Slovenia is one of the most charming destinations in Europe, with fairytale good looks in medieval towns, the stunning snow-capped Julian Alps, turquoise rivers, sapphire lakes, and plenty of historic sites. With over half of its surface covered in forest, it’s one of the greenest countries in more ways than one. Plus, outdoor adventure abounds with opportunities to hike, bike, kayak, raft, explore on horseback, or ski, while providing a fascinating mix of Slavic, Italian, and German cultures that can be tasted in the mouthwatering cuisine.
Slovenia’s capital and largest city is one of Europe’s greenest and most liveable capitals; it was the European Commission’s Green Capital of Europe in 2016. Car traffic is restricted in the centre, leaving the leafy banks of the emerald-green Ljubljanica River, which flows through the city’s heart, free for pedestrians and cyclists. In summer, cafes set up terrace seating along the river; it almost feels like a nightly street party.
When to visit Ljubljana
Summer is by far the most popular time to visit Slovenia although it won’t be as crowded as compared to many other Mediterranean destinations. This is a lovely season to enjoy Ljubljana with its outdoor cafes and picnics along the Ljubljanica River. It’s also ideal for swimming in Lake Bled and rafting the Soca River, with temperatures in the region that can climb to the upper 80s. That said, the foliage in autumn rivals even that of New England while the air is crisp and cool. Early fall is a wonderful time for hiking in the mountains and sightseeing.
Matilda Your Croatia Expert
How many days do you need in Slovenia?
While it’s possible to fit the two most popular destinations, Ljubljana and Lake Bled into a 2-day trip, you really need at least four days to discover the highlights, including classic spots like Predjama Castle and Triglav National Park. A week will give you time to explore them all at a pace that isn’t as rushed. You can visit the capital as well as Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj before making your way to the Soca Valley to zip-line through canyons or raft the Soca River. The Brda wine region, caves, castles, and even the coast can be visited too.
What is the best time to visit Lake Bled?
While Bled is magical year-round, it may be at its most breathtaking in the fall when the emerald waters of Lake Bled will be framed by brilliant foliage all set against a backdrop of the soaring Alps. This is a fabulous time for hiking and capturing photos without the crowds. If you visit the lake at sunrise you’ll be able to capture spectacular reflection photos as the first rays of the sun break through the morning sky.
What are the essential sites to see in Slovenia?
While the mountains and other natural attractions are a must, you won’t want to miss the sites in Ljubljana like Ljubljana Castle which has stood atop Castle Hill for over 900 years overlooking the city. Lake Bled is another top spot, including the islet at its heart that’s topped by Our Lady of the Lake Church – rent a rowboat to explore it. Predjama Castle, uniquely set within the mouth of a cave midway up a cliff, and the Skocjan Caves are two of the other not-to-be-missed highlights.
Is Slovenia worth visiting?
Despite being an under-the-radar destination, and perhaps partly because of that, Slovenia provides an unforgettable escape with great diversity. It may be small, but it has an incredible range of landscapes from stunning coast and flat plains to deep caves and the high peaks of the Alps. Visitors rave about its glacial lakes, charming medieval towns, vineyard-covered hills, and storybook castles too. From exploring history to taking part in thrilling activities like zip-lining, it offers something for everyone.