Slovenia, a charming country in Central Europe, has stunning landscapes, historic towns, and beautiful natural wonders.
It’s becoming more popular among travelers for a good reason – there’s something to enjoy here in every season. In winter, there are great ski resorts in the Slovenian mountains, hiking in the mountains is popular from spring to autumn, and in summer, the beaches of the Slovenian coast are a favorite.
So Slovenia is full of wonderful things to do. Whether you want to enjoy beach activities, hiking in the Julian Alps, exploring lakes, waterfalls or stalactite caves, or skiing in winter or visiting Christmas markets, Slovenia has something to offer for every traveler.
Therefore, we’ve put together two itineraries for our readers – a brief 3-day trip and a more extended one-week adventure, showcasing the best of Slovenia’s attractions.
As Slovenia is our neighboring country and one of our most frequently visited destinations (we even have an annual highway sticker because we go there so often), we hope to provide you with sufficient information if you are planning a trip to Slovenia.
In this article, we’ll focus on the 3-day road trip through Slovenia.
Admittedly, putting together a 3-day itinerary for Slovenia is challenging. There is so much to see in this small country that even in about 30+ trips and excursions, we haven’t seen everything we wanted to. So, we’ve narrowed down the list to make the most of your short trip without spending too much time on the roads.
How can you maximize just 3 days in terms of time and sights?
Hopefully, our itinerary below will help.
With our suggested itinerary, you’ll get to experience the most beautiful and famous places in Slovenia, try local food, and enjoy interesting activities. We also include extra recommendations if you decide to extend your trip by a few days.
For those planning a summer holiday, we’ve added an optional summer version for the third day, so you won’t miss out on the coastal delights.
Now, let’s go over some key aspects of your trip to Slovenia, and then you’ll find the itinerary for the 3-day road trip below.
Frequently asked questions about planning a trip to Slovenia
How to get to Slovenia
We primarily planned a road trip to Slovenia, so you can best execute our itinerary by car. For this, you will need either your own car or a rented one.
If you arrive with your own car, you don’t need to organize much. Simply purchase a one-week highway vignette, ensure you have adequate insurance, and the Easy Park app might come in handy for parking. Slovenia’s road network is quite advanced and of good quality. The driving style can be a bit wild, especially on the highway, but generally adheres to rules. It’s important to note that there are many Slovenian civilian police officers, so it’s advisable to drive with this awareness.
Our itinerary doesn’t plan for challenging or overly long drives. Essentially, you’ll have an easy time driving.
The easiest place to rent a car in Slovenia is the capital Ljubljana.
To compare prices, we recommend Rentalcars.com.
For a 3-day road trip, you won’t need a large or powerful car, you can easily complete the journey with almost any type of car.
If you’re arriving by plane, ideally, you should land at Ljubljana Airport. This airport is not large, and flights mostly come in from other European cities. So, if you’re coming from overseas, you’ll likely need to consider a layover.
Another option is arriving at Zagreb, Venice, or Vienna airports and then renting a car to travel to Slovenia.
If you prefer not to drive, considering participation in organized tours can be a good option. These tours mostly depart from Ljubljana and Bled. Here are some recommendations:
In Ljubljana, the main attractions are also accessible on foot, while there are buses and trains to Bled and Bohinj from the capital, so you can reach the countryside by bus or train.
Is 3 days enough in Slovenia?
Honestly, in 3 days, you’ll only have time to see the most essential places. Although the country is small, 3 days are not enough to see everything. Therefore, in our itinerary, we had to filter out the most worthwhile attractions.
How many days are enough for Slovenia?
If you want to see the whole country, you will need 7–10 days.
Best time to visit Slovenia
The best time to visit Slovenia is late spring, summer or early autumn.
If you want to hike in the mountains, we recommend May, June, September and October.
If you prefer the coast, July and August are the best times.
Winter travel to Slovenia is only recommended if you are planning to go skiing.
