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Slovenia Itinerary for September??

We are planning a trip to Slovenia for next September. Previously, we’ve been to Split and Dubrovnik (which is why we’ve not added Croatia). We love history, churches, museums, castles, food and comfortable, quiet lodging. We prefer to stay in one place for several days, rather than constantly moving. Now, we’re in our 70s, retired (so we have the time to go slowly and savor the experience) and, unfortunately, have left serious hiking behind and prefer a slower pace, concentrating on 2-3 sites per day, with stops for tea and pastries (or a glass of wine) and a nice lunch/dinner. Since it will be September, I’ve stayed away from the coast, as I’ve read that most things will be closed and Crete is our next destination .

I would appreciate any thoughts or suggestions on our proposed itinerary. Is it reasonably paced? Are there other things we should add - or subtract? Would different combinations be better? Thoughts on lodging/restaurants?

Flight friom US to Ljubljana -

Days 1-5 Ljubljana Grand Hotel Union OR Hotel Cubo OR Hotel Slon
Day 1 Arrive from US late in the day - walk around, have dinner, go to sleep...
Day 2 Introductory walking tour, City Museum. Dinner at Gostilna na Gradu, in the castle.
Day 3 Museum of Contemporary History, Communist Walking Tour, Vodnik Sq and Market, Cathedral of St Nicholas. Dinner at Pri Skofu.
Day 4 The Castle (by tourist train) - lunch/dinner in Restaurant Strelec, in the castle
Day 5 National Museum of Slovenia, cooking class or food walk (Ljubljananjam??) Dinner at Gujzina

Days 6-9 Lake Bled Penzion Berc OR Garni Hotel Berc
Day 6 Head to the airport for a rental car (Sixt?) and on to Lake Bled thru the hills via Jamnik and Kropa. Stop in Skofja Loka to see the castle and museum. Dinner at Penzion Berc
Day 7 Take the boat trip to Bled Island to see the Church of the Assumption. Then, to Radovljica (gingerbread bakery/museum, beekeeing museum, St Peters Church). Dinner at Restaurant 1906, Hotel Triglav.
Day 8 Lake Bohinj - take the tourist boat around the lake )does it run in Sept? The website suggests it does not but there are posts from September on Trip Advisor) , then the cable car to Mt Vogel. Lunch/dinner at Gostilna Rupa near Ribcev. Return to Bled over the Pokljuka Plateau.
Day 9 Bled Castle. Then, day trip to Krank to see the castle and museum and Regional Museum. Dinner at Bled Castle.

option for one of the days - Roundabout Travel - Tale of Maribor, Ptuj and Wine - full day tour

Days 10-13 Bovec or Kobarid - I simply can’t decide!) Hotel Dobra Vila.Bovec VS Tourist Farm Kranjc in Kobarid/Dreznica Or - should we stay for 2 days in each place ????
Day 10 Drive towards the Vrsic Pass, to see the Russian Chapel near Kranjska Gora. Stop at the Kluze Fort above Bovec. Pause at the German cemetery in Bovec.
Day 11 Kobarid - WW I Museum, Ossuary of Italian soldiers in the Church of St Anthony, Cheese TradeMuseum (?). Dinner at Hisa Franko.
Day 12 Kobarid Historical Trail/Walks of Peace - Charnel House, ruins at Tonocov Grad, path to the RiverSoca and Italian line of defense, Soca Gorge, Kozjak Waterfall, Napoleon Bridge
Day 13 Day trip to Tolmin for the Javorca Memorial Church and Tolmin Museum and to Dreznica for the Sacred Heart Church and up to Kosec for the St Justus Church.

Day 14 Back to Ljubljana Airport to return the car, then GoOopti to Venice (less expensive flights than Ljubljana)
En route - visit Predjama Castle and the Lipica stud farm.

I love the planning process almost as much as the trip and would greatly appreciate your help!!

Posted by
1276 posts

2 thumbs up for taking the boat to the island in lake bled. Our luncheon at the outdoor area at bled castle w it's amazing views was my favorite meal of our whole trip. Make sure you have cream cake once or twice in bled. I bought a bottle of excellent wine at the castle

Posted by
4700 posts

Your itinerary would be a bit slow for me - but if this is your travel style, it's totally fine. Certainly not rushed. I loved Ljubljana, and spending five days there would not be a waste. Someday I may go back and just plant myself there for a week and pretend I live there.

I took the tourist boat at Lake Bohinj in September - but that was 2011. I suppose they may have changed the opening months since then.

In Ljubljana, try to see the Jože Plečnik House, the last home of Ljubljana's famous architect. You must see it with a guided tour, but the home isn't that big and it takes only about a half hour. Plečnik liked making little contraptions, and you can see some in his house.

There's no point in going all the way to the airport in Ljubljana to rent the car - rent it in town, at the train station or nearby. Easy to walk a few blocks to pick up a car from the Grand Hotel Union, where I stayed on one visit - amazing views, great location! I have rented from Sixt before and would again. In May, I rented a car just for a day in Ljubljana from Avantcar, which has an office about four blocks from the Grand Hotel Union. Avantcar was just a tad cheaper than Sixt with insurance etc. rolled in. You can drop it at the same location without going to the airport or potentially at other locations (see below).

