This ultimate Slovenia road trip guide will help you plan an itinerary for visiting the country by car. When I first started seeing photos of Slovenia, I knew it was somewhere I wanted to explore. If you read the post on “7 reasons why to visit,” it shares a lot about how special Slovenia is. Photos don’t do it justice and it truly is hard to put into words how beautiful it is. From grand outdoor landscapes to a bustling capital city, Slovenia was one of the most diverse countries I’ve visited.
After deciding on a 9-day road trip through Slovenia, I set out to do as much research as possible beforehand. From reading other blog posts to stories, I wanted to gather as much information as possible for my first chance to visit Slovenia. This may be a lengthy blog post, but it will go into detail everything you’ll need to know on how to road trip through Slovenia.
Road tripping through Slovenia is one of the best ways to see the country. It will give you a chance to be spontaneous, to stay and wander as you like. It’s a country best seen by a car and couldn’t recommend this way of travel more. So here’s a look at my ultimate Slovenia road trip guide.
[This trip was made possible with support from the Slovenian Tourist Board. A huge thank you for helping make this trip happen.]
The Ultimate Slovenia Road Trip Guide
How to Get to Slovenia
My first recommendation is to fly in the capital city of Ljublana. This will give you a great first taste and as you’ll see in the itinerary, you’ll want a few nights here to start. Starting in Ljubljana is the ideal spot as you can do an almost perfect circle to these stops mentioned in this itinerary.
Flight options: For flights into Slovenia from the US, you’ll likely have to connect in other major airports in the EU, like Frankfurt or London.
Easyjet, Air France, Lot Airways and other airlines run flights from major cities as well. Alternatively, if you’re in Austria or Italy already, you could consider self-driving in as it’s not too far away.
Getting into Ljublana from the airport: On arrival in Ljublana, you can either take a taxi for around 40-50 euros or use a shared van service on arrival (30-40 minutes into town). The shared van company is called “GoOpti “and is located just outside the baggage claim. You just let them know where you’re going and they will take you there for around 10-15 euros. (you do not need a car in Ljubljana).
Renting a Car in Slovenia
You’ll want to pick up a car in Ljublana when you’re ready to depart for your road trip. I’d recommend not getting one until the day you leave the city. There are multiple rental car companies in the city center and be sure to reserve in advance. The car rental I had was with Europcar and they were very professional to work with. Only a 10-minute walk from the apartment, it was super easy to head over and pick up the car to depart.
You’ll want to book insurance or use a credit card that provides international car insurance. You’ll find many dirt roads if you make your way into the Logar Valley region especially.
Driving in Slovenia
Having driven in Europe before, driving in Slovenia was similar to other countries in the EU. Be prepared for many roundabouts, single-lane freeways with cars passing, and some fast speeds. I’d recommend you have a strong GPS service for the backcountry roads or ensure your phone’s data is fast enough to load maps.
I’d recommend as well to always carry cash for gas payment as a backup to credit cards and a full tank between long drives.
What to Know Before Visiting Slovenia
- The mountain regions and countryside towns are seasonal. Some of the restaurants and hotels will close through the winter. Be sure that beforehand if there is somewhere you want to visit, that it is open for the season.
- Visiting in October is wonderful as the climate is still mild enough to be outside and there are fewer crowds. For Slovenia, I highly recommend visiting on shoulder seasons like September-October or April-May.
- You could spend anywhere from 1 to 2 weeks here. There is a lot to do and my recommendation is to do a deep dive and slowly travel to really experience Slovenia in its fullest.
- Euros is the currency here and cash is required at some restaurants. I’d recommend pulling cash out at a bank ATM for the best currency exchange.
- Slovenian is the official language and you will find most speak English as well.
- For fall or early spring seasons, you’ll want to have good layers, especially for the mountain regions as weather can shift fast.
Accommodations in Slovenia
For Slovenia, it was really exciting to stay in a diverse range of accommodations. From Airbnbs to luxe hotels, to small cabins on a mountain, Slovenia has a range of it all. I’d recommend 2-3 nights in each of these destinations to do a deep dive. I’ll make some recommendations below for each destination. I think it’s really nice to have a few different experiences here, to support local businesses as much as possible.
