In Slovenia, we were amazed by the beauty of the landscapes, the nature and the Slovenes’ kindness. After a 17 days roadtrip in Slovenia with our campervan, we give you our travel blog our Tops 5 about Slovenia:
- Nature Trip, the Must Do: our top 5 of nature spots you should not miss.
- What to do in Slovenia: our top 5 of things to do before leaving Slovenia.
- Life with a campervan: things to know and advices when travelling by van in Slovenia – vanlife in Slovenia.
Discover amazing Slovenian landscapes
After we’ve read our travel guides, our first ideas have been confirmed by the Slovenians we met there. We mainly focused on the west of Slovenia (which seems to be the richest in terms of landscapes) and especially the Triglav National Park. A wonder. But also the wine region and a small part of the South.
Slovenia, a country we didn’t expect much… and finally a real crush.
Our itinerary by van and stops in Slovenia
For information, if we didn’t have a mechanical problem with our van we would rather continue to Kranjska Gora after Bled and down the Vrsic Pass or the Russian Road (known for its zigzags and breathtaking landscapes). But we finally crossed the Julian Alps and enjoyed its beautiful landscapes.
1/ Prepare to be amazed, Top 5 Best Nature Spots
Just to say, our top 5 is in the Triglav National Park!
1.1/ Mount KRN hike
Hiking fan, you probably planned to hike Mount Triglav, the highest peak in Slovenia that even appears on the country flag. We too, but in early June, there was still too much snow for our little dog. We were lucky enough to have a great local guide (a Slovenian friend) Alek, who knows well the Triglav Park. He made us discover another hike that is well worth the detour. We liked it so much that we wrote an article about it in our travel blog. Besides, Slovenia is a Great country for hikers, so do not hesitate!
1.2/ Bled and Bohinj lakes
> Slovenia’s flagship attraction… the Lake Bled.
Indeed, it is very beautiful, perfectly photogenic (with its small central island) and has an incredible temperature of 20° (while the other lakes are around 10-14°). But on the other hand, there are many people. We were lucky, it rained during the day, so a lot of visitors left… leaving us almost alone to enjoy a perfect sunset!
A beautiful little walk (which starts southwest of the lake) leads to a magnificent viewpoint (photo above). Count 40 mins walk, 1,5km and 270m elevation gain (one way) to the Velika Osojnica summit at 756m altitude. 6km to go around the lake, a nice walk (especially the north). The climb to the castle …
Be careful, in June 2018, the Vintgar Gorge (north of Bled) was still closed.
> Bohinj Lake.
25km and less than 1/2h drive from Bled, do not forget the Bohinj Lake. 11km to walk around and colder than its neighbor, Lake Bohinj still has good assets. First of all, it is much less crowded! Already! Then, it is also very beautiful; Ok, it doesn’t have a small central island, but in some places, its color is just crazy.
Very nice to swim and walk, there is also an educational trail for children in the pasture (west of the lake).
A ferry takes (possible to walk from the west of the lake, about 4km and 400m elevation gain) to the Savica Waterfall, but apparently it’s not amazing. Maybe it’s worth it for the view but we can’t confirm.
1.3/ Enjoy the Soča River
On foot, with a kayak, canoë, canyoning or rafting … we can only advise you to enjoy the wonderful scenery offered by the Soca River. A beautiful blue, clear water, we were wondering what kind of colorant they use to make it so beautiful. For fishing addicts, there is also a endemic trout in this river (pay attention to the cost of the fishing license, it’s really expensive). Regarding us, after some walks, we also chose to canoë down the river (unipersonal canoë, for more sensation).
A great moment, alone on the river in mid-June, Romain, me and our guide, Yacob.
Count 45 € for approx. 2 hours of descent. As we have a kayak in La Reunion, we found it a bit easy, fortunately some rapids gave us some thrills. Do not hesitate to warn them if you are not a beginner. They would have taken us to a different place if they knew. We did very well with Soca Trip (based in the center of Kobarid). They even kept Huaca (our dog) in their office during the whole time of the activity!
If you have time, check out the Soca Trail, a 20km walk that seems to be Great. But it’s not a loop (so after either you have to walk the way back, or have to go get the van one way or another). And we didn’t have much time to organize it, so we unfortunately abandoned the idea.
