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Slovenia and Croatia in 6 Days

Map tips: each color represents a different day. Click a marker to learn more about the spot, and click the star in the map header to save the entire map under Your Places in Google Maps.

Day 1

Even though this trip was to go to Slovenia mostly, we chose Zagreb, Croatia as our base. We wanted to go to Plitvice Lakes National Park and the flights were cheaper to Zagreb. Arrived in Zagreb and drove rental car 2 hours to Radovljica in Slovenia. We stayed at the Sport Hotel Manca, which was fine and inexpensive. The difference in the green trees throughout the countryside and mountains was so distracting, it was a beautiful drive.

Day 2

  • Lake Bled
  • Bled Castle
  • Vintgar Gorge
  • Lake Bohinj
  • Slap Savica

Started the day at Lake Bled, which is probably the most famous place in Slovenia. We went up to the castle, the views from it and of it are just beautiful. One of the best settings in the world with the castle, mountains, lake and island. Walked around the lake for quite a while. You can spend a whole day there, but I think it warrants at least a half-day.

Then went to Vintgar Gorge, which was awesome. It’s only 10 minutes from Lake Bled. Definitely go if you’re in the area, and plan on spending 2-3 hours there. They’ve built bridges and boardwalks that hug the side of the cliff so you can walk above the water all through the gorge.

About 30 minutes from Lake Bled (closer to 45 from Vintgar Gorge) is another stunning lake: Lake Bohinj. We drove along and a few minutes past the lake to visit Slap Savica (“Slap” means waterfall in Slovenian) – another awesome spot, but kind of crowded and hard to get the whole waterfall in a picture because they only allow you up to a certain spot. Still worth it though. Takes about an hour, just over a mile total to the waterfall and back. Busy, packed day with stunning sights. Back to Radovljica to stay there again.

Slap Savica in Slovenia
Slap Savica

Day 3

  • Planica Nordic Centre
  • Vršič Pass
  • Slap Boka
  • Slap Kozjak

Next day we again did a lot of driving and saw a lot. The mountains, valleys, and green/glacial rivers and waterfalls in Slovenia are some of the best scenery of anywhere we’ve ever been. First stop was Planica to check out the ski jump area, it was summer and we climbed the stairs all the way to the top (no cost). It was really cool to see from the bottom as well as the top, quite a view and pretty crazy to stand there and imagine going down it as fast as possible.

Drove up to Vrsic Pass through Triglav National Park, got out and took pictures/walked around at several points along the way. Even at the foothills of the mountains I remember backing up on a remote road just to hop out at a certain spot and take a picture of the way the trees lined up with the mountains. The Julian Alps are stunning.

Drove through the Soca River Valley and went past the Boka waterfall – hiked up closer for a better look, not sure if it was worth the time and effort to be honest. The view you see in the picture below is from close to the road and I thought that was the best vantage point. Then lastly we drove to the starting point for the short hike to the Kozjak waterfall (park right by Camp Koren – there is a small fee) and it was awesome. We loved the short, scenic hike itself and the waterfall. Plan for 1-2 hours, depending on how much time you spend staring at the beautiful scenery along the river and the waterfall itself.

Drove to Ljubljana (2 hours) and stayed the night.

Day 4

  • Dragon Bridge
  • Ljubljana Central Market
  • Žiri

Spent the first half of the day in Ljubljana, which we weren’t too impressed with. There isn’t much to do/see, but it is a pleasant area to walk around. Went to the market and across the Dragon Bridge. Easy to skip.

Drove to Ziri to find the house in which my wife’s great-grandfather was born, ended up meeting relatives who built a new house and still lived on the property. They didn’t know we existed, let alone were coming to visit (we brought pictures and genealogy papers for “proof”). They called other family members to come over and we stayed for dinner and drinks with them. It was one of the best experiences in all of our travels. Continued on to Postojna area and stayed the night.

Day 5

  • Predjama Castle
  • Skocjan Caves

Stopped by Predjama Castle just to see it from the outside (it’s built basically into a cave), didn’t go in. Glad we stopped, but I wouldn’t go too far out of the way to see it.

Then went to the Skocjan caves – the outside is worth exploring as much as the caves themselves with the trails and views. That was worth it. Then left Slovenia and went back to Croatia for our last day. It took about 4 hours to get to Plitvica Selo, where we were staying.

Day 6: Plitvice Lakes National Park (Plitvička Jezera)

Spent the next day at Plitvice Lakes National Park, and it is a must-see. There are so many waterfalls, and the water color is unreal. It is completely unique, unlike any place we’d ever been. So glad we added this to the trip, even though it was out of the way. I loved the view from up top, make sure to go up on both sides of the water. The weather wasn’t too good, rainy and chilly, but it was amazing. Plan on spending at least a half day here, if not more. Stayed at the same B&B, drove to Zagreb the next morning (1 hour 45 mins) and flew home.

Fantastic trip overall. Slovenia is not a huge destination for Americans, and many people we came across were surprised to find out we were American but all were nice.  You have to have a rental car, and the roads are not very busy (especially in the more remote areas, although you can get stuck behind a big logging truck for a long time and the roads are quite winding). The only thing I might change is skipping Ljubljana, but other than that this was pretty much a perfect trip, and one of our favorites. Mountains, lakes, waterfalls, caves, just beautiful everywhere.

Traveled in April 2011

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