Mediterranean flair, like a flawless mixture of Italian, Austrian and Hungarian influences, but with a pinch of more serenity. Coastal roads framed by cypresses, a perfectly cozy capital, and surprising landscapes with turquoise rivers and impressive mountains. Your Slovenia itinerary leads you right through this exciting culture and nature.

Do you know the feeling when you arrive in a place and your heartbeat seems instantly smooths into the rhythm of it? That’s exactly how I fell for Slovenia the first time I visited the country.
Slovenia has been a totally underrated travel destination for a long time, but in recent years it has become more and more popular. And this doesn’t surprise me. Despite its small size, there’s lots to see.
Just think of the picturesque Mediterranean Sea, clear lakes, rivers, and canyons where you can hike. And don’t forget the magical Alpine ski region.

If you’d like an adventure, a road trip in Slovenia by car or by camper sounds just right.
In this post you can find the highlights of our trip, suggested Slovenia itineraries, and many travel tips for Slovenia. So get inspired and hit the road!

Vintgar Gorge can't be missed on a Slovenia itinerary / Vintgar Schlucht darf unter den Slowenien Sehenswürdigkeiten nicht fehlen

Stunning Vintgar Gorge

Places to visit on your Slovenia itinerary

Ljubljana | The cozy capital

Oh yes, it’s worth the tongue twister! At least your feet won’t suffer, as Ljubljana is easily walkable.  And the city has such a lovely flair, it reminded me of a mini version of Venice, maybe mixed with a proud baroque town such as Salzburg. Sprinkled with countless cute cafes and restaurants in small alleys that may just be cut out of an old German small town. But much hipper!

Even better, Ljubljana has done a lot to become more and more sustainable within the last few years. It was the first European capital that joined a zero waste program.  At the same time, they try hard to preserve as many public green areas as possible, making up almost a third of the city’s area. Besides, they’ve focused less on cars, building more and more pedestrian paths and bike lanes for which Ljubljana has been awarded “European Green Capital” in 2016. Quite a few European cities could take a leaf out of the Slovenian capital’s book.

ToDo in Ljubljana:

  • Ljubljanka river – Either just walk along the river, cross its bridges that remind of Venice, or take a boat trip to see the city from a different angle.
  • Presernov Square & the triple bridge Tromostovje – With a great view of the river and the castle, this bustling square is a meeting point for many and is right at the city’s most beautiful bridge (actually three bridges that are connected).
  • Old alleys in the historic center – The cobblestoned alleys around Mestni trg and Stari trg are full of cute cafes, small boutiques, and delicatessen shops. No chain stores in sight – I loved it!
  • Castle of Ljubljana – Enjoy the view from the top across Ljubljana – you can either walk up or take the cable car (why not combine a cable car ride with a walking tour?)
  • Metelkova art quarter – These former barracks have been transformed into an alternative quarter full of art galleries and in the evenings its bars are filled with music acts.
  • Munch – Try local food in a food tour, or Slovenian wine tasting, or combine a food and wine tour, yum!

Stay in Ljubljana:

  • Hotels:
    • Eagle’s Nest – A beautiful, clean apartment in a quiet neighborhood close to the center but also perfect as a base for day trips
    • Pearl of Sava Wild Waters – If you prefer staying in nature so you can go hiking or kayaking but you’re also in the city within 10 minutes
  • Hostels:
    • Celica Hostel – A unique stay awarded by Lonely Planet as the hippest hostel in the world, as this is a former prison transformed into a stylish place by numerous artists

Impressions of Ljubljana

Lakes | Bled, Bohinj & Vintgar Canyon

Lake Bled

Even if you haven’t heard of Lake Bled, you’ve probably seen a picture of a tiny lake island on which there’s nothing but a small church tower and a few trees. Rings a bell? That’s Lake Bled, one of the most iconic photo spots in the country. So don’t miss it during your Slovenia itinerary.
There’s a path all around the lake, so you can walk or bike around, and there are plenty of opportunities to go hiking and enjoy nature around. So don’t just visit the famous lake, but take some time for its surroundings as well.

