13 unforgettable day trips from Ljubljana
Slovenia has a wealth of culture, lush nature and a rich cuisine to offer any traveller. For many, exploring Slovenia starts and stops with excursions to Ljubljana and Lake Bled. If you do have a few days to spare, try one of these carefully curated day trips from Ljubljana and expand your knowledge of this wonderful country.
The country is home to one of the most beautiful natural parks in Europe (Triglav National Park), has an unusual history of talking to bees (1 in 200 Slovenians is a beekeeper) and natural, farm to table ingredients being the cornerstone of Slovenian cuisine. In fact, Slovenia is paradise for vegetarians with a rich variety of vegetarian staples forming the bulk of their meals.
Day trips northwest from Ljubljana
Kranjska Gora (1h from Ljubljana)
Explored by Tom and Zi from Craving adventure
Kranjska Gora is the gorgeous area on the northern edge of Triglav National Park. The area is the perfect day trip from Ljubljana if you are looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and immerse yourself in nature.
Triglav National Park is known for its awe inspiring lakes, jaw dropping mountains, and countless opportunities for outdoor activities. All of this, and more can also be found in Kranjska Gora!
This Slovenian region is popular in winter thanks to the multitude of ski slopes, making it one of the most popular day trips from Ljubljana! During the summer Kransjka Gora has plenty of wonderful hikes which are sure to capture the heart of any outdoor lover.
Kransjka Gora is also home to the highest mountain pass of the Julian alps (Vršič Pass) ass well as the highest ski jumping slope of the world (Planica), both are equally impressive and deserve a full day of exploring. Be sure to read on further below to get all the information on these iconic spots!
A five-minute drive from Kranjska Gora town lies the Zelenci Nature Reserve. The most significant feature of this reserve is the Zelenci lake with crystal clear and blue-green coloured spring water, and the majestic Mount Triglav in the backdrop. Simply park the car of the side of road, right after Podkoren and walk to the lake. For the best views of the lake, follow the trail and the boardwalk to the viewing point.
Practical details for visiting Kranjska Gora
Getting there: By car Kranjska Gora is about an hour from Ljubljana, and we highly recommend checking out the Peričnik waterfall on the way. There is also a direct bus connection between Ljubljana and Kranjska Gora, which takes about two hours.
Vršič Pass (1h from Ljubljana)
Explored by Kat from Wandering Bird
Vršič Pass is the highest mountain pass crossings of the Julian Alps. The pass is located in the north-western part of Slovenia and sits at altitude of 1.611 meters. It was originally built in the 19Th century for military and trade purposes, these days it is is open to anyone with a vehicle looking for sweeping vistas and a thrilling drive.
Driving on the Vršič Pass is quite the adventure! The road is paved, and well maintained but has some fifty odd sharp hairpin bends leading you up and down the mountain range. You will not need a specific type of vehicle to navigate the roads, a strong stomach and good command of driving skills will get you through! Please note that during winter the top part of the Vršič Pass is usually closed due to heavy snowfall.
Along the way there are plenty of spots you will want to stop at: Scenic viewing points; bars and restaurants; a swim in Lake Jasna; an Russian orthodox chapel and the famous face in the rocks. If you have some additional time, you might want to partake in one of the many hikes.
Practical details for driving the Vršič Pass
Starting point: Start at Kranjska Gora (route 206)
Length of drive: 2 hours through the pass + 1 additional hour to get from Ljubljana to Kranjska Gota.
What to bring: Bathing suite (for Lake Jasna) and hiking shoes.
Good to know: The road gets busy in the summer. If you want to partake in one of the most thrilling day trips from Ljubljana, be sure to set off early.
