Slovenia has been on my bucket list for a few years now, so I was beyond thrilled to finally be able to explore this beautiful country during Autumn, which in my opinion is the best time to visit. While the country itself is fairly tiny with a population of just over 2 million, don’t let its small size fool you. It packs a big punch, boasting an incredible amount of beautiful and diverse landscapes all squeezed into one tiny piece of land. From green forests, crystal blue lakes, to stunning mountain ranges and some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet – you’ll find everything you could possibly desire in Slovenia. While there are endless things to see just a short drive from the capital city of Ljubljana, I’ve put together a list of “7 Must See Places in Slovenia” to make sure you don’t miss the very best places while you’re here.
1. Lake Bled
I’ll start this list off with one of the most iconic places in Slovenia – Lake Bled. Located just an hours drive from Ljubljana, this lake is Slovenia’s biggest tourist attraction and for good reason. The emerald blue lake is surrounded by towering green mountains in the distance with a “fairy tale” like church nestled on a tiny island in the centre of it and a medieval castle set atop a cliff looming 100m above. From hiking and biking to swimming and horse riding, there are endless amounts of activities to do while staying near Lake Bled.
Best Things To Do:
- See Lake Bled from above and visit the historical Bled Castle (11€)
- Take a boat ride to the church in the middle of the lake (14€)
- Go for a stroll around the lake’s perimeter (~6km)
- Hike to Ojstrica viewpoint for the best views of Lake Bled as the sun goes down, or hike to nearby Mala Osojnica for an even higher viewpoint
- Rent a boat and explore the lake on your own (10€/hr)
- Visit nearby Vintgar Gorge located just 3km outside of town
2. Lake Bohinj
A great place to visit after staying in Lake Bled is Lake Bohinj, which is located just a short 20 minute drive from Bled. I really enjoyed this lake because it was more calm and serene compared to the tourist packed town of Lake Bled. When we visited, we were blown away by the vibrant Fall colors that surrounded the shores of the lake and couldn’t help but stop and take some photos along the road that winds around it. We also enjoyed a short hike to a nearby viewpoint at Hill Peč to get a glimpse of the lake from above – and we’re greeted with an amazing sunset.
Best Things To Do:
- Explore the west side of the lake to witness the best views
- Hike or take the cable car to Mount Vogel to admire the lake from 1535m above sea level (11€ return)
- Visit the stone bridge and the 700 year old church of St. John the Baptist located next to it in Stara Fužina
- See all of the 1km long lake by renting a kayak or canoe
- Admire the beauty of Savica Slap (3€ entry fee)
- Hike to the viewpoint at Hill Peč to enjoy sweeping views over Lake Bohinj
Where to stay:
We stayed at Bohinj Eco Hotel which was close to all the places we wanted to see in the area and very modern. It’s a great place to stay if you’re interested in a variety of wellness activities or if you have a family since there is also an attached water park.
3. Logar Valley
Logar Valley is one of those places that will instantly make you fall in love with Slovenia. Boasting an incredible backdrop of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps and lush green meadows, it’s no surprise that it is regarded as one of the “most beautiful Alpine glacial valleys in Europe.” The valley itself is over 7km long and is protected due to its abundance of natural sights and beauty, therefore you must pay a 7€ entry fee, unless you enter by foot.
There are plenty of activities to do here, but hiking is the most popular since it is a great starting point for many trails. It is home to one of the tallest and most impressive waterfalls in Slovenia known as Rinka waterfall “hidden” at the back end of the valley, which can be reached by foot in 15 minutes. Besides the incredible views, the quality of the accommodation, the locally grown food, and the hospitality of the locals will surely leave you impressed.
Best things to do:
- Explore Logar Valley by foot or by bike by taking the path that winds through it for 7km up until Rinka waterfall
- Admire the beauty Rinka waterfall by taking a quick walk from the end of the valley
- Visit the nearby picturesque valleys of Robanov Kot and Matkov Kot
- Drive the scenic Solčava Panoramic road to witness sweeping views of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps
- Go for a hike and visit either the mountain hut on Okrešelj or on Klemenča jama to enjoy wonderful views of the upper part of the valley and delicious local cuisine
Where to stay:
From the location and the wellness amenities, to the hospitality and the food, I cannot recommend Hotel Plesnik enough. It’s the perfect place to stay if you’re looking to relax and enjoy some peace and wellness.
