So a few friends and I decided to take a short break to Slovenia in May. We decided on Slovenia mainly because we wanted to go somewhere that none of has had been before and plus Slovenia is super easy to get to from Frankfurt – only about an hour flight.
Overall we had 5 nights in Slovenia and just over 4 full days. We had a different plan for each day and stayed in 4 different parts of the country during our time there.
Before I start with the itinerary that we followed I would like to begin by saying that none of us knew what to expect when traveling to Slovenia. I think we all just thought we would have a nice few days away from work but our expectations weren’t overly high. To say we were pleasantly surprised is an understatement.
Day 1 – 4th May 2016
We flew from Frankfurt into Ljubiajna, which is the Capital of Slovenia. Ljubljana airport is TINY but everything ran extremely smoothly and our bags were already waiting for us by the time we reached baggage claim. We had arranged to rent a car from a small Slovenian company (Atet) which is based at the airport. As there were 5 girls (with big suitcases) we rented a large people carrier. The process was very smooth and the car was perfect for our needs. Overall It cost around 500euro, which seems quite pricey but as it worked out 100euro each it wasn’t too bad.
Hotel: As we arrived quite late we did not get to see much of Ljubljana that night. Instead we drove straight to our first hotel, the Birokrat hotel (http://www.birokrathotel.com). This hotel was extremely clean, the staff were beyond helpful, the breakfast was really nice by hotel standards and the room was perfect. We had booked two rooms, the one I stayed in was a triple room and cost 120euro, which between three people is a bargain. I would definitely recommend this hotel to anyone staying in Ljubljana.
Day 2 – 5th May 2016
As we only panned for half a day in Ljubljana we awoke early for breakfast. After filling up on delicious bread, eggs and pastries we headed to the city centre for a free walking tour at 11am (www.ljubljanafreetour.com). Given that this walking tour was free we weren’t expecting much but the tour was incredible. Our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable and you could tell he was really proud of his country. He took us on a two hour tour of the modern Ljubljana and the more historic Ljubljana. If you ever find yourself lucky enough to be in Slovenia then this tour is well worth it. A taxi to the center will cost you between 5-7euro.
Ljubljana itself is extremely beautiful. For a capital city it is incredibly relaxed and quiet. As a lot of the centre is pedestrianized you can really relax and take everything in while wandering around the streets. There is a great buzz in the city; there is a river with bars and restaurants with outdoor seating areas, street performers and a lot of people who are not consumed by the usual need to rush around that people in capital cities often are.
After the tour we had lunch – soup in a bread bowl (pictured) – and we headed back to the hotel to collect the car and continue our journey. As Ljubljana had excessively exceeded our expectations we were sad that we did not have more time there. Little did we know that what was to come would make up for that.
Our next stop was to visit the renowned Lake Bled. If you google Slovenia, usually the first photo you will see is of Lake Bled. Driving from Ljubljana to Lake Bled took just under an hour and that was with traffic as we were driving at rush hour. The drive is incredibly scenic and the closer and closer that we got to the lake the more and more I fell in love with Slovenia.
Hotel: We had scheduled a one night stay in a hotel called Vila Bled (www.brdo.si/en/vila–bled/vila–bled). Only three of us stayed in this hotel and it cost 263euro for a triple room. Firstly, the location of the hotel could not have been more perfect, it looks right onto the lake and the island in the middle of the lake (see photos). Our room (more like a suite) was amazing, it had one double bed and a single bed, there was also a desk, a fine china press and a huge bathroom – it was extremely grand.
The hotel staff were very helpful and gave us a lot of information on what restaurants to try and where we should go to explore. We had a bottle of champagne on the terrace which overlooked the lake and we also made use of the Jacuzzi in the hotels spa.
The staff also let us know that to get to the island in the middle of the lake we could either pay someone to row us there or we could row for free ourselves on a boat provided by the hotel. We decided on the latter….but that’s for day 3😉
Day 3 – 6th May 2016.
We woke early and had a beautiful breakfast on the terrace with a beautiful view. We had decided that we would row ourselves to the island in the middle of the lake. The hotel provided the boat free of charge which was amazing as I think prices are around 45euro an hour if you are not a hotel guest.
Well, all I can say is that this was such a fantastic experience. Firstly the views on the lake are nothing short of breath-taking. But actually rowing the boat ourselves was the icing on the cake. It was such a good time and really made the trip special. We all took turns at rowing and each one of us was worse than the last, it was a great workout and an unforgettable experience.
The island itself consists of a beautiful church and some more amazing views. I recommend going as early in the morning as you can as, like with anywhere, the later you leave it the more tourists there will be. We had a lovely walk around, stopped for an ice-cream and rowed back, taking a longer route this time to admire some more views.
