Located in central Europe, Slovenia is a small but diverse country. It was a part of erstwhile Yugoslavia, but you rarely see any of it in its architecture – the influence of the Austro-Hungarian rule is more prominent. In this Slovenia Itinerary 7 days, you will discover the best of the capital city, lakes, caves, and castles. We have included options for 3 to 5 days in Slovenia as well (both with or without a car!)
Slovenia Itinerary 7 days (+ ideas for 3 to 5 days in Slovenia trip)
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Day 1 Arrive in Ljubljana. Stay in Grand Union Hotel
Day 2 Explore Ljubljana
Day 3 Lake Bled and surroundings
Day 4 Postojna Cave & Predjama Castle Half-Day
Day 5 Triglav National Park Tour
Day 6 Coastal towns of Piran
Day 7 Maribor, Ptuj & Heart of the Vineyards
Slovenia Travel Guide: Preparing for your 7 days in Slovenia (+ 7 day road trip planning)
- Capital City: Ljubljana
- Currency: Euro
- EU Member: Yes
- Tourist Visa: Schengen Visa
- National language: Slovene or Slovenian. Italian, Hungarian are also spoken. English is widely spoken in touristy areas.
Ljubljana is the capital city of Slovenia. The city is known as the ‘green city’ (2016) and has one of the largest car-free zones in the European Union. If you are flying to Slovenia from the United States or Canada, you will arrive in the Ljubljana Joze Pucnik airport.
When we were looking for flights, we found better options for Zagreb, the capital city of Croatia, so we ended up arriving in Slovenia by road.
If you plan to do a Slovenia road trip, you can pick up a rental car from the airport. We recommend staying at the city center in Ljubljana for your trip.
If you stay at the recommended Grand Union Hotel – where we stayed, you get free parking. But you can find parking (paid on weekdays, and free on Sundays and Saturdays from 3 pm).
We didn’t rent a car, but used public transportation and tours to explore Slovenia. Also in the city center, you won’t need a car, you can pretty much walk and cover all the attractions.
Slovenia belongs to the Schengen zone of countries, and it is an EU member. If you require a tourist visit to explore other European countries, then you will need the Schengen Visa.
If you are planning to add a trip to Italy, Austria, or Croatia after your 5 day or 7 day Slovenia itinerary, then you can use the same visa to enter these countries. For visiting Balkan countries, multiple entry Schengen Visa is required. Please check with the consulate for requirements.
Quick History of Slovenia:
Modern-day Slovenia had been under the rule of many powerful kingdoms, from the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, to the Republic of Venice, the Austrian Empire, and later the Austro-Hungarians.
In the 20th century (First World War), the Slovenes co-founded the State of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs, which became the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes or Kingdom of Yugoslavia as it is commonly known.
The Slovenes are the South Slavic people, they have a unique culture, and language. When you visit Ljubljana or the towns in Julian Alps, the Yugoslav influence is barely there.
The coastal areas have the Venetian allure, having been ruled by the Republic of Venice.
For most of its history, Slovenia was largely controlled by the Habsburgs of Austria. Post World War II, it was under Communist rule. Slovenia was the first country to break away from Yugoslavia, and after its dissolution in 1991, Slovenia followed a multiparty democratic political system.
Slovenia is economically prosperous, its buildings, roads and infrastructure (and views of course) are well maintained, and oozes a kind of royalty that you will find in cities like Vienna (when compared to Ljubljana – which is also a green city!)
Although it is a Balkan state, it is very different from other countries like Serbia, North Macedonia or Romania.
Ljubljana Slovenia Itinerary 3 days or 5 days
If you are pressed for time and wish to explore Slovenia in 3 days, then spend one day each in Ljubljana, Lake Bled, and choose from Triglav National Park, or Postojna cave & Predjama castle. This will allow you to comfortably see the city, the iconic lake and a bit more, without rushing!
