Slovenia was never a country high up on my list of must do destinations. I hadn’t really done any research or even heard of anyone visiting besides the infamous Lake Bled. I think this is why I was so blown away by not only the beauty but also the diversity of this country.
Here is our complete 9 day itinerary. All the finer details, including transport, accomodation and how we ate on a budget is in the next post.
Maribor – Špičnik – Rogaska Slatina
We began our 9 day road trip in the very underrated European city of Maribor. Our time here was so unexpectedly brilliant. It is a young city with an excellent summer night life, typical European architecture and quiet river flowing through the centre of town where the swans spend their days.
After a night celebrating Bowen turning 24, we jumped in our car and headed North to Špičnik. This wine country, it is so very under rated as its neighbour, Italy, takes all the glory. However, here you can find some of the best wines as well as amazing hospitality that is hard to come by in established places. We did a little back tracking as we heard about a little place in the East to see bambis! The closest town is Rogaška Slatina and the location is Jelenov Greben it is very well sign posted so you shouldn’t get lost!
Jeruzalem is another place recommended but we just didn’t have time as it is known for its wineries.
Logar Valley – Kamnik
We spent another night in Maribor and then started our journey into the alps. First stop was the lovely Logar Valley in Solčava in the winter this is a retreat for cross country skiing, ice skating, accommodation, restaurants and more. However in the Spring and Summer it is the most beautiful green valley with the alps still snow-capped in the background.
Kamnik is a great option for an overnight stay as the fort at sunset is picturesque. In the late afternoon wander the streets admiring the architecture before you take the climb up to the fort to walk on top of the village roofs and peer into the square. It overlooks all of town and it’s not to be missed.
Kranj – Jezersko
This morning we woke in beautiful Kranj, we had coffee in the village before continuing into the mountains of Jezersko for a walk in the forest, a sit by the lake and a gaze at the snowy mountains.
Bled – Bohinj
Next stop Bled. Everyone who does visit Slovenia ends up in Bled which has turned it into a large tourist hot spot unlike most other parts of the country. You can’t blame them. Everyone wants a view of the fairytale castle in the middle of the lake, surrounded by mountains. We spent most of our days here hiking up to the Mala Osojnica viewpoint for the best views of Lake Bled, checking out the Lake Bohinjska and Waterfall Savica surrounding Bohinj village and taking a stroll up to Waterfall Šum.
We took the trek up Mala Osojnica viewpoint to see the views over Lake Bled. Commonly people reach the first viewpoint which is a park bench however if you have both the time and energy, push through to the top. It took us only 30 minutes to reach the top and 45 to climb back down. There are loads of trails on this mountain where you can find a clearing in the trees to peer over the lake and spot the Bled Castle below.
Zelenci Natural Reserve – Soča – Bovec
Making our way through the mountain is a truly breathtaking place, since we took the roadtrip in May the roads were all clear however the mountains were still laced with snow. This winding road through the Julian Alps was created by Russian prisoners in World War 1. Once you drive through the white wonderland you will begin to make the descend all the way down until you reach the town of Soča. Just before here you will begin to see glimpses of the Soča River, known for its Gatorade blue waters. We spent the rest of the trip from Soča to Bovec stopping in at swinging bridges, taking walks through forests to waterfalls and stumbling upon gorges. Bovec is the quaint little township sitting just off the river, home to many amazing campsites and Virje Waterfall just out of town, which is meant to be worth the trek.
We had ample time so we continued our day onto Kobraid where we slept the night.
Kobraid – Tolmin – Most – Kanal – Brda
Waking up in Kobraid was perfect as we got to start our morning with a walk to Kozjak Waterfall. It is only a short and not to strenuous walk however simply stunning to go before the rest of the world wakes.
From here, we followed the Soča River through the quaint villages of Tolmin, Most and Kanal. We spent most of our time in he village of Kanal hanging out along the river edge and having a coffee.
Within a 20 minute drive from Kanal, you will leave behind the bright blue Soča River. Over the hill you will be transported into a Tuscany Estate of their own, Brda. With no exact location marked, we drove around the hills past the women lining the roads selling cherries and homemade wine, stopping anywhere to catch a glimpse of the landscape before stopping in Šmartno for a wonder through the streets. This village will take you straight into a southern France or Italian dream with narrow streets, gardens on every corner and cafes tucked into every crevice.
Koper – Izola – Piran
After finding nowhere to camp for the night we drove on through to the coast, spending the night in Koper and exploring the old town along with Izola and Piran the following days. Piran is a Venetian built city so it is very attractive with cobblestone streets, old churches and probably the nicest town square in all of Slovenia. We spent our time here sampling every macchiato we could get our hands on and stopping ever few metres to photograph the most perfect streets. The coast here might only stretch 30km however the difference from Croatia and Italy is there is less tourists and more locals. The locals are so friendly and happy to see that you have ventured to their part of the world.
Our final destination was Ljubljana. After over a week amongst the mountains with not a big city in sight, the capital was a shock to the system with at least 40 u-turns, driving in pedestrain shopping malls, running a few red lights and not understanding any parking signs, we finally found a park in probably the most expensive car park in the whole country but we made it. This city was full of energy, we came out in the evening to the afterwork buzz where people were lining the streets with packed out cafes. We took some advice and went straight to the tourist information centre where you can hire bikes for 2 euros for 2 hours, so we set off to see the city. The outdoor cafe culture thrives here, so by dusk we returned the bikes and nestled into the riverbank bars of a few drinks and tapas.
Overall, Slovenia was a country that took us by surprise, the diversity in landscape for such a tiny country cannot compete against anyplace else, kind people, fresh produce and the endless amounts of activities made us realise even though we thought we would cover it all there is still so much to be offered here!
Check out all the Slovenian road trip details here.