© Good Travel Guide, September 2021 by Linh Dieu Bui, Nika Sinigoj
If you have ever heard about Slovenia, skiing, spectacular caves and abundant green forests will pop up in your mind. Slovenia is located in Central Europe and well-known for its rich culture, customs, language and the marvelous landscapes and so forth. 60% of Slovenia is covered by forest. Over a third of the country is protected for nature conservation. This is why Slovenia sustainable tourism is flourishing.
Some of the most beautiful places are still rather unknown. They offer unspoiled nature and ancient traditions, including how to make food and drinks, such as special beers and wines.
Furthermore, in 2016, Slovenia was recognised by Green Destinations as the worlds first green country destination. This is the result of hard work by the Slovenian Tourist Board (STB).
Let’s pack your stuffs and have a trip across Slovenia with us
Slovenia has dense and well-connected public transport as other European countries, thus, our routes vary from BUS to TRAIN. You can go anywhere you want in Slovenia with public transport.
Our trip begins in Ljubljana, which is the capital and largest city in the Slovenia, has Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport – one of the busiest airports in Slovenia. From this starting point, it can be easier for you to reach Bled Lake afterwards.
PART 1: EXPLORE WESTERN SLOVENIA
Day 1: Bled Lake (Alpine Slovenia)
How to get there?
- Train: 50 km
- Duration: 1h20
- Estimate cost: 5-10€
Start at Ljubljana airport -> Bled (lake)
*Highly recommend the original dish in Bled Lake: Kremna rezina
After landing at the airport, we can suggest that you take the bus from Ljubljana airport to Bled. You won’t want to miss the small island on the heart of the lake that only appeared in fairy tales. The unbelievable blue of the lake may remind you of the Blue Topaz gemstone. Take a pletna boat ride to Bled Island to visit the Church of the Mother of God and the wishing bell to express your requests and your wishes to Mother of God (it was told that the wishes may come true). Not just that, you gotta see the staircase of 99 stone steps, it is said that the groom carries the bride up 99 steps if they want to get married in that church.
Turn it into an unforgettable trip with a bunch of activities in Bled Lake such as swimming, boat, kayaking, sigh-seeing, hiking and so on.
Check out the Bled Castle built in the 17th century on a high, steep cliff located in the North of the Bled lake. The castle hosts many cultural events and a tower gallery featuring monthly exhibitions. Moreover, there is a museum in the upper courtyard, you are likely to enjoy the panoramic views of the lake from here.
It’s over yet, experiencing the most unspoilt nature of Bled: the Vintgar Gorge, located near Gorje, approximately 4 kilometres north-west from Bled. The 1.6-kilometre long gorge was discovered in 1891, and the railway is still active till now. If you are lucky you can see the train driving across the bridge, while you are visiting the gorge.
Day 2: Bohinj Lake (Alpine Slovenia)
- Train: 30 km
- Duration: 45 minutes
- Approximate cost: 2-4€
Start from Bled Lake -> Bohinj Lake
How do you feel after waking up from one of Green Slovenia’s accommodations? Pack your stuffs and get yourself ready for the next destination: Bohinj Lake
Bohinj lake is considered as a great place for watersports such as from swimming, boat riding, windsurfing, kayaking or canoeing, fishing and diving in warmer months, to (sometimes) even ice skating in winter (we recommend you to be extremely cautious in ice skating). In summer, the temperature of the water rises to 22 °C; in winter, the lake freezes sometimes.
Don’t hesitate to take pictures as much as you want of the magnificent view of the stone bridge with St. John the Baptist Church in the background. Another famous photo spot you don’t want to overlook is Zlatorog which is a Slovenian god. It takes a short walk to get there
If you are a hiking addict and love challenging yourself then Mount Vogel is worth a try with hiking trails.And for those who are eager to have a spectacular panoramic view of the extraordinary mountains, lake and surrounding area?
Don’t hesitate to take the cable car up to Mount Vogel at 1,535 m (that is also available to those who, due to different reasons, are unable to climb the mountains themselves) (the price approximate 24€ for return ticket, adults). Moreover, in the winter, skiing, snowboarding, ski touring, free skiing, cross-country skiing, sledding, airboarding, and winter paragliding are available for you and your companion.
