After living in Slovenia for over a month, and going on many day trips! I have fallen in love with this country.
The picturesque mountain views, the clear water lakes, lots of homegrown food, and plenty of challenging hikes to keep you fit. This is one of my favourite countries to visit!
Here is a countdown of my favourite day trips in Slovenia:
5. Velika Planina
Now I was quite nervous when my boyfriend’s family invited me to climb up a mountain in Slovenia. I am from England where there are very few mountains. Although some very steep hills in Devon! My boyfriend had already dragged me up some “hills” as he called them. They were not hills, they were mini-mountains. So the thought of an actual mountain terrified me!
Nevertheless, I begrudgingly went. Sun lotion, hat and walking sticks in hand.
Now you have two options, one is to actually climb the mountain which takes about 3.5 hours. Or you can pay for the cabin ride up the mountain and then a chair lift ride to the very top.
We chose the latter which at the time I did feel was cheating but when we got to the top I was glad we chose that option!
The cabin ride to start was quite challenging, it is steep up the mountain and try to stay in the middle if you are fearful of heights. Next the most challenging section for me, the chair lift.
Now I have never been on a chair lift before. I know I have lived a sheltered life! And the endless line of chairs dangling mid-air which we were required to embark left me in physical fear. I was actually shaking! But I gritted my teeth, closed my eyes, and climbed on after realising there was a huge queue behind me.
There is another way up the mountain, you can walk this section. It is not as steep as the first part and actually takes about the same time as the chair ride as they move so slowly.
Once I had stopped freaking out in my chair, feet dangling, I actually quite enjoyed the ride. The views are incredible and it is quite breathtaking soaring over the mountain. It is especially good on the way back when your legs are so tired you are happy just to sit down for a minute!
When I finally got onto the mountain, the views are epic. You feel like you are on a film set from The Lord of the Rings. Lots of little houses scattered on the hills and lots of cows.
There are plenty of toilets and some quaint places to eat. The main cabin has a good selection of food. Check out the ričet for a healthy vegetarian option, it tastes like a delicious stew!
For a sweet fix, I opted for the višnjev zavitek (sour cherry strudel) which is amazing! There is also a little hut serving sweet things on your way back to the chair lift. “Sladki Kot” which means “Sweet Corner”.
Bring warm layers as the weather can change quickly and dramatically in the mountains. We started the day in glorious sunshine and then a cold mist started rolling in.
This is one of my favourite day trips in Slovenia for a group of friends or a family day out. With lots of room to run about and explore. The cows are also very friendly so don’t mind them. They like an apple and a stroke.
For more strenuous exercise, take the walk uphill rather than the chair lift. I brought walking sticks but to be honest I found it easier without them. Take good walking shoes which will be easier to grip on the steeper sections. A warm jumper, and sun lotion, sunglasses and a hat if it is sunny.
Ljubljana is the capital city of Slovenia and is definitely a contender for my top day trips in Slovenia!
With pretty cobbled streets, lots of cafes and boutiques, and everything within walking distance, this is a great day out.
One of my favourite things about Slovenia as a country is the amount of al fresco dining. Most cafes and restaurants have a large outdoor seating area (perhaps this is just in Summer). And Ljubljana is no exception!
Roam the beautiful streets and gaze upon the clear-watered lake which runs through the middle. Enjoy a kava s smetano (coffee with cream) outside one of the cafes and watch the world go by.
This capital city reminds me of Paris but without the rain and heaps of tourists! Sorry France, I do love Paris but it always seems to be raining when I visit.
When you have exhausted the shopping and cafe scene, take a stroll up to the Ljubljana Castle. Here you can visit for free (or pay a small price to see more). The views are beautiful of Ljubljana up here and you can top up your water bottle on a hot day.
Check out the Pavin Caffe for an arty vibe and great cakes! Go inside to peruse the cakes, the ježek (hedgehog) is amazing and a classic Slovenian cake. Very rich and chocolatey. I had the lešnikova strast, which translates to hazelnut passion. It was very nutty and gorgeously creamy.
For some culture, there is also an Opera House and check out the Town Hall for some of the latest art exhibitions, which are free to look around.
Parking is free at the weekend so this is a great weekend day trip.
3. Strunjan beach
This is definitely one of my favourite day trips in Slovenia! I had the most fun on my day trips to Strunjan beach. Probably because of the best doughnuts I have ever eaten!
Strunjan beach is located close to the Italian border, near Piran and Portorož in Slovenia. So you can visit both Piran and Portorož while you are here.
Parking is 10 euros for 24 hours which I think is pretty good value since you can easily spend a whole day here.
When you arrive, you will see the main beach in front of you. Here you can either sit on the grass or hire out one of the sun loungers. Bear in mind in Summer the sun is very strong from 11am - 4pm so opting for the shade or an umbrella is best. Even if you feel a bit foolish in the morning. Getting to this beach early is key for the best spots!
There is also a nudist beach to the right of the main beach. To get there, you need to go past the sun loungers and walk over the pebbles. Once you get as far as the trees you are on the nudist beach. You don’t have to be nude here if you are not comfortable but it is worth noting so you don’t get to see more than you expected!
