If you like scenic roads and lesser known (but equally beautiful) areas, this is it 4 days itinerary in Slovenia it could be a wonderful idea to leave for a few days (recommended in both summer and winter!).
In 4 days on the road through the Slovenia northwest, you will travel along the Soča Valley and the city of Bovec (Pleasure), you'll explore there naked in Tolmin and you will go to Kranjska Gora, you will rest on the banks of the Bohinj lake and if you want you can stop skiing at To follow.
But not only that: visiting the area of Bovec, Kobarid and Tolmin is certainly a great idea. In fact, in this area there are some natural and cultural attractions that are worth knowing, such as the famous World War I Museum (unmissable), the cascata Kozjak (which is famous for an underground chamber with an emerald pool of water), le Boka and Virje waterfalls near Bovec (Plezzo), the ossuary of the Italian soldiers and Fort Kluze near Bovec.
How to carry out this itinerary: since this is an on the road itinerary you will have to leave with your car. In fact, the areas, in addition to not being all accessible by public transport, hide (or offer) various panoramic points along the road that, without your car, you would surely get lost.
- Day 1: Caporetto and Soča Valley
- Day 2: Kranjska Gora
- Day 3: Lake Bohinj and surroundings
- Day 4: Slovenian Collio
Warning: unfortunately, due to lack of time, we were unable to make the Vršič pass which is one of the most beautiful panoramic roads in the whole country. If you go in the summer and you like to walk, know that there is a beautiful trek there.
Are you interested in discovering other lesser-known but equally beautiful areas of Slovenia? Read my post on Jezersko!
Day 1: Soča Valley
The first day of our on the road (and yours if you choose this itinerary) will be dedicated to Soča Valley.
La Soca river valley is a narrow strip of Slovenia squeezed between the Triglav National Park (one of the most beautiful in the country) made infamous for the bloody fighting between Italian soldiers and the Austro-Hungarian army during the First World War.
Observing it today, however, one does not immediately think of the terrible conditions of the front and of the clashes (masterfully told by the Caporetto / Kobarid museum that we will visit later): thanks to the mountains that surround it, the region has an atmosphere suspended in time and when you get there you will you will feel like you have found a hidden corner of the country.
But what makes this place truly special is the the Isonzo river thanks to the unreal color of its waters.
Whether you want to define it as emerald or aquamarine, the incredible color that characterizes it is due to the minerals suspended in the water that reflect the light.
Wherever you go in the valley you will find slightly different shades of color in the river - it is also one of the most beautiful and cleanest rivers in Europe. Its pristine beauty attracts naturalists, photographers and water sports enthusiasts from all over the world and is truly a nature's paradise.
If you go in the summer you will not be able to resist the temptation to take a dip, but expect the water to be terribly frozen, the river comes from the Alps!
If, on the other hand, you want to limit yourself to observing it, one of the most spectacular points is the Napoleonov now, the Napoleon bridge, which connects the two banks of the river in a spectacular point of the gorge where the walls are very close to each other.
1 - Tolmin
Tolmin it is the administrative center of the valley and makes an excellent base for visiting some locations within the Triglav National Park.
Here is the famous naked in Tolmin, a must when visiting the Soča Valley (even if I haven't been able to visit it yet).
Tolmin Gorge, also called Tolmin Gorge, is a 1 km long gorge located at the southern end of the Triglav National Park. This gorge was carved by the Tolminka and Zadlascica rivers and can be easily visited with a walk on footbridges and paths that flank it and offer enchanting views.
To walk the entire gorge and visit all the viewpoints, it takes about an hour and a half.
WHERE TO EAT
Tolmin, is the perfect base to take a break, as we did, I recommend you stop for lunch near the gorge and exactly at Okrepcevalnica Tolminska korita where you can taste some typical Slovenian dishes.
2 - Caporetto (Kobarid)
Kobarid is a small Alpine town. We should remember well the infamous name: Kobarid is the place where there was the greatest defeat ever suffered in history by the Italian army (remembered as the "defeat of Caporetto") with a retreat for the soldiers that lasted almost a month.
In memory of the battles on these mountains, Kobarid now houses the award-winning museum Kobarid Museum, one of the most visited museums in all of Slovenia.
Born as a private collection, the Museum today offers visitors not only rooms full of objects and photographs of the war, but a real "experience" through the personal stories of the soldiers at the front. Its "mission" is to send a message of peace, trying not to make people forget the crimes and madness of war.
