Cake & Caviar

Road trip Slovenia: The Northwest/The mountains

Road trip 1: The Northwest/The mountains – 7 days

Land of mountains and lakes (c) Mirci via Flickr.com
Land of mountains and lakes (c) Mirci via Flickr.com

When you drive into Slovenia from Austria through the Karawanken tunnel (7864 meter) you’ll arrive in the region Gorenjska nearby the town of Jesenice. This is the ideal region to discover if you like skiing, hiking and the outdoors. This region is mostly known for the impressive and beautiful nature and for its high mountains. The Triglav National Park, in the Julian Alps, is named after the Triglav mountain (meaning the three heads because of the shape of the mountain), which is the highest of the country with a peak of 2864 m. You will also find the largest lake of Slovenia in this region: the scenic lake of Bohinj.

Day 1 Bled:

Bled must be the most touristic town in Slovenia but that is no reason to pass it by as it really is stunning and romantic. Bled is small, just about 5500 inhabitants, and built around the lake of Bled. The lake is only 2 km on 1380 m. The sights that are not to be missed in Bled are the castle Blejski grad and the island in the middle of the lake (Blejski otok). There are boats, called pletna, which look a bit like gondolas that bring you to the island. You’ll get about half an hour to visit the island before the pletna brings you back. That’s enough time as the island is super tiny and the only real place you can visit is the beautiful church of the Assumption. Don’t forget to ring the wishing bell!

The island of Bled (c) gerdragon via Flickr.com
The island of Bled (c) gerdragon via Flickr.com

You can have a walk around the lake, about 6 km, or if you don’t feel like walking you can just take the tourist train that drives around the lake. If you want to visit the castle, the best way is to walk to the St. Martin church and then take the road behind it that goes up to the castle. There is an exhibition area in one of the wings of the castle about the history of Bled and the lake area. While in Bled by the way, have the trout for dinner!

Bled is a good starting point for biking tours – one can choose between easy biking roads around the lake or die-hard mountain biking around Pokljuka and Mezaklja. It is also a fine starting point for hiking, for example to the Vintgar gorge. The gorge is just 3,5 or 4 km from Bled so the walk is relatively easy. You can also take the train from Bled to Podhom, which will leave you with a walk of 1,5 km. The trail will take you straight through the gorge on wooden bridges, rock paths and galleries along the Radovna river. There are a few very pretty waterfalls, the impressive Sum waterfall being the highest in Slovenia.

Day 2  Bohinj:

The lake of Bohinj is the largest in Slovenia and less touristic than Bled. Along the lake there is only one building: the church of John de Baptist (Cerkev Sv. Janeza Krstnika). This church is worth the visit both for the setting as well as for the splendid frescoes. Bohinj is just about 22 km from Bled.

Savica slap (c) Phil McIver via Flickr.com
Savica slap (c) Phil McIver via Flickr.com

Bohinj is in the Triglav National Park and  a good place for lovely walks and some serious mountain climbing. There are different hiking trails in the Triglav National Park and climbing the Triglav is also one of the options there.  One of the most popular trails is the Pokljuka Trail, an informative trail of a bit more than 7 km. On the west side of the lake one can also see the gorgeous Savica waterfall (slap savica) of 78 m high.

Day 3 Kranjska gora:

Kranjska Gora is the ideal spot for ski lovers. There are more than 30 km of ski slopes on which you will be able to practice Alpine skiing . There are good skiing options to both beginners and experienced skiers alike.

Majestic Slovenian mountains (c) Phil mcIver via Flickr.com
Majestic Slovenian mountains (c) Phil mcIver via Flickr.com

In the summer months there is also a lot to do in the area. There is a bike park with many obstacles. There is also some fun summer toboggan attraction. Other outdoor activities include rafting in the Sava river and skydiving. Kranjska Gora is a nice destination for the active tourist in every season.

Day 4 Idrija:

Idrija is about 125 km from Kranjska Gora. Drive through Kobarid and Tolmin (and not through Bled) so you can stop in both towns on the way. There is a very interesting museum in Kobarid about World War I. The Kobarid museum had received a price for best European museum. It seems Kobarid is also known for its great restaurants. Unfortunately I have not had the pleasure of eating there. Make a stop at the Tolmin gorges as well, the scenery is epic!

slovenia roadtrip
Gewerkenegg castle (c) Jani Peternelj

Idrija is the oldest mine town of Slovenia. The mercury mines of Idrija used to be the second largest in the world. The old town is picturesque, dominated by the castle Gewerkenegg. You will find a museum about the mines and the history of the town in the castle.

Idrija is also known for it’s lace making and the lace school Cipkarska Sola. The school has been operational since 1876.

Day 5 + 6 Ljubljana:

Ljubljana is about 60 km further then Idrija. I find it to be one of the most beautiful and friendly capitals of Europe with a nice convivial atmosphere. Ljubljana deserves its own post which I will write at some point but meanwhile you can look for Ljubljana tips on the site of the Slovenian tourist board. I love Ljubljana!!

Ljubljana dragon (c) nozoomii via Flickr.com
Ljubljana dragon (c) nozoomii via Flickr.com

Day 7  Skofja Loka. Radovljica. Bled

You only have 60 km left to drive back to your starting point, Bled. It’s worth stopping in Skofja Loka and Radovljica on your way back. Skofja Loka is one of the best preserved medieval towns of Slovenia. The town is divided in the low town and the high town. There are two rivers that cross Skofja Loka and there is a pretty castle from the 13th century. There are a few sights worth visiting as well like the church of St Cross, Homan’s house, the old town hall and the town walls.

slovenian mountains
Skofja Loka by Jost Gantar

If you are in the area in the last weekend of june, don’t miss out on the Venerina Pot, a medieval festival in Skofja Loka.

After Skofja Loka stop in Radovljica to visit the apicultural museum. The museum is in an old baroque building. It’s an interesting museum as apiculture is important in Slovenia.  From Radovljica you’ll be back in your starting point of Bled in a sec.

Spare time? Check the road trip through the Northeast of Slovenia and the road trip through the coast and the karst region. Did you ever go to Slovenia or are you planning on going?

16 thoughts on “Road trip Slovenia: The Northwest/The mountains

  1. Wat is het prachtig zeg, ik begier gewoon nog nooit geweest, terwijl ik een echte bergen fan ben. Het overdenken waard, want at ziet het er mooi uit zeg!

  2. Wat is Slovenië toch een prachtig land zeg! Het staat al enkele jaren op onze travel-bucketlist, maar door omstandigheden zijn we er tot op vandaag nog niet geraakt. Graag willen we ooit eens een roadtrip doen die Kroatië, Montenegro & Slovenië omvat, dus wie weet .. Ooit!

    1. Ja heel tof, hebben we ook (lang geleden) eens gedaan daarna nog door naar Albanië en Macedonië geweest toen. Echt een mooie reis.

  3. Slovenië staat hoog op mijn lijstje. We zijn eigenlijk aan het kijken of we Slovenië deze zomer kunnen bezoeken. We willen een paar weken lang rondreizen met de auto, kan niet wachten!

  4. I was at Bled two years ago and walked around the lake area. It was really one of my favorite places in Europe. Thanks for sharing your trip; bringing back my good memories.

  5. The island of Bled is so unique! Slovenia is a beautiful country. We must start saving up for trip there. Hopefully next year would be the year we will visit.

  6. What a beautiful place, hope I will be able to visit Slovenia one day. Love places that allows one to get to touristic places easily either by train, boat or walking.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *