The best places to visit in Slovenia

The 11 Best Places to Visit in Slovenia

Slovenia is a beautiful country located in the Balkans within central Europe. Famous for its snow-covered mountains, stunning lakes, and large ski resorts, this country has something to offer everyone. Although Slovenia is often overlooked as a holiday destination by many people, this small but mighty country packs a punch. There are plenty of incredible places to visit in Slovenia including the famous Lake Bled, the capital city of Ljubljana, and the vast Triglav National Park. Whether you prefer hiking in the mountains, exploring the cities, or simply relaxing, you will fit right in. This article is going to tell you everything you need to know, including the best places to see in Slovenia, what dishes to try, and how to get around.

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The Best 11 Places to See in Slovenia

Ljubljana is Slovenia’s capital city and the largest city in the country. Although it’s one of the smallest capital cities in Europe, Ljubljana is very hip and environmentally friendly so is a popular choice. The city center is mostly car-free now making it easier to explore, and the public transport here is low emission.

Some of the most popular sights to see in the city include Prešeren Square, Ljubljana Castle, the Dragon Bridge, and Tivoli Park. You can also choose to take a cruise along the River in Ljubljana if you are looking for a relaxing activity.

#1 PLACE TO VISIT

Lake Bled

Visit Lake Bled in Slovenia

Lake Bled is quite simply the most beautiful place in a stunning country and the top thing to see in Slovenia. If you see one thing in Slovenia, make it Lake Bled.

If you love architecture and culture, then make sure you don’t miss the Franciscan Church of the Annunciation, the National Gallery of Slovenia, and Congress Square.

1. See Lake Bled in Slovenia

Lake Bled is one of the most beautiful places in Slovenia and one of the most popular. With stunning blue waters, the beautiful church on the lake’s islet, and the Julian Alps situated behind, it isn’t surprising why.

Aside from simply admiring the beauty of the lake itself, there are plenty of other activities here. You can hire a rowing boat or hop on a pletna to take you across to Bled Island and visit the Assumption of Mary Church. Whilst exploring the church you can ring the wishing bell. The legend is that whoever rings the bell will have their wish come true.

Lake Bled Slovenia

Lake Bled – One of the Best Places to see in Slovenia

You can also take a stroll around the lake, visit Lake Bled Castle, or hike up to Mala Osojnica to get an amazing view of Lake Bled below. Whether you love nature, hiking, or culture, Lake Bled is one of the best places to see in Slovenia, as it offers a combination of all three. If you’re short on time and want to see this amazing lake, then you can take a tour of Lake Bled from Slovenia’s capital city. Bled and its surrounds are one of our hidden gems of Europe, you can read about the others here.

2. Visit Slovenia’s Bela Krajina

Bela Krajina is a beautiful region of Slovenia located in the southeast of the country on the border with Croatia. Famous for its beautiful scenery, wine, and tasty dishes, this region has a lot to offer visitors.

The largest towns in this region are Črnomelj, Metlika, and Semič, with the last two being a must-visit. Metlika and Semič are where the majority of the vineyards in this region are located which means two things; beautiful landscapes and plenty of delicious wine to taste.

Metlika Slovenia

Other popular sights within this region include the Bela Krajina Museum, the Krupa River’s spring, and Domača obrt Cvitkovič.

3. Triglav National Park in Slovenia

Triglav National Park is the only National Park in Slovenia and is named after the country’s highest peak – Triglav. The park covers an impressive area of 340 square miles (880 km2) and is home to the Julian Alps. It is without a doubt one of the best places to see in Slovenia and should be a must on your itinerary.

Triglav National Park

The National Park is a haven for backpackers and hikers, as there are so many amazing routes to choose from. The popular hiking routes within Triglav include the Pokljuka Trail, the Soča Trail, the Tolminka troughs, and the Triglavska Bistrica Trail which is found in Vrata Valley.