Planica (1h from Ljubljana)
Explored by Erki from GENEM Travels
One of the most popular day trips from Ljubljana is a visit the city of Planica. The city is located in northwestern part of Slovenia, on the border with Austria and Italy. Planica is most well known for it’s role as a winter sports hub, especially the adventurous act of ski jumping which requires a very steep hill that athletes can jump from. Planica first built a ski jumping hill back in 1930 and has continued to provide a good training ground for both pro and amateur athletes of the sport. To this day it still holds the title of biggest ski jumping hill in the world.
Aside from ski jumping, the area offers a wide variety of different activities in fact the Planica Nordic centre receives visitors all year long. During the winter the region transforms into an enormous ski resort and in the summer there are plenty of hiking opportunities. For the more adventurous souls, there is an option to jump on the high-speed Planica zipline which starts at the top of the ski jumping hill. The museum in the sports centre offers insights into the history of the region as well as all the records that have been broken on the Planica ski jumping hills.
Practical details for visiting Planica
Getting there: Driving from Ljubljana to Planica will take around one hour. Alternative you can take a direct bus or a direct train from Ljubljana. Be sure to check out the latest timetables.
Lake Bohinj (1,5h from Ljubljana)
Slovenia is without a doubt the greenest country in Europe: an oasis of mountains, lakes, rivers and old seaside towns. In short, the stuff storybooks are made off! One of the most beautiful natural places you can visit on one of the most popular day trips from Ljubljana is without a doubt to Lake Bohinj .
Lake Bohinj is located in the Triglav National Park in Slovenia. It can be visited both in summer and in winter, with plenty of activities for each season. Be sure to peel your eyes away from the breath-taking mountainous surroundings and peer into the crystal clear water. In fact, the lake is so clear that you will be able to count all the stones at the very bottom.
Summer season allows for a variety of different water sports including kayaking, rowing, swimming, SUP as well as a great amount of hiking trails. Be sure to bring a good pair of walking shoes to partake in one of these beautiful hikes around Lake Bohinj. One of the easiest hikes in a 10km hike snaking around Lake Bohinj itself. Expect to encounter beautiful vistas and many picturesque angles of the lake. Lake Bohinj is within walking distance of the most beautiful waterfall in all of Slovenia, Savica Waterfall. Simply follow the signs and the hiking trails starting at the lake.
As the lake is located in the Triglav National Park, there are designated areas containing restaurants and toilets. These are located on the east and west side of the lake. If you are planning on hiking to other parts of the lake, be sure to carry enough water and snacks.
In the winter the nearby Vogel ski resort awaits snow sports enthusiasts with plenty of slopes catering towards all levels of skills.
Practical details for visiting Lake Bohinj
Getting there: If you are hiring a car in Slovenia the drive will take around 90 minutes if you choose the roads without tolls. There is large parking lot on the shore of the lake, halfway between the villages of Ribcev Laz and Stara Fuzina.
If you decide to take the bus, simply hop on the bus at Ljubljana central bus station the bus will make first stop at Lake Bled and then carry on to Lake Bohinj (cost price of your ticket €9)
Vintgar Gorge (45 minutes from Ljubljana)
Explored by Lori from Travlinmad
Vintgar Gorge is an easy drive from Ljubljana and one of the most popular day trips from the capital city of Slovenia. Located in the eastern part of Triglav National Park right next to the popular Lake Bled (roughly 4 kilometres apart). In fact, visiting the gorge and Lake Bled together makes for the perfect action-packed day trip!
Vintgar Gorge is open from April to November and offers splendid hikes that are fun for both kids and adults. There are two different types of hikes to choose from. Both hikes start at the entrance of the gorge, be sure to check out the route conditions before you go at the entrance itself. Along both hikes you will walk on a sturdy wooden walkway built into the cliffs, crisscrossing over the Radovna River leading to the the Šum Waterfall, which have a restroom and a few places to grab a snack before you head back. From here on end, you have two different options.
