience the best of Slovenia's Alpine region on this epic 13-day trip. Start with two nights in the resort town of Lake Bled and then begin five days of hiking through the Julian Alps. From here, take a self-guided drive through Soča River Valley, continuing to the Goriška Brda wine country, and ending in the romantic riverside capital of Ljubljana.

Highlights

  • Climb the 11th-century medieval castle in Bled for panoramic views 
  • Hike through the Seven Lakes Valley, a misnomer (it's actually ten lakes)
  • Drive across Slovenia's highest pass through the central Julian Alps
  • Explore the UNESCO-listed system of underground Škocjan Caves
  • Dine in Slovenia's wine country, home of The World’s Best Female Chef 2017

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Ljubljana, Transfer to Lake Bled Bled
Day 2 Explore Lake Bled Bled
Day 3 Transfer to Triglav National Park, Hike Pokljuka Plateau Mountain hut
Day 4 Hike the Central Julian Alps Mountain hut
Day 5 Hike to Mount Triglav's Neighbor Mountain hut
Day 6 Hike the Valley of Seven Triglav Lakes Mountain hut
Day 7 Hike the Southern Bohinj Range, Overnight in Lake Bohinj Bohinj
Day 8 Free Day in Lake Bohinj Bohinj
Day 9 Drive from Lake Bohinj to Soča Valley Soča Valley
Day 10 Free Day in Soča Valley Bovec
Day 11 Drive from Soča Valley to Goriška Brda Goriška Brda
Day 12 Explore the Škocjan Caves, Transfer to Ljubljana Ljubljana
Day 13 Depart Ljubljana  

Day 1: Arrive in Ljubljana, Transfer to Lake Bled

Aerial view of Lake Bled
Aerial view of Lake Bled

Welcome to Slovenia! Meet your transfer at the Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport* to make your way to the fairytale town of Bled.

Bled's tourism industry dates all the way back to the 1800s, when Swiss Arnold Rikli opened a health facility on the lake, attracted to its long swimming season and beautiful scenery. He based his treatment plans on "water, air, and light," with key tenets of regular walks and swims, nude sunbathing, and a vegetarian diet. 

Today, Bled is popular with honeymooners and adventure-seekers alike. Whether you opt for hikes, history, or a lakeside happy hour on one of the hotel decks, you're sure to find something that suits your travel style. 

Overnight: Bled

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

Day 2: Explore Lake Bled

The views are worth the walk
The views are worth the walk

Today, you'll have the whole day to explore the scenic shores of Lake Bled, where you can choose between a plethora of shorter hikes through gorges or to scenic viewpoints. One of the stars of the region is just 2.5 miles (4 km) from town, at the popular Vintgar Gorge with its craggy walkways and waterfalls.

You can also climb up to Bled Castle and tour its blacksmith's workshop, wine cellar, and printing press before enjoying a traditional meal in the restaurant. Row or paddleboard across the placid waters to the fairytale island at the lake's center and 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, cycle 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 at the Park Hotel or Slascicarna Zima bakery.

Overnight: Bled

Day 3: Transfer to Triglav National Park, Hike Pokljuka Plateau

Triglav National Park
Triglav National Park

After breakfast in Bled, drive to the Triglav National Park to begin your hike through the enchanting spruce forests of Pokljuka. You'll pass several viewpoints with picture-perfect angles over Slovenia's highest peaks and into the Bohinj Valley before settling into your mountainside quarters.

Hiking time: 5 hours
Hiking distance: 7 miles (12 km); +2,953 feet (900 m), -1,640 feet (500 m)
Overnight: Mountain hut

Day 4: Hike the Central Julian Alps

Get up into the clouds
Get up into the clouds

After breakfast in the hut, you'll leave the meadows behind as you ascend into the limestone mountains, continuing toward the central Julian Alps. Take the direct path or explore potential side trips and other peaks to prolong your hiking. 

Hiking time: 6 hours
Hiking distance: 7 miles (11 km); +2,297 feet (700 m), -1,411 feet (430 m)
Overnight: Mountain hut

Day 5: Hike to Mount Triglav's Neighbor

There's no shortage of scenery along the trail
There's no shortage of scenery along the trail

This morning, you'll continue upwards through the stunning Alpine scenery until you reach the mountain peak. Take a break to savor the views, then descend to your evening accommodation for a new panorama over the Julian Alps and into the Soča Valley.

Hiking time: 7 hours
Hiking distance: 8 miles (13 km); +3,215 feet (980 m), -3,609 feet (1,100 m)
Overnight: Mountain hut

Day 6: Hike the Valley of Seven Triglav Lakes

Just one of the valley's lakes
Just one of the valley's lakes

Get an early start with a sunrise ascent to a nearby peak and return to your hut just in time for breakfast. You'll slowly descend through the Seven Lakes Valley, which is actually home to ten lakes, traversing a larch tree forest into the southern Julian Alps. 

