Location

Ljubljana to Piran

Difficulty

6-7

Challenging to Strenuous

Length

8

Trip Cost

From $3600 pp
twin share

Overview

Highlights

  • Hike around the postcard-perfect setting of Lake Bled, one of the most striking and iconic scenes in Europe
  • Discover the remarkable underground world of the UNESCO-listed Škocjan Caves
  • Explore hiking trails that take you through inspiringly beautiful scenery
  • Meander atmospheric alleyways in the medieval Venetian port of Piran
  • Savour local wines during a tasting followed by a delicious home-made lunch at a Slovenian winemakers
  • Learn about traditional Slovenian beekeeping and sample local honey on a visit to a local beekeeper.

For such a small country, Slovenia really packs a punch. It is a land of fairy-tale quality, featuring whimsical castles, charming character-filled towns, epic world-class cave systems, and outstanding hiking opportunities through a magical landscape. Slovenia has won many awards for its commitment to sustainability, and you’ll discover first-hand its strong focus on farm fresh produce, wellness and the environment.

On this guided tour we follow old roads built by Russian prisoners of war during WWI and learn of their struggles. We engage with passionate local producers who share with us their age-old secrets of beekeeping and winemaking. In true RAW Travel style we tread sensational trails in this hiker’s paradise. After exploring the areas around and above Lake Bled for spectacular views over the iconic island and its church, we head into the heart of the Julian Alps and hike some of the highlights of the Alpe-Adria Trail, a multi-country 750km-long trail. We walk past turquoise lakes and rivers, through lush valleys and Alpine meadows, tranquil forests, and alongside striking mountain peaks. From the Alps we head south, along the Italian border, following the gorgeous Soĉa River. We visit the impressive Škocjan Cave system before ending our journey in the delightful coastal town of Piran. Here you will be charmed by the red-roofed Venetian-style architecture that overlooks the sparkling Adriatic Sea.

 

Important note: A minimum of 6 people are required for this trip to depart.

Are you a first-time or solo traveller?

We’ll support you all the way! View our preparation and training resources.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Ljubljana

Welcome to Slovenia! Today you make your way to Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital city. Arrive early to explore the area. This small city hosts an array of vibrant cafes, squares, bars and shops and is best explored on foot or by bike. Perched high above the city is Ljubljana Castle, the city’s main attraction, perfect for delving into Slovenian history and admiring the superb views over the city below. 

This evening you meet your guide and your tour companions for a short walk through the city centre. Your guide will brief you on the trip details while you have a welcome drink, before recommending a good place for dinner (at your own expense). Get to know those you’ll be discovering the delights of Slovenia with before it all begins tomorrow.

Day 2: Hike Lake Bled & Vintgar Gorge, transfer to Kranjska Gora (15km)

  • 5 hours, 500m ascent, 300m descent

The morning starts with a 40-minute transfer to Lake Bled, located at the foothills of the Julian Alps. Here, in the midst of spectacular scenery, you’ll meet local bee-keepers Blaz and Danijela. Bee-keeping is a long standing Slovenian tradition and your hosts are very passionate about their work. They’ll share their knowledge and local stories with you as well as offering the chance to try their honey.

From the bee-keepers we start walking. Our hike to Lake Bled offers a fantastic vantage point for an eagle’s view over the sky-blue lake with its postcard-perfect church on a central island. After pausing to take in the view, and listening to the bells that folk ring for their wishes to come true, we continue around the lake shore, via meadows and traditional villages, to Vintgar Gorge. Located in Triglav National Park, Vintgar Gorge has been carved out and sculpted by the beautiful Radovna River. We meander through the gorge alongside and over the river via a boardwalk — an enchanting way to finish our second day. A short 30-minute transfer takes us to the ski town of Kranjska Gora and our boutique alpine-style accommodation for the night.

Meals: B, L

Day 3: Kranjska Gora to Vršič Pass (13km)

  • 5 hours, 900m ascent

After breakfast we start our hike from the hotel’s doorstep and enter the Triglav National Park, one of the largest national reserves in Europe. We hike beautiful trails surrounded by epic limestone peaks, including some of the highest in Slovenia, as we make our way towards the central Julian Alps. This pristine wilderness offers majestic views from every angle and the trail leads us through beautiful beech, spruce and larch forests as we approach Vršič Pass and our cozy mountain hut accommodation. Vršič Pass sits at 1611m and is an incredibly scenic spot to rest for the night. 

Meals: B, L, D

Important note: 

  • Today there is an option to extend the hike an additional 3km with a 300m ascent. Your guide will take into consideration the group’s overall fitness and desire for more hiking before deciding on this option. 
  • Tonight’s accommodation is in a cozy mountain hut with all the basics. Please note this is a shared max 4-bed dorm with a shared bathroom. However, we think waking up in this stunning location makes the shared accommodation worth it.

Day 4: Vršič Pass to Trenta Valley (15km)

  • 7 hours, 600m ascent, 1400m descent

We set off early today on a lovely hike to Slemenova Spica through peaceful, flower-filled valleys to enjoy one of the best views in the Julian Alps. On a clear day you will be able to see Austria and Italy in the distance. 

Continuing on, our route descends steeply on narrow trails to the stunningly beautiful Soĉa Valley. Once we have reached the source of the Soĉa River, we follow the trail through the valley to the rustic homestead that will be our accommodation for the night. Here expect a warm welcome from your hosts Joži and Mitja, who will show you to your charming log cabin, nestled in a beautiful meadow beneath the Jalovec Peak, before serving up a traditional homemade dinner. 

