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August Slovenia Trip

Hello Fellow Traveler Freinds -

My wife and I are planning our first Slovenian trip. After reading through the Forum I have put together an initial itinerary. Would greatly appreciate your thoughts/ideas. This is preliminary and open to change/discussion.
Arrival date from Budapest 8/9 around 1:30 - 3:00pm into Ljubljana . Rent a car, spend the night
8/10 early. Drive to Bled. Have a look. Travel onwards to Kranjska Gora, spend the night.
8/11. Vrsic Pass to Soca and then onward to Trieste, Kopor or Piran. Plan to arrive evening.
8/12 + 13. Hang along Adriatic in Piran or Kopor...
8/14. Leave Piran early to Ljubljana.
8/15 Back to Budapest

Thoughts? Too easy? Should I be more aggressive? Add some more sights?

Look forward to hearing from you with suggestions - Don

Posted by
4700 posts

No, not too easy! Probably the opposite. But, you have limited time and need to make the most of it, within your own travel style.

It sounds like your priority is the Adriatic, which is fine - just know that you are planning to visit in high season, at the most crowded time of the year. I visited Piran in mid-September (loved it!) and it was still fairly crowded on a warm weekend. I can't imagine it in August - but I hate mob scenes.

You might consider renting the car immediately upon arrival and driving directly to Bled. Then group your nights in Ljubljana together at the end instead of splitting them up. But if you really want to spend the first night in Ljubljana, you might wait to rent the car til the next day; Ljubljana has big pedestrian-only areas that can make having a car an annoyance (there are some big parking garages, but then you have to work your lodging around them).

Consider a stop in the town of Skofja Loka on the way to Bled - and then take the scenic detour through the mountains via Jamnik and Kropa on to Bled - very beautiful drive. But if you follow my first suggestion to start in Bled, doing this detour may not be practical.

Posted by
1427 posts

I enjoyed the couple of hours I spent in Piran, but I think other parts of Slovenia deserve more time. And with six nights, I wouldn't spend one in Kranjska Gora and three in Piran bookended by two single nights in Ljubljana.

If staying on the coast is a priority for you, I won't try to talk you out of it, and either your itinerary or with Andrew's modifications would be fine. But I would recommend more time in Ljubljana and in the Soca Valley.

Would it be possible to return to Ljubljana early on the 15th rather than the day before? If that works, here's my recommendation:

  • 8/9: arrive Ljubljana
  • 8/10: Ljubljana
  • 8/11: day trip to Bohinj/Bled, return to Ljubljana (or stay in Bled)
  • 8/12: drive to Kobarid
  • 8/13: stay in Kobarid or drive to Piran
  • 8/14: Piran
  • 8/15: drive back to Ljubljana for return to Budapest

If you must return to Ljubljana on the 14th (because of a very early departure the next morning), I'd do the same thing with just one night each in Kobarid and Piran.

Posted by
141 posts

Thank you Lane and Andrew for your detailed answers; I've always found the people on the RS Travel Forum pages to be helpful and well informed. I try to do the same in return. I am very appreciative.
My initial thought was to take a bus or train from Budapest to Ljubjana. My daughter who knows my quirks and has been to Slovenia suggested I drive round trip instead. This will give my wife and I more flexibility; we enjoy driving and stopping as the whims of travel inevitably take hold.
So, that said, I would like to hear your thoughts to my new, crazy revised schedule:
8/9 - Leave BP 6:00 AM (we arrive BP 8/4). Google tells me it is a 4:35 drive to Ljub...so, arriving around noon allows time to take in some sights along the way. Following Andrew's advice, I plan to skirt Ljub and take the scenic route via Skofja Loka and Kropa to Bled. Lunch in Skofja, stopping to take in views that 2:20 min ride according to Google, I'm allowing 4:00 hrs - therefore arriving Bled around 4-6pm or, hopefully before nightfall! Too much? (btw, I just checked, sunset Bled on 8/9: 8:23 pm!!).
8/10 - stay in Bled & Bohinj area - sleep in Bled (taking Lane's advice rather than sleep in Kranska)
8/11 - early start to Kranska, Vrsic Pass, Soca, Kobarid...If we depart Bled at 7:00 am is it unrealistic to think we would be in Kobarid by 1:00pm?...I am thinking of driving down to the coast to Grado, Italy (sandy beach!!) arriving dinner time...spend evening in Grado.
8/12 Beach day
8/13. Grado....Trieste...Piran....My daughter, like Lane, says Piran is a nice, short visit...haven't decided whether to stay in Piran or make the drive to Ljubjana
8/14. Ljubjana
8/15. Ljubjana - or, late afternoon drive to Maribor....is it worth checking out Maribor for and evening and morning..before driving back to BP (arrivial 8/16)

