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14 Best Places to Visit in Slovenia For Nature & History

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Slovenia is a small country that’s most inhabited by forests over people. For nature lovers, it’s one of the best countries in Europe to visit, especially if you love mountains, lakes, hot springs, and ample ski trails.

Some of the best places to visit in Slovenia are all accessible within a day trip of Ljubljana, the capital city, as it’s only a 3 hour drive from one side of the country to the other.

Whether you’re looking to explore the country’s top landmarks, historic medieval villages, glacial lakes or hidden gems, don’t miss these wonderful destinations in Slovenia.

The Best Places to Visit in Slovenia

With dense forests, towering mountains, emerald rivers, scenic lakes and old towns, your eyes will have difficulty processing all the beauty around you.

And yes, the colors are real!

1. Lake Bled

Lake Bled is probably the most famous place to visit in Slovenia, and a must-stop on any trip around the country.

It is so charming with its intense color and surrounding mountain scenery. Plus, it has a tiny island in the center with a church, where you can ring the bell for your wish to come true.

The best way to appreciate its beauty is to hike up one of the hills, hop on a traditional Pletna boat or climb to the castle built on a precipice to admire the lake (as in this photo). A wonderful view, isn’t it?

To learn more about all the things to do in and around Lake Bled Slovenia, check out this guide.

2. Vintgar Gorge

people walking on trail through Vintgar Gorge -

My favourite experience in Slovenia was walking through the Vintgar Gorge, not far from Lake Bled.

Boardwalks and trails have been set up so that you can discover this narrow canyon within an easy walk.

There are several bridges that allow you to admire the best views from the middle of the river. The transparency of the water flowing between the steep cliffs is mesmerizing.

At the end of the walk you can choose to walk down 60 steps to admire a small waterfall as colorful as the gorge.

3. Lake Bohinj

reflections o mountains and low lying clouds in Lake Bohinj

Lake Bohinj in Triglav National Park is not as famous as Lake Bled, but ask the locals what their favorite lake is and most will tell you that Lake Bohinj is their fav.

Lake Bohinj is just 40 minutes from Lake Bled, but it is a lot wilder and less touristic. No castle, no island, just a couple of small churches, a charming bridge, and once again those incredible shades of green.

You can drive along one half of the lake, and you can walk around its entirety.

Ride the Vogel Cable Car near Ukanc to the top of the peak, where you will find hiking trails (and ski trails in the winter) and amazing views of the landscape. It’s an adventurers paradise.

However if you are limited in time, you can enjoy one of the best views from the bridge, just when you arrive at the lake.

4. Savica Waterfall

Savica Waterfall running down cliffs in to crystal clear pool

Slap Savica is the most visited waterfall in Slovenia and for good reason: the water, which flows in an underground river, comes out of the middle of the mountain wall, drops in an A-shape and falls into an emerald sparkling pool.

As it is located at the west end of Lake Bohinj, you can combine visits to both in one very scenic day.

Just be aware that to deserve that view, you have to climb 550 steps under the trees!

5. Piran

cluster of red roof homes on edge of coast at Piran -

Let’s have a break from green and discover intense blues and oranges of the coastal towns.

The old town of Piran is the most scenic one on the short Adriatic coastline. Located on a peninsula, it used to prosper thanks to the salt pans, but now it attracts mostly tourists who appreciate a stroll in the narrow alleys and enjoy delicious seafood.

You can get a fantastic view of the whole old town and the Adriatic Sea from the fortification walls. It is especially great to watch sunset over the horizon.

6. Lake Jasna

Lake Jasna with mountains in background

On the way to the highest pass in Slovenia, you can take a break at Lake Jasna, which is a nature reserve famous for its green lake that’s a vibrant shade of emerald.

Enjoy a swim or simply sit by the statue of Zlatorog, a golden horn mystical creature of the Julian Alps.

The views are breathtaking with many shades of green in the water and in the trees. Its beauty is hard to describe with words.

7. Logar Valley

path winding through Logar Valley

Located close to the border with Austria, the Logar Valley, known as Logarska Dolina, is a peaceful environment.

In the area, you can enjoy sharp mountain summits and charming traditional farms.

Several valleys are opened to cars and hikers. Or you can choose to drive the panoramic road to reach some of the farms, taste their produce, and admire the postcard-perfect views.

