9 Day Family Road trip around Slovenia

9 Day Family Road trip around Slovenia

Slovenia has got to be one of our favourite destinations, one of those trips we look back on with bags of nostalgia. We went there when Millie was fourteen months old. It’s always one of the first recommendations I make when people ask me for holiday inspirations with kids. We took a nine-day family road trip around stunning Slovenia. We’ll outline the itinerary of our memorable trip. It’ll cover lakes, mountains, rivers, castles, waterfalls, gorges, caves and the most gorgeous scenery.

Where?

Slovenia – Western Loop

Ljubljana – Bled – Kranjska Gora – Bovec – Piran – Ljubljana

How long will you need?

Nine days

Flight time (from London)

2hr 10 minutes approx

When to go

I imagine June/July/August/September are the hottest months to go. They give you more chance of a swim in the lake but they are also the busiest. I imagine it’s gorgeous and snowy in the winter but your itinerary might be drastically different from this one because of it. We went in May.

Itinerary:

This is the itinerary that worked for us – but feel free to add comments to give other hints and tips of where to go. I have added in the places that we stayed in (which we did pay for). I have added a booking.com link, which if you use, you’ll get 10% off the booking price and I’ll get a referral fee too. Here is the link if you want to use it for any other booking.

We also tried to do our driving at lunch time as Millie (14 months old) was still napping so it was a good way to make the most of the time.

Day One: Ljubljana: Drive from the airport to Ljubljana and check into your accommodation

Mum and Dad Highlights:

Exploring a new city and taking the funicular to explore Ljubljana castle

Millie highlights:

Travelling by plane and toddling round the castle.

How we spent our day:

After checking into our accommodation in central Ljubljana, we were excited to explore the city. The views from the room were great and we could see the castle. There was still plenty of time left in the day, so we headed out. We strolled by the river and went straight to the funicular. It gave panoramic views across the city and made the ascent to the castle a doddle.

Our view from the apartment

 

Ljubljana castle itself was a lot of fun. Millie had a good toddle about, whilst we enjoyed the interactive exhibits and playing around in the old prison. The pram was a bit of a chore, especially around some of the spiral staircases where we had to abandon it. The views at the top made the climbs worthwhile, with sweeping vistas across the city.

Taking a snooze on the way up to the castle

Once we’d had our fun, we chose to walk down a zigzag path through the forest to descend the hill back to city. We enjoyed a leisurely walk to get a feel for the city, taking in the gorgeous architecture, admiring the pastel coloured buildings and magnificent doorways whilst navigating the cobbled streets. Ljubljana is a small capital city but what it lacks in size, it makes up with bags or character, charm and friendliness.

Day Two: Ljubljana to Lake Bled

Drive time: Approx 40 mins

Mum and Dad Highlights:

Taking in the stunning scenery on the drive and the beauty of the lake

Millie Highlights:

Playing in Tivoli Park and taking the train around Lake Bled

How we spent our day:

Tivoli Park is the biggest in Ljubljana and we wanted to explore it to give Millie a chance to have a play before we headed to the car. The park is amazing, it houses a glasshouse with tropical gardens, tennis and basketball courts, a swimming pool and a big kids play park. In addition it has beautiful beds of flowers, statues, fish ponds and fountains. Millie had an amazing time here!

When we hit the road, we were stunned by the scenery surrounding it. The roads were brilliant and are well signposted if you’re not relying on satnavs. Rather than head straight for Bled, we stopped off at Radovljica for a spot of lunch. Gostilna Lectar was our choice of restaurant, mainly for the stunning views and the fact they had a gingerbread museum in the basement! Of course, we had to visit, and have a taste. For the romantics among you, they were historically highly regarded as meaningful tokens of love. They get made here and shipped all over the world.

Pretty much next door, there is another museum. A bee-keeping one. Probably one of the most random museums we’ve been to but you do get bored with the same ones right?! It’s actually a really cool little museum and the exhibits of bee houses here are awesome!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bled is not far down the road so we headed there after our detour to check into our fabulous lakeside apartment. Again, the outside was so enticing that we merely dropped the bags and went straight to the lake. We found a little tourist train that we thought would make the perfect way to orientate ourselves with the lake. In May (and October) it runs every 45 minutes from 9-5 but from June-September it’s going 9-9.

Day Three: Lake Bled: Vingtar Gorge, Bled Island and Bled Castle

No driving between accommodations today – just to and from attractions.

Mum and Dad Highlights:

The gorge just blew us away – it was so stunning!