For the best doughnuts that I have ever tasted! Go to the restaurant/kiosk on the main beach. It is on your right as you walk from the car park to the main beach. You need to get there between 9am - 10am for fresh doughnuts, which are still warm. Teamed with a kava s smetano (coffee with cream), this is perfection!
In Slovenia, all cafes and restaurants have table service. So take a seat and someone will be with you shortly.
I often made the mistake of waiting at the counter to order, to be met with bemused expressions from staff wondering why I was standing in their way.
After spending some time lying on the beach, and swimming in the crystal clear waters, you can go for a mini trip to pretty Piran. You can either drive, but you will need to pay again for parking, or you can get the free bus in the car park.
Piran is a small coastal town, which reminds me of Italy with its narrow cobbled streets and Italian style architecture. Piran is close to the Italian border so they speak both Slovenian and Italian here.
There are lots of large rocks which line the sea so it is more difficult to get in the sea and sunbathe. Personally, I would come here later in the afternoon for a stroll and some ice cream!
I had the best ice cream dessert overlooking the main square of Piran (Tartini) at Mestna Kavarna and they even had some live classical music to accompany us.
If you want a bit more liveliness and a posh hotel to stay in, Portorož is the place for you. Personally, I found it a bit loud but there are lots of restaurants, luxury hotels and a pretty seafront to relax by. This is a great place to visit at night if you want a few drinks and good food.
For a quieter scene, Pinija Restaurant at the end of the main beach in Stunjan is perfect. Check out their huge range of pizzas including lots of veggie options! Eat overlooking the peaceful sea and indulge in a cheeky cocktail or two.
Make sure you get back to Strunjan beach for a beautiful sunset, they are incredible there!
2. Lake Bohinj
Lake Bohinj is one of my favourite day trips in Slovenia if you are looking for peace, beauty and natural landscapes. This lake is part of a National Park and so has lots of unspoiled nature.
To prevent traffic build-up in Lake Bohinj, the car park is a little bit out and then you can get a free bus which takes about 10 mins to get there.
Just keep an eye out on bus times as the last bus is quite early (around 7pm) and it can get quite busy.
Once in Lake Bohinj, you are greeted by some cute coffee shops, my favourite! Here is a good place to use the toilets as once out of the main town, it is a good hour walk around the lake before you get to any more!
After a quick coffee you can gaze out on the beautiful lake with a mountain backdrop, it is stunning! In this area, you can also book activities if you fancy. There are lots of fun activities you can do from rock climbing to paragliding and paddleboarding.
We decided to skip the activities and packed a light picnic to settle on the beach around the lake. It is a nice walk around the lake, some people choose to cycle as it is quite far, probably about 3 miles each way. But there are some more difficult rocky terrain so be aware if you are new to cycling. I struggled on foot in some parts!
Off the path, go down through the trees and you will find some great spots to sunbathe and swim. It is safe to swim in the lake in Summer and the beautiful clear waters are very inviting.
Keep walking around the lake and you will, eventually(!), get to a campsite and nice restaurant to eat. The food here was really great. Could be because I was starving hungry by this point! Again, use any toilet facilities here because it is a long walk back (about 3 miles). There is also the main beach here if you would prefer easier access to the lake.
You can get a bus on this side as the path runs alongside the main road. But the walk is really lovely.
This day trip is perfect for a peaceful day spent on the beach in nature. And a homemade picnic is a great addition.
1. Lake Bled
This is my ultimate, favourite of all the day trips in Slovenia we did. I love Lake Bled! It is the perfect mix of being in peaceful nature combined with a romantic evening walk around the lake, with plenty of stops for ice cream or cake!
Start the day by parking up by the train station where it is much cheaper than the main car park. It is a bit longer but you save a lot on parking, just 5 euros for a full day!
Walk down to the lake and find a nice spot to sunbathe and swim in the lake. We walked a little bit around the lake so it was a bit quieter.
There are public toilets at this end of the lake but you need to pay for them. There are quite a few restaurants around the lake so we used those toilets.
After a lot of time swimming and relaxing by the lake we started a nice evening walk around 5pm. Lake Bled is both stunning in the day and especially at dusk. The pink sunset skies with the clear blue waters and picturesque church make this place feel like a fairytale.
You can get married in the church but rumour has it that the groom has to carry his bride up 100 steps to prove he is worthy. There are a lot of ways the men have to prove their worth in Slovenia. Not sure why!
There are lots of places to explore around the lake. Walk up to the Cafe Belvedere to get a better view of the church.
As you walk around, there are quite a few little shops and places to eat. Try the Lake Bled traditional cake which you can buy at the Park Cafe at Sava Hotel. Here they make the traditional cake by hand and you can sit outside overlooking the lake. It is very beautiful and romantic.
There is a really lovely spot on the walk around where they have live classical music and a great little ice cream place.
We sat on the bank of the lake and ate ice cream while listening to the music, it was really lovely.
Lake Bled is about a 3-mile walk all around so a nice distance to walk especially if you need to walk off all the cake and ice cream! It’s also a great place to go for a morning run.
I love Lake Bled because it is great for a whole day trip with things to do the entire day.
Hope you enjoyed my blog on my favourite day trips in Slovenia. Let me know in the comments about your favourite places to visit in Slovenia. Would love to hear from you!
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