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8 Perfect Day Trips From Ljubljana, Slovenia
Slovenia is an incredibly picturesque country with plenty to see and do. Slovenia offers so much to its visitors, from swimming in the Adriatic Sea to exploring fairytale castles to hiking through one of the many protected parks. It’s no wonder it’s becoming such a popular travel destination.
However, as every traveler knows, moving around regularly can be, well, a pain in the butt. Continually packing, unpacking, and worrying about finding a place to sleep can be both stressful and exhausting. Thankfully, in Slovenia, you don’t necessarily have to. Many of the country’s leading sites and attractions can be experienced as a day trip from the capital, Ljubljana.
Ljubljana is a beautiful city and a great place to base yourself to explore more of the country. It’s well connected by both local bus and train, or you could even consider renting a car. With that in mind, here are some perfect options for day trips from Ljubljana.
Lake Bled is the iconic postcard picture of Slovenia. A castle perched on a hill, a church on an island in the middle of the lake, all surrounded by stunning forests. It definitely looks like it belongs in a storybook and is a must for anyone visiting Slovenia.
Make sure to climb up to the castle for the panoramic views, take a boat out to the islands, and try the famous Lake Bled cream cake. If you’re feeling active and adventurous, you can travel from Ljubljana to Lake Bled by bicycle, too.
A picturesque town on the coastline, Piran is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. Winding streets, Venetian architecture, and stunning sea views make it the perfect place for a relaxing day trip. Explore the medieval alleys, have lunch by the sea, and be sure to climb the old walls for a stunning panoramic view over the city’s rooftops.
Lake Bohinj is much larger than Lake Bled but also much quieter. If you are looking to get away from the crowds and see some of Slovenia’s beautiful nature, this is the place to go. Hikers will enjoy the 12-kilometer trail around the lake, or you can explore the lake by boat (during the months of May-October).
One of the most leisurely day trips from Ljubljana is to the fairy-tale village Škofja Loka. Škofja Loka is known as the best-preserved medieval village in Slovenia but gets surprisingly few tourists. The best way to explore this town is just to get lost in the cobblestone streets. Be sure to keep an eye out for Capuchin Bridge and Loka Castle for some photos.
Slovenia has several caves worth visiting. However, the world-renowned Škocjan Caves are incredibly famous among science and geology lovers, and for a good reason. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is renowned for its biodiversity and the fact that it holds the world’s largest underground canyon. The network spans 11 caves over 6 kilometers.
1 hour by public bus
Another famous cave and popular tourist site is the Postojna Caves, perhaps the country’s most popular cave network. The cave networks spread across 20 kilometers and are the most visited caves in all of Europe. Tours last about 1.5 hours and are available in 15 different languages. If you plan to visit, make sure to dress warmly (the temperature is about 8-10 degrees Celsius) and wear shoes with a good grip.
Yes, Europe is full of castles, but I promise this one is different. Predjama Castle is built in the mouth of a cave, so it looks like it is a castle built into the mountain. A castle has existed in this location since the 13th century, though it has had to be rebuilt over time. Today, it is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest cave castle.
One of the most interesting things about Predjama castle is the Robin Hood-type legend associated with it. Legends tell of a brave robber-baron named Ezarem who fled to the castle to escape, but using the cave system, still managed to wreak havoc on the Austrian empire. He was successful for years until he was betrayed by a servant and killed. Today, visitors can bravely go down to Ezarem’s tunnel, leading from the castle to the valley. But be aware, it’s a tight space and requires some climbing.
With a backdrop of the Kamnik–Savinja Alps, Kranj is another Slovenian fairy-tale town. Even though it is the 4th largest city in the country, it gets very few visitors. However, should you have the time, it is definitely worth a visit.
Wander through the Old Town, relax by one of the two rivers surrounding the city, and be sure to explore the underground Tunnels of Kranj, which have existed since before WWI. If you happen to visit during the festival in November, the tunnels are turned into a gastronomic maze nicknamed “Wine Road.”
Slovenia is one of Europe’s most beautiful countries when it comes to both nature and old towns. It’s well worth a visit, and by basing yourself in Ljubljana, you can make sure you get the most out of your trip, whether you have only a couple of days or a couple of weeks to explore. Ljubljana is also a great starting spot for those looking to explore Croatia on their travel adventure.
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