Then drive from Ljubljana to Bled via Skofja Loka and Jamnik as planned.

I visited Maribor for a few nights on one trip and day tripped to Ptuj. Both are nice towns. Ptuj is the oldest town in Slovenia and has a nice, well-preserved old town (and very few tourists). I didn't do a wine tour, but that might be fun. With a guide, you could certainly explore both towns in a fairly leisurely day. Even if you don't do the tour, you could explore one or both towns yourself by train or bus as a day trip from Ljubljana.

Is there a reason you aren't visiting Piran on the coast? It's a lovely seaside town. You might be able to end your trip there and have GoOpti pick you up there and up to Venice instead of from Ljubljana. I visited Piran for a few nights on that September trip and it was a warm weekend; the town was pretty busy, and I went swimming.

Posted by
50 posts

Last day I will add Piran and transfer to Venice from there. It's small town, but worth visit and you can add Trieste in Italy which is often overlooked.

Posted by
174 posts

Thank you to everyone for your comments!

I realize that this is a rather 'slows' itrinerary - and wonder what could be condensed (what might be added to different days?)) so that I could add Piran, as suggested. Would it make sense to subtract a day each from Bled and Bovec/Kobarid?

Thank you so much!!!

Posted by
4700 posts

I'd probably take the night from Bovec/Kobarid. Two nights in the area is probably enough.

Posted by
470 posts

Since you mention you no longer do serious hiking - are light hiking and longer walks OK with you? You seem to be skipping some places that are commonly visited but require walking, for example the caves and the Vintgar and Tolmin gorges. I want to make sure this is not due to any health problems as other places on your itinerary will require walking, namely Kozjak waterfall, the church at Javorca, Tonocov Grad and the Walk of Peace.

I'm also a bit concerned there will be some overlap in your Ljubljana sightseeing, it's a small city. I would probably concentrate the sightseeing from four days into three and spend a day exploring Ljubljana's environs. Hike to Mount Saint Mary (only if no health concerns, otherwise walk to Roznik Hill) and visit St Michael's Church in the marshes. You could also visit Predjama Castle if you will be cutting it out due to finishing in Piran and add a visit to the nearby Postojna Cave.

In the Soca Valley, the Soca Gorge is along the way between Vrsic and Bovec and it's easily visited during that drive, so no need to return on day 12. I think you can cut a night from the Soca Valley to reallocate to Piran, but with all that you plan on visiting there, you may find the pace quicker than on the rest of the trip.

Posted by
174 posts

Dejan, thank you so very much! You're right - I've not included a number of the standard attractions because of mobility issues. Light hiking and walking is fine but the gorges are beyond me - or, I should say - beyond my knees which whimper at the thought of steep terrain - strangely, going up its not bad but coming down is dreadful. But, my husband can do a bit more than I, in terms of hiking, and so I've included some hiking for him - the Walk of Peace et al - but we really won't know what will be possible until we get there and see the trails. Fortunately, I'm happy with a good book and plan to read Hemingway .so we can split up and do different things (after 40 years of marriage, we've learned to respect that we have some different interests and abilities:)l. I skipped the caves because we have done caves many times...and I'm hesitant about the long walks...

St. Michaels's Church looks lovely but I understand that it is only easily accessible on Sundays for services, and that, on other days - one must make arrangements with the priest in advance - or have a local guide do this. Would you know of any guides who might do 'tailored' day trips? I know that Roundabout Travel does tours but the one to Predjama includes the caves and have not found anyone who could simply do day trips and none who mention St Michael. In any event, I've added it and, if we can';t find a guide, will ask the hotel to call for us.

I have consolidated activities in Kobarid - and, again, send many thanks.

Posted by
19368 posts

I don't remember significant up-and-down terrain at Vintgar Gorge, but I might have forgotten. If Dejan doesn't revisit this thread and confirm or correct my recollection, you might ask while you're in Slovenia. I have a habit of injuring lower extremities while I'm in Europe, and I certainly know what you mean about having trouble going downhill.

Posted by
174 posts

Yes, downhill is a challenge but at least we can still travel, admittedly a bit differently than when we were young and/or had the children in tow. Now, it's more about enjoying the scenery, the people, the food and a change of scene. (PS - we live in FallsChurch!).

Posted by
470 posts

Yes, it is best you don't attempt the gorges or the caves in that case. I am not too sure about Vintgar as my last visit was a while ago, but I can say for sure that Tolmin is difficult on the knees. You could enquire about Vintgar at the tourist office in Bled.