Day 3: Soča Valley - "Dolina Soče" (Alpine Slovenia)
- Bus: 7.8 km
- Duration: 11 minutes
- Approximate cost: 1-14€
Start from Bohinj Lake ->Soča Valley
*Highly recommend the original dishes in Soča Valley: Trout, Kranjska
We recommend you to take a bus from Bohinj lake to Bohinjska Bistrica. Starting the morning breakfast, then taking a stroll around the Bohinjska Bistrica town and visiting the Tomaž Godec Museum, exhibitions on the rich history of Bohinj. If you have some spare time Slap Grmečica and Izvir Bistrice spectacular waterfalls are no more than one hour away.
After enjoying the beautiful Bohinjska Bistrica, we take a train from Bohinjska Bistrica to Most na Soči, a small town located on a rocky crest above the confluence of Soča and Idrijca rivers. Tell me, does it remind you of a small village in a fairy tale? Got some time roaming around the town, it’s worth a visit.
Let’s take a bus from train station Most na Soči to Tolmin.
Once you arrive, we will head to Tolmin Gorge which is a starting point to Triglav National Park, is a combination of an easy walk (about 1 hour), beautiful scenery, ice cold water, and nice views. (the entry price is maximum €10,00 and vary months). If your soul is no longer at peace, immerse yourself in nature.
After sight-seeing, we will move from Tolmin to Bovec by bus
Bovec is a town in the Littoral region in northwestern Slovenia, close to the border with Italy. Don’t you ever think it’s a small boring town, it is considered as an outdoor paradise with various activities that you and your beloved can take part in.
Day 4: Nova Gorica
- Bus: 77 km
- Duration: 1h45
- Approximate cost: 8€
*Note: Most na Soči, Tolmin and Bovec are all part of the Soča valley. Only one BUS everyday from the 1. June until the 31. August that goes directly from Bovec to Nova Gorica without stopovers. Otherwise you need to stopover in Tolmin.
We will head from Soča Valley – “Dolina Soče” -> Nova Gorica. There are 2 words to describe Nova Gorica: Cuisine and Wine. The wine growing region inspires with its gastronomy. Would it be nice to taste the uniqueness and take home some local bottle of wine as souvenirs for your friend and family?
Furthermore, the city also offers entertainment with Perla Gaming and Casino Entertainment Centre. Why don’t you have a blast in the casino and try your luck?
If you and your beloved have some free time then don’t skip the stone railed bridge in Solkan also known as Solkan Bridge which is one of the most famous bridges in Slovenia. The bridge was repaired multiple times as it witnessed the upside down of history during World War I and II. The bridge is over the unbelievable marble green of Soča River making the scene more romantic, don’t you think?
Are you still interested in hiking? Then we would love to take you on a tour to some of the best views in The Otlica Natural Window, don’t worry if you get lost, the 8 km well-marked trails were already there, waiting for you to set off along the trails. It has a lot of benches for you at the break points so no worries if you lose your breath on the hiking trails and enjoy the surrounding scenery such as Ajdovščina and the upper Vipava Valley.
Once you get to the peak of the path, you will reward yourself with extraordinary views of Otlica Window and the summit of Čaven, you’ll understand the concept of Otlica Window’s name.
Day 5: Postojna
- Bus: 64 km
- Duration: 1h30
- Approximate cost: 6€ – 17€
Nova Gorica -> Postojna
Our journey hasn’t been over yet so keep moving on, guys. We will take BUS from Nova Gorica -> Postojna. Postojna is a small town in the traditional region of Inner Carniola, in southwestern Slovenia. Despite being a small town, it was blessed with abundant nature and full of mysterious stories and legends such as the Baby Dragon or Erasmus of predjama. If you are looking for inspirational ideas for artistic creativity then don’t miss this little town.
Moreover, this little town attracts a lot of tourist’s attention since it has Postojna Cave, the most visited tourist cave in Europe and the most biologically diverse in the world. I do not exaggerate at all, more than 38 million visitors from all over the world have seen Postojna Cave. You will begin your visit at the departure platform of the unique cave railway. A 5-kilometre subterranean trail is available for tourist visits and the accessibility for immobility people.
