Ljubljana is one of my favourite capital cities in Europe, compact but full of character and with plenty of things to do. It’s located bang in the middle of Slovenia, and with it being such a small country, it is very convenient to base yourself in Ljubljana and explore the rest of the country on day trips. Or if you only have a couple of extra days, there are plenty of options for easy day trips too. Here are some of the best places to visit in Slovenia on day trips from Ljubljana.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best places to visit in Slovenia on day trips from Ljubljana
- 1.1 Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle
- 1.2 Lake Bled
- 1.3 Kranjska Gora and Lake Jasna
- 1.4 Julian Alps
- 1.5 Savica Waterfall
- 1.6 Lake Bohinj
- 1.7 Vogel Mountain
- 1.8 Soča Valley
- 1.9 Kobarid
- 1.10 Skofja Loka
- 1.11 Velika Planina
- 1.12 Savinja Valley
- 1.13 Maribor
- 1.14 Piran
- 1.15 Koper
- 1.16 Idrija
- 1.17 Podčetrtek
- 1.18 Bela Krajina
- 2 Bonus Entry: International Day Trip from Ljubljana
- 3 Like this post? Pin and save for later
Best places to visit in Slovenia on day trips from Ljubljana
Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle
By Teresa from Brogan Abroad
A day trip to Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle is one of the most popular things to do in Ljubljana. Located within the Park Postojnska Jama near the town of Postojna, these two tourist attractions that will impress you in different ways.
Postojna Cave is a spectacular 24km long limestone cave, 6 of which can be explored first by electric train and the last section on foot. Within the cave you will be able to see all sorts of impressive rock formations such as stalactites, stalagmite, curtains and spaghetti stalactites. These formations emulate chandeliers, waterfalls and all kinds of shapes your imagination can come up with.
Not far from Postojna Cave, you will find the idyllic Predjama Castle. Built on the cliff face and inside a cave, it hardly looks like it’s physically possible. You will think your eyes are deceiving you. But even though it looks like a quintessential fairy tale castle, it’s very real. Predjama Castle is the largest castle in the world built in a cave. When you go inside you can see how the building has been integrated with the natural walls of the cave. It’s a real marvel. And the views from the castle over the valley are quite something too.
Here are some organised tours that you can take to Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle:
- Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle from Ljubljana
- Postojna Cave, Predjama Castle and Piran: Pearls of Slovenia
- Private Trip to Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle
By Stephanie from Sophia Adventures
A trip to Lake Bled is the quintessential Ljubljana day trip. This photogenic lake is full of some of the most beautiful and photogenic spots in the country. Highlights include visiting Bled Castle, taking a rowing boat out to Bled island, and hiking up to the viewpoint at Osojnica. There are a few other popularLake Bled Instagram spots worth pursuing if you’re an avid photographer, including hiking Ojstrica hill and Straža Park. Make sure to set aside time to walk around the lake. It’s beautiful from every angle.
The easiest way to get from Ljubljana to Lake Bled is to take a bus, but you can also drive and see a few of the other great places in the area like Lake Bohinj and Vintgar Gorge. The drive from Ljubljana to Lake Bled is just under an hour. Bring cash for the parking lot, and come early before it fills up.
A few tips. While here, note that prices are higher than the rest of the country. This is due to its overwhelming popularity. If you want to escape the crowds, come early or visit during the shoulder season. If you want a particular hotel, book early, especially in the summer when rooms sell out early.
Here are some tours you can take:
- Trip to Lake Bled and Bled Castle
- Lake Bled and whitewater rafting tour
- Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj trip from Ljubljana
Kranjska Gora and Lake Jasna
By Gigi from Vicious Foodie
An hour from Ljubljana by car (or two hours by bus), you’ll find yourself in Kranjska Gora, the gateway to the Julian Alps. In winter, this is one of the best places to visit in Slovenia to go skiing and ice climbing. In the summer, it’s full of hikers and cyclists enjoying the Alps.