If you only have 5 days in Slovenia, feel free to pick a sightseeing itinerary from any of the individual ‘days’ to customize this trip.
Keep reading to get the full Slovenia Itinerary for 3 to 7 days.
Day 1 of Slovenia Itinerary: Arrive in Ljubljana
On day one of your Slovenia itinerary, plan to arrive in the capital city of Ljubljana by noon.
Ljubljana is served by the Ljubljana Joze Pucnik airport (aka Ljubljana Airport). You can book flights from the UK, or get connections from North America.
We found better flight tickets from Canada to Zagreb via Amsterdam, and then continued the onward journey by road. Zagreb to Ljubljana is less than 2 hours. We joined a group tour to reach Slovenia, and stayed back.
You can opt for car rental, and go road tripping through Slovenia and explore in 5 to 7 days. Public transportation – trains are available. It takes 3+ hours to reach Ljubljana from Zagreb Central Station.
Once you arrive in Ljubljana, settle into your hotel, preferably in the city centre area. We stayed at the Grand Union Hotel in Ljubljana.
In the afternoon, from the hotel make your way to Prešeren Square, located in the heart of the city. Wander the beautiful lanes and check out the architecture on each side of the Ljubljanica river.
After a quick stroll, head to Ljubljana’s vibrant farmers market to discover hidden gems and local food items. Take a walk first, and then sample and taste different food items.
The Ljubljana Central Market stretches from the iconic Triple Bridge and the Dragon Bridge, on the right side of the curve of the River. Except for Sundays, the market is open everyday. You will find a flower market (Pogačar Square and Vodnik Square), a fish market, and bakery, dairy and meat stalls.
Near the Triple Bridge you can also shop for arts and crafts (souvenirs), and herbs and spices.
We wanted to introduce you to the foodie side of the city on day one, as Ljubljana is slowly emerging as a gastronomic heaven, and a green/eco destination.
If you prefer to explore with an experienced local guide, opt for this 3 hour food and walking tour. This tour starts at 12:30 pm.
In the evening, you can make your way to Tivoli Park. Tivoli City Park is the largest park in Ljubljana. It is located on the western outskirts of the city centre. It was designed in 1813 by the French engineer Jean Blanchard. The park covers an area of approximately five square kilometres, and is home to many chestnut trees, fountains, walking and jogging areas.
You will enjoy browsing through the outdoor photographs and exhibitions set up at the Jakopič Promenade (Jakopičevo sprehajališče). This was designed by architect Jože Plečnik, and it is located in the central part of Tivoli Park.
At the park, you can enjoy the sun go down the slopes of Rožnik hill, and spend a romantic evening walking through the sprawling green space – hand in hand.
After spending an hour or so here, head to the city centre for dinner and drinks. You will love the ambience of Ljubljana in the late evening. The Prešernov trg Square, and the banks along the Ljubljanica River are stunning, and it comes alive with lights, and music.
We enjoyed a lovely dinner in the Petkovšek Embankment area (by the river).
Day 2 of Slovenia Itinerary 7 days: Explore Ljubljana
On day 2 of your Slovenia itinerary, wake up to breakfast and don’t forget to try the Slovenian Cream Cake!
If you stay at the Grand Union Hotel, breakfast will be included. They serve a huge variety of continental food and beverage selection.
We do recommend stepping outside for breakfast on one of the days to try out a local cafe. Our favorite breakfast place in Ljubljana is the Le Petit Cafe. You can try homemade granola with dried fruits and it is served with yogurt or soy milk.
Today, you will enjoy one of the most beautiful and underrated cities in Europe. Although the origins of the city of Ljubljana are unclear, many sources date back to the 12th century. In 1335 it came under Hapsburg rule, and since the end of the Middle Ages, it assumed the role of the Slovenian cultural capital.
You can explore many of the important landmarks in Ljubljana in a day. All of the tourist attractions are located in the city centre or near it.