ToDo around Lake Bled:

  • Viewpoints – Hike up to one of the iconic viewpoints Mala Osojnica or Ojstrica
  • Vintgar Gorge – Take an easy 2km hike into the stunning canyon along a milky-turquoise river
  • Try Bled Cream Cake – the famous sweet treat

Stay at Lake Bled:

  • Penzion Berc – A cute small, family-run hotel where you can rent e-bikes for free just a few minutes from the lake
  • Rikli Balance Hotel – A beautiful, modern hotel with lake views and a small pool

The iconic Lake Bled (pictures provided by Marjut from The Smooth Escape)

Lake Bohinj

Slovenia’s largest lake is popular for swimming and sunbathing in summer. Yet, it’s less touristy than Lake Blad and large enough to enjoy it without any crowds. It’s such a clear lake and the perfect starting point for hikes into Triglav National Park.

ToDo around Lake Bohinj:

  • Swim in Lake Bohinj – Go swimming & enjoy the sun
  • Savica Waterfall – Take a short hike to this beauty
  • Ride the cable car up to Vogel – for amazing views of the lake and the Julian Alps
  • Mount Triglav – If you’re brave, hike to the peak or take one of the many hiking trails in the national park

Stay at Lake Bohinj:

  • Bohinj Eco Hotel – An awarded eco-hotel (“the most energy efficient hotel in the region” as they say)
  • Hotel Majerca – An extremely beautiful boutique hotel designed with love and a focus on sustainability

Zelenci Nature Reserve

Shining emerald green, you can even see bubbles coming up from inside the lake. There are several springs underneath. Around the crystal clear Lake Zelenci, this wonderful Nature Reserve is a paradise for hiking.

ToDo around Lake Zelenci
  • Walk across the wooden paths along the lake
  • Take one of the many hikes, e.g. walk part of the Camino de Santiago

Vintgar Gorge

The coast & wine region | Piran, Koper & Izola

Even though it’s one of the world’s shortest coasts, the Slovenian Mediterranean coast has everything you could wish for.
Along the 46 km, you can find picturesque Mediterranean towns, sandy beaches, panoramic spots, and a beautiful wine region nearby. Don’t be surprised if you get the feeling that you’re in Italy. You’re indeed super close, and Piran for instance was part of the Venetian region for over 500 years. No wonder, that there are traces of this history all around you.


With its warm-colored Venetian-style houses, it may be one of the most beautiful towns of the Adriatic Sea. As a land tongue, it’s surrounded by water from three sides. For us, it was one of the highlights of our Slovenia road trip for sure.
Be aware that the town’s center is free of cars, so you need to park outside. But Piran is small, so you can easily walk, and there are several parking garages around.

To Do in Piran:
  • Tartinijev trg (Tartini square) – in the heart of the historic center where you can truly feel the Italian vibes due to the Italian architecture
  • Walls of Piran – for beautiful views take a walk along the historic city walls, especially for sunset
  • Cathedral St. George – Another great viewpoint
  • Beachtime – Hang out by the sandy beach of Portoroz

Stay in Piran:
  • Memento B&B – A small, stylish hotel in a historic small alley in the heart of Piran run by warm-hearted owners
  • Vila Piranesi – Small apartment in the center of Piran with a spectacular view of the harbor

Beautiful Piran


Often overlooked, but also a cute town along the Mediterranean coast. And it’s full of history: It was of great importance as it used to be the capital of Istria in the 13th century (that’s why it’s called “Capodistria” in Italian).
And can you imagine that this coastal town used to be an island? But when the salt pans between the island and the coast were drained, Koper became connected to the mainland.