Triglav National Park is home to an array of flora and fauna including endemic plants and plenty of wildlife species. If you’re lucky during your hikes you might come across red deer, ibex, brown bears, lynx, or even golden eagles. You’ll want a decent pair of boots to hike in Slovenia, and you needn’t spend a fortune. Our guide to the best budget hiking boots is here.

4. Explore Maribor in Slovenia

Maribor is a beautiful city located on the Drava River and is surrounded by charming wineries and the green Pohorje forests. It is the second-largest city in Slovenia and offers a blend of incredible architecture, culture, and of course delicious wine. You can easily explore Maribor with an audio guide that steps you through all the major sites in this glorious city.

Between 1941 and 1945 the city was the site of a German prisoner-of-war camp, where British, Australian, and New Zealand troops were kept after being captured. Towards the end of the war in 1944, the largest-ever mass rescue of POWs in Europe took place here.

Maribor Slovenia

Today, however, the city is a much happier place. There are so many incredible sights to see including the Old Vine House, Glavni Trg which is the city’s square, Maribor Castle and Maribor Cathedral. You can also choose to head out on a cruise along the Drava River. With its history, culture, and interesting sites, Maribor is one of the best places to see in Slovenia.

5. Take a Train over the Solkan Bridge in Slovenia

Solkan Bridge runs over the beautiful Soča River in Western Slovenia. With a span of 85m, it’s the longest stone arch railroad bridge in the world.

The bridge was constructed in 1905, as part of the railway that connected the two European cities of Trieste and Vienna. As a connection between Italy and Austria, Solkan Bridge was vital but unfortunately, the bridge was demolished during WWI. However, it was later rebuilt following the original plans.

Solkan Bridge Slovenia

During the weekends, a beautiful steam engine runs along the railway and over the bridge offering stunning views of the Soča River. As you can imagine, the view from the carriage windows is pretty impressive, especially as Solkan Bridge sits at a height of 721ft. You can’t book Slovenian trains online, so you’ll need to go to the train station to buy tickets.

6. See Piran’s old town in Slovenia

The town of Piran is located along the Adriatic coast and is one of the most picturesque areas in all of Slovenia. It has a complicated history as, since 1281, Piran has been part of the Republic of Venice, part of Yugoslavia, and has been bounced around between Austria, France, and Italy. In 1991, that all changed when it finally became part of Slovenia for good.

Piran’s old town is one of the best-preserved historical towns in the Mediterranean, so make sure you spend your time getting lost in its charming and cobbled alleyways.

Piran Slovenia

Other popular sights to see in Piran include the Church of St. George, the Belltower, and Tartine Square. Whilst exploring the town, make sure to head along the promenade and walk the town walls to get the best views.

7. Visit Lake Bohinj

Visiting Lake Bohinj is one of the best things to do in Slovenia, as the lake itself and its surroundings are incredibly scenic. It’s arguably as beautiful as Lake Bled, but without the crowds making it a more authentic and peaceful experience. The alpine lakes here in Slovenia are glorious – and you can visit both of them from Ljubljana in this easy-to-book and small group tour.

There is a walking trail that goes around the entire lake which is flat and easy to walk. As you head around the trail, you will find small secluded beaches where you can relax and take in the views.

Lake Bohinj

Other popular things to do around Lake Bohinj include watersport activities, visiting St. John the Baptist Church, and taking the cable car up to Vogel to get a view of the Julian Alps.

With its blue-green waters, stunning backdrop, and peaceful atmosphere, Lake Bohinj is definitely one of the best places to see in Slovenia.

8. Explore the Cave Castle of Predjama Castle

Predjama Castle is listed in the Guinness World Records as the world’s largest cave castle. The castle is set halfway up a 400ft vertical cliff face and has been there for over 800 years. It is quite simply stunning and has to be seen to be believed. Get tickets for Predjama Cave Castle here.

What’s even more interesting, is that behind the castle runs a network of secret tunnels. This is how the knight Erazem of Prediama would set out on his expeditions, without being seen. These secret tunnels are probably one of the reasons why the castle ranks among the 10 most fascinating castles in the world.

