After a recent impulse trip to Slovenia, Sam and I agreed that it’s one of our new favorite places… in the world. Its beauty and diversity is absolutely underrated (although there were many Europeans vacationing there, so it might just be Americans that haven’t gotten the memo yet). Here’s what we did on our 4 day trip to Slovenia!
On our way there from Vienna, we spent the night in our car in the northeast corner of Italy where Italy, Slovenia, and Austria all meet. Using the Park4Night app, we found a quiet spot to car camp near Lago del Predil. I highly recommend this app for finding free or cheap places to legally park for a night. Keep in mind that “wild camping” is illegal in Austria, so if you use the Park4Night app it’s solely for van life, car camping/sleeping, and NOT for tent camping. If you want to tent camp, you need to pay to stay in designated camp grounds.
Mangart Saddle (Mangartsko Sedlo)
The next morning, we woke up and checked out the beautiful Lago del Predil before crossing the border into Slovenia, which at this point means you’ve also entered Triglav National Park (which is why we slept across the border in Italy as camping/overnight parking in the national park is not allowed).
We headed towards the highest road in Slovenia, which takes you to the Mangart Saddle via Route 902. There was an entrance station that charged something around 10-15 euros (can’t remember exactly!) Driving up this steep, winding mountain road was a white knuckle experience but was absolutely worth it! Once you reach the top, the dramatic green cliffs make for a stunning view. It was rainy and windy when we were there, but still incredible.
Soča Valley (Dolina Soče)
After coming back down the mountain, we headed towards the famous Soča Valley area. You will know you’re close when you start to see a gorgeous blue river running alongside the road! We visited the Great Soča Gorge (Velika Korita Soče) and let me tell you, we were picking our jaws up off the ground because of how beautiful it was. It’s a small slot canyon gorge area but for what it lacks in size, it makes up for in gorgeous views. The water is insanely clear and you can see the bottom of the river.
The cliffs in the gorge make for some great cliff jumping spots if you’re feeling brave and have a wetsuit for anything other than scorching hot days (don’t underestimate the cold water temps here, even in the summer it’s as cold as 15 degrees C/60 degrees F). We were glad we brought our wetsuits so we could enjoy the water! Our hands did go numb because they weren’t covered, but otherwise we were fine. We jumped off the cliffs a number of times as onlookers recorded and cheered! We were the only ones jumping on this day because it was overcast and rainy, so we definitely had an audience! A couple of individuals were really nice and offered to take photos for us or email us videos. Other spots to swim/see waterfalls/hike in the Soča Valley that we didn’t make it to this time but hope to visit in the future: Šunikov vodni gaj, Brjeka hanging bridge, and Slap Virje (a waterfall)
After we were satisfied with our jumping, we dried off and headed to our airbnb/hostel in the town of Kobarid. We stayed at Kamp Rut (pictured below) in a private room in their hostel building. It was a nice spot for the night and had chill vibes as their were also places for vans to park, a restaurant, playgrounds for a families, etc.
Lake Bled (Straža Bled) and Most na Soči
On our second morning, we started the 2ish hour drive to Lake Bled. We didn’t have any scheduled road side stops, but we enjoyed just seeing the Slovenian countryside and driving through small towns. At one point we stopped and enjoy the beautiful lighting and view at the spot in the photo below (left). I truly don’t know where it is, but the rolling hills were beautiful! We also stopped in the beautiful town of Most na Soči to walk around and admire the beautiful blue water.
After a beautiful drive we made it to the most famous/well known place in Slovenia, Lake Bled. When we got there it was POURING rain haha. So we sat in our car for 30 minutes hoping it would pass. It let up a little bit and we decided to see if we could get lucky on a short hike to a viewpoint overlooking the lake. We parked at the paid parking lot by Velika Zaka on the west side of the lake. From here we starting walking south down the main road for just a minute or two before hopping onto the signed trail on the right side of the road. The can take this trail to different viewpoints, Mala Ojstrica or Mala Osojnica, or you can combine the two into a roundtrip hike. We combined them and it about 1 hour round trip, including photos.
The lake has an island in the middle with the beautiful Assumption of Maria Church on it. You can visit the island by taking a ride on a traditional Pletna boat or renting a rowboat. We spent the night in an Airbnb near the town of Bled, then headed to our last destination early the next morning.
Triglav National Park (Triglavaski Narodni Park) and Mala Mojstrovka
This national park truly has it all. It’s home to the highest peak in Slovenia and it’s namesake, Mount Triglav. This area is part of the Julian Alps and boasts dramatic peaks, alpine lakes, waterfalls galore, and more stunning blue water. We hiked/climbed the technical via ferrata route to Mala Mojstrovka and consider it one of the best summit views we’ve ever seen. We parked at Vrsič Pass and hiked the VA-R14 trail north to the Vratca saddle, and then from there hiked west towards the start of the technical route. The via ferrata route was stunning and really not too difficult. We ate lunch on the summit and then took the hiking trail down the front side of the mountain, which was quite steep and loose. I was definitely glad to have my hiking poles! The whole trip took us about 4.5 hours roundtrip not including the time we spent hanging out on the summit. It was a stunning but still relatively short trip that I highly recommend for anyone looking to do a half day via ferrata route in Triglav National Park! This is an area we will absolutely be returning to… soon!
I cannot adequately express how blown away we were by Slovenia. It’s one of our favorite places in Europe so far and we will be coming back multiple times, I’m sure. If you get the chance, you MUST visit this beautiful country! After one visit to this place you’ll understand why you can’t spell “Slovenia” without “LOVE” 🙂
As aways, please practice Leave No Trace and leave this beautiful place better than you found it!