Top 10 places to visit in Slovenia

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Tom Smith blog writter
By
Ivana Bole
Published: 14/10/2021
Updated: 14/10/2021

Slovenia has such an abundance of attractive places to visit, it’s difficult to choose only 10.

But since our specialty happens to be introducing the very best of Slovenia in a multitude of super convenient ways, we have assembled the following highlights for your next holiday on the Sunny Side of the Alps.

1.    Lake Bled

Lake Bled is likely the most renowned tourist destination in Slovenia for several amazing reasons. The charming subalpine town of Bled with its unique lake, famous for its island with an ancient church in the middle, offers visitors a wide assortment of things to see and do in any season. Hiking up or skiing down the surrounding hills, visiting the thousand-year-old castle on a cliff, or swimming in or paddle-boarding and ice-skating on the lake – are only some of the fun activities that await. Not to mention the leisurely pletna boat rides and tasting the local cuisine.

Like so many cool destinations in Slovenia, Lake Bled is located a stone’s throw away from Ljubljana, making it superb for day trips from the capital. Perched on the very edge of Triglav National Park, visiting this symbol of Slovenia can easily be combined with hopping over to Lake Bohinj, another fantastic alpine jewel. Why not therefore tick both off your list on a single day trip from Ljubljana?

Bled Island

Although Lake Bled’s must-see landmarks, including the nearby Vintgar Gorge, are beyond remarkable all on their own, exploring Slovenia’s underground treasure and most famous medieval castle built on the face of a cliff is an option that shouldn’t be taken off the table. Not on our account! Hence, the Postojna Cave, Predjama Castle and Lake Bled is a touristy cocktail worth trying when stationed in Ljubljana.

Hang on, we’re not quite done with Lake Bled. Photography enthusiasts, this one’s for you. If you feel like immortalising your trip to the Julian Alps by snapping amazing pics of waterfalls, gorges, two breath-taking lakes (yes, Bled and Bohinj), and glorious mountain backdrops, then reserve a photo trip from Ljubljana. The scenes in springtime and autumn are unforgettable.

  1. Lake Bohinj

We’ve mentioned it once, but we could write about it all day. Lake Bohinj is a giant glacial lake straight out of a storybook. It’s a wilder, bigger, less touristy cousin of Lake Bled that offers stunning vistas and limitless hiking, cycling, swimming and paddle-boarding opportunities in the summer, as well as a whole bunch of snow-related activities in its vicinity in winter. A tranquil walk to the Savica Waterfall, exploring the Mostnica Gorge or being blown away by the panorama offered by Mt. Vogel – these are just some of Lake Bohinj’s most treasured places of interest. Opting for a day trip to the Alps from Ljubljana is not only an outstanding cultural and outdoors experience, but also makes for a perfect breather outside the hustle and bustle of the capital.

Lake Bohinj

Lake Bohinj offers thrill seekers a chance to hit the rapids on the nearby Sava River, do some canyoning, or go for hiking expeditions in the surrounding highlands. The very likely side-effect of visiting Lake Bohinj on a day trip is therefore getting hooked to its magic and booking a holiday in the region next time you’re in Slovenia. Rest assured, it’s even better than it sounds!

3.    Ljubljana

Ljubljana is undeniably among the most beautiful capitals in the world. Its rich history, diverse architecture, long list of activities and comfortable accommodations promise visitors a time of their lives. There are numerous attractions in Ljubljana that are guaranteed to quench your thirst for knowledge and inspire you with their captivating appeal. Besides the cobblestone streets of the Old Town, the winding Ljubljanica River and the exquisite delicacies offered by high-end restaurants, Ljubljana is also an absurdly convenient springboard location. Discovering other parts of Slovenia from Ljubljana is a dream, and vice versa – the greenest European capital is also highly accessible if you’re stationed in other towns.

Ljubljana old town with the castle

When enjoying your Alpine holiday at Lake Bled, for instance, a day trip to Ljubljana is obligatory. Thanks to Slovenia’s geographical smallness and enviable road connectivity, Ljubljana can also be included in exciting day trips from the coastal city of Koper or round trips from Bled to Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle, as well as a combination of the two.     

Ljubljana’s centre is picturesque to the max. You’ve got the Central Market on one bank of the Ljubljanica River, the Prešeren Square just over the Triple or Dragon Bridge on the other. Then there’s the Ljubljana Castle guarding it all from above. Visiting or staying in one fabulous EU capital such as Ljubljana in remarkable in on its own, however, why not take a trip down to the Karst Region of Slovenia for the splendour of Postojna Cave and check from Croatia’s capital Zagreb as well? Or you can venture up north to Lake Bled and do some sightseeing in Ljubljana when stationed in the capital of our friendly next-door neighbour.   

