There are many fantastic things to do in Slovenia. This small country bordering with Italy, Croatia, Hungary and Austria has much more to offer than you’d imagine. From the beautiful Julian Alps with endless hiking opportunities to quaint villages; from the charm of Ljubljana, the capital city, to the many scenic lakes and clear rivers; from the fabulous wines, food and even beer, this is a country full of character, history and atmosphere – one that calls to be explored.
In this post, I highlight the best places to visit in Slovenia, and the best things to do. I will also be sharing tips that will help you make the most of the country.
The Best Things To Do In Slovenia
Ljubljana is the obvious starting point of any trip to Slovenia. The beautiful capital is a gorgeous small city packed with interesting sights, good museums, architectural gems, gorgeous parks and lots and lots of good restaurants, bars and stylish boutiques. More than anything, Ljubljana is incredibly pleasant to explore, with a laid back atmosphere.
The entire city centre is pedestrian, people move around by bike and those with mobility issues can call the kavalir, or gentle help. This is a small electric car, similar to a golf car, that you often see going around the Old City.
Among the attractions you shouldn’t miss there are:
THE TRIPLE BRIDGE – It connects the main square to the Old Town and the market. The pedestrian bridge was added to it in 1931 thanks to the work of famous architect Jože Plečnik.
METELKOVA – This is the best area in town for street art. Here, an old abandoned barrack has been taken over by street artists who decorated buildings and squatted in them. It took a good decade of negotiations to convince the local government not to demolish everything. The area is now packed with art galleries.
TIVOLI – This big city park is the perfect place for a walk, and it is a favorite of the locals who go there to jog, to bike around, with their children and with their dogs. During my visit, there was an open air (and free) photography exhibition by National Geographic, with pictures of Slovenia and National Parks in the United States.
SKYSCRAPER – This is the best place to get views of the city and a great alternative to Ljubljana Castle. Going up is actually free and there is a nice café at the top perfect for a sunset drink.
These are the best guided tours of Ljubljana:
- Ljubljana and Ljubljana Castle Sightseeing Tour
- Ljubljana: Guided Walk & Funicular Ride to Ljubljana Castle
- Private tour of Ljubljana with a local guide
Visit Predjama Castle
Easily one of the best places to visit in Slovenia, this is known to be the largest cave castle in the world and at just 9 km from Postojna Cave (more about that below). Part of the castle is build inside a cave where owner Erazm of Predjama survived for a full year in siege during the 15th century (until he was betrayed by one of his servants).
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The castle is open from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm in the winter months, and from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm in the summer months (last tour departs at 6:00 pm). Admission is €13,80.
You can visit Predjama Castle on day trips from Ljubljana. Guided tours usually also go to Postojna Cave, one of the nicest places to visit in Slovenia, and include the admission ticket. For more information about guided tours click here, here or here.
Go to Lake Bled
There is no doubt that one of the unmissable things to do in Slovenia is exploring Lake Bled. Beautiful even on an overcast day (like when I visited), this is nothing short of beautiful. The area is packed with nice and easy hiking trails, yet the main attraction there is Bled Castle.
Lake Bled can be visited on day trips from Ljubljana and a variety of other locations in Slovenia – but if you decide to spend a few days there, you’ll have no shortage of things to do.
GOOD TO KNOW: The best views of Lake Bled are from Mala Osojnica. The hike to get all the way up there is a bit strenuous, but it is 100% rewarding.
The following are the best guided day tours of Lake Bled:
- Day trip from Lake Bled and Bled Castle from Ljubljana
- Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj trip from Ljubljana
- Bled and Bohinj Alpine Lakes day tour from Ljubljana
You may want to read this mode detailed guide on visiting Lake Bled in two days.
Walk along Vintgar Gorge
Among the nicest places to visit there’s Vintgar Gorge. It’s located just 5 km from Lake Bled, and the 1.6 km boardwalk will allow you to walk along the turquoise Radovna River. With a lush forest, rapids, natural pools and waterfalls leading you all the way to the picture-perfect Šum waterfall, the landscape is absolutely beautiful – it really is a must-see.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: There is a €10 entrance fee. Parking is free. Factor in between 2 to 3 hours for visiting. You can get to the entrance of Vintgar Gorge by bus from Bled: buses depart from Bled bus station at 8:30 am; 9:30 am and 10:30 am. An early start is recommended.
Marvel at Lake Bohinj
At the foothills of Triglav National Park, Bohinj is a significantly less touristy place so a great alternative to the more crowded Lake Bled.
If one of the top things to do in Slovenia is hiking, Lake Bohinj – at just 30 minutes drive from Lake Bled – is just about the perfect place for that. The best day hike in the area is by far the one to Dom na Komni mountain hut. If you are looking for a multi-day hike, opt for the Seven Lakes trail.
Lake Bohinj is also a great lake to swim in the summer months. Other things to do there are boat tours of the lake, biking, kayaking, SUP, visiting Savica Falls (more about that below) and St. John the Baptist church in Stara Fužina.