Hiking time: 6 hours
Hiking distance: 9 miles (14 km); +2,953 feet (900 m), -2,789 feet (850 m)
Overnight: Mountain hut

Day 7: Hike the Southern Bohinj Range, Overnight in Lake Bohinj

Lake Bohinj is known for its crystal clear water
Lake Bohinj is known for its crystal clear water

Traverse the mountains south of Lake Bohinj, taking in the panoramic view of the central Julian Alps that you just hiked. Reward yourself for your accomplishments with a homemade apple roll from an Alpine farm before you take the cable car down from one of the area's highest ski resorts into the valley.

Once you've reached the bottom, hop into Lake Bohinj to wash off the trail dust. Though not quite as well-known as neighboring Lake Bled, Bohinj is just as scenic and even more serene. Catch a transfer to your lakeside accommodation to spend the night on its tranquil shores. Štrud'l restaurant in the center of Bohinjska Bistrica is a favorite stop for local cuisine. 

Hiking time: 6 hours
Hiking distance:  7 miles (12 km); +3,281 feet (1,000 m), -3,281 feet (1,000 m)
Overnight: Bohinj

Day 8: Free Day in Lake Bohinj

Rent a rowboat in Lake Bohinj, or simply jump in
Rent a rowboat in Lake Bohinj, or simply jump in

Today is a free day in Bohinj, where you can soothe any sore muscles with more swimming in the lake or get right back on the trail. There are countless day hikes in the area for all ability levels; you choose the one that suits you best or go vertical with rock climbing instead. For a different perspective, hop on a rental bike or soar the skyline on a paraglider. If you're feeling more aquatically inclined, you can also row, canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard on the lake's smooth water.

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. When hunger strikes, stroll to Ribčev Laz on the southwest side of the lake to scope out the dining scene. Try a burger at Foksner or the cozy terrace of Pri Hrvatu in Srednja Vas.

Overnight: Bohinj

Day 9: Drive from Lake Bohinj to Soča Valley

Summer scenery along Vršič Pass
Summer scenery along Vršič Pass

Hop in your rental car and get on the road after breakfast for a drive across the Vršič Pass, Slovenia's highest, through 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 the microbreweries of the mountain towns where you'll spend the night.

Overnight: Soča Valley

Day 10: Free Day in Soča Valley

Village of Kobarid in the Soča Valley
Village of Kobarid in the Soča Valley

Get up close with the Soča River, also known as the Emerald River for its bright colors. Explore on a raft, zipline, or canyoning excursion, or just take a leisurely swim in its scenic pools. If you prefer to stay dry, walk along the banks or bike the area, with nearby destinations including the WWI Museum in Kobarid.

You can also cast your rod in search of the famous Soča trout, sought after by fishermen from all over the world. Try it for yourself without the effort at the Dobra Vila restaurant, known for its traditional cuisine.

Overnight: Bovec

Day 11: Drive from Soča Valley to Goriška Brda

A house in Goriška Brda's Smartno village
A house in Goriška Brda's Smartno village

Today, you'll experience the area's WWI history and influence as you continue south toward Goriška Brda wine country. Learn about the region's involvement in the war, also featured in Ernest Hemingway's "A Farewell to Arms."

The mountains will make way to rolling hills as you approach your next stop. Dotted with family vineyard estates, petite churches, and cypress trees, the region earns its nickname of the "Slovenian Tuscany." Climb a view tower to enjoy the best view from the Alps to the Adriatic Sea, bike through the hills, or visit a winemaker or four. It's also home to Ana Roš, voted World's Best Female Chef in 2017, whom you can visit with a reservation at Hiša Franko restaurant.

Overnight: Goriška Brda

Day 12: Explore the Škocjan Caves, Transfer to Ljubljana

Look for waterfalls inside the caves
Look for waterfalls inside the caves

Go underground this morning and take a self-guided tour 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.

After you emerge, drive to the capital city of Ljubljana and look for the ancient hilltop castle towering over the city. When you settle, a local guide can take you on a walk around the city to introduce you to Slovenian cuisine and culture as you take in the curving cobblestone streets of one of Europe's greenest cities.

Keep an eye out for both the food and architecture of the Central Market's permanent fixtures along the river, stopping into one of the market's many stalls to sample the local offerings. The buildings were designed by Jože Plečnik, one of Slovenia's star architects. His imprint can be spotted around the city at stops such as the National LibraryTriple Bridge, and Plečnik's own home turned museum.

Overnight: Ljubljana

Day 13: Depart Ljubljana

Linger along the Ljubljanica River with open-air cafés
Linger along the Ljubljanica River with open-air cafés

It's time to say goodbye to Slovenia! Savor one more local breakfast and make sure to visit any corners of the city you may have missed. When it's time to depart, you'll be transferred to the Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport* for your return flight home.

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

Map

Map of Slovenia Alpine Adventure: Triglav, Lake Bled, and the Soča Valley - 13 Days
Map of Slovenia Alpine Adventure: Triglav, Lake Bled, and the Soča Valley - 13 Days