The Best of Slovenia in 3 Days

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I first became interested in visiting Slovenia when I stumbled upon a photo of Lake Bled. It was basically love for first sight and I knew this was somewhere I needed to see for myself.  I did some research on the country and discovered that there was a whole lot more to see than just this fairytale lake so I planned for 3 days in Slovenia. I expected to be amazed by Lake Bled; what I didn’t expect was that Slovenia itself would become one of my favourite countries, and top recommendations to travellers. 

To be honest, I wish I had spent more time exploring the country. However, for those on a time crunch here’s how to see the best of Slovenia in 3 days. 

How to Get to Slovenia 

Despite being surrounded on land by Italy, Austria, Hungary, and Croatia; Slovenia isn’t as simple to access as other European destinations. You’ll need to plan for lengthy bus or train rides but trust me; it’s worth it, and (in my experience) reasonably priced.

I originally planned on arriving from Budapest but quickly changed my mind when I saw how long it would take to get there. Instead, I made a little detour to Vienna, and took a train direct to Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana, from Vienna. It was one of the prettiest train ride I have taken and although I planned on a nap, I spent the majority of the six hour ride staring out the window at the passing mountains. 

A train ride through the mountains

Another fantastic option is the Go Opti shuttle services. This shuttle company offers transfer services to/from Ljubljana from a variety of nearby European cities. I used them to get to Venice after my stay in Slovenia, and although I was a little worried that I had to book and pay in advance without knowing the time I was leaving until the day before departure, I was very pleased with their service and would highly recommend them.

For those coming from further away, Ljubljana, also has a small airport that is frequented by a few European airlines including Easyjet and Wizzair. 

Where to Base Yourself in Slovenia for 3 Days

In my opinion, the best place to base yourself out of is the capital city, Ljubljana. There is a great network of both trains and busses that can get you into the mountains or to the sea in just a couple of hours.

If you are backpacking and looking to stay in a hostel try Dragon’s Dream Hostel. But if you want some private space, then a hotel is the way to go. Hotels in Ljubljana are pretty reasonably priced for a European capital city. Consider  Vander Urbani or City Hotel Ljubljana which are both in the heart of the city. 

Old town, Ljubljana

Slovenia in 3 Days: Where to Go and What to Do

If I had more time I would have stayed longer to see more of the country. That being said, I think that three full days will allow for time to see the best highlights. Based on my experiences I would recommend spending a day at each of the following:

Day 1: Ljubljana

The Capital city, Ljubljana, is one of the smallest capital cities of Europe.  The old town sits alongside the Ljubljanica River under an impressive Castle, and is one of the most charming cities I have ever been to.

Triple Bridge spanning across the river

The river is lined with restaurants and cafes while little boutiques and galleries follow the winding cobblestone paths under the castle’s shadow. Part of the beauty of this small European capital is the lack of excessive tourism. Tourist shops offer authentic local merchandise instead of the ‘made-in-China’ junk that you find on every street corner in Paris. I didn’t see a single scammer trying to sell me fake bags or lure children with brightly coloured toys. And, compared to most other capital cities, Ljubljana is very clean. Part of my draw to the city is that no matter where I went, my experience always felt authentic.

Although the city isn’t big there is a lot to see including:

The Ljubljana Castle: Located at the top of the hill you can either hike up Castle Hill (about 40 minutes of steep climbing) or take the funicular for a fee. Once at the top one can pay to enter the castle and enjoy the exhibitions, or just take in the beautiful views.

Looking up at Ljubljana Castle

The Dragon Bridge: The dragon bridge is the most famous of the many bridges in Ljubjana, and is very easy to find. As the name suggests, Dragons guard each side of the bridge so there’s no doubt when you’ve arrived as to which bridge you are crossing. The dragon is the symbol of the city, so expect to see it everywhere. Other popular bridges to check out include the triple bridge and the butcher’s bridge, which is where you will find Ljubljana’s love locks.