4. Kranjska Gora
Located on the border of Austria and Italy lies Kranjska Gora – a beautiful place to visit no matter what the season is. It is world renowned for its winter sports, but also for the abundance of natural beauty that exists here. With its picturesque landscapes, easy access to Triglav National Park, and plenty of year round activities – it is definitely a must see place while you’re in Slovenia. We spent quite a bit of time in this area exploring Lake Jasna, Zelenci Lakes Nature Reserve, Slap Peričnik, Vršič Pass, and plenty of other beautiful places.
Best things to do:
- Catch sunrise at Lake Jasna and admire the perfect reflection of the surrounding mountains
- Take a scenic drive through Vršič Pass which offers sweeping mountain views and over 50 curves
- Enjoy the pristine nature of Zelenci Lakes Nature Reserve including its crystal clear emerald blue waters
- Take a short hike to Slap Peričnik which stands at over 52m tall
Where to stay:
We stayed at the Best Western Kranjska Gora for two nights since it was centrally located to everything we wanted to see in the area.
5. Mangart Pass
Mangart Pass is the highest and one of the most beautiful alpine roads in Slovenia, which you can drive to reach Mangart, Slovenia’s 4th highest mountain standing at 2679m. The road itself is narrow, windy, and at times a bit dodgy since it was built before WWII by Italian soldiers. It is a haven for climbers, hikers and bikers, as well as cross country skiers in the winter. When we visited, there was hardly anyone on the pass and while hiking we were able to witness incredible views overlooking the valleys below filled with yellow larches.
6. Soča Valley
The Soča Valley was one of my favorite places we visited during our time in Slovenia and features one of the bluest rivers I’ve ever seen in Europe – the Soča River. Its turquoise waters weave through the landscape, stretching from North of Triglav National Park all they way down to Nova Gorica where it crosses the border into Italy. Whether you enjoy hiking, white water rafting, biking, canyoning, or zip lining – the opportunity for outdoor activities here is endless. While we didn’t have much time in the area we did hike to Slap Kozjak and Tolmin Gorge, as well as stop at Kanal ob Soci, Napolean Bridge and Sulkan Bridge. The drive through the region is beautiful and you’ll find yourself wanting to stop every 5 minutes to just admire the views so make sure to give yourself plenty of time here.
Best things to do:
- Hike to Slap Kozjak which takes about 1hr15min from the main parking lot. However, we found it shorter to park in the free parking lot near Kamp Lazar. Hiking from here only took us 30-45min.
- Walk across Napolean Bridge, a beautiful stone bridge built in 1750 where Napolean’s army crossed on the way to Predel Pass
- Stroll through Tolmin Gorge, the southern most point of Triglav National Park and admire the Soča River (6€ entry fee)
- Visit the colorful houses of Kanal ob Soci that line the Soča River
- Stop by Sulkan Bridge, the largest single arch stone bridge in the world
7. Planina Zajamniki
Nestled high up in the mountains of Triglav National Park is the alpine village of Planina Zajamniki, which is arguably one of the most peaceful and pristine places in Slovenia. The village is made up of wooden cottages and farms dotted amongst a small pasture surrounded by a dense green forest and an incredible backdrop of the Julier Alps in the distance. If there was one word to describe this place it would be idyllic. I would highly recommend spending the afternoon here, renting a bike or enjoying lunch as the sound of birds chirping and cowbells ring in the air. We found it quite confusing to get to the village so make sure to use these GPS coordinates and allow enough time to make it to your destination. I’ve also heard some owners of the wooden cottages rent their houses so it’s worth doing your research if you’re interested in staying here over night.
Other places worth visiting:
Velika Planina, Ljubljana, Postojna Cave, Predjama Castle, Piran, Otočec Castle, Istria, and Maribor.