ToDo in Koper:
  • Medieval streets – Stroll through the narrow alleys full of cute boutiques and chic restaurants
  • Tito square – Once the center of the island
  • Venetian Palaces – Visit Loggia Palace or Praetorian Palace for insights into Venetian Gothic times
  • Izola – this cute fishing village is worth a day trip

Impressions of the Slovenian coast

Postojna cave & Predjama castle

What were the largest caves you’ve visited so far? In Postojna you can go as deep as 5 km and see enormous stalactites and stalagmites. Don’t worry, there’s a train, so you don’t have to walk all the way. The whole case system is 24 km deep and has been formed by the river Pivka over millions of years.
But well, it’s one of the most touristy places in Slovenia as well. So be warned, there are always lots of people over here. That’s also why we decided against a visit. But in case you’re a huge fan of caves, I’m sure it’s worth a visit. Just make sure to bring a jacket. Temperatures are only around 10°C in there.
For a less touristy version, check out Škocjan caves – less known but just as impressive.

Just a short drive further, there’s the medieval cave castle Predjama, built into the cliffs and another very popular tourist destination on any road trip in Slovenia. There’s an impressive tunnel system right behind which made the castle very well protected.

Stay close to Postojna:

Valleys & mountains

Soča Valley (Bovec)

For many, the Soča valley is undeniably a major highlight on their Slovenia itinerary. Shining brightly in shades of turquoise, the river Soča and its surroundings offer stunning scenery for outdoor adventures. Go hiking and visit gorges, waterfalls, and hanging bridges.
A ride along the river is just as spectacular. You can drive right next to the river Soča all the way from the town Nova Gorica up to Vrsic Pass. What a scenic road! Along the way, you can find many impressive stops.

Stops around Soča Valley:
  • Old stone bridges – The small settlement Kanal ob Soči right on the river with its beautiful old stone bridge, and the Napoleon bridge close to Kobarid are two beautiful photo spots
  • Waterfalls Slap Kozjak (close to Napoleon bridge) is often referred to as one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Slovenia, but Virje and Boka also offer a refreshing experience
  • Jasna Lake – a gorgeous stop with a beautiful mountain panorama
  • Swim in the Soča –In case you’re there around summer, the river is also popular to get refreshed from the heat
  • Go rafting or canoeing – There are many water activities on the river in summer

Goriška Brda wine region

Oh, what a picturesque ride from Piran into the wine region! A trip to Goriška Brda will lead you not only to great wine but also through stunning scenery and medieval villages and towns.
To Do around Goriška Brda:
  • Wine tasting – Visit a winery to taste Slovenian wine
  • Gonjače Lookout Tower – For a great panoramic view across the vineyards
  • Šmartno – A cute medieval town on a hill right among the wine-growing area
Stay close to Soča Valley & Goriška Brda (wine region):
  • Belica – A beautiful small hotel in the picturesque town Medana

Stunning Soča Valley

Stunning Soča Valley (picture by The Smooth Escape)

Triglav National Park & Vrata Valley

The largest national park in Slovenia has a lot to offer and it’s located close to Lake Bohinj. It’s a hiker’s paradise around the country’s tallest mountain Triglav. You don’t have to climb all the way to the peak, there’s lots around to enjoy the scenery.

To Do
  • Vrata valley – There are countless hiking routes and activities in this scenic valley that stretches over 11 km
  • Peričnik waterfalls – As high as 52 meters, you can even walk behind the waterfall. Sounds like in a fairy tale, right?
  • Rent an e-bike – If you fancy a faster way than hiking, why not rent an e-bike?

Velika Planina

As one of the last high-elevation alpine settlements and the largest shepherd’s settlement in Europe, Velika Planina is quite a unique place. Located high up in the Kamnik Alps, this is where you can find true serenity. Yet it’s not far from Ljubljana, so you can easily do a day trip from the capital. Around 140 huts are covered with large traditional roofs made of spruce shingles. The roofs reach almost down to the ground which shapes the settlement’s iconic look.