One of the dragons of the Dragon Bridge

The Market: Anything and everything can be found at the market; from homemade arts and crafts, to fruits and vegetables, fresh meats, and clothing. Prices may not be better than those at the grocery store but you can trust that the products are fresh and local.

fresh fruit stalls

Metelkova: Probably one of the most unique places you will ever see. This section of Ljubljana is an alternative art and culture community located only a few minutes from the train station. The buildings, many of which have been converted into galleries, cafes, bars, and clubs, are covered in graffiti. It’s the social centre of the city, and a hot-spot for young people at night.

graffiti covered buildings

eerie sculptures

Between the above sites, walking through the streets, and relaxing in the Tivoli Park, it’s easy to spend a day enjoying Slovenia’s beautiful capital city.

Think you’d like to explore Ljubljana with a local? Book this tour.

Day 2: Lake Bled and Bohinj in Triglav National Park

Seeing that a photo of Lake Bled is what drew me to Slovenia in the first place, it was a ‘must-see’ during my visit.

Lake bled looks right out of a fairytale

Probably one of the most photographed places in the country, Lake Bled looks right out of a fairytale, and even has the legend to go with it. The story goes that the area didn’t used to be a lake, but was a beautiful field of green grass. The fairies loved to dance here but soon a farmer discovered it and led his herds to feed. The fairies begged the farmer to stop, because his herds were destroying the field and making it hard to dance on.  But the farmer didn’t listen, and day after day continued to bring his herds. Afraid that they would be hurt, the fairies threatened the farmer that one day the field would no longer exist if he continued. But still the famer and his herd kept returning until one night a fairy fell and broke her leg on the now uneven ground. In their anger the fairies cast a spell and covered the field with water, drowning the farmer and his herds in the process. Today only the island remains, a small but safe place for the fairies to continue their dancing.


There are regular busses from Ljubljana train station, as well as a train, however the bus is a better option as it takes you right into the town. Or, if you don’t want to tackle public transit, you can take a tour from Ljubjana. You can book that here. 

There are three main highlights of Lake Bled. The first is the castle, located on the cliff top overlooking the lake. It’s a steep (and sweaty) climb, but only do it if you plan on paying to enter the castle as that’s the only place you will get the views.  Upon entering the castle there are a couple of small exhibits as well as a gift shop and restaurant, but the main attraction is the views. There a two levels at which you can look down at the lake and both are worth visiting. Even if you are on a backpacking budget- this is a view worth paying for.

The second attraction is the island in the middle of the lake, where the church is located. Once on the island tradition is to ring the church bell and make a wish- although you will have to pay for this privilege.  Another tradition on the island is for newly wedded couples. On the day of the wedding groom must carry his (silent) bride up the stairs to the church to ring the bell and wish luck on their wedding.

Boats go to/from the island on a regular basis throughout the day. Sadly we missed the last boat during out visit and didn’t get to experience the island for ourselves, but it was still stunning to look at, even on our cloudy and foggy day.

The island

The third main attraction of Bled is the famous Bled Cream Cake. It is served at most restaurants in the area but all will tell you that the best is found at the Park Hotel. Of course we had to try it for ourselves, along with another traditional Slovenian cake called prekmurska gibanica. The Bled cream cake was to die for, but neither of us was a big fan of the other.

Bled Cream cake (on the right)

Bled Cream cake (on the right)

One can easily spend half a day at Bled Lake before taking the bus another 45 or so minutes to Bohinj in Triglav National park. Sadly my travel buddy and I only made it to Bled due to time restrictions, but from everything I heard from other travellers (and the locals) the area is incredibly beautiful with a stunning waterfall.

Day 3: Piran

Another perfect day trip from Ljubljana is to the seaside town of Piran. Located on the coast of the Adriatic sea, Piran is a stunning coastal town perfect for a relaxed day. It is about a 2.5 hour bus ride from Llubljana but you arrive right by the pier.


The town is small, and doesn’t have a lot going on but is perfect for walking along the water and exploring the little shops. Grab lunch at one of the many seaside café’s and, if you are feeling adventurous, hike to the old wall and climb the stairs for a stunning panoramic view. The cost for the wall is only a couple of euro, but make sure you have change as it is a turnstile entry, and when I visited, the nearby café wouldn’t make change for me.  

Looking down from the Old Wall

Piran is beautiful to just explore by foot. Walking along the sea offers stunning views of both Croatia and Italy. Although there are no actual beaches here, there are docks with ladders that you can use for swimming. Note that there is not a direct bus back to Llubljana, you need to go to Koper (about 45 min) then transfer to a bus to Llubljana.

