A trip to Slovenia has been on the cards for a long time; I’m a lover of dramatically beautiful scenery, charming historic towns and plenty of hiking and outdoor activities, and Slovenia is one of those places that offers a treasure trove of those exact gems! I am so excited so share what I did during my week in Slovenia.
Kicking off a Week in Slovenia
During our week in Slovenia we had an opportunity to see many areas of the country but I know I definitely need to get back to see more. The Slovenia Tourism website is a great resource for planning your trip. There is so much information on activities, events and the local areas.
Slovenia is located in central Europe and very easy to get to from most airports. Slovenia is bordered by the Adriatic Sea, Italy to the west, Austria to the north, Hungary to the east, and Croatia to the south. I love that in Europe you can drive a few hours and be in a different country. A week in Slovenia was just enough time to see a number of destinations and sights.
The currency is the Euro, and compared to some other countries in Europe it is VERY inexpensive. Food and accommodation were all reasonably priced. The language is Slovenian and I have to admit, I had a really hard time pronouncing the names of the places and basic words. If you watch my vlog (below) and you are from Slovenia….I am sorry about my pronunciations!
We flew into Ljubljana and rented a car with Europcar. It is easy to get around Slovenia in a car and for those wondering, you drive on the right side of the road…same as in North America.
A special thank you to Brendan Williams for joining me this week in Slovenia and taking photos for me.
Let’s get started in Alpine Slovenia…
Let me start of stating we visited Slovenia during the European heatwave. It was REALLY hot the whole week in Slovenia, so we took every opportunity we could to get in the water. Stopping in the Julian Alps, which stretch from northeastern Italy to Slovenia, was a great decision to take advantage of the higher (cooler) elevations and pristine lakes.
Our first stop in Slovenia found us at Lake Bohinj, a breathtaking portion of the Julian Alps, but surprisingly less visited than its famous counterpart, Lake Bled, which is really quite hard to believe. It’s home to mesmerizing waterfalls and the dramatic Triglav National Park.
Mount Triglav, the highest peak of Julian Alps, stands almost in the middle of Triglav National Park which is the largest protected area and only national park in Slovenia.
We found ourselves surrounded by high mountains, lush forests and beautiful pastures and meadows in somewhat of an otherworldly, emerald green paradise. Less touristy than Lake Bled, Lake Bohinj offers a fantastic setting to chill out and swim in the brilliantly crystal-clear waters and soak up the rustic, yet authentic atmosphere of the natural surroundings.
There are so many quaint little villages here and hiking routes that pass through many of them, so if you’re a lover of hiking like me then this area of Slovenia is absolute paradise.
While standing on ground level in among the vast and iridescent lakes and mountains is nothing short of breathtaking, a birds-eye view is always the cherry on top of the cake. Be sure to visit the Vogel Ski Center for some of the best views from the peak of Mount Vogel as well as some seriously enjoyable and picturesque hiking trails.
The cable car ride takes you from Ukanc all the way to the top and the view is nothing short of sensational — it felt like we were literally in the clouds! It is a short cable car ride up and you can either walk or take another tram to the next mountain top.
The cable car leaves every 30 minutes, and the last one leaves the ski resort at 7:00 pm during summertime.
We stopped off to capture the beauty of the Napoleon Bridge which connects the left and right banks of the Soča River, where the gorge is the narrowest. The milky blue and green water is perfect for kayaking or paddle boarding.
It was a super hot day when we visited the Napolean Bridge and it was not surprising to see a lot of people diving from the bridge.
The beautiful emerald green of Zelenci nature reserve is moments from the area where Slovenia, Austria and Italy come together. Ideal for a short walk, the emerald green colour of the lake is due to the underground water of the Nadiza Creek.
While on the way to Zelenci, the road will take you into Tarviso, Italy for about 15 minutes. Lago del Predil is right on the side of the road, so you can’t miss it! Before you know it, the road takes you back into Slovenia.