If you’re into hiking, take the Three-Country-Border trail, which winds up through the forest to a mountaintop where Slovenia, Austria, and Italy meet or one of the many beautiful trails into the Alps. If cycling is your jam, there’s an easy, car-free cycle path that crosses into Italy and leads to the very pretty Lago di Fusine. Mountain bikers will find plenty of Alpine trails.
In between adventuring, wander the easy path around Lake Jasna and take the iconic local photo with the ram statue there. Have a good multi-course meal at Skipass restaurant. Wander the cobblestone center of town. And grab some local yoghurt (so good!) in the very tiny farmers’ market if you’re there on a market day.
Here are some tours you can take to visit Kranjska Gora and Lake Jasna:
- Kranjska Gora and the Alps
- Full day Kranjska Gora tour with lunch
- Full day private Kranjska Gora tour with lunch
By Jessica from One Girl, Whole World
One of my favourite day trips from Ljubljana is to rent a car and take a drive through the stunning Julian Alps. I recommend choosing a nice day for this, both from a visibility and a safety standpoint, as the winding roads and mountain passes are not for the faint of heart.
Named after Julius Caesar, these peaks and valleys feature craggy snow-capped peaks, hiking trails, dense forests, turquoise rivers, and amazing waterfalls. This is one of those situations where the journey *is* the destination! Depending on how much time you want to take, there are a few different route options, but most include the famous 50 hairpin bends of the Vršič Pass and the clear blue water of the rushing Soča River, near the town of Bovec. I also recommend seeing the Kluže fortress.
In addition to the natural beauty on display, one of the other major reasons to visit this area is its significant World War I history. This area was known as the Isonzo Front in WWI, and saw some of the bloodiest fighting in the war. There are a number of abandoned fortresses and barracks you can visit. And many nations and peoples have memorials scattered throughout the Julian Alps, recognising the nearly two million Italians and their opponents (and POWs) who gave their lives to the fighting, brutal weather, and terrain. The breathtaking scenery and sad history of the Julian Alps will blow your mind! Read more about the Julian Alps.
If you don’t have your own transport, you can visit the Julian Alps by joining a group tour. Here are a couple you can take:
By Wendy from The Nomadic Vegan
There are a number of beautiful waterfalls in Slovenia, but Savica is the best known and the most visited of all of them. The falls were made famous (at least among Slovenians) by a local poet, France Prešeren. He wrote a long lyric poem called The Baptism on the Savica, which is considered to be the Slovene national epic.
When you first catch sight of the water cascading down the scraggy brown cliffs into an emerald green pool, it’s easy to see how Prešeren would have been inspired by this scene. While Savica lacks the power and size of Iguazu falls or other world-famous waterfalls, its beauty and tranquility will capture your soul.
The well-maintained path through the forest to the falls starts at the Dom Savica hut and is wide enough to accommodate people walking in both directions. It does involve climbing about 550 steps, though, so you if you’re not fit it will be a bit of a challenge. But if you’re in reasonable shape you should be able to reach the waterfall in about 20 minutes. If you do get tired, there’s a stop with picnic tables where you can have a rest.
When you finally reach the top of the steps, you will arrive at a wooden viewing platform. In one direction you will have a view out towards Lake Bohinj and the mountains, and in the other direction, you will see what you came for — the Savica Waterfall.
By Kamila from Kami & The Rest of The World
While most of the tourists focus on Lake Bled, another gem of this stunning country is located only a short drive away – Lake Bohinj. It’s not as popular as its more famous neighbour but this place surely deserves a visit. The scenery of Lake Bohinj is just breathtaking – crystal-clear turquoise water and harsh mountains meet right in front of our eyes. Lake Bohinj and its jaw-dropping view is always one of my favourite places to visit in Slovenia!
Lake Bohinj can be easily reached by bus from Ljubljana, the journey will take just under 2 hours. You will arrive in Ribčev Laz, the main village at Lake Bohinj. Here you can see the charming little church standing next to the point where river Sava Bohinjka meets the lake and the monument to four brave men who were the first ones to climb Mount Triglav (the highest mountain in Slovenia).