approx 1500km / 940 miles (we could take train or bus r/t from BP to Ljub to cut that down by half). As Andrew said, if I take bus or train, then I might have to pass on the Skofja/Kropa detour to Bled, And, Maribor might be off of the table too.

Again - thanks for any input - and any suggestions of what I am missing. For me, August seems like a nice time for a summer swim in the Adriatic..at 60 my strenuous hiking days may be behind me!!!

Posted by
141 posts

ok, so now i just read about the the Skocjan, Pestojna caves and the castle in Predjama. I suppose these are day trips from Ljubjana?

Posted by
80 posts

You'll pass the exits for Skocjan and for Postojna on the way from Piran to Ljubljana, so it would make sense to visit one, or both if you wish, at that point. The sites are a short distance off the motorway, with Predjama being near Postojna. We visited Skocjan only. The guided tour lasted about an hour. When you add on time waiting for the tour to start and maybe having a snack after, it quickly becomes a half-day exercise.

Posted by
1427 posts

A few comments:

I have found that Google maps understates drive times in many parts of Europe, so you are smart to allow for a long day of driving on 8/9. Don't forget to purchase a vignette at the border to pay for tolls.

When I drove from Bled to Kobarid (starting after lunch), I arrived in Kobarid close to dinnertime. So you should have no problem making it to Grado by early evening with an early start. But I think Kobarid is worth a stop of a few hours. There's an excellent WWI museum, and a great historic trail that goes past some prehistoric ruins as well as WWI relics, with a detour to a beautiful waterfall in a cave. You can also drive to a spot where you can walk to the cave and skip most of the trail. All worthwhile. But you might not have time if you want to make it to Grado before dark.

I have not been to Maribor, so I can't comment on that. I personally think Ljubljana is worth 2 full days.

I have been to Skocjan cave, but not Predjama or Postojna. I thought Skocjan was impressive, but not enough to add it to your already tight itinerary.

Overall, it seems like you'll be doing a lot of driving in 7 days, but if you don't mind, I think it's a reasonable itinerary.

Posted by
19464 posts

You might take a look at ViaMichelin.com's driving-time projections. They're often significantly longer than Google's and even the VM estimates are thought on this forum to be over-optimistic.

I definitely wouldn't try to squeeze in both caves. Skocjan is a bit more natural; Postojna has gone the colored-light route. I think there's more walking involved at Skocjan, but it has been ages since I've been to Postojna.

Ljubljana is a super-nice city. Don't cut your time there too short. I'm not sure how easy it's going to be to park that car in Ljubljana, however.

Posted by
141 posts

Once again thanks to all that have responded so kindly and insight-fully to my ever-changing itinerary. I have read and tried to digest all of your comments and suggestions. Your enthusiasm for Slovenia has inspired me to change the itinerary once again: I am now returning to the States from Ljubljana rather than Budapest. The air fare was surprisingly non consequential which made that tweak easy!
I'm sure at some point I will jump back on the site with more questions - but this has been really helpful in solidifying our plans.

Thanks - Don

Posted by
50 posts

I wouldn't go to Postojna Caves in August, to crowded. You can visit Predjama Castle and Skocjan Caves or Lipica Stables if you are interested. On your way to Piran you can also stop by Socerb Castle.

Posted by
470 posts

Just a word of warning regarding the beach in Grado, it may be sandy but it's quite different from the endless sandy beaches along the Atlantic coast. It's in the middle of the town and absolutely mobbed with bathers in August. Being close to the lagoon, the water is not too clear and it's also shallow quite far out, so going for a swim requires an unusually long walk through knee or waist-deep water.

I enjoy going to Grado for an afternoon stroll and a gelato, but as far as beaches go, I'd rather go to a pebble or rocky beach somewhere else and enjoy a good swim.