The Sveta Katarina, starts at the main entrance and leads you through the beautiful Šum Waterfall and finally up to the viewing point of the Church of Saint Katherine. The second hike is the Strma Stran route which will take you past the Šum Waterfall and into the little village of Blejska Dobrava . This hike is more challenging and has a steeper ascent. Both hikes start at the entrance of the gorge, be sure to check out the route conditions before you go at the entrance itself. Along both hikes you will walk on a sturdy wooden walkway built into the cliffs, crisscrossing over the Radovna River leading to the the Šum Waterfall, which have a restroom and a few places to grab a snack before you head back. From here on end, you have two different options.
If you are looking for a longer hike, move your starting point to Lake Bled and hike to the gorge itself (adding 8 kilometers to your hike)
Practical details for exploring Vintgar Gorge:
Getting there: 45 minute car ride from Ljubljana or direct bus from Ljubljana to Lake Bled (€7)
Start of hike to Vintgar Gorge: Start your hike at Lake Bled and follow the signs for the gorge or alternatively take the Mamut shuttle from Lake Bled straight to the mouth of the gorge (€10)
Admission Fee: €10
Lake Bled (40 minutes from Ljubljana)
Explored by Caro from Veggie Wayfarer
Aside from Lake Bohinj, one of the other most popular day trips from Ljubljana takes you to the fairy tale Lake Bled. Surrounded by the Julian Alps, under the watchful eye of Bled Castle sits the crystal clear lake Bled. It is filled with a bevy of swans, and hopeful tourist hoping to see their wishes come true as they sound the bells of the Lake Bled church, planted on the island in the middle of the lake.
According to legend, Lake Bled used to be a vast field of grass where the fairies danced until the wee hours of the morning. One day, they came to dance and all the grass had been eaten by local sheep. Out of wrath they transformed the valley into a lake with a little patch of green in the middle for them to dance on. This story adds to the mythical aura of Lake Bled!
One can easily make visiting Lake Bled a full day excursion from Ljubljana. Partake in some of the popular activities like hiking around the lake, renting a rowboat and visiting Bled Island and ofcourse trying a slice of the famous Bled Cake.
Practical details for visiting Lake Bled
Getting there: There are direct busses from Ljubljana central bus station to Bled bus station, running multiple times a day. The bus ride takes 70 minutes and will set you back €7 (single fare). Once you step of at Bled, simply walk 5 minutes to get to the lake. Alternatively you can drive to Lake Bled which will take around 40 minutes.
Skofja Loka (30 minutes from Ljubljana)
Explored by Emily from Wander-Lush
If you want to get a taste of Slovenia’s pretty Upper Carniola region without venturing too far from Ljubljana, consider taking a day trip to Skofja Loka. The town is just 23 kilometres (14 miles) from the capital and can easily be reached by bus from Ljubljana’s main station in under an hour.
Skofja Loka sits at the confluence of the Poljane Sora and Selca Sora rivers. It’s easily one of Slovenia’s most charming small towns, with two lovely squares and narrow laneways lined with colourful houses. Loka Castle sits on a hill above the town and is home to the Loka Museum, which is definitely worth a visit.
One day is the perfect amount of time to wander around Skofja Loka’s old town and visit the museum. Start by crossing the Capuchin Bridge, a semi-circular stone bridge that’s straight out of a fairytale. Climb the easy path up the opposite hill for panoramic views of the town and castle, then meander your way back down, stopping in at Gostilna Kasca – a traditional Slovenian restaurant set inside Skofja Loka’s old granary – for lunch. Finish your day with a glass of local wine in the courtyard at Kavarna Homan, a cute cafe near the main square that occupies one of the town’s oldest buildings.
Practical details for visiting Skofja Loka
Getting there: Bus company Arriva runs coaches from Ljubljana to Skofja Loka throughout the day and take less than one hour. If you decide to drive from Ljubljana, the ride will take around 30 minutes
Good to know: For a longer day trip, you can combine your visit with the city of Kranj, 20 minutes further north from Skofja Loka towards Bled.
