Last Updated on October 3, 2022 by Nellie Huang
Planning the ultimate Slovenia road trip? Here’s my recommended 10-day Slovenia itinerary that packs in outdoorsy activities, vineyard visits, and historical sights.
Slovenia may not be the biggest tourist destination in Europe, but that’s actually why we love it. It’s a compact country compared to other popular destinations like Spain, Italy, and Germany; but it really does have it all: from the towering peaks of the Julian Alps and the underground magic of Postojna and Škocjan caves, to the sparkling emerald-green lakes and the sun-kissed coastline along the Adriatic Sea.
The country is one of Europe’s best kept secrets for outdoor lovers (like us!). Outdoor activities abound, primarily biking, skiing and hiking in the mountains. Raging rivers offer chances to go white water rafting and canyoning, while national parks provide some of the best caving and paragliding in the world.
To help you plan an epic Slovenia road trip, I’ve put together this 10-day Slovenia itinerary that packs in the best of the country in a short time.
Slovenia Road Trip Itinerary
How to Get to Slovenia
Ljubljana International Airport (LJU) is the main gateway. You can find flights from New York to Ljubljana (11 hours) for around $600 roundtrip or flights from Los Angeles to Ljubljana (18 hours) for $800 return. Layovers are usually in Germany, France, or Switzerland.
For those in Europe, there are cheap flights from major cities like London to Ljubljana (4 hours) for $150 roundtrip. I flew to Ljubljana from Geneva and had a layover in Paris. It was a super easy trip, and the Ljubljana airport is really easy to get around. Search for Flights to Ljubljana.
Tourist Visa for Slovenia
Citizens of the European Union, US, UK, Australia, and Canada do not need a visa to enter Slovenia and can stay for up to 90 days. Check here to see if you require a tourist visa for Slovenia. As Slovenia forms part of the Schengen passport-free zone, you’ll be allowed to move freely inside the territory as long as you have the Schengen visa.
Make sure to check that your passport has a minimum validity of 6 months before traveling to Slovenia. If you don’t, expedite your passport application with passport services here.
How to Get Around Slovenia
By Car Rental
The best way to get around Slovenia is by car hire. The country’s roads are well-maintained and the signs are easy to read. Slovenia is a pretty small country too, and driving gives you the most flexibility when traveling between cities or regions.
We rented a car from Ljubljana Airport and found it very convenient and affordable. Ljubljana is in the center of the country, and you can reach most major cities within 2 hours by driving from Ljubljana.
An economy rental car in Slovenia averages just $200 for a whole week, which is less than $25 a day. We always use DiscoverCars.com as they’ve consistently given us the best prices and customer service.
If you don’t want to drive, you can easily travel through Slovenia by train. The country’s trains connect all major cities and are generally comfortable. The trains offer discounts for students, senior citizens, and even tourists, too.
The country’s national train company is called Slovenske Zeleznice. Trains between major cities are usually frequent, even hourly sometimes. For example, you can take the train from Ljubljana to Maribor multiple times throughout the day for as low as €5.
10-Day Slovenia Itinerary
With 10 days in Slovenia, you’ll barely scratch the surface of this lush green country. But you will still be able to experience the best of Slovenia, from the stunning Lake Bled area to the historical towns in eastern Slovenia.
Summary of this Slovenia Road Trip
- Day 1: Ljubljana
- Day 2: Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle
- Day 3: Lake Bled
- Day 4: Kranjska Gora
- Day 5: Maribor
- Day 6: Day Trip to Ptuj
- Days 7 & 8: Piran and the Coastal Towns
- Day 9: Back to Ljubljana
- Day 10: Fly home!
Slovenia Itinerary Day 1: Start in Ljubljana
For your first time in Slovenia, it’s best to start in Ljubljana, the capital of the country. The Ljubljana airport isn’t very big compared to Europe’s major airports, so navigating it is pretty straightforward. I recommend renting a car at the airport to make things easier.
Explore Ljubljana’s Old Town
Ljubljana city center is pretty quaint compared to other major cities, but there’s still a lot to see. Follow the Ljubljanica River to Prešeren Square and walk on the Triple Bridges that date back to the 1800s. I recommend heading to the Central Market and grabbing some fresh, local food like pogača (focaccia-like bread baked in the ashes) or štruklji (Slovenian cheese dumplings).
Not far from the market is the famous Dragon Bridge (Zmajski most), an iconic landmark of the city. Continue on to the Mestni trg square and the Town Hall, where the famous Fountain of the Three Carniolan Rivers stands. It’s just the first day of your Slovenia road trip, so take it slow!
Slovenia Itinerary Day 2: Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle
Head into the Postojna Cave
It’s time to hit the road! On the second day of your Slovenia road trip, you’ll just be driving 45 minutes to the impressive Postojna Cave. When you arrive, a tourist train will take you deeper inside the cave. The 24,120 m (79,130 ft) long karst cave system is the second-longest cave system in the country. Admire the stalactites and stalagmites, and walk alongside giant formations that resemble folded curtains. Entrance to the cave is 23,90 €. Book tickets online to avoid waiting.