  1. Soča

The Emerald Queen of Slovenian Rivers, the Soča River is an Alpine gem that carves its way from the heart of the Julian Alps down to the lowlands of the Karst region. Thanks to its pristine character and the unique limestone bedrock it traverses across, the Soča River and the valley it created are certainly among the most scenic places in Slovenia. It attracts thousands of adrenaline junkies who descend down its rapids and nature lovers who get enchanted by its nearby gorges, pastures and peaks. You’d think such a wild location has to be too remote to visit from let’s say the capital. Well, you’d be wrong. An adventurous day trip from Ljubljana to the Soča River is very straightforward and involves canyoning and rafting. Go for it!

Soča River

Our emerald queen is exceptionally photogenic. In fact, if you’re into photography and have filled up your memory card with images of downtown Ljubljana, taking a photo trip to this Alpine royal should be right up your alley. Soča might be a star, but other models, like nearby Trenta Valley, Vršič Pass and Boka Waterfall are just as impressive to aim your lens at.  And to add a few more spectacles of the Triglav National Park to your photo adventure, make sure to check out the Soča Valley and the Julian Alps day trip. You'll be back in Ljubljana by the evening, left with the painstaking task of deciding which photos are your faves.

  1. Piran

When listing the top 10 places to visit in Slovenia, it would be impossible and frankly borderline criminal not to mention the coastal town of Piran. It’s a miniature version of Venice that you can explore in a single day. Piran’s architecture and cultural richness are awe-inspiring and have deep historic ties to the Venetian Republic, attributing it with a very special vibe. In a nutshell, Piran can be described as the postcard town of Slovenia’s Mediterranean region.   

Piran on Slovenian Coast
Piran

Lovely museums, mouthwatering seafood, gelato desserts, unbelievable sea views, and of course the heaps of things to do in and around the place come warmly recommended. The great thing about Piran is also that it’s located near other seaside towns and natural attractions. Here’s a thought: Why not descend into the UNESCO protected miracle of the Škocjan Caves and get lost down the tiny streets of Piran on one trip when staying in Ljubljana? Another lovely option is to travel from the capital to Koper and then pop over to Piran. You’ll get to see some fascinating sights in Slovenian Istria and traditional saltworks to boot.

  1. Caves

Slovenia’s unbelievably humongous cave systems mirror the beauty of the country above ground. Except that they’re dark and moist, but unfathomably interesting to explore. Truly fascinating subterranean worlds. Caving in all its various forms is possible in the company of licensed guides and the proper equipment. Please, by no means attempt to descend down a cave yourselves! Why would you, if you have stunning show caves like the world-famous Postojna Cave and the UNESCO heritage site called the Škocjan Caves at your disposal.  

Bridge inside Škocjan Caves

Imagine the following scenario. You’re in Ljubljana. It’s raining. Or you heard that other spots nearby are worth checking out. You could go to a bar and party, or you could do that after you’ve witnessed some of nature’s most incredible underground artwork and strolled through the coastal town of Piran. Sign up here and thank us later.  

Did you know the Postojna Cave, through which the oldest underground railway runs and in which the human fish dwells, is located literally on the doorstep of the Guinness record holder for being the largest cave castle in the world, the Predjama Castle? No? Well, now you do, and off you should go. A day trip from Ljubljana takes you there and back. Oh, and if you’d like to add Lake Bled to that list, then opting for a slightly longer day trip from our cosy capital is all it takes.

  1. Triglav National Park

Named after our highest mountain, Mt. Triglav, the Triglav National Park is one of the oldest national parks in Europe and covers 4% of Slovenia’s territory as well as a huge portion of the country’s Julian Alps. Established in 1981, the park’s gorgeous mountainous landscape is over 200 million years old and home to over 7,000 animal species and 1,600 types of plants. It’s Slovenia’s most popular tourist destination among locals and foreign tourists alike. The Soča River, Kozjak Waterfall, Lake Bohinj, Peričnik Waterfall, Pokljuka Plateau, Savica Waterfall, Tolmin Gorge, and a number of majestic peaks of the Julian Alps are included in this vast natural wonderland.