Day trips northeast from Ljubljana
Maribor (1,5 or 2,5h from Ljubljana)
Explored by Maggie from The World Was Here First
If you’re looking for one of the most relaxed day trips from Ljubljana, you really cannot go wrong with visiting Maribor. As Slovenia’s second-largest city, Maribor has a lot to offer visitors, offering them a wide variety of different activities to ensure a fun-packed day trip. course of the day.
The city of Maribor is located in the Styria region, the northern part of Slovenia. This charming and beautiful city is relatively unknown to many tourists, making for a very authentic and relaxed place to explore. Its relative proximity to Ljubljana (one hour by bus or train) and sterling public transport connection will ensure you get there without any hassle.
One of the main reasons to visit Maribor is due to its importance in Slovenian wine cultivation. The city thrives off of the nearby vineyards and there are countless wine bars where you can sample local vintages in a very pleasant setting. Make sure to head to the Old Vine House, which is home to the oldest grape-producing vine in the world (spoiler it is over 400 years old, and counting). Additionally, you could tour the Vinag Wine Cellar which is a massive, labyrinthine wine cellar below the old town.
If you are interested in learning about the history of Maribor and the Styria region be sure to check out Museum of National Liberation and the Maribor Regional Museum. The Maribor regional museum is actually housed in the Maribor castle, which was built in the middle of the city (highly unusual for 15th century castles). Entrance tickets will set you back €5.
No visit to Maribor would be complete without enjoying a gentle hike up Pyramid Hill. This hill overlooking the city is laden with grapevines and it is a favourite spot for locals to stroll on a sunny afternoon. The path is well-maintained and the hike is not difficult.
Practical details for visiting Maribor
Getting there: If you choose to take a road with no tolls, the drive will take around 2,5 hours. The same route, with tolls will take less than 1,5 hours. Alternatively you can take a direct train which leaves from Ljubljana train station and will take 2,5 hours door to door.
Ptuj (1,5h from Ljubljana)
Explored by Džangir from drjamstravels
Ptuj is a little city to the northwest of Ljubljana, being a mere 1,5 hour drive away it is one of the easiest trips from Ljubljana. Day trips in Slovenia usually offer a very scenic ride and Ptuj is no different in that respect!
The city of Ptuj has been around for a very long time. In fact, around 15 BC the city became part of the Roman Empire and was an important stopping point on the Amber Road connecting the Baltic and the Adriatic see. According to records the city had over 30.000 inhabitants in the 3e century making it larger than London and Vienna at the time. The historical importance of Ptuj can be seen in the many archaeological remains that have survived to this day along both sides of the Drava river.
A famous landmark in Ptuj is the medieval castle, perched on top of the hill. It was built in the 12th century to protect the city from invading Hungarians. These days the castle is no longer used to defend the city from invaders but rather as a museum portraying the culture of the region. Ticket prices are around €6 and can be purchased at the entrance of the castle.
The best views over the city are from the castle! Lace up your walking shoes and make the short hike up! On your way down, enjoy the little narrow cobblestoned roads that connect the castle with the town. Make sure to set some time aside to visit the the Pulveturn tower and the Dominican Abby.
If you are visiting Ptuj in the summer, partake in some of the activities on the artificial lake: rowing, swimming, surfing, fishing and even sailing. If your visit happens to coincide with the winter than perhaps you might enjoy a dip in the thermal waters at the Ptuj Spa.
Ptuj becomes very lively during Carnival, when a local tradition of ‘welcoming in spring’ (Kurentovanje) attracts over 60.000 people to the city. You can witness Kurenti, carnival figures dressed in sheepskins horns, feathers, leather masks all through the city. As per tradition the Kurenti make loud noises with their cowbells to scare off the evil spirits of winter.
Practical details for getting to Ptuj from Ljubljana
The easiest way is to drive to Ptuj from Ljubljana. Alternatively you can take a direct train leaving from Ljubljana train station. The train ride will take around 2,5 hours. There is no direct bus from Ljubljana bus station.