TIP: Don’t miss sunset over the lake, and for the best foliage experience in Slovenia make sure to visit in Autumn.
GOOD TO KNOW: For the best views of Lake Bohinj, make sure to ride the Vogel Cable Car. Once you reach the top, you can simply enjoy the panorama, or walk along one of the many hiking trails. This is a popular skiing destination in the winter.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: You can visit Lake Bohinj on day trips from Ljubljana. For more information, click here.
Explore the Soča Valley
Soča Valley is a great place to go rafting. Most go on expeditions that last up to 3.5 hours and usually depart from Bovec. For more information about rafting in the Soča Valley click here.
If rafting is not your thing you can simply drive along the valley, take in the views of the beautiful colors of the river which is packed with nice swimming spots, and other interesting landmarks. The ones you should not miss are the Kobarid Museum, where you can learn more about the battles of WWI (Soča Valley is where the Isonzo Front was located); Napoleon Bridge, which was in 1750, destroyed during the war and beautifully restored and is located on the way to the Kozjac Waterfall (more about that below) and the Walk of Peace.
GOOD TO KNOW: Not far from Soča River Valley, Tolmin Gorge is one of the lesser known places to visit in Slovenia. Once there, you can walk along the beautiful Tolminka River.
Hike Triglav National Park
It is a known fact that one of the most incredible things to do in Slovenia is hiking. Triglav National Park is one of the best areas for that – as well as for rock climbing. You will find a multitude of trails of varying length and difficulty levels.
You can book a guided trip to Triglav National Park (which includes hiking!) here.
A mountainous country such as Slovenia is bound to be scattered with waterfalls – hence, one of the things to do in Slovenia is chasing them! The most scenic waterfalls are located in the Julian Alps and in the Kamnik-Savinja Alps. Here are the ones you should not miss:
PERIČNIK WATERFALL – Not far from Kranjska Gora, in the Vrata Valley, this is known to be Slovenia’s most beautiful waterfall. It’s 52 meters tall. You can get there via an easy hike and you can even walk behind it.
SLAP SAVICA – In Triglav National Park, this is one of the most popular places to visit in Slovenia and at a short distance from Lake Bojini. It’s 78 meters high and can be reached on a 20-minutes walk from the parking lot. You have to pay a €3 admission fee to visit.
KOZJAK WATERFALL – Just outside of Kobarid in the Soča Valley, its one of the most pleasant waterfalls in the country. You can get there via an easy hike, during which you can visit some other interesting places. There is a €4 admission fee.
SLAP BOKA – Another gorgeous waterfall in the Soča Valley, and also one of the most easily accessible – it’s visible from the road, but the best views are from the nearby viewing platform. It has two jumps – one of 106 meters, and a second one of 33 meters.
RINKA WATERFALL – This 90 meters tall waterfall is located in the Logar Valley.
Swim in Lake Jasna
With its incredibly clear and tranquil waters, Lake Jasna is definitely one of the best places to visit in Slovenia is you want to enjoy swimming. The surroundings are simply stunning – it’s right at the foot of the Triglav peaks, near Kranjska Gora.
TIP: For the best photo opportunities, head there before sunrise.
Visit the most popular caves in Slovenia
Slovenia has some of the most stunning cave systems in the world.
Škocjan Caves are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and are home to one of the largest underground canyons in the world.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: You will need a guided tour to visit Škocjan Caves. You can buy it directly on site and pick among two options: one only goes through the underground canyon and costs between €16 and €20 depending on the season; the other also follows the Reka River underground, it costs €24 and is only available April to October. You can also opt for a guided tour such as this one.
Postojna Caves are more touristy compared to Škocjan – possibly because they are a bit easier to reach and the visit can be combined with that of Predjama Castle.
Visit Zelenci Nature Reserve
Not far from Kranjska Gora and on the way to Vršič Pass, one of the main tourist hubs in the country (and one of the best places to visit in Slovenia for skiing), Zelenci Nature Reserve is a real must-see. In the midst of the Julian Alps, the reserve is characterized by the gorgeous clear green waters of the wetlands – which are the source of the Saca River. It’s the perfect place for swimming in the summer!
Drive along Vršič Pass
Slovenia is a great place for a road trip. While driving along the Vršič Pass certainly is one of the top things to do in Slovenia, I must warn you that with its hairpins and steep roads this is not for the faint of heart, or for newbie drivers!
This pass was built during WWI to connect thee Sava and Soča Valleys and is famous for being the highest Slovenian road crossing and the views of the Soča Valley once you reach the highest point (at more than 1600 meters) are breathtaking.
One of the best places to visit along the Vršič Pass is the Russian Chapel, located on the Russian Road (on the northern side of the pass). This was built by Russian prisoners of war captured during WWI.
GOOD TO KNOW: The area of Vršič Pass is packed with great hiking trails.
GOOD TO KNOW: I haven’t done this myself, but if you care for more incredible views and are a skilled driver you may want to experience Slovenia’s highest road from Log pog Mangartom to Mangartsko Sedlo, at 2072 meters above sea level. Check out this post on how to drive to the Mangart Saddle for more information.