Ljubljana’s Old Town is adorned by architectural gems – bridges, markets, houses, churches and buildings from the Austro-Hungarian rule. As you walk the various lanes of the centre, you won’t even notice that Slovenia was a part of the erstwhile Yugoslavia.
The city’s most famous landmarks include the following,
- Prešernov trg Square: From the hotel, as you make your way to the River Ljubljanica and the bridges, you will arrive at the main Prešernov trg Square. From this square, you can soak in the city views, and click some Insta worthy photos.
- Baroque-style Franciscan Church of the Annunciation: On the north side of the square is the grand Baroque-style Franciscan Church of the Annunciation. Stop by to admire the pinkish-red facade of the Church. And then there is the Hauptmann’s House which represents an architectural masterpiece considered to be one of the few buildings in Prešeren Square to have survived the earthquake of 1895.
- River Ljubljanica, and the famous Triple Bridge: On the south of the Square is the River Ljubljanica, and the famous Triple Bridge (Tromostovje). This bridge was built in 1929 by Joze Plecnik. It connects the historical and the medieval town of Ljubljana, on one bank, and the modern city, on the other.
- In the eastern part of Prešeren stands the Central Pharmacy building; to the west, the square is lined by Wolf Street (Wolfova Ulica) bound for Congress Square (Kongresni Trg).
- Butcher’s Bridge and the sculptures: This is one of the newer bridges in Ljubljana, and it connects the Ljubljana Central Market and the Petkovšek Embankment (Petkovškovo nabrežje). This bridge is very unique with sculptures and figures from Ancient Greek and Christian/Jewish mythology.
- Admire the Dragon Bridge – Zmajski Most: Another bridge which is located not far from the Central Market is the famous Dragon Bridge (Zmajski Most). The statues of the green dragons on the bridge are iconic to the city of Ljubljana, and you must take a photo with the dragon here to remember your trip! I
- Mestni trg square: Mestni trg square is the major (and old) town square of Ljugbliana. The buildings and structures in and around the Mestni trg square dates back to the 12th century. Stop by here to check out Baroque palaces, Town Hall, and the popular Fountain of the Three Carniolan Rivers (designed by Venetian born sculptor Francesco Robba).
- The Robba Fountain, also located at the square, is modelled on the famous Roman fountains and is considered to be one of Ljubljana’s best known Baroque monuments. It was created in the mid 18th century.
- Visit Ljubljana Cathedral aka St. Nicholas’s Church: The gorgeous Ljubljana Cathedral was built on the site of a Romanic church, which dates back to 1262.
Explore Ljubljana Castle
Set aside a few hours to explore the Ljubljana Castle. Many of the attractions listed above are for free, but this one has an entry fee and is completely worth it. You will love the views from Castle Hill over the city centre of Ljubljana.
The castle stands on a hill, and it was originally a medieval fortress from the 11th and 12th centuries. It was used as a defense structure. The way you see the Castle today was formed in the 15th century. This castle is depicted on the city’s coat of arms, along with a dragon on top.
You can spend anywhere from 1.50 to 2 hours at the Castle complex. You can climb the hill to reach the top, or take a funicular ride to the top. We booked a tower and castle combo ticket and explored the complex, and visited various exhibition halls.
During our visit, an exhibition on the Yugoslavian history and Slovenia’s origins were on display. There is a puppet museum (permanent exhibition) onsite as well.
The views from the tower are breathtaking, and are a photographer’s and a history lover’s delight!
For entrance tickets to the castle, it is 10 EUR ($13 USD) and it includes entry to the Viewing Tower, Virtual Castle (a short movie about Castle’s history), Slovenian History exhibition, Museum of Puppetry, and Once Upon a Time exhibition. Here is a combined ticket with sightseeing in Ljubljana.
After visiting the Castle complex, stop by the Ljubljana Tourist Center for some photos.
In the late afternoon take a walk down to the Sts. Cyril and Methodius Church. This church is also known as the Orthodox Church – an Eastern Orthodox church building located in Trubar Park. Near the church are the Museum of Modern Art and west of the National Gallery of Slovenia.