1.4/ Beautiful Tolmin’s Gorges
The Tolminska Korita, is a beautiful little walk we really loved! South of the Triglav National Park, these gorges are really beautiful. Not very long, about 1h30 to go around the recommended circuit, you will have very beautiful panoramas. Turquoise water, suspension bridge, wedged rock creating a small waterfall …
The ballad is allowed for doggies, our little Huaca even get a treat as a ticket entrance (5 € per adult).
1.5/ Kobarid Historical trail
The Historical Trail of Kobarid is definitely worth a visit. Nothing too bad – 5km and little altitude – this little hike is as beautiful as it’s interesting. As for history, it will make you walk in the footsteps of the First World War. With its war memorials, a Stations of the Cross, a gigantic ossuary (with the bones of more than 7000 Italians killed on the front), the museum of the IWW, the bridge Napoleon I …
On the landscape side, the beautiful Soča River, small beautifully landscaped paths lead to the beautiful Kozjak waterfall (15 meters), small stone bridges, suspension wooden bridge … in short not to be missed.
The tourist office gives a small explanatory brochure about the walk.
Just to know, the biggest waterfall of Slovenia (30 meters) are in Bovec but we made our choice!
As a bonus, and outside the Triglav National Park, we enjoyed Rakov Skojan Park. A little further southeast than Predjama Castle (about 1/2h by car) there are many hiking trails in this park and beautiful landscapes.
2/ Discover Slovenia, our Top 5
Out of the Triglav National Park!
2.1/ Discover the capital, Ljubljana
Capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana is a really nice city to visit. Not very big, it’s easy to discover it on foot in 1 or 2 days. We started by climbing to the castle that dominates the city (we didn’t visit because it’s prohibited to the dog).
It gives a good view of the city, and a starting point for our visit. We liked the small central market, with these fresh fruits and vegetables. There are plenty of small trucks next door that serve food.
We looked for buildings built by the Slovenian architect Joze Plecnik, such as the National & University Library, the Cerkev sv Church. Jakoba … but to say the truth, we are not very receptive to his art … we let you judge.
We loved getting lost further north of the city, in the arty district of Medelkova (not very busy during the day, much more by night). And we ate our 1st Cevapčiči at Das Ist Walter, great (Lepjnja bread… hum delicious)!
And further south to enjoy a drink along the Eipprova Ulica street. There are plenty of small bars here with a nice atmosphere and not too expensive.
In the center, we succumbed to a homemade gelato/ icecream at the Gelateria Romantika … very good and some tastes are original (parmesan, bourbon vanilla and squash oil, cucumber, irish coffee). We also took the opportunity to see the Dragon Bridge, the Dragon is the emblem of the city, so it’s worth a detour!
To walk a little with our dog, we went a little further to the Tivoli Park in the west of the city. A large park not far from the Brewery Union beer, one of 2 Slovenian beers: Union and Lasko.
2.2/ The wine road in Vipava
You like good wine (especially white wine)? So do not miss the Vipava Valley area in Slovenia. It’s famous for its vineyards and its very good white wines. Also Orange wines, but we didn’t have the chance to taste it (just didn’t found). In red you will find very good Merlot, like the Teran.
You can visit different harvesters of the region (the best is to get their contact details and opening hours directly at the Vipava’s tourist office). And / or taste different wines directly at this same tourist office, the Vinoteka. Incredible but true … You can taste 10 different wines (according to your preferences, red, white …) for free if you buy at least 1 bottle (fair enough for us). And someone advises you in a very enlightened way according to your tastes!
In our opinion, this system should be generalized … everywhere!
2.3/ The impressive Predjama Castle
Le château de Predjama vaut le détour (si vous ne faites pas la moitié du pays rien que pour ça bien sûr). Seule l’entrée est payante, vous pouvez tout à fait venir le voir gratuitement. Un bel édifice construit dans la montagne juste à côté de la ville de Postojna. C’est assez impressionnant.
The Predjama Castle is worth a visit (if you don’t drive half of the country just for that, of course). Only the entrance is charged, so you can just come to see it for free if you want. A beautiful building built in the mountain right next to the city of Postojna. It’s pretty impressive.
Not far away are the Postojna’s caves and further south, the Skocjan’s caves. We didn’t visit them, because after we saw some photos, we realise it really look like the Grotta Frasassi we visited in Italy. So the decision was not hard to take.
