One of the most underrated destinations in Europe with landscapes at the crossroads of the Mediterranean, the Karst, and the Alps, Slovenia is a land of soaring snow-capped mountains, dazzling lakes, turquoise rivers, beaches, and charming medieval towns like its capital of Ljubljana which comes complete with a hilltop castle. It’s a paradise for hiking and biking, with endless trails to explore, opportunities for water sports, and taking part in adrenaline-fused activities like whizzing through the air on Europe’s longest zipline, kayaking through abandoned mine tunnels, paragliding and exploring caves.
Slovenia offers plenty of fascinating history, architectural treasures, museums, and galleries, along with botanical gardens and parks. As it’s a “green” country with a focus on sustainability, locally grown ingredients prepared by renowned chefs mean there is plenty of tasty farm-to-table and sea-to-table cuisine for an unforgettable culinary journey too.
Where to stay depends on what you want to do. It might make sense to split up your trip with a base in the city and one that will immerse you in Slovenia’s natural beauty. For example, stay in the capital of Ljubljana and Bled to enjoy the famous Lake Bled where you’ll find hotels, guesthouses, and plenty of other accommodation options. Or head a bit deeper into the mountains to escape tourist crowds and enjoy a tranquil setting at Lake Bohinj. Bovec is also a popular base with mountains and emerald-hued rivers near the Italian border.
Things to do in Slovenia
Discover The Charms Of Ljubljana
Slovenia’s capital city Ljubljana is well known for its beautiful open green spaces and university population. To discover the city’s ample charms, it’s a good idea to begin your expedition in the heart of the Old Town. Stroll along the curving banks of the Ljubljanica River, that divides the city, and stop for refreshments at a pavement cafe. At the National Museum of Slovenia and the Museum of Modern Art, you can search for treasures.
Visit The Majestic Lake Bled
One of Slovenia’s top attractions is Lake Bled. Situated in the spectacular Julian Alps, in the Upper Carniolan region, the stunning bluish-green lake showcases a medieval castle and a picture-postcard church set on an islet. The dramatic mountainous backdrop creates a romantic fairytale ambience for the majestic water feature. You can swim, kayak and canoe in the lake, and also navigate your way around it on a bike. It takes around 2 hours on foot.
Explore Slovenia’s Largest Natural Phenomenon
Postojna Cave is the largest Karst cave in Slovenia, and one of the country’s most spectacular natural landmarks. Underground there is a 16-mile long network of tunnels to explore. Admire the stunning stalactites, stalagmites, and other rock formations. Even though it’s eerily quiet, around 100 animal species live inside the cave. The star attraction is the proteus, which is often mistaken for a dragon. There is also an aquarium where you can view the proteus.
When to visit Slovenia
While the tourist season in Slovenia is generally from May through September, with summer the peak time to visit, you’re unlikely to find the big crowds that other Mediterranean countries experience. Daytime temperatures may climb into the high 20s and early 30s, ideal for swimming in the alpine lakes, rafting rivers, or enjoying beaches on the coast. Early fall is a wonderful time to be here too, with slightly cooler, crisp fresh hair for mountain hikes among the brilliant autumn foliage.
Natalie Our Expert
How many days do you need in Slovenia?
If you’re crunched for time, it’s possible to visit the most popular spots in Slovenia, Ljubljana and Lake Bled in just two days but this country really requires at least four to cover the highlights and a week is even better, allowing you to explore without being rushed. You can take in the capital, Bled, and Bohinj along with classics like Predjama Castle and Triglav National Park. Wine enthusiasts will want to visit Slovenia’s western wine region near the Italian border while beach lovers shouldn’t miss the sunny Adriatic coast.
What is the best time to visit Lake Bled?
The best time to visit Lake Bled in terms of crowds and weather is May, September, or October although the summer months with daytime temperatures frequently exceeding 30 degrees Celsius are ideal for swimming. If your goal is capturing photos and hiking, it’s hard to beat early autumn with vibrant colours blanketing the landscape. Those who don’t mind waking up before dawn can take advantage of stunning reflection shots at sunrise.
What are the essential sites to see in Slovenia?
Slovenia is all about pristine nature but there are a number of impressive man-made sites as well with the No. 1 arguably Ljubljana Castle, the more than 900-year-old castle atop Castle Hill in the capital city. Predjama Castle is incredibly unique, sitting right within the mouth of a cave that was once home to the local Robin Hood. Postojna Cave is another must with its caverns, halls, and passages carved by the Pivka River. And, of course, Lake Bled and the tiny island in the middle topped with Our Lady of the Lake Church should be on every itinerary.
Is Slovenia worth visiting?
A land of enchanting wonders, Slovenia offers everything one could want in a European trip with unbelievable natural scenery, an interesting culture, history, and a fun quirkiness that makes it especially enjoyable to visit. It’s less expensive than many other countries in Europe while the capital of Ljubljana has been named the European Green Capital with a pedestrian-only zone and a bike sharing program. Visitors can enjoy a less touristy, more authentic experience that doesn’t feel like a corporate package, with everything from beaches to mountains and a wealth of outdoor adventure.
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