My short break in Slovenia is one of the most memorable trips I’ve taken in recent years.
With so many things to do in Slovenia, most of them centred around its stunning natural beauty, this small European country is quickly growing in popularity. You’ll be on the right track if you think of a destination more untouched than Italy’s Dolomites and less expensive than Switzerland’s breathtaking vistas.
This guide will break down some of the absolute best things to do in Slovenia: some of which I had the joy of doing during my short stay there and many which are still on my bucket list for the future!
1. Explore Ljubljana, Slovenia’s picturesque capital city
Ljubljana, the Green Capital of Europe in 2016, is a city that seamlessly blends urban charm with nature. With the Ljubljanica River running through the centre, it’s an incredibly picturesque city that makes the perfect jumping-off point to your adventures in Slovenia.
Ljubljana is incredibly walkable, thanks to regulations that have made its city centre car-free since 2008. Enjoy some of the great food on offer, stroll through the lush streets and parks, like Tivoli Park, or take a boat ride or paddleboarding trip along the river in the summer. We particularly loved watching the sunset from the castle – you can walk up or take the funicular.
All in all, the city’s commitment to sustainability and green spaces makes it a unique and refreshing European destination.
2. Zelenci Nature Reserve
Nature lovers, this one’s for you – as is most of Slovenia! A stunning nature reserve in the Julian Alps, Lake Zelenci was the most unexpected wonder we visited on our trip to Slovenia – and it’s not far from Ljubljana!
Whether you’re road tripping or taking a day trip, Lake Zelenci is one of Slovenia’s true gems that you won’t want to miss. We actually took a tour ourselves that took us to Zelenci and a few other nearby gems, so I’d recommend this as an option if you’re short on time or not driving yourself.
The vibrant green lake and the surrounding landscapes create a picturesque setting for a peaceful escape. You can hike the surrounding trails, breathe in the fresh alpine air and generally just spend a few hours in awe at the peaceful surroundings.
3. Go skiing
For winter or adrenaline sports enthusiasts (neither of which I am), Slovenia offers a paradise of snowy adventures.
Kranjska Gora, a winter hotspot, not only boasts excellent skiing but also offers delightful cakes to indulge in when you’re done. You can even experience the thrill of ski jumping at Planica, home to the world’s highest ski jump – although it’s worth paying a visit just to gawp at the crazy height even if you won’t be partaking!
Whether you prefer the illuminated slopes of Pohorje or the scenic trails of Rogla, Slovenia’s winter sports scene caters to all levels of enthusiasts.
4. Explore gorgeous Bled
Bled, with its enchanting lake and fairytale island, is a must-visit destination in Slovenia.
For the best panoramic views, take on the Ojstrica hike for a breathtaking vantage point, capturing the essence of Bled’s natural beauty. We also very much enjoyed indulging in the famous Bled cream cake, a local delicacy that sweetens your visit to this picturesque gem.
Clifftop Bled Castle overlooks the lake and while you can explore the castle, we weren’t sure it was worth the entry fee as much of it was closed off during our visit! However the courtyard does offer more wonderful panoramic views of the lake and surrounding Alps.
While Lake Bled is undeniably gorgeous 99% of the time and one of the top things to do in Slovenia, my experience sadly wasn’t as you’d expect! Read about my expectations vs reality of Lake Bled here.
5. Hiking in the Julian Alps
The Julian Alps are a haven for hikers, offering a network of trails with breathtaking views and while I didn’t get to explore any on my four day trip to Slovenia, it’s on my bucket list to go back and enjoy more of Slovenia’s scenic walks!
From alpine meadows to rugged peaks, there’s an unforgettable outdoor experience in the Julian Alps for avid trekkers and casual hikers alike.
If you’re all about conquering mountains, Triglav National Park is home to Slovenia’s highest mountain, Triglav. Experienced hikers can summit Triglav on a two day trip; one day to reach base camp then an overnight stay before you summit the following day. You can see the distant peak of Triglav in my photo below!
6. Raft down the River Soca
Adventure seekers, get ready for an adrenaline-pumping experience with white-water rafting.
The emerald-green waters of the Soca River set the stage for an exhilarating rafting journey through the picturesque Slovenian landscape. With its challenging rapids and stunning surroundings, Soca River promises a thrilling adventure – particularly during spring and autumn when the water levels are highest.
For a different kind of thrill, experience ziplining in Slovenia’s Krnica Valley. Feel the rush as you zip across scenic landscapes, from treetop to treetop. Zipline Slovenia have 2-3 hour adventures which include 5 ziplines between 500 – 700m long each between two mountain peaks, Mount Kanin and Mount Rombon.