People next to Peričnik Waterfall
Peričnik Waterfall

The Triglav National Park is also a place of amazing cultural heritage, like authentic alpine villages where delicious cuisine and local produce can be tried and brought. The towns of Bovec, Kranjska Gora and Kobarid supply tonnes of outdoor activities, comfy accommodations, restaurants and museums. From hut-to-hut hiking, conquering Triglav, rafting down pristine rivers, swimming in lakes, to paragliding over the Park’s surreal countryside, ballooning, hiking in its valleys, or doing some canyoning or caving in its secret corners – the Triglav National Park is somewhere you should definitely spend a long holiday in.

But if you’d like a quick recap, or as we like to call it – an introduction into Slovenia’s prettiest treasure, then heading on a day trip to the Triglav National Park from Ljubljana is your safest and best bet.

  1. Predjama Castle

Chances are you’ve never visited an ancient castle perched within the confines of a giant cliff with a network of caves underneath. Predjama Castle is basically Slovenia’s way of saying: You don’t need greenscreens to shoot fantasy movies over here; we’ve got you covered. That’s not all. The Guinness Book of Records has proclaimed Predjama Castle as the largest cave castle in the world. The building’s foundations haven’t been altered for over 500 years. Apparently, the last person to order renovation works was Slovenia’s Robin Hood himself, the robber baron Erasmus of Lueg. This 15th century character constructed a network of underground tunnels to supply his castle with food when besieged by his enemies. The only thing missing is a dragon. You can see a baby version in the form of the human fish just down the road in Postojna Cave.

Predjama castle, the biggest cave castle in the world
Predjama Castle

So, chances are you’ve never experienced anything quite like Predjama Castle or the magical Postojna Cave. If you’re vacationing in Ljubljana, then why not make a day of it. Whether you’re an adult or a kid, this will, without a shadow of a doubt, be an unforgettable day trip.   

  1. Velika Planina

Velika Planina is a super scenic high mountain pasture that’s listed among the most popular hiking destinations in Slovenia, due to its natural and cultural attractions. It’s home to authentic shepherds’ villages, the few surviving in Europe, where the traditional Alpine way of life has been preserved. As part of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, the landscape in this time capsule is characterized by typical karst phenomena and is criss-crossed with wide networks of hiking and biking trails. There are several ways of reaching Velika Planina, the most convenient by cable car. That said, numerous mountain trails of varying difficulty come highly recommended for anyone who wants to soak up this Alpine environment.

During winter, the plateau is covered in snow, which transforms Velika Planina into a winter wonderland. In summer, the local herdsmen drive their cattle to graze at Velika Planina, and you can roam around observing these friendly giants up-close. Humble alpine huts are where shepherds sell their dairy products, including the famous Trnič cheese. You’ve simply got to try anything with this cheese! There’s also a museum at Preskar’s Hut, which offers a glimpse into this fascinating mountain life. 

Cows next to the Velika Planina huts

Joining a day trip from Ljubljana to Velika Planina takes you to some of the superiorly pretty spots in the region, like the medieval town of Kamnik and the Kamniška Bistrica River. You won’t believe the ‘how-close-yet-so-far’ vibe you’ll get when returning to the lively capital.

  1. Logar Valley

Besides the Julian Alps, the Kamnik-Savinja Alps are another impressive mountain range in the north of our country, and the home to our number ten on the top 10 places to visit in Slovenia. We’re talking about the Logar Valley. It’s a romantic Alpine glacial valley located in the northern Solčava Region. Hidden from the modern world, the valley’s landscape park offers great hiking, cycling, horseback riding and spa options to any happy traveler who enters. There’s a natural and ethnographic trail and numerous waterfalls, the most distinguished of which is the 90-metre Rinka fall.

Views towards Logar Valley
Views towards Logar Valley

Kašče, traditional wooden granaries, are part of the local cultural heritage of the Logar Valley, which, by the way, comes with ample opportunities to taste authentic cuisine. In winter, cross-country skiing, sledding, downhill skiing and ski touring are in full swing in this hidden part of Slovenia. The Savinja Gorge, Solčava panoramic road, which winds down to the Logar Valley, local waterfalls and lakes – all can be experienced on a one-of-a-kind day trip from Ljubljana. Yup, we weren’t kidding when we said our capital is the base for visiting other treasures on this list.

Slovenia is certainly a holiday destination worth visiting for weeks on end, but as you can see, day trips can take you to the country’s most remarkable places, no matter where you’re stationed. In other words, a quick, easy, all-inclusive way to customise your itinerary. Try it out!  

Ready for the time of your life?

About the author
Tom Smith blog writter
Ivana Bole
A passionate ambassador of Slovenia, who loves the outdoors, culture and travel. Her insatious curiosity equips her with all sorts of trivia and she loves to share local legends and stories. She is always willing to go the extra mile to make your trip to Slovenia a really special one.

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