Right in front of the museum is the Open Air Museum visitor center which promotes the Walk of Peace, a path that roughly follows the front lines from the Alps north of Kobarid to the Adriatic coast.
If you are interested (I would have loved to do it, but it was raining!) It is also possible to participate in some guided tours of some of these locations.
The last stop to visit in Kobarid is definitely the Cheese Museum at the Mlekarna Planika Dairy: it is a small (only two rooms) but interesting ethnological museum where you will find out everything about grazing, the cheese industry and the millenary tradition of milk in the Soča Valley.
3 - Plezzo (Bovec)
Pleasure (Bovec) is a small village in the Upper Soča Valley, surrounded by the Julian Alps. In itself Plezzonon offers great tourist attractions except that it is the perfect destination for all adventure lovers like me who should spend at least a couple of days there.
The high mountains, the countless waterfalls, the deep caves, and the clear rivers offer a practically infinite number of adventurous and sporting activities!
Those like me who love these things (hey guys, this would be an adventure travel blog!) Will find more than just bread for their teeth here. Here are some adventures you can't miss:
1 - Boka waterfall, with its 106-meter drop, it is the highest waterfall in Slovenia. There are 2 options to visit the waterfall: you can climb the right side wall to the source or you can decide for the easier path on the left side to the viewpoint.
2 - Fratarica Canyon: a beautiful mysterious canyon and challenging enough to put anyone who decides to venture into canyoning to the limit!
3 - Virje waterfall: for those who want to take things more calmly from Bovec can take the path that leads with a walk of about 3 km to the Virje waterfall, where you can try to dive into the icy waters, practice yoga or simply relax and soak up some sun .
4 - Soka Gorge: a beautifully sculpted gorge by the water, 750 m long, only a few meters wide and 15 m deep. It boasts mysterious emerald pools perfect for a cliff jump!
5 - Kanin-Sella Nevea ski center: 30 kilometers of slopes and a 5 km long descent, essentially one of the largest and highest ski slopes in Slovenia.
In short, these above are just some of the adventures you can experience here, in reality there is practically everything: trekking, zip-line, rafting, cliff jumping and so on and so forth.
Where we slept: Hotel Mangart Bovert
Where we had dinner: Rabbit Legend
Day 2: Kranjska Gora
Kranjska Gora is one of the most popular alpine tourist resorts in Slovenia for its ski slopes framed by the limestone mountains of the Julian Alps and surrounded by woods and soft meadows.
If like us you come from Plezzo do not miss the opportunity to stop immediately after the border of Tarcisio, al Bar Border di Ratece where is the Cross Country Skiing: you can rent equipment and practice some cross-country skiing lessons.
1 - Nordic Center of Planica
Il Nordic Center of Planica, the largest ski jumping center in the world, it was massively refurbished just a few years ago and together with some new features it offers a truly fantastic experience for visitors.
It must also be interesting to visit it in the summer when you can watch the young jumpers practicing. Especially if you've never seen someone ski jump!
The first ski jump took place before 1930 and in 1994 Toni Nieminen was the first to exceed 200 meters, right here in Planica. Every March thousands of people come to see the best jumpers in the world compete in the FIS WORLD CUP EVENT.
The whole weekend is a big party and a national event. It is said that every Slovenian should visit it at least once in their life.
Still with regard to ski jumping, a museum has also been set up, the Planica Museum where the sporting history of the place is retraced with images of great athletes, cups and medals.
2 - Zelenci Nature Reserve
About an hour on foot or 5 minutes by car from the center of Kranjska Gora, you can visit the Zelenci Nature Reserve, a very particular habitat due to the presence of numerous species of flora and fauna, and famous for its fascinating emerald lake (not surprisingly in Slovenian zelen means green).
More than a lake, Zelenci is a natural swimming pool located in a swamp, or rather it is actually a limestone formation (kreda) from which a spring of fresh water flows: in reality this is precisely what gives the lake its unreal color.
Zelenci is a unique place: a path and a wooden walkway lead to a viewing platform, where you can see the surprisingly clear and green waters.
WHERE TO EAT
After seeing so much beauty, it's time to eat. Personally what I am about to recommend is the place I liked the most of these 4 days: Log cabin Kosobrin,
The restaurant is a chalet that can be reached from the town of Kranjska Gora also on foot and by bike through the dedicated path towards Podkoren. Typical local cuisine is served, starting with the rich offer of appetizers with local cold cuts and cheeses.