  • Hiking – well, obviously this region is a paradise for hiking fans
  • Take the cable car – Close to the town Kamnik you can also take a cable car up to the settlement
  • Springs Izvir Kamniške Bistrice – The three springs of the Kamniška Bistrica river swell close to Velika Planina, making it a stunning hike

Slovenia itinerary

As a small country, distances are never really far in Slovenia. From Ljubljana you can reach most points in the country within two hours by car. So it’s the perfect country for a relaxed road trip with small stops on the way.

You can either start your Slovenia itinerary in the capital (e.g. if you get a rental car there) or enter the country from Austria or Italy (e.g. if you arrive from another European country).

7 days Slovenia itinerary

If you’ve got one week to spend in Slovenia, I’d suggest choosing two bases. You could spend a few nights in Ljubljana and a few nights by the sea and do day trips from there. That’s exactly how we did it the first time we came to Slovenia.

  • Austria ⇨ Ljubljana
    • Enter Slovenia through Austria and make a stop at Lake Bled on the way
    • Spend 3 nights in Ljubljana to visit the city and do day trips to Velika Planina, and to Lake Bled (if you haven’t already stopped there on the way)
  • Ljubljana ⇨ coast
    • On the way to the coast, you can quickly stop at Postojna Cave or Predjama castle if you’d like to
    • Stay 2 nights around Piran or Koper and do day trips to the other town, to Izola, and to Goriška Brda (wine region)
  • Coast ⇨ Soča Valley
    • On your way back north drive through the Soča Valley. Take your time & do many stops.
    • If there’s enough time, I highly recommend spending one night somewhere in the Soča Valley
  • Soča Valley ⇨ back north through Austria or Italy

10 days Slovenia itinerary

With 10 days to two weeks in the country, there’s plenty of time to extend the Slovenia itinerary wherever you like. Spend a night in Bled, more days by the sea, and definitely a few nights in the Soča Valley.

  • Bled ⇨ Ljubljana
    • After a few days in and around Lake Bled, it’s less than one hour from Lake Bled to Ljubljana. On the way, the old medieval town Škofja Loka is a perfect stop on the way.
  • Ljubljana ⇨ Postojna ⇨ coast
    • Within around 1.5 hours you can reach Piran from Ljubljana. So you can easily take a stop in Postojna & the Predjama castle during the day. If you want to take it more slowly, you can also spend a night close to Postojna.
  • Coast ⇨ Goriška Brda (wine region)
    • After a few relaxed days by the sea, head towards the wine region. As you can take more time, you don’t have to rush through Goriška Brda on a day trip, but also spend a bit longer there.
  • Goriška Brda ⇨ Soča valley
    • Goriška Brda is almost in the Soča valley. Within just a few minutes you’re at the river Soča. Take as many stops as you want to in the Soča Valley all the way to Nova Gorica. And make sure to spend a few days here to enjoy lots of activities.
  • Back north
    • On the way back Slovenia’s highest pass (Vršič pass) is the last highlight of your Slovenia itinerary. It’s not far from the Italian and Austrian borders.
    • In case you have to return your rental car in Ljubljana, it’s also only 1.5 hours from Vršič pass back to the capital.

Slovenia itinerary map for a road trip

Slovenia itinerary (click for interactive map)

Good to know | Travel tips for your Slovenia itinerary

When is the best time to visit Slovenia?

Slovenian climate is quite similar to other Central European countries, such as Germany or Austria. July and August are the warmest summer months. Even though the weather is perfect during this time, it can also get quite crowded, as it’s the typical European summer holiday season.
So I recommend choosing the time between April and June or in September is better to fully enjoy your Slovenia itinerary. We spent some nice, warm autumn days in September in Slovenia with bright, sunny days.
Many restaurants and cafés have patio heaters, so you can still sit outside in autumn.
In case you’re thinking about a winter trip, be aware that the ski regions will be quite crowded in December and January.

What’s the best way to get to Slovenia?