Be sure to take the boat to Ukanc on the other side of the lake. It’s the best way to admire the stunning views around! From there you can take the cable car up to Vogel Mountain for the best views of Lake Bohinj and surrounding the Julian Alps. You can catch the bus back to Ljubljana from close to the lower station of the cable car.
If you don’t want to worry about taking public transport, you can take a tour to Lake Bohinj:
- Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj Tour from Ljubljana
- Private trip to Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj
- Bled and Bohinj Alpine lakes tour
By Amandine from Les Berlinettes
This year I went skiing in the Balkans for the first time and discovered Slovenia. It is such a beautiful country with plenty of nice places. One of my favourites is Vogel where I went skiing, a true winter wonderland set in the Triglav National Park. To go up to Vogel you take the cable car with views over Lake Bohinj. You can take the cable car both in winter and in summer. At the top you have incredible nature and an amazing panorama with views over Triglav, the highest mountain in Slovenia, as well as all the Julian Alps.
In winter you can ski in Vogel Mountain, with 22km of slopes perfect for beginner and intermediate skiers. In summer or spring you can go for hikes. There are many hiking trails suitable for all levels and with durations going from 1 hour to over 6 hours.
By Joanna from Overhere
The Soča Valley is a picturesque region located in western Slovenia. Getting there from Ljubljana takes about two hours by car. The fastest route to take is road E61. It crosses through Italy and has tolls, but it is the most convenient option.
The Soča valley was created by one of the most beautiful European rivers – the Soča River. Its emerald colour makes this river a spectacular natural wonder. This valley offers lots of great places to visit – it is a true playground for nature lovers and sports enthusiasts.
There are many hiking trails in the area, most of them located within Triglav National Park. Hikers, climbers, cyclists, watersports aficionados – they will find a wide variety of possibilities in the Soča Valley. Nature lovers should definitely visit Boka Waterfall. It is the highest waterfall in Slovenia – it reaches a whopping 136 metres! One of the most scenic places in the region is Great Soča Gorge. It is a 750 metres long and 15 metre-deep gully. There is no official trail leading along the gorge, but it is possible to get down to the bottom of the gully and take a walk in those amazing surroundings.
Other natural wonders in the area are Tolmin Gorge and Kojzak Waterfall. Tolmin Gorge is a nice option for a relaxing walk – it takes about 1.5 hours to explore this beautiful gully. Kojzak Waterfall might not be very high, but because of its beauty, it is one of the most popular attractions in the Soča Valley.
You can also enjoy Soča Valley by joining a tour:
By Pashmina from The Gone Goat
If you thought Ljubljana was quaint, Kobarid, a settlement in the Upper Soča Valley region is even quainter and has a Mediterranean feel to it compared to the other Alpine regions and other places of interest in Slovenia.
It is along the Italian border and shares an interesting part of history running across the Soča Valley. The most interesting place to see in Kobarid is the Kobarid Museum and the First World War museums along the Walk of Peace, a mountain trail that runs along the Alps to the Adriatic.
When you are finished with the museum, head towards Drežnica along Gregorčič Street, where you will go through an underpass and on the right side you will spot Mlekarna Planika, where you can visit the dairy museum ‘Od planine do Planike’, which is about the tradition of cheese making.
Walking further ahead you’ll see the banks of the River Soča, which are connected by the impressive single-arch, stone Napoleon Bridge, built in 1750. It was blown up by the Austrians in WWI, after which the Italians built the existing bridge. If you have a car, the drive from Ljubljana to Kobarid takes a couple of hours. The motorway route to Gorica (then up the Soča valley) is the quickest way (and the valley is lovely).
By Emily from Wander-Lush
Just 40 minutes away by bus, Skofja Loka is one of the easiest and most affordable Ljubljana day trips.