Where I Went in Slovenia
This section of the post is going to be in the order of the regions visited in Slovenia. You’ll find a quick description of what there is to experience and points of interest. In each section, recommendations for hotels and food will be described as well. You can easily plan an itinerary in the order of the destination below, or even consider doing the route backward. My one suggestion is to have an idea of what you want to do in each location before deciding how many nights.
For instance, you may not want to hike at all, so two nights in the Logar Valley could be too long or vice versa, you want to do more hikes, so consider three nights.
The first stop in Slovenia was Ljubljana. What a wonderful introduction to the country and a perfect place to rest for a few days before hitting the road. The city is incredibly walkable and I’d recommend booking a hotel or Airbnb right in the heart of the city for easy access.
- Hotel recommendation: Grand Hotel Union, Hotel Cubo, Intercontinental, and Hotel Lev.
- Airbnb: Use this link for $40 off your first home booking. I’d book right in the city center or near the river to easily walk into the old town.
You could easily spend 3-4 nights in the city depending on how much you want to see and explore. If you plan on visiting the castle, museums, and other attractions, the Ljubljana Card is great as it’s a cheaper price for admission to multiple locations. You can book as well by 24, 48, or 72 hours.
Some highlights included a visit to the Ljubljana Castle, a tour of Jože Plečnik’s home, exploring the old town, and a scenic river cruise. For me, the joy here was found in exploring and getting lost down the streets of the old town. A sunset cocktail at “Skyscaper” was memorable and there are some incredible food and cafes.
I’ll have a full city guide out soon but for now, restaurants like Julija, Restaurant Atelje, and Abi Falafel were great. Be sure to grab a coffee at either Črno Zrno or Stow and a treat at Sister Kurtoš.
The Logar Valley
The first stop on the road trip was in the Logar Valley in the Solčava District. It reminded me of the Dolomites, but quieter and rather untouched. One road cuts into the Logar Valley where the Kamnik Alps tower over. This region is where you want to go for incredible hikes, taste local cuisine, and be in nature. This region has three valleys — the Logar, Robanov Kot, and Matkov Kot. I spent most of the time in the Logar Valley.
Staying at the Hotel Plesnik for two nights was incredible as its location is great for exploring the area and the relaxing spa is wonderful.
- Please note: 7 euro entry fee for the Logar Valley Road.
- I’d go for a walk starting from the Hotel Plesnik (you can park adjacent here) and go through the valley to the end where you ascend to Rinka Falls. The hike to the falls from the base of its parking lot is only 20 minutes up. So to make a longer walk/hike out of it, start at the beginning of the valley.
- Other hikes include up to Klemenči Jami, a hut that sits above the valley and is 1 hr 15 minutes one way up. The hut is open seasonally for lunch as well, but be sure to check ahead. Alternatively, grab lunch at Dom Planincev on the valley floor.
Another highlight is driving the Solčava Panoramic Road — a 21km route that winds on the mountain above the Logar Valley. There are 12 stops, all with signage, with panoramic views and local farms that you can stop at to grab cheeses and meats. I’d recommend eating lunch at “Marjeta Štiftar” to try local dishes (call ahead to confirm opening hours). Be sure to pop into the town of Solčava.
Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj
The next stop from the Logar Valley was to Lake Bled. It’s an iconic lake in Slovenia with a magical island that sits in the middle with a church. Stopping in for one night was plenty of time to see Lake Bled itself, though you could have easily spent a night over in Lake Bohinj to spent time hiking and relaxing.
On arrival, I went straight to Lake Bohinj to see the emerald water and walk a bit around the lake. Afterward, just a 20-minute drive, I returned to Lake Bled to check-in at Vila Bled. This hotel has an incredible location on the lake and is one of the more luxe accommodations. It’s a historic villa and is really well-known for being the former summer residence of Yugoslav President Tito. Today it’s an upscale hotel with a great restaurant and stunning view.
For the full day in Lake Bled, a hike up to Mala Osojnica was a challenging adventure but worth the views. Other highlights included walking around the lake, a visit to Bled Castle, trying the famous Bled cake, and dinner at Oštarija Peglez’n (order the gnocchi!).
*One thing I missed out on was taking a boat out to the island, this came highly recommended and would definitely do it next time.
