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Help with 2 week Slovenia itinerary

First, thank you for taking the time to review my post, any input or thoughts would be very much appreciated! My partner and I are planning a trip to Slovenia in May 2018. We are young, healthy couple (early 30's). We enjoy a relaxed pace itinerary, leaving room for stops and sights that catch our interest along the way. Below is our itinerary:

Day 1
Flight departs US

Day 2
Arrival in Venice, no plans, try to walk around and overcome the jet lag
Sleep: Venice

Day 3
Explore Venice
Sleep: Venice

Day 4
Pick up rental car, drive to Trieste, explore Trieste
Sleep: Trieste

Day 5
Drive to Tomlin Gorge, continue on to Kobaird
Sleep: Nebesa Chalets

Day 6
Do the Kobaird Historical Trail, Dinner at Hisa Franko (if they can accommodate a vegetarian??)
Sleep: Nebesa Chalets

Day 7
Drive to Lake Bled, explore Lake Bled
Sleep: Lake Bled

Day 8
Trip to Radovljica (interested in: bee keeping museum, gingerbread museum, church)
Sleep: Lake Bled

Day 9
Lake Bohinj, afterwards drive to Ljubljana, stopping to see Jamnik church
Sleep: Ljubljana

Day 10
Explore Ljubljana
Sleep: Ljubljana

Day 11
Bear watching safari
Sleep: Ljubljana

Day 12
Explore Ljubljana
Sleep: Ljubljana

Day 13
Drive to Piran, stopping at Predjama Castle and Holy Trinity Church in Hrastovlje along the way, explore Piran
Sleep: Piran

Day 14
Drive back to Venice for flight to US


Our last full day, Day 13, appears to be the busiest by far. I don’t think there will be enough time to make the stops and get to Piran in time to be able to see much of the city. We might also be worried about driving back to Venice and catching our flight the next day. It might be best to cut Piran from our plan, if we do so, would it be a complete mistake to drop Piran?

We also definitely want to plan a visit to a cave system – Krizna, Postojna, or Skocjan. We are the most drawn to Krizna because it seems to be the most untouched, but wondering if this would be the best choice? Postojna is the least interesting for us and seems to be the most Disney-esque, with the train and all. Also not sure where to fit a cave into the itinerary?

Finally, we truly wish to avoid the Vrsic pass. I don’t believe our driving routes will go on this road, but can anyone confirm?

Again, and thoughts or input would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much!

Posted by
2487 posts

You can break your trip from Venice to Trieste for a lunch in Palmanova, an impressive fortifed town from the late 1500s, built by the Venetians. Have a short walk around the fortifications before setting off to Trieste.

Posted by
12544 posts

You have 4 nights and 2 1/2 days in Ljubljana (the bear-watching safari is generLly a half day, starting in the afternoon). While it is a lovely and enjoyable city, it is also very small. I would take one night from there and spend it in Piran, so you have one full day there. It is a beautiful and interesting town, with some waterfront stretches reminiscent of the Riviera . You can swim in the crystal-clear Adriatic if you are so inclined; there are steps into the water at intervals. We had lots of fun doing that.

Posted by
19395 posts

Is your flight from Venice on Day 14? If so, I wouldn't want to spend Night 13 in Piran. The cost of missing that return flight could be very high.

Skocjan is definitely less touristy than Postojna. I'm not familiar with the other caves.

Posted by
4700 posts

Consider doing the trip in reverse: fly into Venice and take a GoOpti transfer to Piran. Pick up a car there, drive to Bled, Ljubljana, etc. Drop the car in Ljubljana at the end and take a GoOpti (or DRD or FlixBus) back to Venice, spend the last few days there, and fly out.

Posted by
4 posts

Thank you for all the replies! It sounds like Piran is not to be missed. I think I will drop Trieste in order to include Piran. I may also take an additional night from Ljubljana and add it to Piran. That way, I would get 2 nights in Piran and still be able to make it back to Venice the night before our departing flight.

Posted by
80 posts

I'd echo the others' advice to make the most of Piran. It is a lovely town. Skocjan is certainly with a visit. We haven't visited Postojna (except to stop for lunch and use the facilities!) so I can't comment on the cave system. However, you can get a combined ticket for Predjama and Postojna, which may be a consideration. Remember also that you will need to buy a motorway vignette as soon as possible when you first enter Slovenia.

Posted by
4 posts

Well partner is upset and not willing to cut out Trieste. He is a big history buff, and so I can see now why cutting Trieste would be a big deal for him. But now I’ve also got my heart set on seeing Piran as well, even if just for a short time. It seems like we’ll do 2 nights in Trieste directly after our 2 nights arrival in Venice. We can either do a full day or 1/2 trip to Piran. If we stay in Piran long enough to watch the sunset, would driving back to Trieste after dark be a problem? I’ve read reports of others saying they prefer not to drive in Slovenia after dark due to lack of signage on the roads, this being harder to manage in the dark. I’m guessing/hoping this wouldn’t be an issue between Piran and Trieste as most of the route looks to be on major roadways?

Posted by
4700 posts

I'm not crazy about driving in any foreign country after dark if I don't have to. But I had no trouble driving anywhere in Slovenia, Croatia, or Bosnia after dark occasionally.. The roads in Slovenia are excellent for the most part. It's not that there is poor signage - it's more that there's different signage than you might be used to. The signs on minor roads tend to be for turns rather than announcing what route you are on like you would expect in say North America. Driving from Piran, surely you'll see signs toward Trieste. I really wouldn't put "driving between Piran and Trieste" high on your list of worries, unless you have trouble driving at night in general.

And also you ought to take some sort of GPS device - even a basic smart phone with Google Maps would suffice. (You don't need mobile data to use a smart phone as a GPS; you can download Slovenian maps ahead of time on WiFi with Google Maps "offline.")

I hope you and your partner enjoy Trieste. I understand its historical significance, but I didn't really care for it. Although it's more of an "Austria-Hungary" city in terms of heritage than an "Italian" city, today it still seems to me like a noisy little Italian city. I didn't find it particularly charming. Tiny Piran, while relatively insignificant by historical standards, is delightful.

Posted by
4 posts

Thank you! Your post gave me the confidence that driving after dark between Trieste and Piran would be doable... but atlas, our intinerary takes another turn.

Due to availability at the bed and breakfast we want to stay at in Lake Bled, we will head directly Slovenia after our flight arrives in Venice. We’ll have 1 night in Slovenia (either Piran or Ljubljana) before heading to the B & B for 2 nights. We will do Venice and Trieste at the end of our trip instead of at the beginning.

I’m guessing GoOpti will be my best option for getting from the Venice airport to Solvenia. We will probably go for the more expensive fixed departure time. But struggling with what time to set as the departure? Our flight is scheduled to land at 11 am. What should the Go Opti departure time be set at? 1 pm? 12:30?