Regarding the Soca Valley, Kozjak has very little incline but there are some walkways which are not too accommodating if you have problems with coordination and keeping your balance. Javorca can only be accessed by walking up a quite steep paved access road and while I haven't done most of the Walk of Peace on foot, the part south of Kobarid along the Kolovrat Ridge runs parallel to a road and the open-air museum up there is also next to the road, so access on foot is not an issue. Hiking along the path may be a different matter, though. I also do not recommend attempting Tonocov Grad at all. It is on top of a hill 100-200 metres above the valley and there is a steep set of stairs leading up to it. While it can be reached on the Kobarid Historical Path via the Ossuary, too, I haven't done that part of the trail so I cannot advise whether it is suitable for you, but you would have to cover the ascent in any case. Now I also see what you meant by the Soca Gorge in Kobarid as I noticed that the Kobarid tourist board's website refers to the narrow part of the valley between Kozjak and Tonocov Grad as a gorge. Yes, you can easily see that from the path to Kozjak. I thought you were referring to the Great Soca Gorge between Trenta and the village of Soca in the upper valley, which is more of a box canyon by shape.

I don't know the details about visiting St Michael's Church, I was there as part of a privately organised tour, but the parish website notes that guided visits are possible on Saturday and Sunday from 8 to 12: http://www.zupnijabarje.si/uradne-ure.html

Posted by
174 posts

This is enormously helpful -thank you! I know that Slovenia is famed for it's natural beauty and outdoor activities and am sorry we aren';t able to do many of them - but Atr least we'll enjoy what we ask.

Posted by
4399 posts

Vintgar Gorge is entirety flat. Our two year old did it. It is absolutely beautiful and it would be a total shame to miss it.

Posted by
4399 posts

I’d add that Piran is divine and deserves at least a day, if not more.

Posted by
174 posts

Vintner Gorge an d Piran have been added!

PS
Your note on the gorge made me laugh - if a 2 year old can do it, sure.y wen can!

Thanks so much!!

Posted by
5 posts

Hi, as a local, I would make some suggestions for Ljubljana:
Day 1: orientation walk with a local, you do not need to do a lot, just maybe 1 hrs, they can take you to the local restaurant for a dinner
Day 2:I would do a visit of the National Museum first, why? This would give you an overview of what was going on here in our area in the past and you will understand today's situation better. That can be followed by a Ljubljana Food Tour (a kind of a sightseeing tour with food/wine tasting). There is enough food and drinks included to concider it a meal. In the tour is included also a visit of the local farmer's market. Just make sure, it is not Sunday, when it is closed. Afternoon I would suggest to continue with sightseeing in the city center and would finish it with a pleasant boat ride! If you are short in time, I would add here a castle as well (there is no train anymore, funicular runs regulary!)- maybe finish the tour there and stay for a dinner at the Na Gradu!
Hint: On Fridays we have so called Open kitchen- an open air food fair (if the weather permits). Make sure you will be here!
Day3: Spend a day walking through Krakovo and Trnovo- visit a Plečnik museum, have a lunch at Pri Škofu and maybe finish the day with a boat ride (if not done on Day 2). If not to tired, you could do City Museum on this day.
Day 4: Spend a day in Tivoli Gardens: visit a Museum of Contemporary History, Gallery of Contemporary art, National Gallery, Serbian Ortodox church,... that is all in the same area.
Day5: You could go for cooking class and maybe visit of the Slovenian Ethnography museum and dinner at Gujžina as you have mentioned.
In your intinerary I would add an off the beaten track road: along the river of Krka towards Žužemberk, Novo mesto and on the way back a stop at Otočec castle. It is a lovely day trip.

The rest of the tour: think about driving to Venice by yourself: you could make a stop at Predjama Castle, have a stop at Goče village, maybe visit at Lipica horse stud,...maybe even stay overnight somewhere near the coast like Isola or Piran. Next morning you could do some sightseeing in Piran and later on continue a ride to Venice with a stop in Trieste (coffee capital).

If you like to mingle with locals would suggest you more accomodation with locals...
Let it be enough for the moment, more, if you like my comments.
Very happy you decided to come to visit us!
with love from beloved city (LJUB in our language means BELOVED), the capital of sLOVEnia.

Posted by
174 posts

Thank you! I had thought that there would be a significant surcharge too return the car to a different location, especially a different country - i.e., Venice - but checked further and there doesn't seem to be, at least with Sixt! I've also adjusted our itinerary a bit - and greatly appreciate your help.

Posted by
4700 posts

Checking now for a week in March, pick up a Sixt car at Ljubljana airport, drop at Venice airport, I see a "one-way" fee of $231.98 USD (with a base rate of $17.21 USD per day - the one-way fee adds another $33 per day). That may be worth it for some people, when you figure in the convenience and cost of the shuttle, etc. If you were taking GoOpti from Piran to Venice, though, it's only about $40 USD for two people, tops.

Posted by
174 posts

Whoops! I think I made a mistake in using the Sixt website. Thank you so very much for checking this!

On second thought, GoOpti will be just fine. Again - a million thanks!!

Posted by
4700 posts

$231 isn't actually as bad as I imagined, and that's quite acceptable for some people (think a family of four). I've seen one-way rental car drop fees in the thousands of dollars between Italy and Croatia. Sixt seems to base the fee on distance between the other city and the original city. It's something like $500 USD if you rent in Ljubljana and drop in Dubrovnik. Ljubljana isn't that far from Venice.

Posted by
174 posts

You've given us much to think about ...as we refine our plans and settle on dates, I will explore a variety of options and very much appreciate your prodding me to explore varied drop-offs vs Opti. Many thanks.