7-Day Road Trip through Breathtaking Slovenia
Food & Wine
Road Trip Travel
Wide-open country roads, water the color of true turquoise, and alpine landscapes that will take your breath away. One of Europe's greatest hidden gems, Slovenia is a country that remains at the top of every sophisticated traveler's bucket list. Home to an award-winning wine region, medieval castles and charming cobblestoned villages, glacial rivers and lakes and of course, Hisa Franko, one of the World’s 50 Best restaurants, Slovenia is a real-life fairytale that will activate all of your senses in an unforgettable way.
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Where to stay
InterContinental Ljubljana, an IHG Hotel
Luxury high-rise hotel with stylish rooms in the heart of Ljubljana.
$100 food / beverage credit.
Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.
Sunrose 7 - Heritage Boutique Hotel
Upscale adults-only hotel near Lake Bohinj with a fine dining restaurant and on-site wellness options.
Elegant boutique hotel with contemporary rooms in the Julian Alps.
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Day 1: Ljubljana
Upon arrival in Ljubljana, grab a bite at one of the many up and coming eateries in Slovenia's capital city. Ljubljana is as romantic as it is charming and is a pioneering sustainable city.
After you're well fed, stroll through the pedestrian-only Old Town, sip coffee by the leafy banks of the Ljubljanica River, or take in the baroque architecture and hilltop sixteenth-century Ljubljana Castle.
Places to eat in Ljubljana
Tabar (Ribji trg 6): Tapas bar awarded for its cuisine by the New York Times. Brings a Slovenian twist to the concept of tapas and wine bars. One of the hottest places in Ljubljana with a relaxed atmosphere.
Fetiche Patisserie (Cankarjevo nabrezje 25): Award winning French specialties: macaroons, chocolate or coffee éclairs and other classic French desserts.
Wine bar Suklje (Breg 10): Wine bar with over 400 wine labels from all over the world.
Cacao (Gosposvetska cesta 2): In a prime location just steps away from Ljubljana’s famed Prešernov Trg, Cacao is the city’s top destination for ice cream lovers. The ice cream at Cacao is phenomenal and the choice of flavors is unique: strawberry, banana, mango sorbet, wild strawberry and every sort of chocolate you could wish for!
EK Bistro (Petkovskovo nabrezje 65): Famed breakfast known for their egg benedicts.
Lolita Eipprova (Eipprova ulica 19): Delicious coffee in a beautiful setting.
Dobrote Dolenjske (Mestni trg 17): Wine and cheese store; great gastro souvenirs.
Places to explore in Ljubljana
Triple Bridge / Tromostovje.
Tivoli City Park.
Day 2: Lake Bled & Bohinj
Depart Ljubljana and drive north to Lake Bled. On the way, stop in Skofja Loka, one of the oldest towns in Slovenia. Located a bit off-the-beaten-path and well worth the drive, this town is one of the most fairytale-esque places in the country - think hilly countrysides and buildings with Baroque frescoes. From here, it’s another 30 minutes to Lake Bled. There’s a reason Lake Bled is one of Slovenia’s most popular sites. With its emerald waters, church-dotted islet and views of the Julien Alps, this town is nothing short of beautiful.
It’s worthwhile to get out on the water here, so consider renting a rowboat or paddle boards. You can rent paddle boards at a dock on the southwestern side of the lake, near Vila Bled. This costs 10 euro per hour per board. For one of the best views of Lake Bled, hike to Mala Osojnica. It’s a quick hike, a little bit on the strenuous side, but the reward is an iconic, aerial view of Lake Bled. The hike starts on the west side of the lake. There is a small sign marketing the trailhead. The entire hike takes 45 minutes to one hour roundtrip. After some activity, it’s time for relaxation. Find a small, lakefront cafe, like Confectionary Zima, and indulge on Bled Cream Cake and beer. Bled Cream Cake is the regional dessert and worth trying while here.
Once you've seen the sights, drive west to your resting place for the evening near Bohinjsko Jez lake in Triglav National Park. Explore the lake by foot and then grab dinner at the delicious Pension Resje Restaurant. Be sure to make a reservation in advance!