Millie highlights:

Taking the boat across to the Lake, having some of the local Bled Cream Cake

How we spent our day:

We got up early to avoid any potential crowds at Vingtar Gorge. Imagine our surprise and disappointment when it looked closed when we got there. With only  a couple of signs in Slovenian to tell us, we decided to act the naive tourists and take a peek as the pictures we saw online just looked amazing. It did not disappoint. The whole path was breathtakingly beautiful. With a path zigzagging you across the gorge, sometimes over the white water rapids, sometimes clinging to the rocks on either side. It was one of the most gorgeous places we’ve been. We had Millie safely strapped in the carrier where she was fascinated by the waterfalls and flowing river.

I wouldn’t recommend you take a pram and I would recommend a carrier for any toddlers but I’m sure they would be equally as fascinated! It’s an easy walk but has a few steps and is narrow in places. Once we’d traversed the gorge, we decided to walk up the forest route and talk the scenic hill route back to the car. We didn’t have a map with us but there were a few signs to point us in the right direction. The views from the hills were amazing. All in all, an unmissable part of our trip.

After Millie had napped, we walked down to the lake and took a Pletna boat across to Bled island. That involved a man rowing us across (our family plus about twenty others). No motor to help him! You got a bit of time to wander around on the island.  There is a church to explore (where you can ring the bells). A small museum with some interesting displays and a nice little cafe with ice cream. Millie loved the boat ride and everyone made a fuss of her as she toddled about, making her love it even more!

 

Once we were safely ashore, we headed to Bled castle for a look around. It probably has the best vantage point of the lake and the island itself and the surrounding areas. The museum within the castle is informative and there are a few interactive displays. There is also a restaurant and a wine cellar.

Day Four: Lake Bled to Kranjska Gora

Driving time: 35 minutes

Mum and Dad Highlights:

Slap Savica Waterfall, Lake Bohinj

Millie highlights

Going down the toboggan ride, Dipping her toes in Lake Bohinj

How we spent our day:

An adrenaline rush was how we kick started the day! It was time to say goodbye to Lake Bled, but before we did, we wanted to do the toboggan ride. You can take the cable car up the hill and then toboggan down it. We were able to take Millie on with us, strapped on the front in the carrier, she found it hilarious and giggled all the way down!

Next stop was the Slap Savica waterfall,  a truly magnificent and high waterfall. It requires a 20-25 hike up steps to get there, so you will be doing some cardio. Millie was again strapped up in the carrier for this one and had a toddle now and again when she wanted. It was gorgeous! Worth the hike.

We then stopped off at Lake Bohinj to look at the ‘other Lake’ and it did not disappoint. Much quieter and less touristy and crystal clear (although freezing cold as fed by glacier water). We enjoyed some sunny weather and just basked by the cool waters whilst Millie enjoyed dipping her toes.

A little drive later and we arrived in the town of Kranjska Gora. It is a ski resort in winter but there is plenty to do in the summer too. With lots of hiking routes and toboggan rides, there are lots to keep you amused if the weather is willing. Unfortunately, the weather had turned a little and we experienced our first bout of rain. After checking into our hotel, we decided to seek out a pool so Millie could indulge in one of her favourite activities – swimming. It was a nice way to spend the afternoon. By the time we’d finished, the rain had cleared and we were able to explore the town a little.

Day Five: Kranjska Gora to Bovec

Drive time: Approx 1 hour

Mum and Dad Highlights

Driving the Vrsic Pass!

Millie highlights:

The amazing play room at our accomodation

How we spent our day:

We were eager to get started as today was the day Mr HKWTUK got to be a Top Gear driver and tackle the Vrsic Pass. It’s the highest pass in Slovenia and the Julian Alps at 1611m. It has about 50 hairpin bends and is now called the Russian road due to the ten thousand Russian POWs used to build it. You certainly started to feel the elevation when your ears started to pop! Near the top, the amount of snow and ice was unbelievable when you compared it to the warm and sunny climate that we’d left behind. We certainly had fun driving it and the views again were amazing.

Our destination Bovec, is known for being a bit of an adventure sports place. There are tons of things that you can do there and we were attracted to it just for that. The apartment that we rented was superb, with a kids playroom, sauna and garden. It made the stay so comfortable and Millie was in her element exploring it.

We decided to explore the local area by car. We set off but a few minutes later, the biggest thunderstorm I think we’ve been in, came in. The rain was so heavy, we couldn’t drive any longer, so we waited for the worst to pass and then headed back where we decided to have a chilled afternoon instead and make the most of the lovely accommodation. We later popped into the town to sort out white water rafting for the next day and arranged for a babysitting service to look after Millie for the few hours that we would be away. It’s the first time we’ve done that and I was terrified about it!

Day Six: Bovec to Piran

Drive time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Mum and Dad’s highlights:

White Water Rafting the Soca Valley River

Millie’s highlights:

Splashing in a waterfall, toddling by the seaside

How we spent our day:

We had an early one as we were going white water rafting and Millie was being looked after by a childminder. We had a whale of a time and it seems so did Millie as she was out exploring a local park with another child her age. The river was around a grade 3 when we went but it was great fun and the water was an amazing colour.

