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10-11 days in Slovenia, multiple bases

I'm planning a 10-11 day trip to Slovenia and need some advice on choosing bases for exploring the various regions. Let me start by saying what our interests and priorities are (in no particular order):

  • outdoor activities (hiking & biking)
  • cultural exploration, including touring vineyards and cheese making traditions
  • historical (WWI sites, castles)

My first pass at a breakdown of where to spend time is:

  • 2 days in Ljubljana (day trip to Skofja Loka)
  • 2 days in Lake Bled (day trip to Radovljica)
  • 2 days in Piran (base to visit Predjama and Postojna or Skojcan caves)
  • 4-5 days in some other places or split among the 3 areas above?

Other regions that I'm interested in include:

  • Lake Bohinj and Triglav sites (visiting Kobarid and other sites in this area?)
  • Logar valley (for hiking and agritourism activities)
  • Some wine region; having a hard time figuring out which would be better between Goriska Brda region in the west or Ptuj/Celje region in the east. They both seem to have advantages and disadvantages.

What feedback do you have on the above?

thanks!

Posted by
86 posts

Look up Vrsic pass. Lots of WW1 sites there incl. bunkers at the top of the mountain (short hike)- and lots of switchbacks. Not sure if I personally would drive it. We hired a guide for the day. We also went white water rafting on the Soca and it was a lot of fun.

Another highlight was the spa at Pirans salt pans. Difficult to get to with public transportation (trust me!! Lots of walking along a highway!), but totally memorable getting slathered from head to toe with mud! If you rent a car/willing to take the expensive taxis I'd suggest it, but if you have to take the bus-I would say it's not worth it.

Personally I would add more time to Lake Bled. We stayed there for 6 nights this past summer and still didn't get a chance to row to the island.

Posted by
1426 posts

You actually have a generous amount of time to explore Slovenia, which is great, because it is a beautiful country.

I would suggest you do your planning by nights rather than by days. Even though distances are small, traveling will eat up parts of your days. So, for instance, when you say 2 days in Ljubljana, that should mean 3 nights, because you don't count the day you arrive or the day you depart as a day in Ljubljana.

I'm going to assume you have 10 nights. Here's what I would suggest:

4 nights Ljubljana
2 nights Bled
2 nights Kobarid
2 nights Piran

If you're interested in Skofja Loka, I'd recommend you stop there on your way from Ljubljana to Bled. And I would also spend some time in Bohinj on that same day.

I drove over Vrsic Pass, and it's a fun twisty drive, but there are no steep cliffs at the edge of the road, so it's not scary. It's a great drive you can do on the way from Bled to Kobarid.

In Kobarid, don't miss the WWI museum, and take the Kobarid Historic Trail, which is a great hike, includes some ancient ruints and some remnants from the WWI battle that was fought in that area, and takes you to a great waterfall. You'll be happy if you spend some time in the Soca Valley. The color of the water is astonishing!

I didn't make it to the other areas you mention, so I can't comment on those, but you can very likely do them as day trips from Ljubljana. The reason I suggest 4 nights there is that you can get over jet-lag and you can use it as a base if you do want to explore areas to the north and east. (In fact, the country is small enough that you can easily get from Ljubljana to anywhere and back in a day.)

Have a great trip!

Posted by
3 posts

Lane-

Thanks for the great information. I've read many posts containing your experiences and wisdom and have learned a lot!

Do you think that Kobarid is a decent base for exploring that region, including the Soca valley? You're right that everything seems close, but I know that the map can be deceiving, so it's hard to know where is a reasonable base for various places.

I can't wait to explore Slovenia. We'd originally been planning on visiting for 4-5 days as part of a 3 week trip, but I've loved everything I've seen and read so much that we've made room for much more Slovenia!

Posted by
470 posts

If you're interested in hiking, WW1 sites and cheese, do NOT give the Soca Valley a miss, it was the site of the Isonzo Front, one of the major battlefronts during the war and there are plenty of remains around, in the valley and in the mountains, so you can also combine hiking and your interest in history. Plus, the locals there make Tolminc cheese, my favourite Slovenian cheese. So definitely pencil in a day or two in Kobarid, you won't regret it.

Goriska Brda can be easily visited from either the Soca Valley or Piran, so consider going east, Ptuj is a good choice, as are the Slovenske Gorice region, or Jeruzalem (yes, it's a legit place in Slovenia). The latter two are rolling hills much like Goriska Brda, but with an entirely different feel. Whereas Goriska Brda are somewhat reminiscent of Tuscany and the wine varieties there skew more towards Italy, Jeruzalem and Slovenske Gorice feel decidedly more Hungarian or Austrian.

Consider for example stopping just for the day or for a half day in Goriska Brda and the Vipava Valley (another wine making region, the NY Times did a nice piece on it a few years ago) inbetween the Soca Valley and Piran and rather spending a night or two in wine country in the east, perhaps with a stop in historic Ptuj, too. You can then visit Logar Valley for the day on your way back from the east before returning to Ljubljana - I'm guessing that's where your trip ends.