My wife and I are making a trip to Slovenia and will be in country for five nights. We want to visit the Lake Bled area, the Julian Alps, Ljubljana and Skocjan cave and are considering remaining at the same lodging, probably in or around Lake Bled for the entire visit. We will have a car. Is this practical? I understand that most sites are within about an hour of Ljubljana. I could use some advice on if this is a good idea or not. Thanks, Brad
Lake Bled and Ljubljana are both good bases. Which one you might prefer would be a personal preference. Do you like cities? If so, Ljubljana is really lovely and charming and fun at night, with lots of restaurant options. Bled the town at night is nothing special in my opinion - a tourist town with restaurants, so you won't go hungry for sure, but I'd much prefer Ljubljana myself. If you want an alternative to Bled, you might consider the nearby little town of Radovljica - which has actual old-town charm (and a unique bee keeping museum).
People who prefer a back-to-nature experience might prefer being near Lake Bohinj instead. Bled is a much more developed, busier tourist resort. But staying in Bled certainly isn't a mistake. It's convenient for sure, nothing wrong with it, just in my view not special as a town. The lake is beautiful.
FYI, if you stayed in Ljubljana, to visit those places, you wouldn't necessarily need a car the whole time. Ljubljana has big pedestrian-only areas, so you would need either to find a lodging with parking or park in a garage. It's possible to do just day rentals of cars and return them late at night after closing - I did that last year with Avantcar but only for one day. You wouldn't have to pay extra for parking that way.
Some people will point out that you don't need a car at all (except for the Julian Alps), because you can take pubic transit to most of the big tourist spots from Ljubljana, but a car will be nice for doing some scenic drives near Bled.
Hi Brad. We did this exact trip a few years ago and loved it. We have the perfect place to stay in Skofia Loka. I sent you a pm with details.
Don't know how you feel about horses, but we spent a wonderful weekend at the Lippizaner stud farm in Lipica. We were also in Ljubljana, but it was almost 10 years ago, and I can't remember the details. Just remember loving being surrounded by the horses. But I'm one of THOSE people.
Similar question...would it be better to travel in circuit instead of hub and spoke for the 5 days? Bled, Triglav, Vintgar Gorge, the coast, etc? That would save the time returning to town and expose us to nights elsewhere. Just starting to research, so I'm not really sure what a circuit would look like. Any thoughts or preferences? Thanks!
Peg, much of this is more personal preference than logistics. Some people hate to change hotels or lodgings and will endure hours of extra driving back and forth just to avoid it. Others don't mind changing hotels every night just to avoid extra time and driving. I lean toward the latter but have done the "day trips from base" more than once.
It makes more sense to stay near Bled (or Bohinj) for a few days if you are planning to explore stuff in that area. But you can certainly drive more hours back to Ljubljana at the end of the day if you want (it's such a great place to come back to at night). Some of these towns you might be "exposed" to at night aren't particularly worth it for that experience. Bled in my opinion isn't much of a town, though there are restaurants for sure and it's not a mistake to stay there. Piran on the other hand I loved - and it's a great place to see the sunset into the ocean. I'd hate to have to drive back to Ljubljana instead of staying there a night at least.
I think I would plan it out both ways and see how much extra driving it would be to stay in one spot. Maybe you compromise and do some day trips from a base and then move on to another one.
As you start to plan, you’ll see that some areas are more easily accessible than others. That should affect your decision on whether to visit on a day trip or stay the night. The Soca Valley is a place where it certainly makes sense to stay a night or two, whereas the Alpine lakes and the coast provide a lot of sightseeing opportunities but can easily be done on day trips from Ljubljana. That said, I agree with Andrew with staying the night in Piran for the atmosphere and sunset, whereas the lakes are more of a daytime experience, they aren’t that special in the evenings.