Slovenia is a stunning country right between Italy and Croatia, and I’m glad we rented a car to see the most of it over our 5-day road trip. You’ve probably seen images of the fairytale Lake Bled area pop up on your Pinterest or Instagram feed, but Slovenia also has castles, caves, hiking trails, seaside towns and a busy capital city. Slovenia has a little of everything and something for everyone. We decided to do one night at an ocean town, two by the mountain lake and one in the city. Here’s how to spend 5 days on a road trip in Slovenia.
Day 1: Arrive and Piran
Your arrival time and location will vary, but we drove in from Italy and arrived in the seaside town of Piran in the late afternoon. (Tip: If flying into Ljubljana is too expensive or not an option, look at the airports in Trieste or Venice).
Check into Hotel Piran and have a drink on their outdoor patio by the ocean to watch the sun go down. If you’re there during the summer, they have nice rooftop terrace too. There is no parking inside the city center of Piran, but there are parking structures about a mile away and Hotel Piran has a shuttle. For dinner, have some local seafood specialties from Restaurant Pavel.
Day 2: Piran and Lake Bled
After a luxury breakfast at Hotel Piran, spend the morning taking in the views of the town from the bell tower and the old city walls. Read One Day in Piran for the rest of the details.
Hit the road sometime in the afternoon and expect about a two-hour drive to Bled. Check into Penzion Berc and enjoy their free parking right on site. This was the perfect place to stay and explore Lake Bled with their free electronic bikes.
Take a walk down to the lake for a drink on the water before having dinner back at Penzion Berc. Their food is locally sourced and they have an extensive collection of wines from Slovenia.
Day 3: Lake Bled
Spend a full day rowing on the lake, biking around and seeing the castle. Stopping somewhere for Bled cream cake should also be high on your to do list. Even though it was too cold for swimming, there is still plenty to do over a two night stay. Vintgar Gorge and Lake Bohinj are also near if you end up having spare time or decide to skip the castle.
ALSO READ: GUIDE TO LAKE BLED
Day 4: Lake Bled and Ljubljana
Did I mention Bled has the most gorgeous sunrises? This was from the patio of our room, but you can get even better sunrise views doing the Ojstrica hike. We opted for a lazy morning and enjoyed a slow breakfast at Penzion Berc. I’m really into hotel breakfasts (also see this breakfast cart from Sorrento!) and Penzion Berc has one of the best ones I’ve had. There was such a wide selection and it felt like no condiment or ingredient was forgotten. There must have been 50 different items in little dishes. I loved the cozy dining room and it really felt like you were visiting a family member that happens to put on an amazing breakfast buffet.
The drive to Ljubljana is only 40 minutes, but get on the road early so you can have ample time to see the city. We stayed at Hotel Lev. The room was your average hotel and they had a decent breakfast. It was the most expensive place we stayed during our 5-day road trip in Slovenia, but the least value. We were there on a busy marathon weekend, so I guess I should take that into account. We also got lucky with shoulder season discounts in Piran and Bled.
Hit the town and take the funicular up to the castle. Most of this area can be accessed for free, but there’s an entrance fee for the viewing tower and some exhibitions.
Stop for a drink at one of the bars down by the river before dinner at Sarajevo ’84. Vegetarian options are limited, but this underground restaurant is an authentic choice and the perfect choice for meat lovers. Even though it was quite cold for ice cream, we had to stop in Vigò to try out their innovative flavors.
Day 5: Ljubljana, Predjama Castle and Departure
On the way to the Trieste airport, we had time to stop at Predjama Castle. We didn’t go in the castle because we had Alfie, but the exterior alone warranted a stop.
If you have more than 5 days, head further into the Istrian peninsula in Croatia. The town of Rovinj is a little over an hour from Piran and is equally beautiful.
ALSO READ: EXPLORING ROVINJ, CROATIA
Things to know about driving in Slovenia
We flew into Trieste and rented a car. Be sure to check the border crossing policy with the company. There is no border check between Italy and Slovenia, but you must get a vignette sticker at the border. There are several gas stations that sell them right at the border. Think of it as a prepaid toll for the highways. Vignette costs vary depending on the duration, but we paid 15 euro for a weekly pass. Find out more information about the vignette sticker here and here.
It does snow in certain areas, so I would not choose winter for a road trip in Slovenia. For this route that we took on our 5-day road trip in Slovenia, the roads were well maintained, had clear signs and a nice shoulder on the highways. I’m used to driving in Italy, so in comparison navigating Slovenia was a piece of cake… Bled cream cake, that is.
Feel free to drop me a line in the comments if you have any questions about a road trip in Slovenia. I’d love to hear from you if you’ve been to Slovenia or if it’s on your bucket list!