Where to Stay in Slovenia
For a 3-day trip, you can choose to stay in the capital and take day trips from Ljubljana to the countryside.
Alternatively, you can opt to book accommodation in different locations each day, corresponding to your daily destination.
We provide recommendations for each place, and the choice is yours.
3-day Slovenia itinerary: How to spend 3 days in Slovenia
After the basic questions, let’s see how to make the most of your 3 days in Slovenia:
Day 1: Ljubljana
On the first day, you arrive in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. It is worth staying in the city on the day of arrival and visiting the main sights.
Whether you have a full day or just a few hours, Ljubljana offers the right activities for you.
The best things to do in Ljubljana:
Explore Ljubljana Castle
In Ljubljana, make sure not to miss the iconic Ljubljana Castle. This historic castle offers not only a glimpse into the city’s past but also breathtaking panoramic views of Ljubljana. Explore its medieval architecture and visit the exhibitions inside.
You can drive up near the castle (there are a few parking spaces), or if you’re on foot, you can take the funicular from the city center or walk up the stairs.
Walk along the Ljubljanica River to see the main sights
Take a leisurely stroll through the old town to discover key landmarks such as the iconic Prešernov trg (square) and interesting bridges like the Triple Bridge and Dragon Bridge.
Don’t forget to check the beautiful fountains, including the Fountain of Girl With a Jug and Robbov vodnjak.
Discover the miniature model of Ljubljana at Maketa Ljubljane.
Other optional places to visit
If you have a full day, enjoy the views from Nebotičnik, the skyscraper, and take a leisurely stroll around Tivoli Park.
Where to stay in Ljubljana
We recommend the following accommodations in Ljubljana:
- InterContinental – Ljubljana, an IHG Hotel: a five-star hotel in the city center, a few minutes’ walk from the sights, with optionally good views
- Hotel Nox: a four-star hotel in the suburbs, close to the A2 highway
- City Hotel Ljubljana: a three-star hotel in the city center with a beautiful view of the city
- Bed & Breakfast Rezidenca Pipanova: a four-star aparthotel in the suburbs, close to the A2 highway. Especially recommended for those looking for an apartment with private kitchen.
Day 2: Lake Bled, Vintgar Gorge
On the morning of the second day, our itinerary leads to one of Slovenia’s most famous places, Bled.
Ljubljana – Bled: 62 km (39 mi), 40 minutes (possibly more in case of frequent traffic jams)
Almost everyone has seen photos of the mountain lake surrounded by forests, with its blue water, a castle perched on a high rock, and a small island in the middle of the lake with a church. This is Lake Bled.
If you have only one day in Bled, we recommend the following activities:
Visit Bled Castle
On the northern shore of the lake, above the lake, stands the medieval Bled Castle, which serves as a museum. Moreover, around the castle, you’ll find numerous excellent lookout points for photography.
Dine in a local restaurant or café
On the eastern shore of the lake, cafés and restaurants offer Slovenian dishes with excellent views of the lake. Sample Slovenian cuisine, including the famous Bled Cream Cake.
Take a boat trip to the Bled Island
In the middle of the lake, there is a small island with a church, which is also open to visitors. You can rent a boat from various parts of the lake or join a boat tour to reach the island. The traditional Bled boats are called “pletna”.
Take a stroll around the lake
Lake Bled offers numerous beautiful views. It’s worth taking a walk around the lake, which is approximately 6 km (4 mi) in total.
Hike up to one of the lookouts
There are viewpoints on the surrounding hills, and in our opinion, one of the best is the Ojstrica viewpoint on the southwestern part of the lake.
Another, equally excellent lookout point is Mala Osojnica, but in our experience it is a little more difficult to climb.
Optional additional activities
Straza Bled: On the eastern side of the lake, there is a bobsleigh track called Straza Bled, offering an exciting experience with stunning views of the lake.