Marvel the Predjama Castle
Once you’re done in the cave, Predjama Castle is only a short drive away. The impregnable medieval marvel has been perched in the middle of a 123-metre-high cliff for more than 800 years. I definitely suggest going inside the castle to learn about its history (it was built in the 13th century!). It’s open every day from 10am to 5pm, and entrance costs 11,90 €. Book your tickets here.
The castle and cave are pretty isolated, so I don’t recommend staying in a hotel here. After you’ve finished your day of sightseeing, I recommend driving just 1 hour to Bled.
Where To Stay in Bled
Budget: Rudi Hiti’s Guest House
Be sure to book well in advance though – it’s popular! The guest house has free bikes you can use to ride around the town, and it also has private parking. Check rates here.
Mid Range: Apartma Neža
This is another popular option in the area because of its amazing views and free parking. The location is also perfect – it’s less than 15 minutes walking to Grajska beach. Check rates here.
Luxury: Adora Hotel
The Adora Hotel is a lakeside villa that offers nature trails and spectacular views of the lake and Triglav Mountain. It also has onsite parking and it only takes a few minutes to walk to the beach. Check rates here.
Slovenia Itinerary Day 3: Explore Lake Bled
Lake Bled is a nature lover’s dream and a highlight of this Slovenia road trip. The most famous attraction in Bled is of course the lake. It’s located in the Julian Alps and the landscape is absolutely awe-inspiring! You can also travel to Bled Island by boat and see the Assumption of Maria Church in the middle of the lake.
While you’re at the lake, I definitely recommend visiting Bled Castle. The medieval castle built on a precipice above the city of Bled in Slovenia, overlooking Lake Bled. According to written sources, it is the oldest castle in Slovenia. It’s quite a hike, but totally worth it. You’ll get the best views of the lake and mountains and you can eat at the onsite restaurant.
Book Exciting Outdoorsy Activities
At Lake Bled, there are many fun outdoorsy activities to do, such as canyoning and paragliding. We booked this paragliding experience and it was definitely the best experience we had in Slovenia. Gliding over the water, with the wind in my face, was so serene and touching.
Canyoning in Bled, on the other hand, was thrilling at times and downright scary sometimes! We had a crazy time rock-climbing, jumping off cliff faces, and rappelling off waterfalls in the Bohinj Valley. We also went whitewater rafting in Bled and had a blast.
Slovenia Itinerary Day 4: Day Trip to Kranjska Gora
After a day exploring Bled, branch out a little further into the Julian Alps to Kranjska Gora, the next stop on this Slovenia road trip. It’s about a 45 minute drive from Bled and is the perfect day trip from the city.
Kranjska Gora is a ski resort town in the winter but it’s worth visiting anytime of the year. In summer, you can explore the Pišnica waterfall and visit the nearby Zelenci Nature Reserve. The reserve is famous for its emerald green lake; head up to the top of the observation tower for the best views of the Ponce mountain range.
If you’re thinking of spending the night here, we recommend staying at the Hotel Špik Alpine Wellness Resort. If you come in the winter, the Sankališče is nearby too, which is the best place for sledding.
Slovenia Itinerary Day 5: Maribor
Start day five of this Slovenia itinerary bright and early with a drive to eastern Slovenia. Your destination is Maribor and Slovenia’s wine region, both of which are a 2-hour drive from Bled. The city is full of history, food, and of course, plenty of good wine.
The best place to start exploring the city is in Maribor’s central square, Glavni Trg. It’s home to the Plague Column, which the Maribor residents erected in the 17th century to honor victims of the plague. You can also visit the town hall, which was built in the 1500s and has been remodeled over time to reflect different periods of architecture.
One thing you absolutely have to do while in Maribor is take a bike tour to the vineyards. This is by far the best way to see all of Maribor and learn about its history. The world’s oldest vine, Žametovka, is also in Maribor, and it was planted during the Ottoman Invasion in the Middle Ages.
Where To Stay in Maribor
Budget: Anna House
Anna House is a simple guest house just steps from the Maribor Castle and room rates are incredibly affordable. All rooms feature wooden floors, a desk and carpeted floors. Check rates here.
Mid Range: Apartma MB-Center
With a prime location in the center, Apartma MB-Center is a good mid-range option for families and couples looking to walk everywhere. The 1-bedroom apartment has an equipped kitchen and a washing machine. Check rates here.
Luxury: Hotel City Maribor
Hotel City Maribor is the best option for well-heeled travelers looking for something modern and comfortable. The hotel enjoys a riverfront location, and onsite restaurant serves traditional regional cuisine on the rooftop terrace. Check rates here.
Slovenia Itinerary Day 6: Day Trip to Ptuj
The next day, take a day trip to Ptuj, just 30 minutes from Maribor. Ptuj is the oldest city in Slovenia and dates back to the Stone Age. Since you’ll be driving, it’s also best to park on the opposite side of the river and walk into the city.
The Ptuj Castle was built in the 12th century and is definitely worth a visit because it overlooks the entire town. It’s also home to the Ptuj Ormož Regional Museum, which is a popular tourist attraction in Slovenia. For arts lovers, I definitely recommend checking out the musical instruments collection, the carnival costume exhibit, and the Gothic paintings throughout the castle.