Once we were finished, we picked Millie up and headed to a nearby waterfall to let her have a play and a splash about before hitting the road. It was to be our longest travel time at 2 and a 1/2 hours. Our destination Piran, is a car less town. They let you enter to drop your bags off, but then you have to take your car back to a car pack and catch a bus or walk back in. It was a little stressful trying to unload everything quickly, especially as we’d had such a physical morning. The place we were staying in didn’t have a lift either, and we weren’t travelling too lightly so it was a little bit of work!

The apartment was so well located with beautiful views across the water and town. We wanted to have a relaxed evening, so strolled along the waterside, chose a restaurant, then took it in turns to toddle Millie up and down. She was so excited by the water and had napped so well, she didn’t want to sit down!

Day Seven: Piran: Exploring Piran, Skocjan Caves and Lipizzaner stables

Mum and Dad Highlights:

The Indiana Jones style bridge (just due to the height!) inside the caves

Millie Highlights:

The Aquarium and the horses

How we spent our day:

Aquariums have always been a favourite of Millie’s and the smallest one was on offer in Piran, so we decided to take a look. It is a tiny little place, but it didn’t seem to matter to Millie, she loved it all the same. It started her day off with such a smile and you don’t need to allocate a lot of time for it!

We wanted to get a viewpoint down over the town so decided to hike up to the top. Millie went up in the baby carrier for some of the way as we made the ascent through the cobbled streets to St George’s cathedral. A pristine sanctuary at the top of the hill giving panoramic views of the town and coastline. The descent was interesting too, with all sorts of industries happening behind the doors, from joiners to fabric makers who were happy for you to take a look at them in action.

We had to pick the car up from the car park to head to Skocjan caves. We were a little worried about how Millie would be in caves with the darkness. We’d brought the carrier so she would be snug to me and thought we’d see how she’d get on. The caves were fab and Millie adored them, pointing at the lights as she went. She was so good and very interested. The highlight of the caves for us was a high bridge crossing that wowed! We made sure Millie was fully secured before walking across that! It was a really interesting cave system and we were glad Millie enjoyed it.

Next up on the itinerary was a trip to the infamous Lipizzaner horse stables.  They are beautiful horses and whilst we didn’t get there in time for the shows, we did have a look around the stables and enjoyed the greenery of the place. Millie loved seeing the horses up close and we learnt a lot about the history of the place.

Day Eight: Piran to Ljubljana: Postojna Caves and Predjama Castle

Drive Time: 1 hr 30 minutes directly although you will take detours for excursions

Mum and Dad Highlights:

The caves and exploring the castle

Millie highlights:

Taking the train

How we spent our day:

Since the first cave visit had gone well, we wanted to take on one of the other amazing cave systems in the Karst region. We headed to Postojna Caves. The tour is about an hour and a half but the fun thing is, the route is 5km, and 3.5km of that is by train! Millie loved being on it. The train ride is good fun and the caves amazed us, with full on chandeliers in some of the caves! It does advertise the tour as pushchair friendly but we still took the carrier.

Just up the road, is Predjama castle, an amazing structure set into the rock with an amazing story. Sort of like the Slovenian version of Robin Hood. The castle has such a great history and fun to explore! It does need you to climb a number of steps to explore it fully. We really enjoyed our time between the two attractions.

We completed our loop by heading back to Ljubljana and had an evening wander around the city before our last day. We stayed in a different apartment this time so that we’d be closer to a different part of the city.

Day Nine: Ljubljana and Flight home

Mum and Dad Highlights:

Taking in our last moments in this gorgeous country and promising to return someday soon.

Millie Highlights:

Ljubljana zoo

How we spent our day:

We had the morning to take in some of our last sights on a stroll around the city. Rather than hang about waiting for the flight home, we took a trip to the zoo to fill the rest of the time we had. It was a lovely little place and somewhere that delighted Millie. Enough to tire her out enough so she slept for the whole flight home!

Overall

We absolutely loved this trip and since coming back, have raved about the country to many people. We found it so friendly, welcoming and captivating and would highly recommend it to anyone.

Let us know what you think if you’ve been or are planning to go!

 

 

 

 

 

Pink Pear Bear
Tin Box Traveller
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12 Replies to “9 Day Family Road trip around Slovenia”

  1. We love Slovenia, it’s just so beautiful isn’t it? I always think it’s like a cross between Italy and Austria… It sounds like you had a great adventure, and lots of lovely tips there too! πŸ™‚ #mondayescapes

    1. It gets a massive thumbs up from us – we’d love to go back again but it was that good, I don’t know that we’d want to spoil the memories! Give it a few years and we’ll want to renew them πŸ™‚

  2. I would love to visit Slovenia and do a trip around Lake Bled! So many people have said how beautiful it is there.

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