Swim in Lake Bled: There are beaches at several points along the lakeshore, which are popular for summer recreation.
Parking in Bled
Parking spaces are available on the northeastern and southwestern sides of the lake, and each one is subject to a fee.
Extra tip: During the summer months, traffic jams are common, and parking can be challenging. Consider arriving very early or staying in the vicinity and avoiding driving during peak times.
If you still have some time left and want to see another famous Slovenian natural attraction, visit the Vintgar Gorge.
The Vintgar Gorge is a 1.6-kilometer-long (1 mi) gorge, located northwest of Bled, just a 13-minute drive away. It is Slovenia’s most famous gorge and perhaps the most easily accessible for tourists.
The Vintgar Gorge, carved by the Radovna River, is a continuation of the Radovna Valley.
The gorge is visitable for an entrance fee, and it’s essential to pay attention to the opening hours, as it is closed in winter. A wooden walkway with bridges runs along the gorge, allowing visitors to stroll for approximately 1.5-2 km (1-1.2 mi) alongside the water. The gorge path is one-way, so you need to walk from the entrance to the end and then return to the starting point via another path on foot or by shuttle bus.
After exploring the gorge, you can also visit the Šum Waterfall, one of Slovenia’s most famous waterfalls.
Day 3 – First version: Lake Bohinj, Savica Waterfall
For the third day, we have two options. You can either stay in the mountains and continue exploring the Julian Alps and Triglav National Park, or, in the summer, head to the Slovenian coast. First, let’s go through the itinerary if you decide to stay in the mountains.
When it comes to the Julian Alps, it’s also worth spending some time at Lake Bohinj.
Lake Bled-Lake Bohinj: 26 km (16 mi), 30 min
Bohinj is an important tourist destination and a popular resort in Slovenia. Its most famous attraction is Lake Bohinj, but there are many other attractions nearby: the Savica Waterfall, Vogel Ski Resort, Mostnica Gorge and several waterfalls, such as Gmercica Waterfall and Mostnica Waterfall.
Lake Bohinj is Slovenia’s largest natural lake, considered by many tourists as one of the most beautiful attractions in the area, making it a must-visit on a trip to Slovenia.
Lake Bohinj offers various recreational activities, including swimming, kayaking, fishing, and diving in the warmer months, and occasional ice skating in winter. You can take a leisurely walk around the lake or enjoy a boat trip on its waters.
In addition to the iconic church called Cerkev Sv. Janeza Krstnika with a picturesque bridge next to the lake, you’ll find hiking trails, campsites, restaurants, and hotels near the lake.
Therefore, spending half a day or even a full day at Lake Bohinj and its surroundings is well worth it.
Another must-see nearby is the Savica Waterfall, which is one of my favorite places in Slovenia.
The Savica Waterfall, or Slap Savica, is a captivating waterfall not far from Lake Bohinj. It plunges approximately 78 meters into a lush green pool and serves as the source of the Sava Bohinjka River. Its unique charm lies not only in its picturesque surroundings but also in its distinctive “A” shape, where the water gracefully flows in two directions, creating a double waterfall effect.
If you find yourself near Lake Bohinj, be sure to allocate time to visit the Savica Waterfall.
How to reach the waterfall?
The nearest parking lot to the waterfall is a short drive from Lake Bohinj.
To access the waterfall, there is a short, approximately 900-meter, easily walkable hike with stairs from the parking lot.
Parking and entrance to the trail are subject to a fee.
Although access to the waterfall is restricted by a closed gate, the wooden viewing terrace provides breathtaking views of the waterfall and Lake Bohinj.
