A vacation to Slovenia is like stepping into a fairytale…
Slovenia boasts over half of all its land is protected, making this a truly green country covered in ancient forests, rolling hills and dramatic mountaintops. Traveling from one idyllic place to another is easy. Most journeys are only an hour or two along smooth roads through beautiful countryside full of stunning and diverse natural landscapes. Begin the trip in Ljubljana, the green, cozy and hospitable capital with delicious food, a laidback tempo and friendly locals…sounds like a good start.
Day 1-2: Welcome to Ljubljana! At the airport, choose between hotel shuttles, taxis, rental cars or a private driver for transport to your hotel. Set in the historic center of Ljubljana, the hotel’s location is perfect for familiarizing yourself with this delightful city. Slovenia’s capital is small enough to explore on foot; the boulevards lined with Baroque buildings offer plenty of tasty rest stops as you bounce between cultural events and sights.
Make the short trek up to the Ljubljana Castle. Perched on a hill above the city for nearly 900 years, the castle is Ljubljana’s main attraction. You can reach it by funicular railway or on foot. You’ll be rewarded with an incredible view of the city and surrounding areas. It is free to enter, but cost around $12 to see special rooms throughout the castle. There are two permanent museum exhibitions, two restaurants, a cafe, and a nightclub.
As you walk the historic area and visit the museums, notice the many dragon symbols in the city, present in Ljubljana since ancient times. From its initial portrayal as a monster, the dragon gradually transformed into a symbolic protector of the city, embodying power, courage and wisdom.
DAY 3: After breakfast, drive 45 minutes to the picturesque land of Lake Bled. With a postcard-perfect church on an isolated island, a castle that clings to a cliff, set among some of the highest peaks of the Julian Alps, it’s no wonder Lake Bled is considered to be the crown jewel of Slovenia.
Located on the shore of the lake the hotel provides storybook views for the next two evenings. Dine at one of three restaurants in the hotel before retiring to an elegant, comfortable room with a balcony overlooking the lake.
Day 4: Pinch yourself upon waking! The view from the hotel is absolutely stunning. Today, there are a few options for daily activities. A 3-mile stroll around the lake takes about an hour. Visit the lovely Church of the Assumption, located on the small island in the middle of Lake Bled. The usual way to reach the island is by a traditional Pletna boat, which can be hired or even rented. Upon arrival there are 99 steps that must be climbed to reach the church.
If time allows this afternoon, drive to Lake Bohinj which lies in an Alpine valley in Triglav National Park just 30 minutes away. Take a 4 minute cable car ride from the lake to Vogel ski resort. There you will have panoramic views of untouched nature and the highest mountain peaks in Slovenia.
Day 5: Wake up to another delicious and scenic breakfast before leaving Lake Bled. The drive today will be forever etched in your memories: a drive through the Julian Alps in Triglav National Park. Vršič Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 5,285′. The road to the summit is known as the Russian Road in honor of the Russian POWs of World War II who were forced to build it. The mountain road consists of 50 hairpin turns! Notice the Russian Orthodox chapel, built by the Russian POWs to commemorate their comrades.
The last part of todays drive is referred to as the Tuscany of Slovenia. Located at the Italian border, the Goriska Brda region is characterized by quaint hilltop villages separated by miles of rolling vineyards and orchards. The panoramic roads connecting the vineyards and the villages are absolutely stunning.
Your cozy accommodations for the next two evenings provides another scenic view. The hotel’s restaurant is a fantastic spot for socializing, as well as for discovering the local cuisine, while savoring a glass of local wine.
Day 6: Prepare for a day touring the surrounding hillsides topped by towns, cypress trees, and meticulously cultivated vineyards. The most popular wine is Rebula, a variety that’s been grown in Slovenia for the last 700+ years, and is found almost nowhere else on the planet. A short drive southeast of Goriška Brda is the Vipava Valley. In contrast to the rolling hills of Goriška Brda, the Vipava Valley is dominated by the mountains that form the sides of the valley. The best known wines from this region are dry, white wines.
A tour company is available to entertain and drive you for tastings and local cuisine. Other tour options include paragliding, bike & wine tours and hiking.
Day 7: The hour and half drive today takes you to a different world. Situated between Italy and Croatia on the Slovenia Adriatic Coast is Piran. Developed under the influence of Venice, Piran is considered to be one of the most authentic and photogenic towns on the Adriatic coast. Tonight’s hotel is located in the old town of Piran, a perfect spot for exploring.
With a thriving alfresco dining scene beneath a sea of vibrant red roofs and cobblestone laneways meandering through the historic old town, this seaside fishing village is the perfect place to kick back and spend a little time in the slow lane. In Tartini square restaurants prepare the catch of the day.
Day 8: Enjoy the slow pace of Piran. Stroll through town and climb the 146 steps of St. George’s Church Bell Tower for the best views of this seaside town. A private boat can take you from the harbor to the sea, providing dramatic views of historic Piran.
Piran is also know for the tradition of salt production which has existed in harmony with man and nature since the middle ages. Salt-pan mud and brine are the most important factors of thalassotherapy, which uses the beneficial effects of the sea products, the sea shore and the climate for boosting the immune system and improving overall health. Indulge in this enriching tradition with natural products from the Sečovlje Salina Nature Park.
Day 9: After breakfast in Piran, the drive back to the hotel in Ljubljana is a short hour and a half. The drive today certainly will not disappoint. Predjama Castle is so special and unique, it ranks among the ten most fascinating castles in the world. Built directly into a rocky cliff face, the castle was considered virtually impenetrable when it was constructed in the 13th century. Behind the largest cave castle in the world, there is a network of secret tunnels, from where the knight Erazem of Predjama would set out on his plundering expeditions. In summer months, tours of the caves are available.
Day 10: Transfer to the airport for your return trip home.
Also of interest in Slovenia, is river rafting. Rafting in Slovenia offers the unique chance to further explore Slovenia’s natural majesty. From casual to the extreme, Slovenia’s rivers offer it all. Arguably the best rafting is on the Soča River as it winds its way along the breathtaking beauty of the Soča Valley.
Inquire to add additional days.