After all the sightseeing, finish the day with drinks at The Nebotičnik Cafe. The cafe is located on the top of the Nebotičnik (Skyscraper) building.
The Skyscraper was built in 1933 and was the tallest building in the Balkans at the time of its construction. The Skyscraper brings in the architecture created between the two World Wars and one with beautiful city views from all directions.
The sky rise building still serves its original purpose and houses shops, restaurants, offices, and residential flats.
Day 3 of 7 days in Slovenia Itinerary: Visit Lake Bled & nearby areas
One of the highlights of our trip to Slovenia was visiting the beautiful Lake Bled area. We went on a day trip, but you can stay here overnight as well. We browsed through a few properties and came across this one with views.
Optional accommodation: Hotel Triglav, you can check photos here. This hotel is a beauty, and the views from their restaurant and suites are to die for – just absolutely gorgeous!
Lake Bled is a beautiful glacial lake located in the Julian Alps, in northwestern Slovenia. It is super easy to reach Lake Bled from Ljubljana
Ljubljana to Lake Bled: 45 minute by road, traveling a distance of 55.4 km or 34.4 miles
You can also explore Lake Bled on a day tour. Here are some tour options via GetYourGuide (our favorite tour provider in Europe. They also have a very generous cancelation policy),
- Lake Bled and Bled Castle Tour (round trip, guided tour, and free time)
- Lake Bled and Vintgar Gorge Tour
In Lake Bled, take a walk in and around the lake side, enjoy a nice stroll on the boardwalk, take amazing photographs of the lake, castle and the Julian Alps.
You can also rent a bike, and go biking at the lake.
If you are up for a hike, head to the Mala Osojnica Viewpoint. The trail is open all year-round, and is it a short and easy hike that welcomes you to amazing views.
To visit the beautiful island, and the church you have to embark on a boat ride with a ‘pletna’. A pletna is a traditional boat which is made by locals. With a boat ride, you will reach the island and visit the Church of the Assumption.
The church’s iconic 52 feet bell tower has been standing since 1465. The tower with the Karavanke Mountain Range in the background makes it one of the most picturesque places in the world.
For the best views of the lake and the island head to the Bled Castle. Inside the castle there are terraces, museums, and a cafe. The castle terraces offer spectacular views of the lake and its tiny island.
Lake Bled Castle is the oldest castle in Slovenia. Entry tickets to Bled castle are €13 ($15 USD) per adult. Book them online here
Before you depart from Lake Bled, stop by one of the cozy restaurants by the lake, and enjoy coffee and Slovenian Cream Cake!
Note: If you are traveling by bus, here are some quick tips. Bus schedules vary on weekdays and weekends. The last departure bus trip will help you to plan the return journey to Ljubljana.
- Weekdays: The first departure is at 6 am and the last is 9 pm.
- Saturdays: The first departure is 5:30 am and the last is 10:30 pm.
- Sundays: First departure is at 7 am and the last is at 9 pm.
- Time tables for Ljubljana to Lake Bled Bus Check timetables here
Day 4 of Slovenia Itinerary: Explore Postojna Cave & Predjama Castle
On day 4 of the Slovenia itinerary, plan to visit Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle.
The distance between Ljubljana and Predjama is 57.7 km (36 miles). You can travel by road, bus, train or by tour.
- Buses take 2.50 hours. (Fare $18 to $46 USD, with one transfer)
- Trains take 2.25 to 2.50 hours. (Fare $18 to $40 USD, with transfers)
Transportation from Ljubljana stops at the Postojna Cave, and then stops at the Castle.
Postojna Cave is one of the most popular karst caves in the world. Its tour of the underground passages makes it one of the unique experiences in Slovenia.