Lake Jasna is the perfect stop on a hot summer day. Lush forests and the cool lake water provide a refreshing break from the hot summer temperatures. Nothing beats swimming with this stunning view of the Alps in the background. It is located quite close to Zelenci, so you could stop at both locations on the same day.
At Lake Jasna there is also an area to feed the ducks, a 3 level diving platform and trails for walking or biking.
Look at that view! Across Lake Jasna you can see to the Julian Alps with Razor on the left and Prisojnik on the right.
We reached Lake Bled in time for the wondrous sunrise and it definitely made for some spellbinding shots. This is Slovenia’s alpine lake that hosts the fairtytale-esque island, home to Bled Castle so once we’d soaked up all the atmospheric and surreal excitement of the sunrise, we took a Pletna boat ride across to the island.
Unique to Bled, the Pletna boats are a traditional form of transport on the lake, dating back to 1590 and are operated by oarsmen whose skill spans generations.
We got to see the Wishing Bell and Tower up close and personal. Walking up 99 steps to the church, it is said that ringing the bell three times and making a wish will make it come true. How much more magical can you get than that?
Well… Bled Castle comes pretty close. It’s a great spot to grasp some of the finest views of Bled island, the town and the wider countryside of the Upper Carniola region.
Continuing our Road Trip Through Slovenia
As with any road trip, it is the sights that you see along the way that are just as memorable as the destination. I would highly recommend stopping off at some of the fascinating towns, cities and sights along the way. Here’s just a few:
Otočec is the ideal holiday destination for anyone who loves to have an active vacation. Running, hiking, tennis, golf are all activities that tourists and locals travel to Otočec for.
Another reason to come to visit is to see the Otočec Castle. Otočec Castle was built in the 13th century and sits on a small island in the middle of the Krka River and it is the only water castle in Slovenia. The island is joined to the mainland by a wooden bridge.
The castle was burned during the World War II. Under the supervision of the Heritage Protection Service, the castle was renovated into a hotel which is now a popular location for weddings. Can you imagine getting married in a castle on an island!?!
Kostanjevica na Krki
In Kostanjevica na Krki we went to a beautiful lavender field which just glowed during sunset on this hot summer evening. The field was at a private home and they let people come to take photos and enjoy the view. It was about a 30 minute drive here from the town of Otočec .
Rogska Slatina – Mt. Boč
If you venture to the Rogska Slatina area you need to go for a hike up Mt. Boč. The hike up is easy and it takes about 45 minutes. The trail is very well maintained but just follow the number 2 trail all the way.
Once you get to the top, you will find a lookout tower which has many stairs that take to you an amazing view of the rolling hills. It was a clear evening and it looked like we would see forever in all directions.
It gets a little windy up there, so make sure you bring a wind breaker just in case you get cold because it was one of the only chilly places we found during our visit during a heatwave.
Sometimes on a road trip you happen upon some picturesque spots which you have to pull over for…and this was one of them. There are so many quaint towns, little church’s and stunning farm fields.
While Slovenia’s dramatic natural landscapes are a massive draw when traveling here, its cities are equally as exciting, offering a whole array of historical and cultural delights.
Reminiscent of a provincial town, Maribor is situated in the north-east corner of Slovenia just south of the Austrian border. Its Old Town is delightfully beautiful and with its picturesque River Drava, vineyards and mountains, I’d say it holds its own beside Ljubljana, as the second largest city in the country.
Maribor is a Renaissance-style town which dates from 1515. There is so much history here and it is full of quintessential central European views.
In Maribor, you must go to Pyramid Hill to take in the panoramic view of the city. It is an easy 1 km trail that takes you to an overlook of the city and I would suggest going for sunset.
If you want to say you stood at a point where you could see four different countries at once then you need to make your may to Vinarium Tower. The watchtower Vinarium Lendavais is over 50 m tall and provides you with an incredible 360° view of the plains and hills of Slovenia, Hungary, Croatia, and Austria.
You can reach the highest platform of the tower on the elevator or by climbing 240 steps. It was a really hot day, so we took the elevator.