Another must-see spot is the Mithra shrines in Spodnja Hajdina. Get tickets for the shrine at the tourist office in Ptuj. The shrines date back to the 2nd and 3rd centuries, and you can still see the altars and cult imagery for the god Mithras.
Slovenia Itinerary Day 7-8: Piran and the Coastal Towns
For the last leg of this Slovenia road trip, we’re heading to the coast! It’s a pretty straightforward drive, but I suggest leaving Maribor early to make sure you have plenty of time to explore. I would suggest staying in a hotel near the beach for these two nights too.
The town square is the central point in Piran, and most sites are within walking distance of the square. First, climb up the stairs to the bell tower to get views of Slovenia, Italy, and Croatia at the same time. The medieval walls of Piran are also worth exploring to get a glimpse of the city’s past.
The Church of St. George is a short hike from the center and gives you more views of the sea and Plaža pod Obzidjem beach. You can also explore the Piran Salt Pans, which date back to 804.
Where To Stay in Piran
Budget: Hostel Adriatic Piran
If you’re looking for a cheap option, I recommend staying at the Hostel Adriatic Piran because it’s close to the beach and city center. Tartini Square is just steps away, while the beach is a 5-minute walk away. Check rates here.
Mid Range: Piranika
A good mid-range hotel is Piranika, which also has a great location just 600m from the beach. Some of the spacious, bright rooms offer sea view, while others reveal views of the city. Check rates here.
Luxury: Casa Al Porto Antico
Casa Al Porto Antico is a compact, but tastefully designed and decorated apartment located right smack in the old town of Piran. It makes an excellent base for those who want to soak it all in and walk everywhere. Check rates here.
Slovenia Itinerary Day 9: Back to Ljubljana
We recommend heading back to Ljubljana a day before your flight. This way you can chill out and enjoy your last full day in Slovenia without rushing around. Ljubljana is about 90 minutes from Piran.
In case you didn’t see it at the beginning of your trip, I suggest hiking up to the Ljubljana Castle. There’s also a train that can take you up the hill if you don’t feel like walking. The main courtyard of the castle is free to enter and has a couple restaurants, a nightclub, and some galleries.
During the night, you should also definitely stop by Metelkova Mesto to admire its street art. It’s an artist enclave that has live music, DJs, and concerts. Even non-artsy types (like me) will appreciate it. It’s the best way to end your road trip in Slovenia!
Slovenia Itinerary Day 10: Fly home!
Check out of your hotel in the morning and drive back to the airport. Be sure to allow enough time to drop off your car and get through security. The lines at the airport tend to be longer during the summers.
Slovenia Travel Guide
Best Time to Travel Slovenia
The best time to travel to Slovenia is generally May to June and September to October. During these seasonal transition times, you’ll get to see lush greenery everywhere while still enjoying the warmth.
May to June is an amazing time and perfect for hiking and cycling. The spring colors truly come alive in April, as the rest of the trees start to blossom, from cherry trees to apple orchards. The summer season, June to August, is the most popular time for tourists to visit.
Slovenia is also a good winter destination for skiers too though. There are a bunch of different ski resorts in the mountains. It’s an excellent destination year-round!
Internet and Data in Slovenia
For this Slovenia road trip, I definitely suggest getting an eSIM or a local SIM card when you arrive. Even though the roads are pretty clearly marked, I always recommend using GPS while you drive.
Airalo is the biggest eSIM store on the internet, and you can find eSIMs from anywhere in the world. Just download the Airalo app before traveling and purchase an eSIM for Slovenia, activate it, and you’ll have data the minute you land. Currently, you can get a 3GB eSIM for US$10 that’s valid for 30 days.
Alternatively, you can wait till you get to Ljubljana to buy a physical SIM card. The main telecom companies are A1, Telekom, and Telemach, and they all offer prepaid SIM cards. A1 is your best option because you can get 15GB for $15. It’s also easy to top up your card in case you need more data.
How Much Does this Slovenia Itinerary Cost?
Slovenia is more affordable than Western European countries, like France and Germany. Travelers should budget around $125 to $150 per day, including hotel and travel expenses.
Hotels usually cost between $30 per night for a hostel to over $300 per night for a luxury hotel. Meals in restaurants can range anywhere from around $8 for a basic meal to $20-$25 for a full meal with drinks.
Public transportation is cheap and hotels are reasonable in Slovenia. The country is also relatively small, so traveling by car isn’t very expensive in terms of gas.
Enjoy Your Ultimate Slovenia Road Trip!
I’ve tried to show you the best parts of the country in this 10-day Slovenia road trip. You’ll see all the major cities, explore the Julian Alps and vineyards, and stop to take in Slovenia’s coastline. I planned this Slovenia itinerary based on travel times between cities and what each region has to offer.
10 days in Slovenia are the perfect amount of time to get a taste of what the country has to offer. I hope this road trip in Slovenia will help you enjoy your visit and make the most of your time. Once you see what this small country has, I’m sure you’ll be back for more!
Here are more articles from Europe for those who are planning to travel around the region:
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