Combine a storied history with rugged alpine scenery on this relaxed five-day itinerary. This guided tour starts and ends on the cobblestone streets of colorful Ljubljana, completing a loop that includes the serene Lake Bled, rolling hills of wine country, and prehistoric Škocjan Caves—a UNESCO-listed site surrounded by diverse flora and fauna. You'll even meet some four-legged equestrian friends along the way.

Highlights

  • Explore Ljubljana's distinct architecture, museums, and historic monuments
  • Paddle across Lake Bled to get to the island's church and climb to the top
  • Sample local wines and visit a stud farm (home of Slovenia's famous stallions)
  • Enjoy al fresco meals in Ljubljana's romantic city center

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Ljubljana Ljubljana
Day 2 Explore Ljubljana Ljubljana
Day 3 Guided Tour of Lake Bled and the Soča Valley Goriška Brda
Day 4 Tour the Škocjan Caves, Transfer to Ljubljana Ljubljana
Day 5 Depart Ljubljana  

Day 1: Arrive in Ljubljana

Aerial views of Ljubljana
Aerial views of Ljubljana

Welcome to Slovenia! Upon arrival to Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport*, you'll catch a transfer from the airport to your accommodation. Settle into your lodging with a welcome drink, then get out and explore the capital's lovely city center. 

The country's largest city, Ljubljana is home to a wide variety of restaurants, museums, and historic landmarks to explore. Warm weather sees outdoor markets popping up all over the city, while winter prompts a warm drink in a cozy cafe. The Puffy Li'l Pancakes stall, however, is delicious in every season.

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

Day 2: Explore Ljubljana

Stroll along the banks of the Ljubljanica
Stroll along the banks of the Ljubljanica

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: Guided Tour of Lake Bled and the Soča Valley

Boat to the island in Lake Bled's center
Boat to the island in Lake Bled's center

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before your guide brings you to the fairytale shores of Lake Bled. Surrounded by the soaring peaks of the Julian Alps, Bled draws honeymooners and adventure-seekers alike. Take a short hike up to a viewpoint to survey your surrounds or climb up to the castle and tour its smithy, wine cellar, and printing press before enjoying a traditional meal in the restaurant.

If you'd like to get aquatic, take a rowboat or paddleboard across the placid waters. 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. 

Once you've dried off, you'll head to the Soča Valley, stopping in scenic Triglav National Park. Explore its tree-filled mountain terrain and see why they call the Soča the Emerald River.

Wrap up your busy day in Goriška Brda. Dotted with family vineyard estates, petite churches, and cypress trees, the region earns its nickname of the "Slovenian Tuscany." When you're ready to retire, try dinner in one of the local inns to sample the local wines alongside specialty cured meats and cheeses. If you can snag a reservation, Hiša Franko in nearby Kobarid is home to some of the best traditional cuisine in the area overseen by World's Best Female Chef of 2017 Ana Roš.

Accommodation: Private room at a winery

Day 4: Tour the Škocjan Caves, Transfer to Ljubljana

Your new friends
Your new friends

Go underground with a stroll through the stunning 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.

Back above ground, you'll make some equine acquaintances at the Lipica stud farm, home of the famous Lipizzaner stallions. As the original stud farm of the Lipizzaners dating back to the 1500s, Lipica plays an important role in Slovenian history. Visit their museum, take a carriage or horseback ride, or watch a performance starring the majestic white horses.

Continue on with a transfer back to Ljubljana. If you have time to sneak in one more stop, take a detour to the Renaissance-era Predjama Castle, cleverly crafted in a mountainside cave. End your trip with one of Slovenia's other stars, chef Janez Bratovž at his high-end JB Restavracija.

Day 5: Depart Ljubljana

Bike along the Ljubljanica River
Bike along the Ljubljanica River

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 Ljubljana, Lake Bled, and the Soča Valley - 5 Days
Map of Ljubljana, Lake Bled, and the Soča Valley - 5 Days