2.4/ Taste the local Slovenian gastronomy
Slovenian gastronomy is fairly recent, but we really liked it. Much less things than the French cuisine, but it’s an original mix of border kitchens (Austria, Italy, Hungaria…).
If you can, try Idrijski Zlikrofi … the first Slovenian dish to get the status of Protected Designation of Origin in 2010. This is pasta (small ravioli) stuffed with potatoes, pork fat with onions and herbs.
(The picture is not ours, we completely forgot to take one, too hungry!)
As its name indicates, it comes from the city of Idrija, but you can find it elsewhere also. It can be a main dish or an apetizer… served with meat in sauce (mutton), or whatever. Personally, we loved it!
Do not hesitate also to taste: the Prekmurska Gibanica (dessert), good, but rather burly for us, the Soca trout, the cevapcici and the local honey… there is of any kind! And it will surely remind you of the many colored hives that you may encounter on your way.
We could not test everything, here are other ideas to taste the Slovenian gastronomy (in french).
2.5/ Slovenian coast by bike!
For cycling lovers, I really think that it’s a must do. Especially if you want to discover the Adriatic coast avoiding the crowd in Piran! I regret that we didn’t have time to do it, but precisely, we prefer to share this info!
47km of coastline (way and back) on a fully equipped track that connects Koper, Izola and Portoroz villages. Apparently the landscapes change throughout the course (beach, vineyards, villages, tunnels...).
With very little slope (just 2 good climbs), so normally accessible to all!
To find all info about this bike path “Adriatic coast in Slovenia”: here is an article that explains everything! (in french)
3/ Vanlife in Slovenia, good to know
3.1/ Wild camping in Slovenia
>> Wild camping is forbidden in Slovenia. And apparently the authorities are pretty strict about it, especially with motorhomes, which are more visible. Some Slovenian friends have confirmed it to us. Personally, we spent 17 nights of wild camping in Slovenia without any problem (from beginning to mid/end-June), remaining as discreet as possible. Maybe it was a good season. Some friends were awakened in the middle of the night in Kranska Gora at the same time but without a fine…
We can only advise you to avoid the high season and to remain discreet.
>> Find spots to sleep in van Slovenia: for Slovenia we used the smartphone application Park4Night most of the time and found what we wanted (nature spots). You can find these spots on our map at the beginning of the article. Just to know, there is very few height limit bar … great!
3.2/ Slovenian roads
>> Roads’ conditions: the state of the roads is ok, even “good” most of the time. Regarding the roads that climb to peaks in the Triglav National Park, it’s pretty random. But if we managed to do it with our old engine, you should be able to make it. Be careful though, some roads seem really narrow for motorhomes / camping-cars.
>> Tax disk: you have to buy a tax disk/sticker to drive on the Slovenian motorways (you can find it at service stations for limited periods). Personally, we had this info at the end of our trip and had no problem (but we almost took just secondary roads). But if we knew it from the beginning, we would have bought it. Price in 2018 (1 week: 15 €, 1 month: 30 €, 1 year: 110 €).
3.3/ Find water – vanlife in Slovenia
We didn’t have any problem to recharge water in Slovenia. Ok, we are not a motorhome and our water consumption is very low (about 35L for 2 over 2 or 3 days). So, the small sources (drinkable water) in the cities and along the road (yes, even on the road like in Corsica), or even the river water (in the Triglav Park) were enough for us (the water is even very good).
3.4/ Others infos when visiting Slovenia by van
Petrol: The price of petrol is the same throughout the country (no need to search for the cheapest station). In June 2018 the Diesel/Gazole’s price was about 1.35 €, a little cheaper than in France.
Toilets: few or no public toilets as we have in France. On the other hand, it’s easy to find mobile toilets (like in festivals), generally clean.
Headlights: like in many European countries (except France), you have to drive with your headlights on at any time of the day.
>> You don’t have your own camper van? You can rent one from Balkan Campers.
They are renting 13 legendary old school VW buses and 6 newer ones… and they are actually based in Slovenia!
(They deliver the vans to Croatia too!)
Here we are, all our tips to prepare and enjoy a trip in Slovenia. With or without a van!
Hoping that this article will make you want to discover this wonderful country still unknown.
Feel free to write us a message if you have any questions or favorite spots in Slovenia. Or just if you like our article.
Find here all our articles for more travels and roadtrips in Europe!