That afternoon, at the suggestion of hotel staff, we visited Vintgar Gorge which is also in Bled. This place is INCREDIBLE. It is a gorge with a series of wooden bridges leading you through it with waterfalls and rapids along the way. Again, the views here were indescribable. We walked for about two hours, stopping for more ice-cream on the way of course and also getting sprayed by some of the waterfalls along the way.
After our day of exploring we hopped back in our car and began our drive to Bovec. The drive took approximately 1 hour 30 minutes. The roads on this drive were quite windy but again the views more than made up for this.
We arrived in Bovec quite late and didn’t get to do much exploring. We stayed in an apartment that had two double beds and a sofa bed. It was extremely clean and had everything that we needed. It cost only 88euro for the night which between 5 people was next to nothing.
Day 4 – 7th May 2016
For today we had planned a day of outdoor activities with Sports Mix (en.sportmix.si/).
Our first activity for the day was white water rafting. We arrived at 9:30am and were given all the necessary equipment. The staff were extremely lovely and helpful and our instructor, was amazing. The whole thing took about two hours and I can honestly say I have never experienced anything like it in my life, it was incredible. The activity itself was extremely fun and we even got to stop along the way and slide down our raft. The views along the way just got better and better and for me it was a real life changing experience.
I remember thinking afterwards that it was the best thing I have ever experienced in my life….that thought lasted about half an hour until we moved on to our next activity.
That afternoon we went zip-lining. Zip-lining in Bovec is like nothing else you can experience. You are zip-lining over these massive gorges with nature all around you. There is no better way to experience the nature around you. Overall there were 8 lines and each one was better than the next. The instructors were beyond professional and made us all feel very comfortable.
For both activities it cost around 130euro each which was more than worth it in my opinion. I was buzzing for days after that experience and could not recommend Bovec and Sports Mix more highly.
At this stage we had all pretty much fallen in love with Slovenia and did not believe that this country could get any better but once again, we were wrong.
That evening we drove to Piran, which is a small coastal town. The drive took a little over two hours from Bovec.
We went from views of the snowy Alps and waterfalls to a beautiful coastal town with an incredible sea and amazing sunsets.
Hotel: We stayed in Hotel Piran which is located right on the sea and has breath-taking views. The hotel cost 395euro for two nights which was around 130euro between 3 people. Our room was incredible and we had a HUGE balcony that overlooked the sea. We were very very very happy bunnies.
Day 5 – 8th May 2016
Today was our day to relax. We went walking around Piran which had some beautiful seaside walks and we also walked to and explored the city walls. We spent the day by the sea in the hotels bar, drinking amazing cocktails and enjoying delicious foods. Although there is no real sand beach in Piran it is still beautiful and in the afternoon we went for a quick swim in the sea. This town is truly beautiful; it is quiet with lots of lovely small restaurants both on the sea front and hidden on windy streets and pathways.
Day 6 – 9th May 2016
On our last day in Slovenia we woke early and had a lovely breakfast in Hotel Piran. Then we begrudgingly left our beautiful hotel and made our way back to the airport in Ljubljana.
On our drive back to the airport we stopped at the Postojojna Caves and were once again blown away by what Slovenia had to offer us. It was another beautiful day but once you step into the caves it as though you step into another world. First of all if you ever do visit the caves be sure to bring a warm jacket as no matter what the temperature is outside the temperature inside remains a steady 8/9 degrees. Brrrrrrrrrr. To make your way into the heart of the caves you take a short train ride which in itself is fascinating. Then you follow your tour guide on foot through the caves. Our tour guide was incredible. He was very knowledgeable and you could tell that he was really passionate about his work. The caves are like something out of a movie and no photos or videos that we took could even close to do them justice.
As part of the package we bought we also got to visit Predjama Castle which is just up the road from the caves. The castle is special because it is built within a cave mouth. We did the audio tour of the castle which I would very highly recommend. It was very informative and really interesting to learn about the history of the castle.
After our tour of the castle we had one more lunch and headed off for the airport.
Overall – I have been to many countries in Europe, Asia, America and Africa and I can say without a doubt that nowhere has left a mark on me quite like the one that Slovenia has. The beauty of this country is something that I have never come close to experiencing before. Slovenia has everything you could possibly want from mountains to the coast. The Slovenian people were one of the friendliest I have met and seem extremely proud of their heritage. The prices of everything here were extremely affordable and the quality of accommodation, food and activities were top notch.
I cannot stress enough how much you should visit Slovenia…..I know it may not be top of your list but please if you ever have the opportunity to go then please to. I promise you that you won’t regret it.