Once you arrive at the Cave complex, you can explore the 4 km (2.50 miles) cave system by electric train, and then walk through the beautiful chambers that showcase amazing handing (like stalactites of) stones, pillars, limestone curtains and other extraordinary natural wonders.
It takes 90 minutes to complete the underground cave tour. We recommend spending 2 hours or so in total at the complex.
From the Postojna Cave, head to Predjama and visit the Renaissance castle. The castle is beautifully built within the mouth of a cave, giving it a very fairy tale-like vibe. The castle became known as the seat of the knight Erasmus of Lueg (or Luegg, Luegger), aka Robinhood of Slovenia.
The cave below the castle is part of the 14 km (8.69 miles) Predjama cave system, which is open to guests from May to September only (and closed in winter).
If you are taking the day tour, you can buy combo tickets for the castle and Postojna Cave.
Note that in July and August, you can hop on the free shuttle service between the cave and the castle, if you buy the combined ticket. Or just book a day tour.
Day 5 of Slovenia Itinerary 5 days: Explore Triglav National Park
For day 5 of your Slovenia itinerary (final day), we recommend opting for a day tour to explore Triglav National Park. In this full-day tour there are multiple stops as you are driven along the 3.50 scenic route.
Triglav, is the highest mountain in Slovenia and the highest peak of the Julian Alps. It’s elevation is 2,863.65 metres. Triglav National Park is the only national park in Slovenia.
The good thing about this tour is that they guide you to 3 nature hikes. They are completely optional, but if you wish to stretch your legs, take photos and hike under an experienced hiker then you must join this tour. Hikes are around 30-45 minutes.
This day tour is a good value for money, as they take you through Lake Bled, Lake Bohinj, and the Pokljuka plateau.
The major attractions in this tour are the Vintgar Gorge, Alpine Radovna valley, Pericnik waterfall, Jasna Lake, and the village of Mojstrana.
The Vintgar Gorge or Bled Gorge is a 1.6-kilometer gorge located inside the Triglav National Park. The gorge is carved by the Radovna River, and showcases the beauty of the crystal-clear river amidst the rugged rocks.
Views of Lake Jasna are just so beautiful. You will stop at this lake as you near Kranjska Gora along the road to the Vršič Pass. It is a very touristy area though, and is at the confluence of Mala and Velika Pišnica.
Kranjska Gora is a cute alpine resort, and if you prefer to extend your trip in northwestern Slovenia then this is a good place to stay – near the mountains and glacial lakes of Triglav National Park.
You can also set aside time to explore the little town, a 17th-century Liznjek House and Nordic Center Planica (for winter sports). If you are extending your trip, add Soča Valley into your Slovenia road trip itinerary. Soča Valley is known to be an amazing outdoor destination to go hiking, glamping, and camping!
Day 6 of Slovenia Itinerary 7 days: Visit Piran, and other coastal towns
If you wish to swap any of the day-itinerary above, you can do so with these 2 options. You can still keep Ljubljana as base and then go on day tours.
On day 6 of the Slovenia itinerary, explore the coastal side of the country. Venture to the small villages of Piran, Koper, Izola, Strunjan and Portoroz.
The Slovenian coastal region is made up of five towns, which were fishing villages once upon a time. They are clustered alongside cliffs on the Slovene Riviera.
This day tour from Ljubljana to the coastal area is perfect for the culture and nature lover. Soak in the views of the mesmerizing landscape, learn about their history, go hiking or biking trails, and eat (& drink) your heart out! Seafood and wine here are delicious!
(For hiking and biking trails, mid-March to mid-October is perfect).
Day 7 of 7 days in Slovenia Itinerary: Maribor and tour of the vineyards
After visiting the mountains and the Slovene Riviera, explore hot springs, and vineyards next.
If you are road tripping, start for Ptuj and Maribor. Driving distance from Ljubljana to Ptuj is 1.50 hours. Trains take about 2 hours. Ptuj is a small Slovenian town, and it is also one of the oldest in the country. It is home to thermal springs, fields, and vineyards on the Drava Plain.