One more funny fact is that you may see the Baby Dragon and any species you haven’t seen in your life and its stories.
Day 6: Koper
- Train: 63 km
- Duration: 1h15
- Approximate cost: 5€ – 13€
*Note: Highly recommend purchasing the Koper Card – the key that opens the city gates and allows you to easily explore the city centre of Koper. Moreover, Checkout the 365 Days of Sunny Events to join Koper regional events
*Highly recommend the original dish in Koper: Fritaja with Wild Asparagus on Olive Oil, Refošk wine
We have been hiking for the past few days so we will take it easy this time by immersing ourselves deeply in a historical and charming town named Koper also known as a city of hundreds of suns. Every step you take, you will be surprised by Slovenia’s natural and cultural gems. Are you interested in what you need to see in Koper?
Visiting a small village nearby where a Roman church named Church of the Holy Trinity which is the famous for the Dance of Death or Danse Macabre (a fresco that shows 11 skeletons leading the same number of people forward to a freshly dug grave), this church is also renown for a barrel vault and high bell tower decorated with Gothic paintings from 1490 in Hrastovlje.
Or you can sightsee at the Socerb Castle, built in the 13th century, the only bigger fort building at the Karst edge above the Slovenian coast. Not only the castle itself, there is a Karst cave called Holy Cave below the castle, which is connected to the courtyard of the castle.
Is there anything you don’t want to overlook? What about an antique palace? The Praetorian Palace closes the southern side of the central town square – the Tito Square. The palace was built in the 13th century, while it received its current appearance in the middle of the 15th century. The building’s appearance is dominated by the late Gothic-Renaissance and Venetian Gothic style. It’s considered as the top attraction in Koper, one of the destinations awarded by Slovenia Green Destination.
As we mentioned above, Koper is a city of traditional cuisine and wine so we shall visit some sustainable gastronomies in Koper and get the taste of traditional Slovenia food. I bet it causes your mouth to drool with a sip of wine and a bite of Fritalje with wild asparagus.
Day 7: Ljubljana (Slovenia's capital)
- Bus: 104 km
- Duration: 1h15
- Approximate cost: 7€ – 10€
We are back to where we started our journey in Ljubljana- the capital and the heart of Slovenia. It goes without saying that Ljubljana is a lively green city combining the charm of a small capital and the self-confidence of large European cities.
Shall we take a romantic stroll through the charming city streets or actively explore points of interest in Ljubljana?
The Dragon Bridge, 20th century, adorned with famous dragon statues, appears in the most recognizable images of Ljubljana. If you haven’t been photographed on a Dragon Bridge dragon, you haven’t really visited Ljubljana. The four dragon statues, which look slightly terrifying and almost real, are a masterpiece which has been exciting imagination since the bridge was built.
Ljubljana Castle, standing on a hill above the city for about 900 years, is Ljubljana’s main attraction. The castle’s Outlook Tower and ramparts offer some of the most beautiful views of the city, while the castle houses a museum exhibition on Slovenian history, a puppet museum, and a number of historical rooms such as the Chapel of St George, the Prison, and a video presentation room called Virtual Castle.
Ljubljana’s Central Market is more than just a place to shop. Traditionally, it has also been a place for the locals to meet and enjoy themselves together.
The Ljubljana Central Market consists of an open-air market, located in the Vodnikov trg and Pogačarnev trg squares, a covered market situated in between the two squares, and a series of small food shops along the river Ljubljanica, which are referred to as ‘Plečnik’s Covered Market’ as they are located in a colonnade designed by Ljubljana’s famous architect Jože Plečnik. The Central Market offer is supplemented by catering establishments and street food kiosks.
The National Gallery, Slovenia’s foremost museum of historical art, holds the country’s largest collection of fine art from the High Middle Ages to the 20th century. It also houses a permanent exhibition of works by Zoran Mušič (1909–2005), one of Europe’s leading modernist painters, and various temporary exhibitions.
The National Gallery’s permanent collection, divided into sections according to historical periods, comprises nearly 600 works by Slovenian and European artists.