Well, in order to do a road trip, it’s best to arrive by car or camper. It’s super easy from other European countries. But of course, you can also take the train or bus (or plane, if there’s no other option) to Ljubljana and pick up your rental car over there.
Just to give you an idea: From southern Germany, it’s only around 4-6 hours to arrive in Slovenia. From Berlin, it’s around 10 hours.
And there are many direct trains as well, e.g. from Munich.

How to get around Slovenia?

The roads in Slovenia are great. Driving around the country on a road trip in your own car is so much fun. You’re most flexible and can easily reach destinations in the countryside. Be aware that you need an e-vignette for the highways, but I’ll get to that a bit further down.
But the country also has a great public transport system, so it’s also possible to see many destinations by train or by bus.

How long does it take to drive around Slovenia?

If you’d drive the suggested itinerary without any stops on the way, it would take you around 6 hours in total (7.5 hours if you need to go back to Ljubljana in the end). So there are no long, exhausting distances to take.

How many days do you need to see Slovenia?

In order to experience a few different parts of Slovenia, stay at least 5 days, better a week. 10 days – two weeks are perfect for a hassle-free Slovenia itinerary. The more time you have, the deeper you can actually experience the Slovenian culture and get a picture of the country as a whole.

Is it expensive to visit Slovenia?

Being part of the eurozone, the prices are just a bit lower than in other European countries. Even though it’s not as cheap as some other Eastern European countries, I’d still consider it not an expensive destination by European travel standards. Just expect higher prices in the more touristy areas (e.g. Bled).

What’s the best place to visit in Slovenia?

The country has many gems, but Piran was one of the most beautiful surprises. Besides, the countryside with its valleys and rivers is a true gem as well.

Is Sovenia touristy?

We went to Slovenia for the first time in 2017, and instantly fell in love with it. While it was still kind of a hidden gem in Europe back then, it has become more and more popular in recent years. It can get crowded during the summer holiday season (July – August). Yet, it’s by far not as touristy as Italy, Croatia, or other neighboring countries.
Many love to travel to Switzerland or Austria to go hiking, to South Tyrol for skiing, and to Italy when they want a holiday by the sea. But on your Slovenia itinerary, you’ll experience that Slovenia has it all!

Is wild camping allowed in Slovenia?

Unfortunately, wild camping is not allowed in Solvenia. So if you’re traveling around in a Camper on your Slovenia itinerary, stick to official campsites. Fines are quite high if you get caught wild camping (I’ve heard about fines of up to 500 Euros).

Do I need to pay toll in Slovenia?

Yes, you need to pay tolls in Slovenia by buying a vignette. So no toll stations, but they scan your car’s number plate.
Good to know: Since February 2022 there are no more sticky vignettes (the ones you had to glue on your front shield).
Now, there’s only an e-vignette that you have to buy online before entering the country. It’s 15 Euros for a car (up to 3.5 tonnes) and 7.50 Euros for a motorbike.
Be aware that you have to pay for the border tunnel from Austria to Slovenia (“Karawankentunnel”) separately (7 Euros).

In case you may ask yourself, can I drive through Slovenia without a vignette? Don’t risk it! The fines are several hundred Euros. Definitely not worth it!

Is it safe to drive through Slovenia?

Most of the Slovenian roads are in very good condition. So driving on a road trip through Slovenia is safe and easy, especially if you’re used to driving on the right side of the road.

Slovenian coast

Slovenian coast

A surprising part of the Slovenian coast

Slovenia – a wrap-up

Slovenia in three words:Mediterranean | Street cafes | Gnocchi

Did you know? Slovenia ranks no. 7 on the list of the world’s countries with the shortest coasts

Favorite photo spot:A random part at the coast of which I don’t even remember where exactly it was (the last picture)

Favorite food: Homemade gnocchi (you get them almost everywhere)

Can’t miss:Visiting a turquoise river (either Vintgar Gorge or Soča valley)

Did I inspire you for your Slovenia itinerary? Or is there anything else you’d like to add to this Slovenia road trip travel guide? Let me know and leave a comment below!

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