21 Jun 24

Extending your stay in Slovenia – the best things to see and do

Amanda Thompson Slovenia

A question I commonly get asked is: ‘Should I extend my stay in Slovenia?’ As I have just spent the best part of 2 weeks travelling and trekking around Slovenia, the answer is a big YES from me.

Slovenia is a pint-sized country that certainly packs a big punch in beauty and what it has to offer. Getting around is easy, the people are exceptionally friendly and helpful, and you can get from the Alps to the coast within a couple of hours. Being a smaller country, one of the bonuses of traveling to different areas is that it’s not going to take too much time. Public transport is reliable, and there are some great local and relatively cheap transfer companies such as GoOpti and Daytrip.

These are my top picks of what to see and do during an extended stay in Slovenia.


The charming capital city of Ljubljana has around 300,000 residents and covers 164 sq km. Compact and extremely walkable, it’s really worth spending an extra 1, 2 or even 3 days here getting to know this city more intimately.

When I visited, it’s cleanliness stood out immediately – there was no rubbish on the streets. Ljubljana, was the first city in the world to declare a zero-waste goal. It is one of Europe’s, if not the world’s, most eco-friendly capital cities. Read more about what makes Slovenian cities so green.

The main tourist attraction is Ljubljana Castle, a 10-minute walk out of town, up on the hill. The views of the city from the castle are fabulous, and its history is colourful and astonishing. Originally a medieval fortress, it was constructed around the 11th century and rebuilt in the 12th century. Have a coffee in the wonderful grounds, take in a meal at the gastronomic restaurant Strelec (one of the most renowned restaurants in Slovenia) or just spend some time walking leisurely around the manicured gardens. It’s well worth the trip up, and if you are not up for walking there is a funicular you can catch to the top.

If you are a foodie, Ljubljana has a huge range of restaurants on offer from Michelin Star restaurants to street food and if you happen to be in Ljubljana on a Friday night between March and October you can visit the Open Kitchen (Odprta Kuhna) set up at the Ljubljana Central Market. I can draw as many as 25,000 people! Here you can enjoy the diversity of street foods all the while sitting amongst a vibrant, fun atmosphere where locals meet up for a social evening. Or you could join a food walking tour, where you will gain a real insight into the food culture of this country.

Ljubljana is a hub of music, art, culture and theatre. From exhibitions and concerts to opera, theatre performances, films there’s something for everyone. Take a free walking tour or sit at a cafe along the riverfront and watch the world go by. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.  

Lake Bohinj

Lake Bohinj is the smaller of the two main lakes in Slovenia. (Lake Bled is the bigger sister of the two lakes and a main tourist mecca.) Lake Bohinj offers a quieter and more relaxed atmosphere. The small village, right on the lake, is picture perfect; it’s almost impossible to take a bad photo here. Although it’s laid-back, there is plenty for adventure seekers. Take a canoe or SUP out along the lake, try your hand at paragliding or rock climbing, or just spend time walking around the lake. There is also a boat that regularly goes from one end of the lake to the other and you can take a relaxed boat ride rather than walking the remainder of the walk back to the village, if you wish.

The spectacular Mostnica Gorge is a pleasant walk from Lake Bohinj through the most picturesque villages and definitely worth the walk. You will feel you are a world away from everything. You can also take a panoramic cable car to the Vogel ski resort and viewpoint, named after the 1923m-high mountain in the south-eastern part of the Julian Alps. The cable car will take you to an altitude of 1535m. Enjoy a coffee and the amazing views, or take a walk on one of the ski trails, which are perfect for hiking in the summer months.

For such a small town, you will be surprised by the quality of restaurants. With views of the lake, you can have an exceptional dinner at either Restaurant Triglav Bohinj or Hotel Marjerca. Or if you prefer a more relaxed dining experience, there is Pizzeria Pr’Košnik and Foksner (good for burgers and craft beers), both popular with locals and tourists alike.

All this in just over an hour by public transport from the capital Ljubljana!


Located right on the Adriatic Sea, the perfect seaside town of Piran deserves an extra day or so if you have the time. The quaint town is the jewel of the Slovenian coast and sits a narrow peninsula jutting out to sea. It’s backed by coastal hills and, despite being a popular tourist attraction, it still oozes an air of cosiness and relaxation. It has a rich cultural heritage and the close Venetian influence is immediately apparent in its architecture and houses. Take a refreshing dip in the Adriatic Sea, explore the many laneways, go window shopping or taking in an art gallery or two. Finish off your day at one of the many seaside restaurants, where you can enjoy the freshest of seafood, chilled wine and watch the sun set over the water. 

If you want to venture further, you can hire a bike (or e-bike) and visit the small seaside villages of Koper, Izola or Portoroz. The surrounding area and Slovenian coast is lovely and deserves exploring, and Piran is a great base from which to do it.

Lake Bled

Lastly, but certainly not least, is the unique town of Lake Bled. It’s definitely deserves some extra time to explore it. In the middle of the beautiful glacial lake is Bled Island, home to the iconic pilgrimage church and a medieval Gothic 10th-century Bled Castle, dramatically perched on a cliff, 130m above the lake and backed by the Karavanke Alps. Take a traditional plenta boat trip across the lake or hire a boat and row yourself out to the island. Once you have climbed the 99 steps to the castle, spend some time wandering around and taking in the stunning views from the central or upper terrace, visit the Tower Gallery to explore the 1000-year history, or take a quiet moment in the sacred 16th-century Baroque chapel.

Although the island is Bled’s No.1 tourist attraction, the town has a lot more to offer. Visit a local beekeeper, take a ride in a hot air balloon, hire a SUP or canoe and spend some time out on the lake or, in summer, take a refreshing dip. You could also take an e-bike tour around the city, hike up to the lookout to get a bird’s eye view of the castle, or take a guided tour to learn more about the history of this quaint town.

As with most of Slovenia, you are spoiled for choice for restaurants in Bled and will find whatever your taste buds desire, from traditional Slovenian dishes including local cheese, stews, Carniolan sausage, cottage cheese or buckwheat dough pockets and roast potatoes, to pizzas, steaks or the iconic Bled cream cake. Slovenian wines or beers from local breweries are the perfect complement to any meal.

Amanda Thompson

Written By

Amanda Thompson

Amanda is RAW Travel's specialist for Slovenia and the European Alps. With a passion for mountain treks and a wealth of industry experience, she's your go-to guru for planning the ultimate adventure. Former PT turned trekking expert, Amanda has the best training tips and insights to ensure your journey through the Alps is nothing short of epic.

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