Days 3 - 5: Soca Valley
Day 3 will be a brake-often road trip because the views will just stop you in your tracks. Leave early from Lake Bohinj and start your day at the off-the-beaten-path Zelenci Nature Reserve. A short walk to the viewpoint will be worth stretching your legs for. Then, continue on Route 206 toward Lake Jasna, another place that hosts gorgeous vistas to marvel at. The next chunk of this drive is full of alpine switchbacks and will lead you through the stunning Vrsic pass in Triglavski National Park.
As you exit the mountain pass, you'll find yourself amongst green forests and a shockingly blue Soca River. The Soca River is considered to be one of the most beautiful rivers in Europe. Its water flows across waterfalls, cascades, and rocky gorges and along the way, welcomes visitors to its surprising canyons and pools. While you're here, visit the small and great Soca gorge. You can dive into the water should you so choose, but recall that this gushing river stems from alpine glaciers, so it's shockingly cold!
Before you settle for the evening, visit Boka waterfall, the highest waterfall in Slovenia, and town of Kobarid for a lite lunch at Hisa Polonka, the casual sister restaurant to Hisa Franko. The restaurant's bistro style meals entail local cuisine and dishes born from old family recipes. Plus, they brew their own beer, Feo.
Check-into Hisa Franko, your lodging for the evening. Here, you'll be dining with the infamous Ana Rose at her restaurant featured on the popular Netflix series, "Chef's Table". Not only is this one of the World’s 50 Best restaurants, it was also recently awarded two Michelin Green Stars in 2020 for its innovation in sustainable gastronomy and is one of the newest foodie destinations to know now.
The next day, continue to explore Soca Valley as you so choose. You can:
- Visit Sotocje Tolminke, a beautiful beach oasis at the confluence of the Tolminka and Soca Rivers.
- Seek out Slap Kozjak, a 15 meter waterfall with a turquoise pool.
- Go hiking, E-mountain biking or paragliding.
- Book a tour with Kayak Soca or Bovec-SUP for a tour on the river.
- Fly fish the tributaries for the local marble trouts.
No matter your chosen activity, you'll want to ensure you're back for sunset at your magical oasis for the evening, Klavze 28. You also will not want to drive the road here once it's dark given you'll be driving alongside a cliff to access the property (trust me!).
Day 6: Brda
Head to the hidden-gem Brda wine region today to savor some of the world's best orange and biodynamic wines. You can complete an intimate vineyard tour, or choose to pop-into these wineries at leisure (although I would recommend making tasting bookings in advance). Ultimately, you most not miss Movia, Simcic, Vinska hisa Bjana and Katja wineries. They are outstanding!
Your hotel for the evening is Vinotheque Gredic, a restored 1600s rural villa with beautiful modern rooms and a must visit wine cellar.
Day 7: Piran
About an hour and half southeast is the coastal town of Piran. Situated on a picturesque peninsula on the Adriatic coastline, Piran is one of Slovenia's most beautiful cities. Its pedestrian-only Old Town is reminiscent of Venice, just across the way, with Gothic architecture, alfresco wine bars, narrow alleyways and striking sunsets. While here, grab a book, sit by the ocean and enjoy a day at leisure.
Places to eat in Piran
Pirat (Župančičeva ulica 26): This restaurant serves a wide range of seafood dishes and the portions are large. Pirat is located right along the harbor, just a few minutes walk from Tartini Square.
Fritolin pri Cantini (Prvomajski trg 6): Located in the maze of streets that make up the old town, this great budget restaurant serves delicious seafood dishes. Come early, because this may have been of my best meals in Slovenia and other travelers know it!
Places to explore in Piran
The Church of St. George: Climb up the hill behind Tartini Square to visit the Church of St. George. Modeled after St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice, this church is a great spot to get unique views over Piran and the coast. From the yard that surrounds the church, you can look down at the small slivers of rocky beaches that surround the old town. Off in the distance, you can see the Italian and Croatian coastlines.
Walk the Medieval Walls: For another unique view over Piran, you can walk this short stretch of medieval walls. It is an uphill walk to get here, and it can be very hot in the summer months, but it is worth it for this view.
The next morning, it's about an hour or so back to the airport to head home, but hopefully you'll have plenty of wine, cheese, and olive oil in your bag as souvenirs from your splendid week in Slovenia!
Need to Know
Looking for more adventure travel inspiration? Check out my guide to Iceland: 8-Day Road Trip Itinerary around Iceland's Ring Road and my guide to Norway: Outdoor Exploration in Norway: Lofoten, Bergen, Flam & Oslo.
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