Kranjska Gora and Lake Jasna
This was one part of Slovenia I wish I had one or two more nights in. Just stopping in for a night wasn’t enough time to really enjoy how stunning this region is. On arrival, it was great to check into Jasna Chalet Resort that sat at the base of Lake Jasna. This sustainable hotel is doing something really special and its commitment to protecting nature just out front of its doors is wonderful. Their suites are beautiful and getting to wake up on the lake is something I won’t forget.
In this area, there is a lot to do — from hikes, scenic drives, and lakes to explore. Lake Jasna is a wonderful spot to visit, you can go for a walk, grab a drink at Jasna Chalet, and eat a burger at Black Swan Burger (for an upscale meal, book a table at Milka for their prix fixe dinner).
Nearby, there is the Zelenci Reserve, a short walk that brings you to a beautiful emerald lake. You can climb up a tower and get some great views as well.
Another part of this area that I didn’t have enough time to explore was Triglav National Park. Though we drove up to Vršič Pass (recommend doing), there are many hikes to do here that soar out into the mountains. There are restaurants and other points of interest that are in the Julian Alps here as well. If you want really great hiking, I think Triglav National Park is the place to go — see this site for recommendations.
A part of Slovenia that I felt I just barely scratched the surface on was the scenic Soča Valley. This region is breathtaking in its own way, with the Soča River that is emerald and turquoise cutting through. It’s famous for a breed of marble trout that is in the river.
Along the way, there are small towns, outdoor destinations, and some great eats. The first highlight was a visit to the town of Kobarid for two things — the Kobarid Museum and lunch at Hiša Polonka. The Kobarid Museum is dedicated to the First World War and is one of the most moving museums I have been to. It’s won numerous awards for its exhibits and it gives insight to what shaped this part of Slovenia.
Just down the street is another special gem — Hiša Polonka. You may have heard of Hiša Franko, Chef Ana’s restaurant that was featured on Netflix’s Chef’s Table. This is her husband’s restaurant and one of the most memorable meals I had on the trip. Local and hearty cuisine is the name of the game here and you’ve got to order both the “Frika” and the roast beef dish.
Afterward, you’ll need to go for a walk so I’d head to the Tolmin Gorge. Pay a small fee to enter and go for a circle loop walk that takes around an hour or so through the gorge. The colors of the water here are incredible and it is very peaceful.
For the area, I’d book at Nebesa Chalets for accommodations. Nebesa means “heaven” and it feels like that is exactly where you are. These four renovated chalets sit high up on the mountain, feeling like you’re above the clouds. They’re beautifully designed and equipped for a self-service experience. In the communal area, there is a spa and a kitchen that you can help yourself to, with houses wines and charcuterie as well.
*You could spend quite a few days here exploring, 2-3 nights would be wonderful and give you time to go to Triglav National Park as well.
Goriška Brda Region
The final stop in Slovenia was in the Goriška Brda region, also known as wine country. I was most excited to discover what Slovenian wine was all about and this region is famous for wine. It reminds me a bit of Tuscany yet more intimate. The area is picturesque with rolling hills that are dotted with wineries and local farms.
I only spent a day in the wine region and eventually made my way back that night to be close to Ljubljana airport, staying at Dvor Jezeršek Hotel (only 5 minutes from the airport). You could spend easily a few nights in Goriška Brda region to experience more wineries and local towns.
Some of the highlights:
- Tasting wine at Edi Simčič Wine Cellar and Laquin. Both of these wineries are beautiful and showcase Slovenian wine wonderfully. Edi Simčič Wine Cellar is one of the larger producers and exporters in Slovenia. Laquin is more of a smaller winery and has a great wine tasting bar where you can try their incredible Malvazija and Chardonnay.
- Stopping in the village of Šmartno. This picturesque village is in the heart of the region and a cultural heritage monument. I’d stop in, go for a walk, and visit the church.
- Visiting Vila Vipolže. This renaissance villa dates back to the 12th century when the first castle was built and today has been restored to a stunning villa. You can stop in and visit and grab lunch at the restaurant which is what it is known for. It’s local and farm to table Slovenian food.
- Experiencing Art Circle in Brda. This is a special event that happens once a year in this region. Over 60 international artists are invited for a week to this wine region to stay with local hosts. They produce art while staying as a resident and leave this art behind for locals and guests to enjoy. It’s a really special workshop and unique to this part of Slovenia.