Day trips southwest from Ljubljana
Postojna Caves & Predjama Castle (36 minutes from Ljubljana)
Explored by Kami from mywanderlust.pl
Boasting an impressive 11.000 caves, it is safe to say Slovenia knows a thing or two about cave exploration. One of the most popular day trips from Ljubljana is – unsurprisingly – a visit to the Postojna Cave. The cave is the second largest in the world and contains a ‘mere’ 25 kilometres of underground passages. No worries through, during your visit you will not be walking all of these passages, in fact today only a small part of the cave is open to tourists. Nevertheless, the experience will still allow you to get a good feel for the sheer size of the caves! The exploring starts with a small electric train that drives you some 4kms inside the cave, after which your walk inside the cave starts. The average time spent walking around the cave is around 1h.
Once you have explored the natural beauty of the Postojna Caves, it is time for the second part of this day trip. The Predjama castle is within walking distance of the Postojna Cave. It is frequently visited together with the cave, in fact you can grab a combo entrance ticket that will allow you to visit both the cave and the castle together.
The Predjama Castle is a very unique castle, as it built within a cave-mouth some 123 meters off the ground. This renaissance castle has survived for 800 years and is connected by a network of underground cave tunnels. It holds the Guinness World Record of largest cave castle in the world. In shot worth adding to your Slovenia itinerary !
Practical details for visiting Postojna Caves & Predjama Castle
Location: 50 kilometres south-west of Ljubljana
Getting there: The easiest option is to rent a car and drive a short 36 minutes. Ff however a car is not available you can take the train. Direct trains run from the Ljubljana central train station and stop at Postojna. From there the caves are a 30 minute walk.
Entrance fee: Cave and castle combo ticket €40
Good to know: The caves are chilly (8-10 degrees Celsius) so bring a jacket, even in summer!
Skocjan Caves (44 minutes from Ljubljana)
Explored by Roxanne from Farawayworlds
If you have a little extra time in your itinerary, why not go and explore another cave! They are all so very different from each other and the Skocjan Caves are a pretty impressive sight, so much so that they were classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The caves were formed by the Reka River, which still flows through the underground canyon. Inside you will find a plethora of caverns, pools, sinkholes and huge stalactites and stalagmites. A unique part of the experience is definitely crossing above a deep, underground chasm on a narrow bridge. The river is barely visible through the deep blackness below. The whole experiencing is very adventurous though perhaps not so much for the faint hearted. This day trip from Ljubljana is slightly less suited for those suffering from vertigo for this very reason.
After you have finished exploring the underground, you can continue your daytrip by walking around the caves one of the indicated walks which will take you along the river, allowing you to enjoy the gorgeous Slovenian scenery
Practical details for visiting the Skojcan Caves
Getting there: Take the train from Ljubljana train station to Divača station. From there, shuttle buses run regularly between the station and the caves. Alternatively drive 44 minutes from the centre of Ljubljana to the entrance of the cave.
Entrance Fee: €16-24 depending on whether you choose to follow the Reka River underground as well as visiting the underground caverns (possible from April to October).
What to wear: Bring suitable choose and warm clothes for inside the cave
Good to know: The easiest way to get a comprehensive feel of the caves is by taking a tour that can be booked at the entrance.
Piran (1,5h from Ljubljana)
Explored by Emily from Wander-Lush
Slovenia’s prettiest seaside city, Piran is located on the country’s Adriatic Coast roughly 120 kilometres (75 miles) by road from the capital. Every bit as charming as Croatia’s iconic port cities but without the same crowds, Piran is a nice contrast to Ljubljana and the perfect place to soak up some sunshine.