The Italian coast off in the distance

If You Have More Time

As I said earlier I wish I had the time to visit Bohinj, from that I heard from others you could probably spend an entire day just exploring that area. There are also numerous more castles that would be incredible to visit, as well as the world famous Postojna Cave. Needless to say from sea to mountains to national parks, there is enough in this beautiful country to keep you busy for at least a week. However, if you only have time to spend 3 days in Slovenia, my suggestions as given above will keep you busy! 

A Note on Travel Insurance in Slovenia

Please, do NOT travel without travel insurance! I’ve had to rely on mine multiple times. While the cost may seem annoying and better spent elsewhere, trust me when I say you’ll be sorry if you don’t have it. For just a couple bucks a day, you can save yourself a whole lot of stress and money. I like to recommend SafetyWing for travel medical insurance as they are one of the most affordable options I’ve found, plus, they are who I use and I have had great experiences with them. Learn more about the importance of travel insurance here.

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  1. Els Mahieu on June 11, 2014 at 6:05 am

    Looks like you moved quite a lot in those 3 days! 🙂 I really enjoyed Slovenia as well! Was there for 5 days and followed more or less the same route as you + the Skocjan caves and the Triglav mountains. Ljubljana is such a cute little capital, I enjoyed sitting on a terrace by the river. Should go back there soon! 🙂

    • on June 11, 2014 at 10:05 am

      I’m jealous of your 5 days! I honestly went there to go to Bled but ended up wanting to see everything! I will go back one day for sure to catch up on what I missed

  2. Maggie on June 11, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    Wow… Slovenia seems almost magical. Loved hearing your review.

    • on June 11, 2014 at 9:40 pm

      Thanks Maggie! It was kinda magical- nothing like being by the sea one day and in the mountains the next!

  3. Muriel on June 12, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    I’ve been seeing a lot lately about Slovenia and other Eastern European countries that you normally don’t think about. Lake Bled has been popping up in my feed too and I would love to visit. It looks so magical from your pictures!

  4. Samantha on June 12, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    I’d love to visit Slovenia! I’ve been hearing more about it recently and it seems like a great Eastern European destination.

  5. Jen Seligmann on June 13, 2014 at 8:21 am

    Slovenia is very high on my list of places to visit someday. You’ve put together a great guide here which will come in handy when I eventually get there.

  6. Brianna on June 14, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    I came very close to visiting Sovenia last year but had trouble finding an affordable flight(even into neighboring countries). I really want to explore Lake Bled and the Julian Alps!

  7. Bianca @itsallbee on June 14, 2014 at 10:59 pm

    Great pictures. Slovenia is one of those places that has been on my list for a while now and hopefull next year I will visit.

    Middle-Eastern Weekend |Tales From Tel Aviv

  8. Shannon Kircher on December 1, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    Thanks for the tips! We’re thinking about spending a week starting in Venice for a couple of days and then 5 days in Slovenia split between Ljubljana and Lake Bled. Sounds like we may be able to sneak in a day trip from Ljubljana as well!

    • Hannah Logan on December 1, 2016 at 9:59 pm

      Jealous, I love Venice and Slovenia! You are going to love Slovenia- but definitely try to sneak in Piran if the weather is nice 🙂

  9. Claudia on March 22, 2017 at 7:39 am

    Thank you so so much for this! I’ll be traveling to Ljubljana with my family this May and I am looking forward to visiting this beautiful city <3

  10. Anne on March 2, 2018 at 4:26 am

    We are thinking of renting a car – what are your thoughts

    • Hannah Logan on March 2, 2018 at 1:27 pm

      I can’t really comment as I didn’t, but I wouldn’t say its a bad idea. Traffic certainly wasn’t crazy when I visited and it definitely allows for more freedom!

  11. Khánh Linh Dương Gia on March 5, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    May I ask you how much in total for your 3 days trip in Slovenia?

    • Hannah Logan on March 5, 2018 at 6:17 pm

      Honestly, I have no clue. It was a couple years ago not. Sorry 🙁 I did it as part of a backpacking trip and it was budget friendly.

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