3 - Lake Jasna
Il lake jasna is an alpine lake that boasts one of the best views of the Julian Alps. From the town of Kranjska Gora, it is a 25-minute walk.
Lake Jasna is actually made up of two artificial lakes with sandy beaches around both, and is the perfect place for a few days of relaxation both in winter as an oasis of calm and reflection and in summer when it is animated by many more tourists.
The best time to enjoy the view is in the early evening. At sunset, the peaks of the Eastern Julian Alps glow with soft shades of pink and purple.
To confirm the magic there is also the statue of Zlatorog, the white chamois with golden horns, a mythological animal from one of the many Slovenian legends.
WHERE TO SLEEP ON LAKE JASNA
If you want to make the experience complete, you must strongly stop and sleep on the shores of the lake, at the wonderful Jasna Chalet Resort.
The name already says it all: it is a romantic wooden chalet, but don't be fooled by the term chalet, the structure is actually composed of luxury apartments with an eco-friendly vision.
Of course, besides the unique lakeside location, what I loved most about this place was its atmosphere. After dinner, Dominik, the owner, took us to the river bank, sitting all together in a circle around the burning and crackling bonfire.
Here with a drink based on lemonade and marijuana leaves (but legal!), Dominik told us about the philosophy from which his chalet was born: to find a connection with oneself and with the nature that surrounds us through the 4 basic elements , water, air, earth and fire.
Day 3: Bohinj
Il Lake Bohinj it is one of my favorite places in Slovenia. It's an outdoor playground, with opportunities for hiking, kayaking, boating, and swimming. From here you can hop on the Vogel cable car for a nice view over the Triglav National Park and walk up to the Savica waterfall, the most famous waterfall in Slovenia.
If you go like us in winter you could take advantage of the fact that you won't be able to do many water activities and take a walk around the perimeter of the lake, but it takes almost 5 hours to complete the whole tour and some parts of the path are far from the lake.
Instead, perched on the eastern shore of Lake Bohinj, Ribcev Laz is a pretty town that can be easily recognized in the photos for the stone bridge that crosses a small section of the river with the splendid church dedicated to John the Baptist behind it.
Caution: if like us you go from Kranjska Gora to Bohinj, you can pass by the famous Lake Bled. It goes without saying that it is worth it: Lake Bled is absolutely one of the must-haves of any trip to Slovenia.
Here are the best things to do at Lake Bohinj.
3 - Savica
This A-shaped waterfall attracts more visitors than any other waterfall in Slovenia. There Savica waterfall, also called Slap Savica, is the source of water for Lake Bohinj. Unfortunately in February, when we visited it, it was not at its maximum capacity, but in the spring when the flow is maximum it must be beautiful.
To get there, you can take the short trail (45 minutes to 1 hour round trip) or you can take a much longer hike from Ukanc (7km, 2,5 hours).
We took the short path. From Lake Bohinj, continue along the main road, pass Ukanc and drive to the point where the road ends in a parking lot for the Slavica waterfall.
Follow the marked path in the woods. At the wooden hut, you will have to pay an entrance ticket (3 euros). The ride is short (about 20 minutes) but expect some pretty challenging steps.
The path ends at the viewpoint of the waterfall: from here you can admire the water that falls into the gorge from a height of 78 meters, to which is added a smaller waterfall of 25 meters.
The trail is fenced off, so you won't be able to do more than just enjoy the view and take a photo. Sorry, you cannot swim at the Savica waterfall!
2 - bird
South of the lake, Mount Vogel is a ski resort in the winter and a popular hiking destination in the summer months. Whether you are a ski lover or not, whether you decide to go there during the summer or winter, the Vogel ski center should be on your to-do list.
One of its greatest strengths is the panorama of Lake Bohinj and the cable car that will take you up to 1535 meters above the sea.
Unfortunately the weather when we came here was not the best. Moreover, if you want, you can take very nice walks, but you have to come in summer and leave armed with hiking boots, hat, sunscreen and plenty of water.
Even if you are not into skiing or hiking, you can still enjoy the calm of this place lying on the grass in the sun, watching the mountain goats hopping on the rocky slopes.
Getting to the cable car is very easy, the station is near the western end of the lake and if you arrive by car there is a small free car park.
Once you get to the top, you will have a beautiful view of Lake Bohinj from the viewing platform.
There is a second viewpoint that is worth visiting. From the information stand, if you walk right, you will enjoy another great view of Lake Bohinj with the Julian Alps in the background.
