Last Updated on 3rd March 2023 by Sophie Nadeau
It’s easy to be entranced by Ljubljana. The Slovenian capital is tiny, but it’s renowned for its gorgeous cobblestone streets, charming river views, charismatic street art and castle looming over every city view. The little capital also makes for a great base to visit the nearby region. Here’s your ultimate guide to the best day trips from Ljubljana…
As it’s the nation’s capital, most tourists to Slovenia base in Ljubljana. It’s a tiny country, so it’s easy to explore anywhere in Slovenia on day trips from the capital. While visiting the capital city itself, be sure to check out our guide to spending one day in Ljubljana.
Whether you want to explore other cities and towns, hike in rolling hills, see views of the Julian Alps or bask on the shores of the legendary Lake Bled, there’s so much to see in Slovenia – and here’s how to visit the highlights as day trips from Ljubljana!
How to get around Slovenia
Slovenia is one of the only Balkan countries with rail routes, and destinations like Bled and Maribor are connected by train. However, the bus routes can often be quicker.
You may also want to consider renting a car. Check car rental comparison prices here. Many of these day trip destinations – particularly the more nature-based ones – are difficult to get to with public transport. Fuel and car rental prices have risen, like most places in the world, but if you’re travelling in a group you may find it economical.
Another option is to partake in a guided tour. Many operators work in Ljubljana and offer tours to destinations all over the country, including many of the more difficult-to-access places. You can book plenty of day trips from Ljubljana on Get Your Guide so that all of the details are taken care of for you.
Best Day Trips from Ljubljana
Without a doubt one of the most popular destinations in Slovenia, Lake Bled is a glassy blue body of water with an island and the Church of Mary the Queen in the middle, surrounded by looming mountains. In the cooler months, these mountains will either be snow-capped or covered in ice!
Most attractions revolve around the lake and involve being outdoors, so try to time your Lake Bled day trip for a clear, sunny day.
You can hire boats and row to the island, admiring the church, or take a hiking trail around the perimeter of the island. Also, don’t miss climbing up to Bled Castle!
To reach Bled from Ljubljana, take a coach or train, both of which take around an hour and a half. If you’re driving, it’s just over an hour. Alternatively, if you want all the transportation details taken care of for you, then you can book a guided tour like this one.
Maribor is the second largest city in Slovenia, and although it’s not really a touristy destination, it’s well worth visiting to engage in local life. Plus, there’s plenty to see, including an Old Town, historic Market Square and Maribor Castle, which is a Baroque mansion containing a regional museum.
If you’re a fan of viticulture, it’s also worth visiting Vinag Wine Cellar, which is right in the city centre and is one of the best places in the country to sample traditional Slovenian wine. Slovenia is particularly known for white wines and there are a number of other places in the city to taste the local tipples.
Nearby, the Maribor vineyards lie close to the border with Austria. The rolling hills have been used for growing aromatic and noble white wine grapes for hundreds of years.
Visitors can even follow the Maribor wine route, the most famous part of which is where the road forms a heart shape amongst the vines.
Maribor is connected to the capital by rail, but they are quite slow (around 3 hours) and infrequent. The bus is quicker, taking just 2 hours. Alternatively, if you want to see Maribor, as well as the surrounding vineyards, then you can book this visit to Maribor, Ptuj & Heart of the Vineyards.
Slovenia doesn’t have much of a coastline, as there is less than 46km between Italy and Croatia. However, this means that the beach town of Piran is much quieter than its counterparts in Croatia (like Pula and Zadar) yet it’s just as charming.
This beautiful beachy town has an incredibly laid-back vibe – you’ll probably want to spend days soaking in its atmosphere! Thanks to its small and compact size, you can easily see all of Piran’s highlights in a day, making it one of the best day trips from Ljubljana.
Explore the historic town centre, complete with town walls, and take in gorgeous views at the marina. You’re by the coast, so the seafood is incredible here too, and there are plenty of oceanfront restaurants to enjoy. Or, if you just fancy relaxing beachside all day, that’s perfectly possible in Piran too.
It’s a bit of a complicated route to reach Piran from Ljubljana by public transport, so most tourists opt to drive, which is just over an hour.
Another option is to book a guided tour like this one. Highlights include visiting the town of Piran and discovering the Skocjan Caves. Find out more details here.
Kamnik is one of the easiest day trips from Ljubljana, being just a half-hour drive from the centre. Famous for its arboretums, Kamnik has gorgeous gardens to stroll around and learn about botany.
The most popular of these is perhaps Arboretum Volčji Potok which spans 180 acres and is renowned for flower shows and gorgeous walks.
In the town, explore churches and castles, or spend time at a spa. Kamnik has an excellent spa culture, and you can swim, soak or have treatments here!
Predjama Castle and Postojna Cave
One of the most popular Ljubljana day trips is to visit Predjama Castle and Postojna Cave. Predjama Castle is an 800-year-old fortress that was constructed around a base of natural caves – making it the largest cave castle in the world.
Postojna Cave, on the other hand, is one of the most entrancing caves in the world. A tourist train takes you through the caves, giving you the chance to admire karst stones and towering stalagmites.
You can see these attractions by public transport, but you’ll need to take a bus to Postojna and then travel by train from there.
Or you can do a guided tour (plenty leave from Ljubljana) or drive yourself. Check here for more details about taking a guided tour to Postojna Cave & Predjama Castle.
If you want to avoid the crowds or visit somewhere a little alternative, look no further than Lake Bohinj, which is somewhat of a hidden gem when it comes to excursions from Ljubljana. Situated in the Triglav National Park, there’s plenty to do at this lake.
Enjoy attractions like the waterfall of Slap Savica and the Church of St. John the Baptist, all the while taking in the most gorgeous lakeside views. If you have a car, you can actually visit Lake Bohinj and Lake Bled in a one day trip!
If you don’t have a car, then it’s a 2 hour bus ride from the capital to reach Lake Bohinj. As with many other day trips from Ljubljana, it’s also possible to book a Lake Bled and Bohinj Trip with Vintgar Gorge like this one.
Vipava Valley is the prime winemaking region in Slovenia, and it’s well worth doing as a Ljubljana day trip. Panoramic views of the valley, which you can enjoy from virtually every vantage point, are beautifully scenic, with endless vineyards dotted with rustic cottages.
It’s a beautiful area for hiking, but you can also take in some of Slovenia’s wonderful vineyards while you’re here. It’s best to visit by driving or – if nobody wants to be the designated driver – an organised day trip. There are a few options from Ljubljana! Check here for an organised Vipava Valley & Goriska Brda day trip here.
Once you’ve relished all of Ljubljana’s charms, take in these epic day trips from the capital! Thanks to the country’s petite size, they’re all easy to reach, and each will show you a different side to this beautiful and dynamic country.
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Claire Martin is a travel blogger and freelance writer who specialises in overland adventures. She’s drove around Australia, travelled from Bali to London without flying, lived in Mexico and has spent many months exploring Europe. You can follow her adventures on her blog, Claire’s Footsteps.