It’s a fantastic way to add an adrenaline kick to your Slovenian adventure while enjoying the breathtaking views below.
8. Have a canyoning day out
Once you’ve conquered Bovec’s heady heights, it’s time to explore the lower valley with a canyoning adventure in Sušec.
You’ll navigate through narrow gorges, plunge into crystal-clear pools, and marvel at the natural wonders sculpted by water. This experience is suitable for beginners as well as families, making it a great jumping off point (literally) to your adrenaline-fuelled Slovenian getaway.
For those with more experience in canyoning, Kozjack is a more demanding experience with 10 metre gorge jumps and 20 metre waterfall plunges to test even the bravest of visitors!
Whichever you choose, the canyons offer an immersive experience into Slovenia’s rugged terrain, combining excitement and natural beauty.
9. Lake Jansa
Jansa, located near Kranjska Gora and the Italian border, serves as a gateway to the majestic Julian Alps.
The region, crowned by the highest peak, Triglav, beckons outdoor enthusiasts. We headed to Jansa after our tour to explore the lake but I imagine it would be the most gorgeous place to spend a summer’s day surrounded by mountains and crystal clear water.
Jansa is a real haven for those seeking an authentic alpine experience but makes the perfect day trip when combined with some other attractions listed above. Read more about our day exploring Lake Zelenci, Lake Jansa and Kranjska Gora here.
For a bird’s-eye view of Slovenia’s stunning landscapes, try paragliding in the Soca Valley or even above Lake Bled!
Soar high above the Julian Alps and take in the panoramic beauty of lakes, mountains, and valleys. It’s an exhilarating activity that provides a unique perspective of Slovenia’s natural wonders.
11. Postojna Cave
Delve into the underground wonders of Slovenia with a visit to Postojna Cave, a marvel inside the Postojna Cave National Park.
Explore a network of secret tunnels and marvel at the spectacular formations created over centuries. The cave’s mystical ambiance and unique formations make it a captivating experience for spelunking enthusiasts and curious visitors alike. Plus, that’s not all there is to explore in this national park…
12. Prejama Castle
Situated within the Postojna Cave National Park, Prejama Castle is a unique marvel perched at the entrance of a cave!
Discover the medieval charm of this castle and explore the network of secret tunnels within the cave. The castle’s strategic location and intriguing history adds another layer to your experience by combining the cave’s natural mystery with this fortress-like castle.
13. Lake Bohinj
Another of Slovenia’s famously stunning lakes is Lake Bohinj, a large and incredibly peaceful lake just 30 minutes from Bled.
Honestly, there isn’t a huge amount to do in Bohinj during the winter months except enjoy the scenery with a lakeside walk – or a cold water dip if you’re feeling brave! Lake Bohinj is best visited in the summer months where you can really enjoy all the activities that the area has to offer, such as paddleboarding, kayking and swimming.
14. Explore the Vintgar Gorge
Vintgar Gorge is one of the most popular things to do in Slovenia, particularly as it’s located just 10 minutes away from Bled.
Make your way to Vintgar Gorge for a captivating experience along the Radovna River. Immerse yourself in the stunning scenery featuring waterfalls, pools, and rapids, including the majestic Sum waterfall. Opt for the out-and-back route or venture on a 12.5km (around 3-4 hours) hike to Sveta Katerina that loops back around to the upper car park.
Make sure to arrive first thing as it gets super busy – especially during the summer months – or visit later on in the day for the quieter periods. Otherwise, you’ll be sharing the wooden boardwalks with a lot of other people!
15. Visit Piran
Coastal gem Piran beckons with its Venetian Gothic architecture and captivating Adriatic views.
Stroll through the charming streets adorned with historical buildings and visit the Cathedral of St George, including the free-standing Bell Tower, reminiscent of San Marco in Venice. There’s also Tartinijev Trg, Piran’s inner harbor square, to explore on Slovenia’s small section of coastline – most of the rest of the country is landlocked!
16. Skocjan Caves
On this list, the last is by no means the least important.
A UNESCO World Heritage site, Škocjan Caves offer a mesmerising underground spectacle. The massive chambers, complete with the bridge over the Reka River, offer surprisingly breathtaking views to visitors.
The Skocjan Caves promise an unforgettable journey into the depths of Slovenia’s geological wonders. It’s one of the more unexpectedly impressive things to do in Slovenia, and offers a more natural, rugged experience than the other caves higher up this list.
Searching for where to stay in Slovenia? We booked our stay in Ljubljana via Booking.com!