It is actually located in the Kamnik Alps, one of our hidden gem destinations in Europe.

8. Soča River

Soca river flowing through the valley

Another jewel of Slovenia, the Soca River, is often called ‘The Emerald River’ due to its intense colors.

As you drive down the valley, many small bridges allow you to discover its different sections: sometimes wide with transparent water and sometimes narrow with intense green waterway.

It is especially popular to visit if you love rafting and kayaking.

9. Novo Mesto

cute village of Novo Mesto -on edge of river

When you visit Slovenia, you’ll notice that many old town centers are located near a river; with a church often erected uphill.

Novo Mesto, a city not far from the border with Croatia along the Krka River, is one of the most picturesque medieval towns in Slovenia.

Although a city, it has a population of around 24,000 people, and is so small you can walk around it on foot. It’s known as one of the most historical and important cities in the Lower Carniola region.

It was founded by Rudolf IV of Austria, and was a military base for the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century.

You can wander the cobbled streets and check out the ancient churches, castles, and surrounding vineyards.

10. Škocjan Caves

Škocjan Caves Slovania

Nestled on the border between Slovenia and Italy in the Karst region is a UNESCO world heritage site and awe-inspiring cave system not to be missed.

The Škocjan Caves is one of the longest underground cave systems in Europe. The entire system is still being explored, but what has been uncovered so far is 6,200 meters.

While most people visit caves to see stalactites and stalagmites, the Škocjan Caves is better known for its underground rivers, waterfalls, and chambers.

Running through the cave is the Reka River, which runs for approximately 3.5 kilometers. The river runs into several underground chambers and the largest discovered chamber is called Martel’s Chamber.

There’s even a bridge, Cekvenik bridge in Šumeča Jama Cave, which has an amazing view of the river running through the bottom that visitors can witness.

Martel’s Chamber is the largest discovered underground chamber in Europe and one of the largest in the world.

If you’re interested in caves, the Postojna Cave is the second-longest cave system in Slovenia at 24.34 km long and is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the country.

I personally prefer the Škocjan Caves because the river makes it totally unique.

11. Kranjska Gora

mountains with small village in green valley Kranjska Gora Slovenia

Kranjska Gora is a well known ski resort town in the Julian Alps. In the summer, it’s well known for its hiking trails, and in the winter, those trails become ski runs.

Check out the stunning Lake Jasna or Zelenci Nature Reserve, or drive the scenic Vrsic Pass.

Or, you can stay in the town and take in the relaxed mountain town vibe.

Hike in the Krnica Valley, Krma Valley Planica Valley, or the Vrata Valley. There are hiking trails for all skill levels and interests.

12. Maribor

small cobblestone street in Maribor slovenia

Maribor is the second-largest city in Slovenia and is well known for its medieval architecture, hiking opportunities, and culture.

In 2021, it was chosen as the European Capital of Culture, and it’s biggest attraction is a velvet grapevine (modra kavčina) which has been officially recognized by the Guiness Book of Records as the oldest vine in the world, at 400+ years old.

It’s also still producing fruit!

With quaint old town squares, cobbled streets, relaxed parks, and surrounded by vineyards and wineries, there’s much to explore in this unique city.

13. Predjama Castle

Predjama Castle inside a cave

One of the most beautiful places in Slovenia is Predjama Castle, which has been uniquely built in the mouth of a cave, just 9 kilometers from Postojna Cave.

The castle was believed to have been built before 1274 in Gothic style. It was then modified by the Luegg noble family in the 15th century.

It’s most famous for being the seat of the knight Erasmus of Lueg, a renowned robber baron. According to legend, he came into conflict with the Habsburgs after he killed the commander of the imperial army, Marshal Pappenheim.

Fleeing vengeance, he ran to the castle, and began to attack the Habsburgs, but was betrayed by one of his men and killed by being shot with a cannon through the toilet.

14. Zmajski Most (Dragon Bridge)

Zmajski Most (Dragon Bridge) Slovenia

In the capital city of Ljubljana, one of the most iconic landmarks is The Dragon Bridge, which crosses the Ljubljanica River.

It was built in the early 20th century during the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and is protected as a technical monument.

It’s most famous for the dragon statues, which pay homage to a local legend about Jason, the founder of Ljubljana, who was said to have killed a dragon with his band of heroes.

It’s believed when a virgin crosses the bridge, the dragons will wag their tails.

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