Piran’s history dates back to Illyrian times. In the 13th century, the city became part of the Republic of Venice and flourished as a popular port. Reminders of the centuries spent under Venetian rule can be found all around the city today, including in the beautiful plazas and on the facades of the pastel-coloured buildings that line the main square, Tartini trg. The city also known as Pirano retains strong ties to Italy (it’s only a short drive to the border and the city of Trieste, after all) – in fact, Piran is within one of three Slovenian municipalities where Italian is a co-official language.
After grabbing an espresso on the square, the first order of business is to climb up to the two main viewpoints, the church bell tower and the old city walls, for panoramic views of the peninsula and sparkling bay beyond. Other must-dos in Piran include walking along the seafront to the lighthouse, visiting the exquisite Minorite Monastery, and getting lost in the narrow alleyways that make up the main part of the city. Just beyond Piran, secluded coves offer opportunities for swimming, and you can find shaded hiking trails amongst the olive groves and salt pans along both sides of the coast. In short, Piran is the perfect size for a day trip from Ljubljana.
Practical details for visiting Piran
Getting there: The easiest way to get there from the capital is by bus; local company Arriva runs regular coaches to Piran taking just over 2 hours one-way and costing 12 Euro. The fastest way to get to Piran from Ljubljana is to drive, which will take 1,5 hours.
Day trips southeast from Ljubljana
Bela Krajina (1,5h from Ljubljana)
Explored by Claudia from My Adventures Across The World
Time to explore one of the lesser visited regions in south-eastern Slovenia: Bela Krajina (White Carniola). This beautiful little region shares a border with Croatia and traditionally was only reachable via mountain passes. Which has resulted in a very distinct culture and accent versus the rest of Slovenia. It is a place of handicraft, Slovenian folklore and holds some of the country’s best wineries.
Bela Krajina is about 100 kilometres away from Slovenia and can be done as a daytrip from Ljubljana, although it might be a bit rushed in all honestly. The ideal scenario is to spend a few days exploring all the highlights of this region.
For wildlife spotting and hiking, head over to the Kolpa Natural Park. If you are looking to get a good feel of the culture of the region make your way down to the mill on the Kula River. History lovers will want to check out the Mithraeum of Rozanec, located near Črnomelj. One of the most interesting (free) archaeological sites in Slovenia. The location can be accessed via a path running through a lush chestnut tree forest. And last but not least, explore the remains of the Krupa Castle in Stranska Vas. The Krupa Castle is a 13th century fortress which fell in the 16th century under the Ottoman rule.
The region of Bela Krajina is known for its wine production. So be sure to set aside some time to visit one of the wineries and learn all about the famous Slovenian wines. Pair your wine with some delicious pogaca (local focaccia bread). Enjoy!
Practical details for exploring Bela Krajina
Getting there: Direct busses run from Ljubljana central station to Bela Krajina. The bus ride will take roughly 2 hours, with busses running once a day. Tickets can be bought on the bus (cash only) or at the bus station
Where to stay in Ljubljana
Before booking your trip, you might want to take a look at some practical tips & tricks for visiting Slovenia. Once you have those down, it’s time to book your accomodation.
There are so many places to stay in Ljubljana, each one more comfortable than the next. Below you find a lost of the most sustainable hotels in Ljubljana!
- Bio Apartments Trnulja: This hotel is located 8 kilometres outside of the city centre of Ljubljana in the Nature Park Ljubljansko Barje . It comes with all the modern amenities, and is fully sustainable. In fact the premises is actually a working organic farm. You can partake in horseback riding, or whiz around the property in an electric car.
- Hostel Celica Art: This iconic hostel in the centre of the art district of Ljubljana. This hip hostel has a strict sustainability policy. The hostel is perfect for the budget conscious traveller or for those of you looking for a very unique location to stay.
- B&B Hotel Ljubljana Park: The first hotel in Slovenia that achieved the prestigious Travelife Gold certification for their commitment to sustainable development. The hotel management raises funds for different community projects each year and host the “urban & green” events for local suppliers. The 3-star hotel is conveniently located in the centre Ljubljana, close to all the tourist hotspots.
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