Vineyards, Karst & Coast
This self-guided itinerary is the easier of the two that we offer, with a route that takes you from the delightful capital city of Ljubljana, through wine country and the well-known Karst Plateau, towards the Adriatic Coast.
This itinerary kicks off with a hike up Mount Nanos for spectacular views over the Vipava Valley, as well as walks amongst olivegroves, vineyards, orchards, and rolling forested hills. You will visit the impressive Škocjan Cave system before arriving in the alluring coastal town of Piran. Here, be charmed by the red-roofed Venetian-style architecture that overlooks the sparkling Adriatic Sea.
Get Ready For
- Story-book villages with friendly locals
- Hiking trails through inspiringly beautiful scenery
- Underground world of the UNESCO-listed Škocjan Caves
- Atmospheric alleyways in the medieval Venetian port of Piran
- Local specialities such as Teran wine, Karst Pršut (prosciutto), olive oil and truffles
Our self-guided itinerary allows you to travel on your preferred dates (subject to availability), with private transfers and advice from our locally based staff. You’ll be picked up each day with a private transfer at times arranged to suit your walking pace and abilities. We’ll provide you with a briefing to get you started, the resources you’ll need to stay safe, two transfers each day and book great accommodation for you where you’ll have breakfast provided each day.
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.
On your first evening you will meet our local representative for a welcome drink and briefing. You’ll hear more about your itinerary, what to expect along the way and you’ll also have the opportunity to ask any last-minute questions. Afterwards, feel free to head out to discover the culinary delights of Ljubljana.
A hearty breakfast this morning will give you the energy required to ascend Mount Nanos—an iconic mountain of south-western Slovenia which offers amazing views across Postojna flatlands and the beautiful Vipava Valley. After a 45-minute transfer to the Razdrto trailhead you will begin a 600m steep ascent up Nanos. Take your time to carefully navigate your way over trail of loose rocks, and give yourself plenty of breaks to take in the magnificent views. From the summit you will gradually descend to the west and enter fertile lands dotted with vineyards and fruit orchards. You will finish the day in the tiny town of Slap pri Vipavi. There are a number of wineries in this area and you may wish to visit a local winemaker or two!
800m ascent, 1300m descent
Today your hike takes you across rolling vineyards and through traditional villages. Slovenia produces some excellent wines and you may wish to organise a visit to a local winemaker for a tasting. In the afternoon you will ascend to the Karst Plateau – a mysterious region made of limestone and full of Karstic phenomena. Old stone churches and red-tiled roofed villages are typical of the region. Your day ends in the fortified town of Štanjel. Built into a hilltop, the town affords splendid views over the Vipava Valley. Enjoy a wander around town before relaxing into your authentic and charming accommodation for the evening.
500m ascent, 400m descent
After a relaxed start, your walking day crosses the Karst Plateau. This region extends from south-west Slovenia and across the border into north-eastern Italy. This is the land of terra rossa (red soil), where water is scarce but the rich soil is ideal for growing grapes, apples and plums. The Karst region is well known for its production of Karst Pršut (prosciutto), plum brandy and Teran, a full-bodied red wine made from the local Refošk grape. Making your way across this rough terrain, venture through many endearing local villages where you can interact with the locals and try some homemade treats.
200m ascent, 200m descent
Today begins with a 20-minute transfer 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 40-minute transfer to Istria, a peninsula shared by three countries (Italy, Croatia and Slovenia). It is famous for its olive oil, truffles and wine. Istria’s hinterland features numerous hillocks and its landscape is dotted with picturesque villages. Walk through orchards, vineyards and olive groves before finishing in one of the ancient Istrian villages, Padna. Every June, Padna hosts the 2-day Olive Oil and Chard Festival, showcasing some of the best quality oil in Slovenia and the world. As part of the festival, locals prepare a variety of traditional dishes made from chard, a leafy green vegetable.
With its stone houses sitting snugly against each other and surrounding the main square and church, Padna retains an old-world feel and is a lovely place to spend the night.
350m ascent, 400m descent
A lovely day of hiking awaits you on your last day. After breakfast you will hike across pretty hills towards the coast. The trail leads you through Strunjan Nature Reserve which stretches along unspoilt Adriatic coastline. For centuries, locals mined salt from the salt-pan area within the reserve. This is now protected as are a number of other cultural and heritage sites. Strunjan Bay is an ideal place for a swim before continuing on to end your walk in the delightful 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 a highlight of the trip.
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 port. 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.
400m ascent, 600m descent
Today your tour ends after breakfast. 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.
- 6 nights accommodation in hotels, mountain lodges and guest houses with ensuite bathrooms
- All transfers as per the itinerary
- All luggage transfers on tour
- 6 breakfasts
- Guided 2-hour tour of Škocjan caves
- RAW Travel’s exclusive interactive navigation app
- 24-hour emergency support contact in Slovenia and Australia
- Single supplement (subject to availability; price on request)
- Train tickets/taxi fares
- Lunches and dinners
- Travel insurance
Our comprehensive Destination Guide is bursting with inspiration, travel essentials, background information and more! Essential reading to help you plan, prepare and enjoy a memorable trip in Slovenia.
Slovenia has stunningly beautiful countryside, and the people and food are even more wonderful. Loved finally making it to the top of Mt Nanos, the Caves and the walk into Piran. The accommodation was very nice and our hosts were simply the best – the stays at Žorž in Slap and St Daniel near Štanjel were the highlights of our trip.
Nick Cianci, Chifley (ACT) - August 2023
Very scenic trip with great food and wine, and not many people!
Therese McGrath, Brisbane (QLD) – June 2023
Julian Alps and Coast – Slovenia
- Postcard-perfect setting of Lake Bled
- UNESCO-listed Škocjan Caves
- The medieval Venetian port of Piran
- Local wines and delicacies
Julian Alps Highlights – Slovenia
- Slovenia’s best hiking trails
- The postcard-perfect setting of Lake Bled
- Local cheeses, cherries and decadent desserts
- The Julian Alps, Soča Valley and Triglav National Park
- Stunning and tranquil Lake Bohinj and quaint villages
TRIP date selection
when would you like to travel?
Please select your preferred dates for on-demand trips or select a scheduled date for group departures. If you have booked a self-guided trip please understand that because your trip date is on demand and we must check availability of all properties on your chosen dates before it can be fully confirmed