Meals: B, L, D

Day 5: Trenta to Bovec (23km)

  • 8 hours, 400m ascent, 800m descent

We leave our little alpine haven behind and follow pretty trails through lush vegetation, alongside the Soĉa River. We cross several hanging bridges over water that varies in colour from ice-blue to turquoise and emerald. It is no exaggeration to say that the Soĉa River is one of the most beautiful in the world. Here we rest a little, taking our time to relax in a nice hidden spot. Here those who like “ice bathing” can take a dip, while others may enjoy soothing their feet in the icy water. 

In the late afternoon we take a short transfer to reach Bovec, Slovenia’s ‘outdoor sports capital’. This is an area where adventurous visitors hike, bike, raft, kayak and ski. Your evening meal is in your hands tonight,  but your guide will happily offer suggestions.

Meals: B, L

Day 6: Bovec and the Soĉa Valley (16km)

  • 5 hours, 350m ascent, 450m descent

The Soĉa Valley is filled with outdoor museums explaining the stories of WWI. This morning we explore this further on our walk from Bovec, when we pass WWI trenches, caverns and military positions. After our educational insight into Slovenia’s past, we continue along the Soĉa Valley, visiting three lovely waterfalls and admiring the engaging views of the valley and surrounding mountains.

In the afternoon our driver picks us up and transfers us approximately 1 hour away to the wine-producing region of Goriska Brda. This small area could be Tuscany, with its rolling hills, vineyards and hilltop villages. It is described by Lonely Planet as “one of Europe’s best kept secrets”. Tonight we stay in Šmartno (San Martino), a quaint, fortified village brimming with Italian influence. Once you have checked into the hotel, we suggest you take a relaxing walk around this photogenic town to discover its stone walls and 16th-century tower. End the day with a glass of wine from the hotel cellar on the terrace that overlooks the village and surrounding hills.

Meals: B, L

Day 7: Goriska Brda & Škocjan Caves, transfer to Piran (16km)

  • 5 hours, 600m ascent, 600m descent

Enjoy breakfast before setting out on an easy, gently undulating 3-hour hike through the vineyards, orchards and olive groves of Goriska Brda. The area is well celebrated not only for its wine, but also olive oil, cheese and fruit — especially cherries in June. Our morning hike leads us to a local winemaker for a wine tasting and 3-course lunch.

After lunch we travel by vehicle to Škocjan Caves, one of Slovenia’s national treasures. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a highlight of the trip and you’ll explore it on a guided 2-hour walking tour. This immense cave system is one of the largest underground canyons in the world, with a striking array of limestone formations, stalactites, stalagmites, flowstones and what is thought to be the biggest underground chamber ever discovered. Walk along paths created by the first explorers to the underground river canyon before an invigorating crossing over a bridge suspended 50m above the riverbed. 

After emerging from the caves, we take a 45-minute transfer to the alluring town of Piran. The jewel of the Adriatic Coast, Piran is situated on a narrow peninsula, jutting out to sea and backed by coastal hills. This snug little harbour town is now a popular tourist attraction, however it is still endearing and will not disappoint. Piran was part of the Republic of Venice for over 500 years and this is evident in its architecture, food and well-preserved medieval Venetian ports. Meander narrow laneways and discover colourful squares, medieval walls, bell towers with grand views and a delightful old town.

Dinner is your choice tonight and there are many wonderful restaurants to choose from. Head to the harbour for exceptionally fresh seafood and perhaps match it with a glass of local wine while you unwind and reflect on the week’s amazing adventure. 

Meals: B, L

Day 8: Depart Piran

Today you will say goodbye to your guide and group members and depart for your next destination. You may wish to consider extending your stay in the lovely town of Piran, or hire a car to further explore the wine and spa regions of Slovenia. Alternatively, Venice is just a hop, skip and jump away by ferry and another excellent destination choice. Happy travels!

Meals: B

Dates

From May 8th to October 1st 2020 our special offer of $1 deposit applies to new bookings made in this period for website trips*. $1 is all you will pay in 2020 for trips departing in 2021.

From January 1st 2021 we will invoice you the remainder of the standard deposit ($499*) and the remaining balance payment at the standard 2 months before departure. All your arrangements will be fully confirmed then, as per usual. The $1 deposit offer does not apply to private groups or significant tailormade trip requests, please speak to one of our consultants if you have any questions.

If Government restrictions don’t allow for any travel in your chosen destination at that time (when the balance is due at 60 days prior to departure) then we will either postpone your trip or allow you to transfer to another destination and trip that has availability instead.

*Note - the standard deposit for Peru Lodge trips is $1000.

Start date
18 Jun 2020
End date
25 Jun 2020
Price
$3600
Availability
Suspended
Start date
03 Sep 2020
End date
10 Sep 2020
Price
$3600
Availability
Suspended
Start date
17 Jun 2021
End date
24 Jun 2021
Price
$3700
Availability
Available
Start date
02 Sep 2021
End date
09 Sep 2021
Price
$3700
Availability
Available

Inclusions

  • 6 nights accommodation in hotels or mountain lodges with ensuite bathrooms
  • 1 night in a mountain hut: 4-bed rooms with shared bathroom
  • All transfers as per the itinerary 
  • Daily luggage transfers on tour
  • English speaking licensed hiking guide throughout the trip
  • 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 2 dinners
  • Bee-keeper experience
  • Wine tasting
  • WWI historian on day 6
  • Entrance fee for Vintgar Gorge
  • Guided 2-hour tour of Škocjan caves
  • Emergency contact in Slovenia and Australia
  • Pre-departure pack

Exclusions

  • Flights to and from your destination
  • Local bus and train tickets
  • Airport transfers
  • Meals other than mentioned above
  • Drinks other than water at meals
  • Expenses of a personal nature
  • Travel insurance

Map & Guide

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Trip Expert

Inga Hoeltz – European Alps

(03) 5976 3763

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Trip Grading

This trip has a difficulty rating of 6-7 out of 10.