Where to stay in Bohinj
If you are looking for accommodation in Bohinj, we recommend the following:
- Hotel Bohinj: Four-star modern hotel, very close to Lake Bohinj in Ribcev Laz
- Hotel Majerca: Also a four-star hotel very close to Lake Bohinj, in Stara Fuzina, with excellent views
- Sunrose 7 – Heritage Boutique Hotel: Also a four-star hotel in Bohinjska Bistrica with a pleasant atmosphere and outdoor pool
- Pr ‘Agotnik Apartments & Rooms Bohinj: Modern apartments at low prices in Stara Fuzina, close to Lake Bohinj. Ideal for families
Optional places to visit
Kranjska Gora, a small town near the Italian border, is best known for its winter ski resort and its beautiful lake, Lake Jasna.
If you have extra time left over on your Slovenia trip, visit Lake Jasna, take a walk around and take some stunning photos.
Zelenci Nature Reserve
Zelenci Nature Reserve is located a short drive from Kransjka Gora. In fact, it is the source of the Sava River, which creates a beautiful bluish-green lake. It’s only a short walk from the nearby car park. There is also a wooden lookout next to the spring from which you can take wonderful photos.
Pericnik Waterfall is one of the highest waterfalls in Slovenia. It is located in the Vrata Valley near the village of Mojstrana.
It’s a short hike from the nearest car park, so it doesn’t take long to visit. A special feature of the waterfall is that you can walk behind it.
Don’t miss it if you have more time in Slovenia.
Day 3 – Summer version: Piran, Beaches
If it’s summer, and you feel like going for a swim, head to the Adriatic Sea on the third day!
On the Slovenian coast, the most beautiful town is undoubtedly Piran, a charming small town nestled on a tiny peninsula.
As a tourist, you can’t drive into Piran, so leave your car in the parking garage on the outskirts of the town.
Explore the coastal town of Piran on foot. Walk along its old buildings and discover the Venetian architectural style.
Highlights include the Tartini Central Square, the Walls of Piran and the Duomo di San Giorgio, with its clock tower visible from almost every direction. In addition, you can enjoy a fantastic city view from next to the cathedral.
If you’re done exploring Piran, you can still have some time in the afternoon to check out Slovenian beaches.
After trying a lot, we recommend two. One is the big beach in Portoroz, with a long sandy area and lots of restaurants, bars, and a long walkway.
The other is in Strunjan, called Strunjan Beach or Plaža Strunjan. It’s a pebble and rocky beach with shaded resting spots.
In the evening, whether you choose the coast or the mountains, it’s time to return to the capital.
You can expect a little over an hour’s drive in either direction, except on weekends and during peak season when traffic jams on Slovenian highways are more common. Be cautious and allow for longer travel times during these times.
By evening, our itinerary will bring you back to Ljubljana, marking the end of the three-day road trip.
We hope you enjoyed our three-day Slovenia itinerary and that our suggestions and tips will help you organize the best trip possible.
Other places to visit in Slovenia
If you have extra time in Slovenia, discover more enchanting destinations to make the most of your Slovenian adventure:
Visit the Postojna Cave, one of Europe’s most renowned stalactite caves. Located just an hour away from Ljubljana, near the A1 highway.
The cave offers a guided tour where you can explore numerous fascinating stalactite formations and vast cavernous chambers. Additionally, you’ll have the chance to encounter unique creatures, such as the olm, also known as ‘baby dragons,’ which exclusively live in caves.
Exploring the Postojna Cave is truly amazing, and it’s a great choice throughout the year, as the cave maintains a relatively constant temperature.
When in Postojna, take a short detour to the nearby Predjama Castle, an impressive medieval fortress uniquely built into the side of a cliff, right at the entrance of a cave.
Just a thirteen-minute drive from Postojna Cave, it is situated in a rural, secluded location. The surrounding countryside is picturesque, take a walk around the castle and if you feel like it, take a look inside the castle.
The Soca Valley is located along the border with Italy and is one of the most beautiful places in Slovenia. A real must for nature lovers.
If you want to know the best places to visit in the Soca Valley, check out the following:
- Small and Great Soca Gorge
- Virje Waterfall
- Kozjak Waterfall
- Napoleon’s Bridge
- Tolmin Gorge