The Perfect Getaway – An Easy-going European Road Trip In Slovenia
You’re done with crammed all-inclusive beach resorts and are looking for a less crowded place where you can get away both mentally and electronically. We know just the place! It’s Slovenia, the birthplace of Chipolo and one of Europe’s best-hidden vacation gems.
Slovenia is a relatively small country, perfect for short, week-long leisurely road trips - you can drive from one end of it to the other in about 4 hours! And to help you make the most of your off-the-grid vacation, we teamed up with Nest Campers, a low-cost campervan rental for road trips around Slovenia, Croatia, Italy and Austria.
Relax, take a scenic road trip and forget about everything (but your keys)!
The best way to see Slovenia
Because of its small size, the best way to experience Slovenia is by road. The distances between sights are relatively short and with shops in every village and camps near every attraction, you won’t need much to get by.
Nest Campers will even arrange a pickup from a few of the nearest airports in and around Slovenia:
- Ljubljana Jože Pučnik airport)
- Maribor Edvard Rusjan airport)
- Celje (city)
- Graz (city or airport)
- Zagreb (city or Franjo Tuđman airport)
- Trieste (city or Friuli Venezia Giulia airport)
Don’t forget to check out their road trip suggestions for Slovenia and its neighbouring countries, some are definitely worth adding a few kilometres to your road trip!
And last, here’s a handy list of campsites around Slovenia to help you plan your best route.
What to see - our top picks
There are a few places you should absolutely not miss on your road trip around Slovenia.
The capital of Slovenia is as green as the rest of the country and because of its small size (less than 300.000 inhabitants), 3 days should be more than enough to see the sights and experience the feel.
The center and old town are situated around the river Ljubljanica, so there is an abundance of riverside cafes and bridges. A short walk (or the funicular) will take you up the town castle hill that offers a great view of the city beneath it.
An absolute must is the Open Kitchen Food Market that takes place in the town's main market every sunny weekend in spring and summer.
Radovljica is a good example of scenic little towns with traditional architecture you can find all around Slovenia. The small public square in the middle of the town is surrounded with buildings from the 14th and 15th century and the town also houses a beekeeping museum about Slovenia’s beekeeping tradition, an activity still very much alive and a part of our national identity.
It's centre is on the UNESCO World Heritage List and the town is a great destination for both outdoor activities, as well as taking a look at Slovenia’s mining industry past.
Idrija is the oldest mining town in Slovenia and in the past held the second-largest mercury mine in the world. Today, part of the mine has been turned into a museum, where visitors can get a feel for the working and living conditions of mercury miners in the past.
The town is also famous for its bobbin lace craftsmanship, handed down from mother to daughter through generations.
If you google Slovenia, a picture of the tiny island in the middle of Lake Bled will certainly be one of the top images. It’s one of the most visited places in Slovenia, so it can get a bit crowded.
The walk around the lake is only 6 kilometres long and gives you a 360 view of the lake and the picturesque church on top of the small island in the middle. If you’re feeling energetic, take a walk up to the castle and explore its history or take a 30-minute hike up to Ojstrica (it gets a little steep!) for a truly spectacular view of the whole lake and its surroundings.
A short 20-minute ride away from Bled you will find another glacial lake, lake Bohinj. More ‘rugged’ than Bled, it’s also less crowded and has a more dramatic panorama, with the mountains rising straight from the lake on one side.
It’s also a great place to do some canoeing or kayaking.
Soca is an Alpine river that stretches across 138 kilometres through Slovenia and Italy. It is best known for its emerald green colours and is a popular hiking and white-water rafting destination, however, the valley also offers a number of other activities that will help you unwind.
The long valley holds a number of different attractions ranging from waterfalls (Boka and Kozjak waterfalls), picturesque towns and villages (Bovec, Kobarid and Tolmin) to the impressive Solkan bridge.
Triglav national park
The park is one of the most important natural treasures in the region. Named after Slovenia’s highest mountain, Triglav, it stretches both into lake Bled and part of the Soca valley. The park covers an expansive area full of pristine natural wonders, such as the Triglav Lakes Valley and different Alpine cultural heritage sites.
In a different part of Slovenia, you will find another valley, equally stunning, but a little less well-known, which makes it perfect for anyone searching for less crowded spots. The Logar valley is actually 3 glacial valleys with impressive rock walls, small traditional farms with green pastures and loads of options for different activities. At one end of the valley, you will find the Rinka waterfall, just an easy 15-minute hike away.
It’s one of the most visited caves in the world. A long system of caves in the Karts region captivates a visitor with magnificent formations created by the waters of Pivka river, over millions of years, one drop at a time.
Postojna cave is also home to intriguing small creatures that look like baby dragons (olms), found in only a few places in the world, Postojna cave being their main habitat.
The tour is part small train ride, part walking and is suitable for all ages.
Slovenia in general
Slovenia is a small European country, sandwiched between Italy, Austria and Croatia. It’s the third most wooded country in Europe, so it’s incredibly green, and to the north-west, where it meets the Julian Alps, there is an abundance of mountains, hills and small hidden lakes that offer some majestic views. With just 2.06 million inhabitants it is also a place where you will have no trouble finding a few secluded places just for yourself.
A few simple rules you should follow to keep your road trip pleasant for everyone:
- Traffic moves on the right
The road signs and traffic rules are consistent with those used throughout Europe.
- Stick to the speed limits
The general rule you should follow here is 50 km/h (30 mph) in towns and villages, 90 km/h (55 mph) on motor roads and 130 km/h (80 mph) on the highway)
- Wear your seatbelt
Seatbelts are mandatory for everyone in the car, so make sure you and all your passengers are wearing them whenever you are driving
- Turn on your lights
All vehicles must have their lights on day and night.