Slovenia is almost the last bastion of the Schengen countries, nestled within the Julian Alps and boasting of some incredible natural magnificence. While Lake Bled is almost made synonymous of this beautiful country, there is certainly more to this country even without treading off the more touristy places.
This itinerary is suitable for 3 days and with access to a car. Public transport within Slovenia is not as efficient as some of its western counterparts so having a car will help you cover more ground in less time.
Where to stay
We stayed at an apartment in a small village near Ljubljana – Komenda. It was about 20 mins drive to Ljubljana and 10 mins from the airport. I would suggest staying in one of such adjacent villages rather than Ljubljana just to enjoy the beautiful Slovenian countryside. But if you donot have a car then it is best to stay in the city.
Day 1 – Arrive in Slovenia. Visit Ljubljana
We arrived in Slovenia in the afternoon and after a quick check-in into our apartment, we headed straight into Ljubljana. The Old Town of Ljubljana is very tiny and can be easily covered in a couple of hours. The most interesting places are the Dragon bridge, the Triple Bridge, the pink Franciscan church, the Central Market square and the Ljubljana Castle. All of these are just a few metres from each other and it is also where all the restaurants are. So enjoy a drink and some dinner and walk around to get a feel of this cute little capital city. We didn’t spend a lot of time in Ljubljana to be honest but if you have more time you could spend around half a day walking around.
Day 2 – Lake Bled and Vintgar Gorge
We were quite tired from a long drive on Day 1, so Day 2 did not start very early for us – we hit the road at 9.30 am. Lake Bled is a 40 mins drive from Ljubljana but it is advisable to start early during the high season to avoid traffic holdups on the road which can delay your arrival by upto an hour. While at Lake Bled you can choose to just idle around the lake for a couple of hours, take the boat to the island and get island exploring or hike up to the Bled Castle for some gorgeous views of the Lake. We chose option one and also decided to fill up on brunch, buy souvenirs and ofcourse gorge on the delicious Bled cake.
Pro Tip: Do not attempt to pack slices of the Bled Cake as the cream has a tendency to melt if its too warm leaving you with a disfigured lump of a hitherto beauty.
After a couple of hours at Lake Bled, we headed onward to Vintgar Gorge which was a short 15 mins driven from Bled. The parking near the entrance of the Gorge was already full (there is a display a few kms ahead which showed that it was full although we did see quite a few empty slots when we reached there later) so we parked our car at another designated parking lot. From there you get free shuttles to the site every 20 mins.
The Vintgar Gorge is the single most beautiful thing I have seen in a while (I haven’t been to the Plitvice yet) so our decision to spend more time at the Gorge really paid off. The entire hike of 3.2 kms (1.6 km each way) was breathtaking and well worth the EUR 10 entrance fee along with the car parking fee of EUR 5.
Tip: Don’t lose your entrance tickets as you will need them to get back in once you have reached the end of the hike (should you want to go down to the waterfall or have a drink at the restaurant).
Day 3 – Postojna Caves and Predjama Castle
The Postojna caves is a 40 mins drive from Ljubljana, south of Slovenia, in the direction of Italy. So if it is your last day in Slovenia and you want to add some adventure you could head on forward to Trieste and catch a ferry to Venice. You can spend an entire day at the Postjna cave complex with multiple activities including a 90 min visit to the famous Postjna caves. It is advisable to buy your tickets online to avoid ticket queues especially in summer. If you are traveling by car and are buying your cave tickets at the counter, then do carry your parking ticket along with you as you can pay for your parking ticket along with the entry tickets – will save you some time. Parking is EUR 5 for an entire day.
The cave tour lasts about 90 mins, with 30 mins of it spent on a train taking you back and forth 3.5 kms inside the cave. From there, you get a guide and walk about 1.5 kms inside the cave stopping at various places. There are guides in multiple languages and you choose the preferred language guide when you are buying your tickets. There is also a provision of having an additional audio guide. Again the earlier you go the lesser the crowd and hence less people per guide.
Pro Tip: The temperature inside the cave is always at 10 C so carry a jacket with you unless you want to shiver in the cold or want to shell our some more euros to borrow / buy one at the entrance.
From Postojna, we headed to the Predjama Castle, which is the single largest cave castle in the world. It is also famed to be the hideout of the rebellious knight Erazem, the Robinhood of Slovenia, who is said to have used the castles secret tunnels to hide his loot. Its a beautiful castle from both the inside and the outside so it is worth stopping here for a while.
Thats a wrap on the 3 day itinerary of Slovenia, but we did chance upon a hidden gen as we call it, following the advice of our apartment owner. Its the lovely town of Kamnik, about 10 mins from Komenda and a similar distance from Ljubljana. I loved it more than Ljubljana itself and my co-travelers agreed on it too (although we don’t agree on most things). So here’s leaving you with some parting shots from Kamnik.
Hope to see you soon, reviewing another brand new destination. Till then, happy travels.