Ptuj to Maribor is about 30 minutes by car. Trains can take upto 50 minutes.
Maribor is the second biggest city in Slovenia and it was awarded the European Capital of Culture in 2012. You will love the relaxed and cultural vibe of the city of Maribor. Do check off Maribor’s gothic cathedral, their Main Square and the Franciscan Church on your day trip.
If you prefer a day tour (with stops at vineyards + planning to drink), then here is one you may want to consider.
Connections from Slovenia to other countries – Italy, & Croatia
After 5 or 7 days in Slovenia, you can continue to nearby European cities by road, or public transportation.
The closest cities worth exploring are – Trieste in Italy, and Zagreb in Croatia. They can be explored even on a day trip, and only take a few hours to reach (by road, tours or trains).
- Ljubljana to Trieste is 1.50 hours by road. Buses take about 2+ hours
- Ljubljana to Zagreb is less than 2 hours by road. Buses take about 2.50 hours
On our Balkans trip itinerary, we continued from Ljubljana to Belgrade Serbia on an overnight bus.
Slovenia Trip Planner: Additional Travel Tips
If you are visiting Slovenia or Europe for the first time, here are some useful tips to help plan your trip
- Travel Documents: Slovenia is located in Europe, and is an EU member. For travelers with US or Canadian passports, you can travel visa-free for up to 90 days. If you require a visa to travel to the Schengen zone of countries, then you will require the same tourist visa to enter Slovenia.
- Travel Insurance: Don’t forget to insure your trip against medical emergencies, cancellations, and delays. Check out free insurance quotes here from World Nomads.
- Budget for Slovenia: Belgium is not overtly expensive nor affordable. Many of the hotels, restaurants and shops were priced near how much we normally pay here in North America. You can easily survive with around $100 USD per person per day (for hotel, food, transport + tour)
- When is the best time to visit Slovenia: Slovenia is best explored during off-seasons, in the months of May and June, and between August and September. December is a lovely time to go to Slovenia to check out Christmas Markets.
- What to eat in Slovenia: Highly recommend the delicious Bled Cream Cake, Belokranjska pogaca or traditional flatbread, meat stew, Carniolan Sausage, super filly Jota soup. Don’t forget to try wine from the Riviera region.
We recommend spending 4 to 5 days in Slovenia to explore the capital city of Ljubljana, take day trips to Lake Bled, Postojna cave & Predjama castle, and also experience the outdoors at the Triglav National Park.
Summer months are great to visit Slovenia for outdoorsy activities, especially in the Soca Valley. But keep in mind city centres, Lake Bled boating and camping areas will be super crowded.
Visiting in late August or September will allow you to enjoy stunning vistas, and a relaxed city break without the crowds.
If you are into winter sports, plan to visit Slovenia in January. Winter activities include skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing in Triglav National Park, and nearby areas.
One full day is enough to explore the main city attractions of Ljubljana. Two days (with one overnight stay) will allow you to enjoy a relaxed break where you can take in fresh air at the Tivoli Park, enjoy local cuisines, or spend time wandering the Central Market.
Slovenia is not super expensive. It is not like Switzerland or Iceland that you need to specially budget, but it is not as affordable as Belgrade or Zagreb either. The services, and money value was at par with what we spend here in Canada. We found great accommodation at the centre, tours were affordable at less than $100 USD per day.
For a short trip to the Balkans, a visit to Slovenia and the north/central part of Croatia is an excellent choice. You can fly into Zagreb, and then travel to Slovenia and spend a couple of days there. After exploring Ljubljana make your way to Split, explore and also cover Plitvice Lakes National Park.
If you wish to extend this itinerary, you can go further south to Dubrovnik, or head to Mostar from Split (Mostar and Sarajevo are located in Bosnia Herzegovina).
We hope you found our post useful in planning our next adventure to Slovenia!
Read our Balkan Travel Guides below