One week when the weather in Austria was especially bad and we craved for a little sunshine and some seafood we went to Slovenia. Very spontaneously and just for a couple of days. Although the expectations were not that high we got totally blown away by the beauty and difference Slovenia has to provide. Apart from the various food options you will be surprised what other things to do you will find in this small country. Not for nothing Slovenia is called Europe’s New Zealand.
Slovenia has only about 20.000 km2 and a little over 2 Mio. people which makes it the perfect country for a road trip as the distances are not too big and there is really very much to see.
Find a selection of our preferred Things to do in Slovenia:
The number one tourist attraction in Slovenia is the Lake Bled with its little island in the middle of the water where a small church is built on it. And although this would be already the perfect mystic setting there is also a castle on the hill which makes this a really perfect picture spot.
Unfortunately a lot of tourists know about this and although we were there in low season it was pretty crowded. But still it’s worth a visit and you should not miss it when going to Slovenia. Just be aware that you might not be alone when enjoying the sunset.
For sunset you should go up to the viewing point Ojstrica. It’s just about 20 min walking up the hill but you won’t regret it. And for dinner you should not miss the world famous Pljeskavica. Therefore I would recommend Oštarija Peglez’n. They plastered the walls and ceiling with number plates from all over the world and the food arrived earlier than we were able to find an Austrian plate.
If you are looking for a good night sleep in a tree house (most of them with private whirlpool on the balcony) you should not miss one the Glamping accommodations. But make sure to reserve well in advance as when we were heading there all of them we checked were already fully booked for the next week. But at least this is a good reason to return.
Another reason would be the original kremšnita (cream cake) . You get them anywhere although the original one is served in Hotel Park.
If you have your own car you should go for a short trip to Lake Bohinj – Slovenias largest lake, situated in the Triglav National park. It’s just half an hour drive (26 km) from Bled so if you have some time left it’s a good option to spend some hours there. An alternative for a short trip from Bled would be Vintgar Gorge. In our case we decided to go to Lake Bohinj. You can find the main spot right at the beginning where you come to the lake in Ribčev Laz. The water, a stone bridge and the Sv. Janez church feature a nice picture and you almost can’t do anything wrong to get this shot.
A big advantage compared to Bled is that there are way less people compared to Bled and you can take a nice walk, if you want to go around the lake you should allow about 3h. Other options would be riding a boat or take a swim or you could go up by cable car to mount Vogel.
If you like mountains and lakes you should not miss the area around Kranjska Gora. Even if you are not into hiking this area is worth a visit as all of the lakes are easily accessible by car and maximum 5 min walk. And just by driving along the main road you see beautiful mountains and the one or other picture spot.
As we did not do any upfront planning we had no idea what treasures you can find in this area. The most surprising treasure was the Lake Zelenci, a quite small crystal clear turquoise lake. Best time for visiting is before noon.
Another highlight is the Vršič Pass leading from Kranjska Gora to Trenta and Bovec. It starts with the very impressive Lake Jasna and leads through the Triglav national park and you get a good view of the Julian alps. Unfortunately the pass was closed after the Ruska Kapelica (a wooden chapel built by Russians) so we had to go back to Kranjska Gora but we will definitely go there again when we also have more time for a hike.
Lago de Fusine
To tell the truth the Lago de Fusine are not located in Slovenia. But they are just across the border to Italy and totally worth a visit. Actually we were there even twice as we were that blown away from the picturesque setting. I mean there are mountains, there is water … so you see there are already the main ingredients for a nice picture. Therefore we would recommend to go there very early or rather late in the day as you will have back light during the day as the sun is exactly behind the mountain range.
And the best thing is there are two lakes. Things to do include a lot of walking options; you could either go around the lower and/or the upper lake – for the better view I would recommend the upper one – or you could take a hike between the two lakes or even higher up the mountains. So a lot of options for relaxing and recreation.
Another nice option is to take a bike back to Lake Bled. There is a new bicycle path along the ancient rail tracks.
One of the most famous tourist attractions in Slovenia are the Postonja caves which build the second largest accesssible cave system in the world. As I am not that interested in caves you won’t find that on my list. But if you like caves or need to cool down in Summer I guess it’s worth a visit.
So we went only to the castle instead, but there are combi tickets where you can save some money if you want to see both sights. At the castle you only have to buy an entrance if you want to go inside. For just taking pictures from outside you don’t need to pay admission.
The castle is literally built in the stone and it looks pretty impressive. And it’s the perfect waypoint if you are heading to the beach.
We actually enjoyed Piran a lot. As already noted we were there during low season at the end of October. Back then it was almost winter in Austria but at the sea in Slovenia it was quite warm. There were enough people to don’t get lonely or would feel awkward in a restaurant but not too much that you did not have to wait for a table, as almost everywhere were at least 2-3 tables not occupied.
What you have to know before you go that Piran is traffic-calmed so you have to park your car in one of the park decks and take a bus to the city center. Or you could walk as it is only about 1 km. But if you booked a hotel in the city most of the hotels offer special arrangements that you can go by car to the hotel and park there or give you a discount for the parking garage.
In Piran you should not miss the town wall as you get a good view on the peninsula where Piran is build on and of course the waterfront were you can see the main square and the church. Those are the most popular attractions. But there are a lot of more things to do like take a walk at the waterfront or visit the cemetery where you can find a wall with stacked graves. In Austria this is uncommon but we’ve seen this kind of graves also all over South America. But this is the first time we’ve seen those in Europe.
And then there are a lot of food options. If you are not into the seafood you don’t have to worry – there are other options, e.g. the Čevabdžinica Sarajevo ’84. But of course we would recommend to try some seafood as you cannot compare it to whatever you tried at home. To taste as much as possible we switched to a two restaurant meals per day mode. And because you can’t get enough of it as really almost everything was mind blowing. Nevertheless the best dishes you should try are the Mixed squid plate at Fritolin Pri Cantini, Four kinds of scallops at Pirat, Mussels in red sauce, Ribic Baja.
We went from Piran to Nova Gorica visiting Triest, Castle Miramare and Castle Duomo. All those places were okish but were not extraordinary. But another highlight was the area around Gorizia. You find there a lot of wineries where you could do some wine tasting. Because the Slovenian wine really tastes very extraordinary. And in the region you also find other things to do for example a lot of small villages similar to the famous Italian villages in the Tuscany which are built on the top of a hill. Smartno was one of them – but there is another one embedded in the beautiful landscape of wineyards every few kilometers. And if you are in the area you could also do a short stop in the Italian village Cividale del Friuli.
And the best part is the city is split between Italy (Gorizia) and Slovenia (Nova Goricia). Therefore we used this possibility to go to Italy for an authentic Italian Pizza. And this was one of the cheapest and most delicious Pizzas we ever had.
What are the things to do in Slovenia we plan the next time?
- To go to the small mountain village Planina Zajamniki where some wooden huts are lined in a row on the Pokljuka Plateau which is situated above the Lake Bohinj.
- Ljubljana: I’ve been there once but did not see very much. But I liked it. So Slovenia’s capital definitely has to be explored a little bit more.
- Triglav Lakes Valley Hike: Some more lakes – could you get ever enough of mountains and lakes?
- Biking the Jezersko Valley
- Visiting some more of the villages at the sea around Piran
- Take the cable car to scenic Velika Planina
- Walk through Vintgar Gorge
- Soca River
And there are many more options and things to do. If you’re more into adventure you could go rafting as Slovenia is the capital for white water rafting. So there is a lot to do and incredible much to see in this country full of incredible natural beauty and so very delicious food and wine … we will definitely go there again and keep you posted.