Back to the valley with the cable car, we headed to Bohinjska Bistrica , the largest inhabited center in the valley. Here we had lunch atEco Hotel Bohinj & Aqua Park Bohinj and and after lunch, you can decide to relax at the hotel pools or take a tour of the village.
3 – Studor
We did not spend a Studor a lot of time, although it deserved more: it is a small picturesque village, perfect for a stroll or to spend a few relaxing hours.
Here is the Tourist farm Gartner Pr Odolneku, a family-run farm specializing in the production of cheeses. It is worth visiting the facility with the stable and the laboratory. In the store you can buy local products and, why not, have a nice farmer's snack based on local products such as cheeses, butter and cold cuts.
If you are looking for a place to stay I recommend that you do as we do and spend the night at Lajnar Lodge, a brand new hotel in Soriška Planina. The structure is immersed in the woods and right next to it you can find various ski slopes. Don't miss the chance to go for a night toboggan ride.
Day 4: Slovenian Collio
The fourth day, to get up to Most na Sochi there is a nice alternative to the car, that is to load your car on the train and enjoy an experience that, especially railway enthusiasts will never forget. From here you will have beautiful views of Lake Bled, you will cross the longest railway tunnel in Slovenia (6.327 m) and not having to drive you can simply enjoy the ride: keep your camera in hand.
Hills covered with vineyards everywhere you turn your gaze. Small medieval-looking villages with towers that stand out on the horizon. And red sunsets worthy of a postcard image. Brda (the Slovenian collio) is a small wine region in the western part of the country, nestled between the Alps and the Adriatic, with a Mediterranean atmosphere.
Sunny summers, not so cold winter weather, abundant rainfall and very nutrient-rich soil made this the leading wine-producing region in Slovenia. Seventy percent of the wine produced here is white, mainly from the Ribula grape type - aka Ribolla Gialla - but you can also find excellent red wines.
Excellent wines and picturesque landscapes have earned Brda the title of "Tuscany of Slovenia". Imagine Tuscany, smaller but equally captivating. Especially for not having yet suffered a massive invasion of tourists and therefore retaining a rather genuine flavor.
Driving around Brda means being able to stop whenever you want to take souvenir photos. Brda is perfect for wine tasting (if you're not the one driving, of course) and local dishes. Brda is also known for its fruit production, especially cherries, peaches, figs and plums.
1 - Gonjače Tower
Climb the 144 to the top of the observation tower Gonjače for a 360 degree view of Goriška Brda. The tower, which was built as early as 1961, is 23 meters high and offers the best known view in the region: the view of the village of Šmartno.
In good weather you can admire the hills stretching up to the Alps, the Vipava valley and even Trieste and the Dolomites.
2 – Smartno
The picturesque village of Šmartno is located in the geographical center of Goriška Brda.
It is located on a hill and surrounded by defensive walls. Its history dates back to Roman times and the village itself is mentioned for the first time as early as 1317.
Inside the village you get lost in the alleys that all lead to the Church of San Martino, dedicated to the patron saint of wine: here you can take a nice walk observing the houses with their typical balconies. To see how people used to live, visit a typical house called Briška hiša.
3 - Cellars and vineyards
Unlike other wine regions that I have visited in my life, the tasting in Brda takes place at the cellars of the producers, in a very informal and intimate meeting. Between glasses of wine and cheese platters, the host will introduce you to his cellar, explain the production processes and, if that's not enough, tell you a lot of life stories. It is not a simple tasting, but an immersion in the culture of the territory.
I - who can hardly hold my tongue when it comes to wine - could not have enjoyed more of the experience we had at Tomaz 'House, Princic's winemaker.
Tomaz won us over immediately. You know, the kind of person who is so in love with what he does that he totally devotes his life to it? There.
After the white wine we also tried his red and many other glasses drawn directly from the barrels. We talked about life, travel, and wine just like old friends.
4 - Villa Vipolže
La Vipolže Villa it was once a magnificent hunting lodge and now, with its renovation, we can finally see its former glory. Vipolže Castle was said to be once the most beautiful in Slovenia, but it was badly damaged during the First World War. Everything was destroyed except the outdoor dance floor, which the locals still use today during the events that are organized here.
Even in the wine region it is nice to stop for a coffee every now and then. And Villa Vipolže is the perfect place. If you are hungry, they also have a restaurant with some great dishes. The terrace is located outside the villa while inside there is an exhibition on its history. Today it serves as a conference, cultural and social center.