Predjama Castle

Predjama Castle is one of the best places to visit in Slovenia due to its history, architecture, and its beautiful design. It’s located only a few kilometers from Postojna Cave, so the two sites can be visited within the same day. It’s very easy if you have your own transport to get to both, but getting here on public transport can be difficult and it’s a lot easier to take a tour from Ljubljana. This small group tour is a great way to see both Predjama Castle and Postojna Cave in one day.

9. See Slovenia’s oldest registered town, Ptuj

Ptuj is the oldest recorded town in Slovenia and is thought to have been inhabited since the stone age. By the 1st century, BC, Ptuj was controlled by Ancient Rome and had a population of around 40,000.

The most impressive site is Ptuj Castle which sits high on a hill overlooking the rest of the town. The castle was built in the 12th century, and its original purpose was to defend against the Hungarians. Today, it is one of the most popular Slovenia attractions and the museum here showcases many interesting artifacts. If you’re short on time this day trip from Ljubljana is the perfect way to explore Ptuj

Ptuj Castle Slovenia

Aside from visiting the castle, there are plenty of other fascinating sites in Ptuj. Some of the most popular attractions include the town tower, the Dominican Monastery, the Minorite Monastery, and the Orpheus Monument.

10. Visit the underground river canyons of the Škocjan Caves

Škocjan Caves are situated in southwest Slovenia and are one of the world’s largest known underground river canyons. With over 6km of underground passages and a total depth of around 220m, these caves are pretty impressive. The caves are easy to visit from the capital, and you’ll want to allow about 2 hours to explore them. Try this guided tour for a great way of seeing a lot of the country AND the UNESCO world heritage caves at the same time.

The site was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986 and is considered to be one of the most important caves in the world. It represents significant underground phenomena within the Kars Plateau and has a variety of wildlife that live within, including endemic insects.

Škocjan Caves

The river that runs through these caves is called the Reka River and it makes the scenery even more beautiful. Škocjan Caves are without a doubt one of the best places to see in Slovenia and are a must-visit during your trip.

11. Hike the glorious Vintgar Gorge in Slovenia

Vintgar Gorge is located in Triglav National Park and was carved by the Radovna River. At 1.6km long with crystal clear waters that are emerald-blue in color, this place is pretty magical.

There is a boardwalk that runs along the river, meaning you can get nice and close for beautiful views. For short periods of time, you are even completely suspended over the river which is thrilling and gives you the perfect opportunity to enjoy the incredible views. Visit Vintgar from Lake Bled, by e-bike -it’s a really easy way to get there and a perfect day out!

Vintgar Gorge Slovenia

The boardwalk is currently operating on a one-way system (introduced during the pandemic), and after you reach the end you will head back to the car park via another trail. The months of July and August are the peak season, so if you head to the gorge during this time be prepared to share the boardwalk with a lot of people. It’s best to go early in the morning and seeing the gorge with a little mist as the sun burns it off is glorious.

Travel Essentials for Slovenia

Getting to Slovenia

Slovenia has three international airports which are located in Ljubljana, Maribor, and Portoroz. However, generally, if you are flying into the country you will land at Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport, which is located about 26km from the capital of Ljubljana. The best way to get from the airport to the capital is by airport bus which departs every hour.

Traveling overland into Slovenia is incredibly popular, with the capital’s train station has good connections. It connects Ljubljana with other countries such as Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Serbia, and Switzerland. This makes it a great transport hub, whilst traveling through Europe. It’s also possible to catch a bus into Slovenia from neighboring European countries.

You can check overland routes into and around Slovenia with Bookaway – see what buses you can book here.

Getting Around Slovenia

Slovenia doesn’t have any domestic flights within the country, so the best way to get around is by public transport or to hire a car.