Wine Country in Slovenia
White or red, lushly aromatic, strong, full-bodied or light, dry or sweet – no matter what kind of wine you prefer, you will discover your favourite variety in the three wine-growing regions of Slovenia.
Did you know that there are one winery or vineyard for every 75 people? Slovenians love their wine!
Slovenian vineyards are located in the very center of the European wine-growing belt, similar to areas such as Burgundy in France
Maribor is home to the oldest vine in the world. It is more than 450 years old and is located at Old Vine House. Make sure you stop by or go for wine tasting tour!
The natural surroundings of Slovenia are so magical that it’s no wonder it’s home to the romantic heart-shaped road. The Pomurje Region offers endless green landscapes and peaceful vistas so if you’ve ventured to this earthly paradise with the one you hold most dear, then be sure to capture a memory in front of this cute heart-shaped backdrop.
Olimje is a village in the Podčetrtek region in eastern Slovenia close to the border of Croatia. It is home to the Olimje Monestary or it is sometimes called the Olimje Castle which was built in the 17th Century. It is a very beautiful structure and worth a visit if you are in the Rogaška Slatina which is close by.
Don’t miss stopping at Jelenov Greben which is just a short ways from the Olimje Monastery. Here you will see a large herd of deer and moufflon, who roam around freely through the area. Definitely not something that you get to see every day!
A Week in Slovenia Vlog
Check out my trip to Slovenia blog below or on YouTube for higher quality.
Where we Stayed During our Week in Slovenia
I stayed in some beautiful hotels that all offered sublime views of the various regions of Slovenia. I’ve listed them below so if you’re planning on visiting these areas of Slovenia, you’ve already got some trusted recommendations from me.
Bohinj Eco Hotel
Solvenia is widely recognized as one of the world’s most sustainable countries. Eco-conscious travelers should seek refuge at the Bohinj Eco Hotel — the most awarded and energy-efficient and eco-friendly hotel in the region!
It was amazing way to wake up to the sound of busy wildlife all around the hotel and the view from my deck. Boasting panoramic views of the Julian Alps, I recommend staying at the Bohinj Eco Hotel for access to the surrounding Lake Bohinj and Vogel ski area.
Hotel Šport Otočec
It’s in the name — Hotel Šport Otočec is great for sports enthusiasts with a range of sports equipment kitted throughout the rooms, from TRX bands, to boxing bags, to stretching bars. With a heavy focus on health and wellness, it’s also a great base from which to explore the unspoiled scenery, and its main attraction, the Otočec Castle.
Grand Hotel Sava Superior
Famous for its pure spring water, Grand Hotel Sava is located in Rogaška, eastern Slovenia. The rooms are beautifully luxe offering all you could need for your stay and completely place you in harmony with the beautiful natural surroundings of Slovenia.
There’s access to a pool and wellness centre and The Hotel Kristal restaurant, basting an array of world class Slovenian cuisine. Make sure you try the spring water while you are here!
Hotel City Maribor
Hotel City Maribor is more like a ‘hometel’ than a hotel, located in a cute part of the historical Maribor city. It’s design is beautifully contemporary and they offer apartments as well as amazing garden rooms. It’s the perfect base for exploring the city and even offers access to an intimate spa. I felt utterly pampered here and would highly recommend for a homely stay in Slovenia.
Eating in Slovenia
I was a big fan of the tasty dishes in Slovenia and I would say it is a perfect destination for a foodie. During our week in Slovenia, we ate good with most of our meals at the hotels we stayed at.
Some dishes are influenced by its neighbours Austria, Italy and Hungary, while others are home-grown. There were an abundance of fresh ingredients in season and we stopped at a few outdoor markets during our travels to stock up on delicious berries and fruit. With all the fresh ingredients, it was easy to eat as a Celiac and someone with numerous food allergies.
There were many good coffee shops that we visited during our week in Slovenia. I am always excited to travel somewhere that knows how to make an excellent cup of coffee.
Thanks for stopping by. I will have more blog posts on Slovenia soon!