Skofja Loka is a medieval city in Slovenia’s Upper Carniola region, roughly halfway between Ljubljana and Bled. The main attraction is Loka Castle, a preserved fortification with a wonderful local history museum inside. Skofja Loka’s Old Town, with its big and small piazzas, has buildings that date back to the 14th century. Its stone crescent bridge, the Capuchin Bridge, is one of the oldest of its kind in Europe. Skofja Loka’s old granary, the second-most important structure in town after the castle, has been refurbished to house a wonderful Slovenian restaurant, while Homan House on the main square has been turned into a pub and is a great place to try local wine.
Apart from exploring the cobbled laneways of the Old Town and visiting the castle, there are a few hiking routes in and around town. One takes you over the river to the neighbourhood of Pustal, where you can walk up to a hillside church. Another, the Three Castle Path, takes you into the forest behind the castle to explore Skofja Loka’s ruins.
Buses depart for Skofja Loka from Ljubljana’s main bus terminal approximately every hour. A one-way ticket costs 3.10 Euro.
By Inma from A World to Travel
There are magical places, and then there is the old village of shepherds Velika Planina in Slovenia, which is only 50 km from the capital Ljubljana. Either as part of a hiking route or simply taking the cable car (10km away from Kamnik and 33km from Ljubljana) this is a perfect attraction for a half-day adventure.
Velika Planina is a plateau formed by several pastures: those of Velika Planina, Mala Planina, Gojska Planina, and the Dol and Konjščica mountains. But what really draws the attention of its visitors is that its recently restored wooden huts seem like something out of a fairy tale. Some of these constructions, especially attractive in winter when the meadow in which this wonderful place is located has a snow blanket, can be visited. And that’s something you will want to do after walking to get there, trust me.
Nowadays, Velika Planina has become a sort of open-air ethnographic museum, but do not be fooled: with the end of spring and the beginning of summer – between June and September – the shepherds and their cattle go back to grazing those highlands, and it can get busy. Now, if you are not a great fan of crowds, I recommend visiting it in the shoulder season, towards the end of winter. I did it in March, which turned out to be a great month to experience Velika Planina in solitude. Enjoy!
By Tereza from Czich On The Road
If you are planning a trip to Slovenia and want to do what the locals do, then you must go hiking. Slovenia is a hiking paradise, besides the beautiful Julian Alps which stretch all the way from France and Italy, Slovenia is also home of Kamnik-Savinja Alps, which are as beautiful as the Julian Alps, but with much fewer tourists. So get off the beaten path and discover the wonderful nature of Kamnik-Savinja Alps in the beautiful Savinja Valley.
There are many hikes I could recommend there, easier and harder ones, more and less touristic ones. You could visit Velika Planina with wonderful huts, or test your stamina on a demanding hike to Kamniško Sedlo. But I have something special for you, a place where you won’t meet many other tourists and probably just a few locals – it’s only a 1-hour drive from Ljubljana and you can do it even if you are not a hiker. Near a small town Gornji Grad is a beautiful round hike to Lepenatka (1425 m), which the more adventurous souls can enhance with a short climb to Veliki Rogatec (1557 m).
And the best end to your trip is definitely Pizzeria 902 in Gornji Grad, right next to a beautiful white monastery that dates back to the 12th century. Read more about Slovenia hiking here.
By Jacky from Nomad Epicureans
Perhaps the most underrated city in Slovenia, Maribor is the perfect day trip from Ljubljana. With less than 1.5 hours of a drive, it is easily reached by car, but intercity trains and long-distance buses also depart regularly.
There are plenty of things to do in Maribor in one day, starting from the historic city centre. Maribor and its surrounding area, Lower Styria, were once an important part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. As such, Maribor is home to several beautiful examples of neoclassical architecture. Baroque and Renaissance buildings complete the cityscape. Prominent buildings include Maribor Castle, Maribor Cathedral, and the Town Hall.
However, what Maribor and its region are best known for is undoubtedly wine. In fact, did you know that Maribor is the home of the oldest grapevine in the world? The Old Vine is located in the district of Lent, the oldest part of the town. From the opposite side of the river Drava, you can get a fantastic view of sights such as the Water Tower and the Judgment Tower. In Lent, you can also find the Jewish Quarter and Maribor Synagogue, the second oldest synagogue in Europe. It is a reminder of a once thriving Jewish community which was painfully torn apart during Nazi occupation.
