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Ljubljana - Bled - Julian Alps (Advice please)

We, in three, plan to bus from Ljubljana to Bled in early June.

If I were to rent a car in Bled (and return in Bled) - approximately how long (or how many days) to make an Alpine loop? If it takes more than one day, where shall I overnight?

Thank you.

Posted by
208 posts

We did this trip a few years ago, albeit in May.

We stayed two nights in Lake Bled--the night we flew in from the States, and the following night. The one day we had was enough to visit the castle, walk around the lake, take the boat out to the island, and have a nice dinner. An additional night might have allowed us to visit some interesting things near, but not in, Lake Bled.

We wanted to drive through the Vrsic pass, but regrettably it was still snowed in, so we detoured through Italy and went over a different pass. The two most interesting things on that detour trip--seeing the abandoned border control stations at the point where we crossed into Italy and then back again. And visiting an old and not particularly kept up monument commemorating the battle that took place when Napoleon brought his army through the pass to conquer Croatia.

After that detour, we stayed at an agriturismo in the hills above Kobarid. That was interesting, and very different from most of the other places we stayed on that trip.

Kobarid (Caporetto), as the scene of the front line fighting between Italy and Austro-Hungary in WWI, has a very interesting (to me at least) museum devoted to that war, and also a fascist style monument to the Italian war dead built by Mussolini in the interwar years. Those two things are worth a half a day.

If you could stay a second night, I would stop somewhere else along the Soca river, and take the trip up to the top of Slovenia's largest mountain. (Because it was still snowy in May, we didn't really have that option).

We traveled on again, stopping at an Istrian hill town (wonderful), and staying a night in Piran, on the Adriatic coast, before returning to Ljubjana, stopping at one of the caves on the way back. After returning our first rental car, we then stayed several nights in Ljublana, before taking the train to Croatia, where we picked up the second car, and headed to the Plitvice lakes and points south.

I really liked Slovenia. Its a very civilized country, and just about everyone speaks English (its the mandatory second language in their schools, as I understand it). If I were ever to move to Europe, that's likely where I would move to.

Posted by
1444 posts

You can easily do the loop in a day. It's about 200 km, so even at the leisurely pace of 50 km/h (about 30 mph), it's about 4 hours.

That said, there's much to see on this drive, and you'll want to stop and take pictures, hike, picnic, and enjoy the scenery. I would suggest an overnight (or even two nights) in Kobarid, where there is an excellent WWI museum and a great hike that crosses the Soca River, goes to an interesting waterfall in a cave, and passes through both some ancient ruins and some remnants of the WWI battles that took place in the area. You will also go through Tolmin, which has a really nice gorge that some say is better than Vintgar Gorge near Bled. (Vintgar Gorge was closed when I was there, and Tolmin Gorge was excellent and only took about an hour to explore.)

Posted by
358 posts

Kobarid.

There's a WWI museum about the Soca Front, interesting video and progressive rooms showing what that portion of the war was like. Kozjak waterfall is nearby, a 20-30min leisurely hike along a narrow canyon, a nice respite if it's hot.

However, the biggest draw is Hisa Franko. While also a B&B, it's most well known for it's owner/chef, Ana Ros who's recognized as one of the best chefs in the world. For more insight, check out Netflix's Chef Table, season 2, where she's featured. If you're unable to get a reservation or, just passing through, Ros' husband runs a gastro-pub Hisa Polonka located further in town. They serve local comfort food, has a variety of draft beers and doesn't have any kind of dress code.

Posted by
5398 posts

One day is certainly enough if you want to drive the loop, get out and stretch, stop occasionally to just enjoy the views, take photos, etc. If you want to do hours-long hikes, that's another story.

Posted by
1444 posts

Oops, typed too fast. Corrected. Thanks Matt!