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3 nights in Ljubljiana

We are going to be in Slovenia for 3 nights and 2.5 days. From reading the forum, it sounds like it would make sense to stay in Ljubljana and make a day trip to Lake Bled, rather than the other way around? It sounds like there is plenty to see and do in Ljubljana - we like to hike and walk and see pretty sights. Not interested in a lot of "city" stuff and crowds. Thanks!

Posted by
12550 posts

If you prefer hiking and beautiful scenery to "city stuff" then I suggest you stay at Bled and make Ljubljana a daytrip. It is a charming, uncrowded city, but still a city, with pavement, lots of buildings, and cars.

Bled is the town on the gorgeous lake of the same name. There are nice hotels and charming guesthouses, lots of restaurants, and many choices for walks. In addition to walking, we spent half a day riding bikes to one of the gorges for a walk there.

Posted by
70 posts

Ljubljana is a charming city with plenty of sidewalk cafes. It's a good walking city. While it has great energy, I never felt that it was crowded. My vote would be to do as you suggest, with a day trip to Lake Bled. That said, if you really want a much quieter atmosphere, then stay in Bled.

If you do stay in Ljubljana, I recommend Hotel Slon. Centrally located, comfortable, clean rooms, and good food.

Posted by
50 posts

You didn't mentioned when you go to Slovenia. Ljubljana is better option for base as is charming and not crowded. Small city on human scale, very easy to do day trip to Bled or Bohinj. Bled as base will be good in spring, as in summer is full of tourists, especially on weekends.

Posted by
1957 posts

Agree with the majority here; stay in Ljubljana and day trip to Bled. Lots to do in Ljubljana and while Lake Bled is lovely and you can visit the island and take a walk around the Lake, it's a tiny town and there isn't too much to do for 3 days there. Get a good guide book and see what Ljubljana offers and if it entices you. Personally, I love the city!

Posted by
4700 posts

I love Ljubljana - it's one of my favorite European cities: charming and small but not mobbed with tourists. Easy to day trip to Lake Bled by car or bus (or train if you are really a train enthusiast, but bus is easier than train).

The town of Bled is convenient as a base for exploring the area (if you had more time than three days total for Slovenia), but I didn't find Bled the town particularly charming. Unless you really don't dig cities, I'd opt for Ljubljana as the base. There's more to come back to at night.

Posted by
93 posts

Thank you all! We are going at the end of May, prior to a biking tour in Croatia. Appreciate all the opinions. We decided to stay the 3 nights in Ljubljiana and do day trips to lakes, etc. Also appreciate the hotel recommendation. Haven't quite decided on where to stay yet so will check it out! Very excited about this trip :)

Posted by
12550 posts

We were thoroughly charmed by Ljubljana but would have run out of things to do there in three days. We are more drawn toward nature and great areas for walking and exploring scenery.

However, since you choose to stay there instead of Bled, I can recommend two places. We stayed at each for one night, before and after our travels around Slovenia. One is Hotel Slon, suggested above. The other, which I would prefer for a three night stay is this apartment hotel:

https://www.mescanka.si

Very well-located, and a niceprice.

Posted by
22 posts

Are you planning to rent a car? We just stayed in Ljubljana for 3 nights and it was a good amount of time. A car helps. Our first day we drove up to Vintgar Gorge and Lake Bled. The next full day, we drove down to Postonja and Predjama. The final day, we walked around town and the crowds were not bad. It is certainly worth seeing the center of town -- quite pretty and generally not a super touristy populated city.

Posted by
93 posts

Thanks for the recommendations! We weren't sure about renting a car. Was it pretty easy? We were wondering about taking a car service or even a bus to Lake Bled or something like that but maybe a car would be better.

Posted by
19464 posts

Bus is very easy for Lake Bled, but you might find a regular taxi affordable. In 2015 if was possible to pick up a taxi back to the city at the Bled bus station (7 euros per person if the taxi-van was filled), so it was workable to take a bus in one direction and a taxi in the other.

If you want to go beyond Bled to somewhere like Vintgar Gorge, I might tilt in favor of a rental car, though there is bus service available. It's a matter of figuring out the value of your time when you don't have a great deal of it.

Posted by
4700 posts

I found driving in Slovenia very easy. Renting a car isn't expensive. Although you can get to Bled easily by bus (or train) from Ljubljana, the car lets you take scenic detours easily like the town of Skofja Loka and the beautiful scenic drive between Skofja Loka and Bled through the mountains via Jamnik, Kropa, etc.

Posted by
93 posts

Sounds like we really should rent a car. I assume it is just like renting one here? Oh and I assume they drive on the right side of the road?

Posted by
4700 posts

Same side of the road as the US, yes.

Tips: get an International Driving Permit (IDP) from AAA before leaving the US: about $20, valid for a year. There are disagreements as to whether you really need an IDP to drive in Slovenia...but I'd lean on the safe side and get one. (You need a valid US driver's license for sure.) Keep your passport with you when driving.

Take a smart phone with you and use it to drive if you have one. (Or a GPS unit if you have one with international maps already.) If you have T-Mobile or Sprint you already get free roaming data overseas. Verizon and AT&T are more expensive. You could buy a SIM...or just download the maps "offline" ahead of time on WiFi for Slovenia. Your phone will work as a GPS even without a mobile data connection.

You can rent the car just for a day if you like, if you are basing in Ljubljana (I did that last May.) Otherwise, you'll need to park it overnight in Ljubljana perhaps in a parking lot, which could be a pain.

Most rental cars in Europe tend to be manual transmission unless you pay a little more, FYI.

Posted by
470 posts

Do rent a car if you will use it to explore the countryside, it can get you to lovely places that are practically inaccessible by bus or train. However, if you plan on sticking to Bled and Ljubljana and only use the car to get from point A to point B, I would just use public transport. Finding free parking is a pain in both places and there's no point in paying for the added practicality of the car only for it to sit in the parking lot all day.

Posted by
93 posts

THANK YOU, Andrew and Dejan. I had no idea about the IDP. We do have AT&T service for our iPhones so will need to sort that out before going. We are traveling with another couple so will share this info with them as well. Glad the driving is like it is here and luckily the manual shifting shouldn't be a problem!

Posted by
4700 posts

AT&T roaming is $10/day (for days you use it). You might consider buying a local SIM once you get to Europe - you can roam without fees within the EU now. Or, learn how to use Google Maps offline on your phone, so you won't even need to use AT&T. Just download the Slovenia area map onto your phone on WiFi. Keep the phone in airplane mode while driving ant it will work as a GPS if you've downloaded the area maps ahead of time. Pretty easy. You can try it at home first to see how it works that way.

Posted by
93 posts

Perfect, thanks! I have to admit this will be a little bit of a challenge for this technophobe, but I think do-able - even for me. I like to be prepared, anyway. Might just print maps as a last resort.

Posted by
2145 posts

When visiting Ljubljana in 2011, we stayed in Hostel Celica. It was a prison in the communist time, and the "cells" still have their bars. It is funky and cheerful, with a nice garden to have a beer in - when we were there, local college kids came over and I played chess with one and we talked. Fun.

http://www.hostelcelica.com/en