From the oldest grapevine in the world, it is only a short drive into the Podravje wine region. Here, you get the chance to try a variety of grapes. Although varieties such as Zweigelt and Pinot Noir are commonly grown, the region is best known for its outstanding white wines.
You can also join a day tour to Maribor:
By Carolyn from Holidays to Europe
Slovenia’s coastline stretches for just 47 kilometres and one of its prettiest seaside towns, Piran, makes a great day trip from Ljubljana.
Piran may be small but it has a host of sites worth visiting including the cobblestoned alleys of the Old Town, Tartini Square – home to a collection of pastel-coloured Venetian Gothic buildings, the Church of St. George and the City Walls, which date back to the 7thcentury and offer fantastic sunset views.
The seaside promenade, which leads you to the tip of the peninsula on which Piran is built, is not to be missed. A small lighthouse and church, both dating back to the 1800s, sit at the end of the peninsula. Strolling along the promenade with the Adriatic lapping at your feet and an array of cafes enticing you in to dine on fresh seafood, you can’t help but feel a million miles away from Ljubljana.
You’re not far away at all, though. Piran is located just 120 kilometres from Ljubljana and can be reached by car in around 90 minutes. If you don’t have your own wheels, numerous bus companies operate between the two towns, with travel times averaging around two and a half hours. Alternatively, you can join a tour:
By Leo from Safari Nomad
When planning day trips from Ljubljana, include the experience of the Slovenian coast and Mediterranean climate. A good representative of Slovenian Istria is Koper, the main town on the coast and the biggest port of the Adriatic coast. The town does not give much attention to tourism like the other coastal towns do but it’s still charming and worth a visit.
Koper is rich in cultural heritage and this is why you will find a great legacy left by Venetians. Explore old buildings, churches, palaces and numerous squares, and get lost in narrow streets. The main street in Koper is Čevljarska ulica, leading to the town’s main square Titov trg (Tito Square). It is also the main sight surrounded by historical buildings, including Praetorian Palace, Loggia, Foresteria, Armeria, Cathedral of Mary’s Assumption and Town Tower where you get the views of the city skyline.
There’s a small but nice public beach mainly visited by families. It’s within easy walking distance from the port, equipped with changing rooms, a restaurant and a cafe bar.
In Koper you will spot a variety of restaurants, bars and pubs. You should try some typical Istrian dishes and local wine.
The distance between Ljubljana and Koper is 105 km. The quickest way to travel is by car, which will take you about an hour. There’s a daily bus with the travel time for most routes about 2 hours. Other alternatives are a train, taking around 2 hours 30 minutes, or joining an organised tour.
By Stephanie from Sofia Adventures
The town of Idrija in the western part of the country is an easy day trip from Ljubljana. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of my favourite places in Slovenia. Here you learn about the history of mercury mining and how it changed the world. Idrija’s mercury mine is the second largest in the world. The museum, located in the former palace, goes through the history and geology of mercury mining, along with teaching visitors about the history of Slovenia during World War II and beyond.
The picturesque mountain town offers amazing views, especially from the top of the town’s museum. Visitors should also tour one of the mines, where you go far underground to learn about mining first-hand.
For shopping tips, you’ll want to get your hands on some Idrija lace, which is celebrated as an important local handicraft with an annual festival of lace held in the town. The lace school here has been operating since the mid-nineteenth century and makes for a great Slovenian souvenir.
Don’t skip Idrija while in Slovenia! When I visited, I rented a car and drove from Ljubljana. The drive was easy during the summer, but there are mountains to drive through. This part of the country is just lovely to tour by car, but if you don’t have your own transport, you can take a day tour from Ljubljana.
By Karolina from Lazy Travel Blog
There are many awesome things to do in Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia. Once you see all the important spots in the city, take a day trip to Podčetrtek. This endearing town is well known for the healing properties of the thermal water in Terme Olimia, where several Turkish baths and spas can be found. For an intimate holiday, the Spa Armonia is the perfect place for couples to find a bit of relaxation and romance. As for family fun, the Family Wellness Termalija is worth a visit as it has a place for both children and adults with its water slides and saunas.