One of the best ways to get around is by bus, as the network is reliable and covers a much wider range of destinations than the train. The cities of Ljubljana, Maribor, and Koper have large bus stations, with buses that go to an array of places. You can check bus routes in Slovenia here.

Although traveling by train in Slovenia is often cheaper, the journeys tend to be slower and the amount of destinations available isn’t as extensive.

Slovenia’s roads are pretty quiet, so hiring a car is another great way to see the country. We’ve had two Slovenia road trips and had no problems at all with traffic or signage. This is especially helpful when wanting to reach the more rural and mountainous areas of the country. Need to rent a car in Slovenia? Get prices for Slovenian rental cars here.

When exploring cities and traveling shorter routes, cycling is a popular option.

The best food dishes to try in Slovenia

Slovenia has plenty of authentic dishes to sample, so here are a few of the most popular ones:

Štruklji – Štruklji are rolled dumplings that are often made with strudel dough. The fillings vary by region and can include beans, eggs, salami, sausages, vegetables, or a sweet variation such as cottage cheese and apples.

Carniolan Sausage (Krajnska Klobasa) – A sausage made from quality pork, bacon, garlic, salt, and pepper. The sausages are then smoked to make them even tastier.

Bled cream cake – This cake is widely available around Lake Bled. It is a cream slice made of dough and then packed with a layer of custard and cream.

Lake Bled Cream Cake

You can explore the food of Slovenia easily and check off all these and more in this super guided food tour of Ljubljana

The Weather in Slovenia

The summer season in Slovenia is known to be warm, whilst the winter season is very cold with a lot of snow.

The warmest month to visit Slovenia is generally July, where the average high temperature is 26°C. The coldest month to visit is January with an average low temperature of -3°C.

The summer season in Slovenia lasts from June to September, with the cold season lasting from November to March. We visited in both September and October and although we had one washout day in September while in Ljubljana, most days we were comfortable wearing fleeces. If you’re going to be visiting Slovenia overland, then check out our packing list for overlanding here.

The best time to visit Slovenia

The months of July and August are by far the most popular times to visit Slovenia, and accommodation fills up fast during this time. The temperatures are very warm, but due to the increase in popularity hotels tend to increase their prices.

If you don’t mind the weather being a little bit cooler, early June and September are great months to visit. The crowds are thinner, the prices are cheaper and the weather is still pleasant.

Is Slovenia Safe to Visit?

Slovenia is thought of as the ‘safest country in Eastern Europe’ and is considered to be very safe for tourists. Violent crime is very rare throughout the country. The only thing to be mindful of in the popular tourist hotspots is petty crime like pickpocketing and scams.

If you are planning to hire a car, it’s also important to note that some areas of Slovenia have issues with car break-ins and theft. Make sure to park your car somewhere secure, or where there is plenty of light and people around.

We always also travel with a portable travel safe and lock away our valuables in the trunk/boot of the car when we’re leaving the car for a day hike and also in our accommodation if we’re staying overnight. Our guide to portable travel safes including how we use them is here.

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Travel Insurance for Slovenia

Although Slovenia is a very safe country, it always pays to cover yourself in case the unexpected happens (even more so now in these strange times). You can get a free travel insurance quote here.

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Accommodation in Slovenia

There are plenty of beautiful accommodation options in Slovenia. Here are some choices for two of the major cities in the country:

Ljubljana Accommodation

Maribor Accommodation

Travel Essentials for Slovenia

Final Words on the Best Places to Visit in Slovenia

So is Slovenia worth visiting? The answer is definitely yes! Slovenia is a beautiful country full of natural wonders, beautiful architecture, and authentic experiences. It’s easily accessible from other European countries either by train, bus, or plane. Slovenia is easy to travel around with its extensive bus network. Whether you want to hike the Julian Alps, relax at Lake Bled or sunbathe on the Adriatic, you will find something to your taste. With so many incredible places to visit in Slovenia, this country is a must for any bucket list.

Stock images in this article are courtesy Deposit Photos.

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