Explore the lovely Piran
Located in Slovenian Istria, on the Adriatic Coast, Piran is one of the nicest places to visit in Slovenia that became famous for the production of salt. It’s so good there that it’s even used on dark chocolate (and yes, you may be reluctant to try it but the combination is honestly delicious). Other than that, Piran has some beautiful medieval walls from where you can take in the views of the city, and is packed with fantastic seafood restaurants.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: Piran is at about 1.5 hours drive from Ljubljana. To make the most of the city, you may want to join a guided tour. This one is by electric bike and also goes to the salt pans. This one is a walking tour with a local.
GOOD TO KNOW: Not far from Piran, other places to visit are Izola and Koper, where the Praetorian Palace and the Bell Tower are both a must-see.
Drink lots of wine – and craft beer
Slovenia has a great wine tradition. Driving across the countryside, especially in Bela krajina, you will be able to spot lots of well kept vineyards. And there are lots and lots of wineries where you can go wine tasting and learn about the process of wine making.
Another great place to go wine tasting is Maribor, the second largest city in the country (located at about 1.5 hours drive from Ljubljana). Pyramid Hill is where you’ll find the oldest vine in the world, and the rest of the city is pleasantly quiet and quaint.
But there’s more! Slovenia also produces some fabulous beers. Vizir, also in Bela krajina, makes some excellent ales. A visit to the brewery will take you through the process of beer making and end with a fantastic beer tasting experience.
Explore Logar Valley
Locally known as Logaska Dolina, Logar Valley is one of the most tranquil yet underrated places to visit in Slovenia. There, you will find beautiful forests, mountain peaks galore, meadows and more. It’s where the famous Rinca Waterfall is located – that’s definitely a must visit in the area.
Other things to do in Slovenia that can be enjoyed in Logar Valley are hiking – one of the best hikes is the one that goes all the way to the Kamnik Saddle Lodge; biking; and rock climbing.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: Logar Valley is at about 1.5 hours drive from Ljubljana. The area is protected and there is an entry fee for all vehicles going in – it’s €7 for cars.
Get off the beaten path in Bela krajina
One of the top things to do in Slovenia is getting off the beaten path and the best place to do so is Bela krajina. This easily is the most unexplored region of Slovenia, the kind of place you may have never heard of but that will easily swipe you off your feet.
Bela krajina still lacks a bit in terms of tourist infrastructure, but the other side of the coin is that it has so far retained all of its character. Blessed with stunning natural sights such as the Kolpa River and the Krupa River, this is the kind of place where you can enjoy all sorts of nature activities. For something a bit more cultural make sure to visit the Mithraeum of Rozanec and Krupa Castle. Last but not least, the region has some fantastic wines!
One of the most fun things to do in Slovenia is joining a food tour of Ljubljana. I took one with Ljubljananjam in Ljubljana, and it was a great way to learn a bit more about the country and its food culture. During the tour you get to visit the local markets and eat at many local eateries, so that you can try local specialties such as ajovi krapi – buckwheat ravioli with cottage cheese; štruklji (dumplings); pork tenderloin and mushroom sauce, and more.
Make sure to read my post A Short Guide To Bela Krajina, Slovenia.
Care to read more about off the beaten path destinations? Check out my post Everything You Need To Know To Hike Marcahuasi, Peru.
Stay in a beautiful resort
One of the nicest things to do in Slovenia is getting pampered at a lovely resort. But don’t get me wrong! I don’t mean luxury, all inclusive resorts where you end up just eating, sleeping or sipping cocktails. I am talking about a different kind of place, completely immersed in the gorgeous nature of Bela krajina, and that is friendly to the environment, soothing to the eyes and ears, and good to local people, local businesses and guests alike.
Big Berry Luxury Landscape Resort, in Primostek a tiny village in Bela krajina on the border to Croatia, is all of this and much more. It is a fantastic base to explore more of the region and to check out other places to visit in Slovenia.
Check out my post Sustainable Glamping At Big Berry Slovenia.
Learn to respect the environment
Slovenia is an incredibly clean country, where locals strive to respect the environment. There is no trace of garbage in the streets, people go around by bike, there isn’t traffic as we know it in the rest of the world.
One of the most interesting things to do in Slovenia is learn about the system used in the country to decrease the amount of garbage each family produces. In Ljubljana people pay taxes based on the weight of residual garbage (the one that is left over after glass, aluminum, plastic, organic waste and paper are separated), and more than 60% of the waste produced is recycled.
If only such system were implemented in places such as India or Vietnam! The amount of garbage seen on UNESCO protected sites such as Ha Long Bay is disturbing!
Legal Disclaimer: I was a guest of Big Berry during my stay in Slovenia, and a guest of the Tourism Board of Ljubljana during my tour there. All the views and opinions expressed are my own and based on my personal experience. The views expressed are honest and factual without any bias.