Aside from the spas, Podčetrtek has several picturesque attractions to offer. Tour the city to see the Amon Golf Course and the Land of Fairytales and Imagination. Visit the Chocolaterie Olimje where you will find your sweet fantasies and walk up to The Olimje Minorite Monastery to find one of the oldest apothecaries in Europe. For a bit of nature, take a walk around the meadows of their regional park. Be sure to try the crafted beer at Domačija Haler.
The fastest way to get to Podčetrtek is by driving on the A1 or E57 on private transport. You can also catch a bus heading to Maribor from Ljubljana bus station. Get off at Store and walk 700 meters to Podčetrtek.
By Teresa from Brogan Abroad
For such a small country, Slovenia has a lot of true hidden gems waiting to be discovered, and Bela Krajina (also known as White Carnolia) is one them. Located in the south east of the country completely off the beaten track, Bela Krajina is one of the best places to visit if you are wondering what to do in Slovenia to get an authentic experience, and to discover a part of the country that is true to the local way of life.
One of the best ways to discover Bela Krajina is through your palate. The local produce here is just delicious, and something you must try. In the village of Metlika you can visit Oljarna Pečarič, a family-run farm that produces cold pressed oils from all sorts of seeds and nuts of excellent quality. They were all delicious, but make sure you try the pomegranate and the pumpkin seed oils. Possibly my favourite ones.
Bela Krajina is also a well-known wine growing region, so don’t leave without trying the local wine. You will thank me for it.
If you are after some adventure, there is plenty of it here too. Head for Kolpa Krajinski Park for a bit of river rafting. There is some mild white water, but nothing too wild, so it’s ideal for beginners and people trying to get over their fear of water (like me!). You will be paddling down the river with Slovenia on one bank of the river and with Croatia on the other.
In order to get the most of Bela Krajina, I would recommend hiring a car, so you can explore around at your own pace and you can take detours if you see something interesting. The drive from Ljubljana is about 1.5 hours to the town of Črnomelj, which is at the centre of the region.
International Day Trip from Ljubljana
By Tea from Culture Tourist
Located a short two hours train ride away, the capital of Croatia, Zagreb, is a lovely day trip from Ljubljana. There are a few train connections daily between these two cities. But, you can also rent a car and be in Zagreb in just over an hour.
Zagreb is a charming city, with a great urban vibe, beautiful architecture and some quite nice restaurants. It has an interesting combination of a medieval Grič area and historic Habsburg architecture in the city centre.
You can start your day by exploring its oldest part – Grič. There is a funicular connecting the hill on which it’s located and one of Zagreb’s main streets, Ilica. You’ll to find many nice museums here (Museum of Broken Relationships and Croatian Museum of Naive Art, being the most interesting). The famous Church of Saint Mark with its colourful roof is here, as well. Be sure to be there at noon, because this is when the Canon of Grič, goes off every day. From it, you’ll also find one of the best views in Zagreb.
Tkalčićeva Street is where numerous little cafes and restaurants are. And where you can feel a bit like a local in Zagreb and immerse yourself into its coffee culture. You’ll find many people here enjoying their coffee and chatting with friends. One of the entrances to the recently opened Grič Tunnel is also here. So, if you would like to explore a bit of a hidden Zagreb, be sure to take a walk through it. Ban Jelačić Square is the main meeting point in the city. And you can continue from it to Zelena potkova (‘Green Horseshoe’), a system of parks with some of the most important cultural institutions and public statues in them.
Are there any other day trips from Ljubljana that you would recommend?
Let me know in the comments!
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Teresa is an award-winning travel blogger based in London. She’s on a mission to explore the world through responsible cultural and adventure travel, and through deeper, more meaningful local experiences. She’s a lover of adventure, the outdoors and everything food related, and she’s always looking for ways to make a positive impact through sustainable travel.