Day trips from Ljubljana – Places to visit and Excursions around Ljubljana

  1. Tips for studying abroad in Ljubljana – Study abroad in Ljubljana
  2. How to get to Ljubljana – Getting to Ljubljana by plane, train, bus or car
  3. Public transport in Ljubljana
  4. Accommodation for students in Ljubljana & Cost of living
  5. Save money in Ljubljana - Tips for living in Ljubljana on a student budget
  6. Ljubljana neighbourhoods – The most important districts of Ljubljana
  7. Ljubljana Nightlife – A guide to nightclubs and going out in Ljubljana’s
  8. Where to eat in Ljubljana – Slovenian cuisine and gastronomy in Ljubljana
  9. The best things to do in Ljubljana
  10. Festivals in Ljubljana – Festivals and events in Ljubljana
  11. Day trips from Ljubljana – Places to visit and Excursions around Ljubljana
  12. Ljubljana in 3 days – what to see and do in 3 days

1. Jezero lake and Sveta Ana

1,5km from Kamnik between the hills of St. Ana and St. Lovrenc you will find the village Jezero. You can bike there from Ljubljana if you feel like it, from the city center it is about 15km and it will take about one hour to get there. At the village you will find a almost completely round lake (max. depth is 51m) in which you can swim during the summer. Fishing is possible as well and at this place you will definitely find locals as it is not a touristy place at all. If you feel like it you can take the hiking trail in the forest next to the lake to Sveta Ana and you will have a beautiful view over the landscape. There is also a restaurant next to the lake so if you get hungry or just want to grab an ice cream while you are sunbathing, this is the place to go. They do understand some English if you order in that language.

2. Iški vintgar

Only 20 km south of Ljubljana you will find an enchanting place called Iški vintgar (vintgar means gorge) which offers untouched nature. You can bike there as well and will feel far from civilisation with this beautiful blue river next to you and the forest around. There you find sandbanks, numerous river pools and steep rocky banks. You see gravel stones composed of dolomite streaked with white calcite veins, red and green coloured flat round shaped stones with mineral inclusions several alpine plants such as sedge, rhododendron and the spring snowflake. At the beginning of the gorge is a restaurant and you can get to Iški vintgar by bike as well (about 1,5 hours) or use the city bus No 19I (the final stop is Iška vas). From the restaurant just walk along the stream as far away as Vrbica (it is about 2 hours) if you like. Don't forget to cross a bridge at the restaurant.

3. Nanos mountain plateau

If you feel like going for a hike this place might be a good option for you. About 1,5 hours south from Ljubljana by car, you will find the Nanos mountain plateau. It is best to get there by car as there is a parking place and you can take as much time as you want to hike up and come back down. It will be worth it to rent a car with other people to enjoy the hiking experience together and encourage each other on the way up. It is not a difficult way but for unexperienced hikers it might be an adventure. Nanos is 1240m high and it is a 2,5 hour walk uphill. You will climb 665m altitude and on a sunny day there is a beautiful view in all directions, especially towards the Adriatic sea, Koper, Piran, Trieste etc. Sometimes even ships can be seen on the ocean. If you go in late March bring the right clothes with you as there can still be snow and ice at the top of the mountain. When you have reached the top there is a cabin in which you can have a cup of tea or coffee or a simple lunch like stew and a dessert like apple strudel.

You should be prepared for a long hiking as the tour will take (uphills, cabin, downhill) approx. 7 hours and you should take enough water (1,5 liter) or/and hot tea which is great in cold weather. There is a water spring at the foot of the mountain where you can fill your water tanks. It is good to wear hiking shoes but good sneakers will do as well. Wear lightweight and warm sportswear that can be taken off or back on as onion layers. Use your wisdom not to take too much food, water or clothes with you since it will be a lot of weight but also don't bring too little so that you are prepared for changing weather conditions.

4. Bled

Bled is situated about 60km in the north of Ljubljana. You can take a car to get there (it will be about one hour) or a bus that runs 10 times a day from Ljubljana, the first one is at 7am, the next one at 9am. The last one runs at 9pm. To get back from Ljubljana to Bled, the bus runs also 10 times a day, the last one at 9.30pm on weekdays and Sunday and at 8.30pm on Saturday. A one-way ticket is about 7€ and you get discount if you take a return ticket. Bled is a quite touristy place, everyone who has been in Slovenia will probably visit the little medieval town, the small island at have a walk around at the lake. Nevertheless it is truly worth a visit so if you stay in Ljubljana, visiting Bled will be a nice trip.

The town inhabits about 5 500 people and has a tourist capacity of 4 000 beds. As there are so many tourists (especially in Summer), it is quite expensive and eating there or staying overnight will cost you something. Therefore it helps to bring food on the trip and maybe enjoy a coffee or sandwich at a restaurant but not going out for dinner. One thing you can definitely try in Bled is the famous dessert of Slovenia, the “Blejska Kremšnita”. The name has its origins either in German or Austrian and it means Cremeschnitte. The dessert is made out of eggs, milk and cream and top. You can get it in every restaurant in Bled but maybe try it at the restaurant near the lake so you will have a nice view while enjoying this special dessert (for about 4€).

At lake Bled you will find a small island with a church on it. You can get there by boat (pletna) and a person will bring you over as these are wooden boats and no motor boats. To bring people over the lake to the island is a very old tradition and the owner of the boats where traditional clothes (at least in late Spring and Summer time). A famous Slovenian song ( Zvon želja) tells about the tradition of rowing over the lake. It is about a girl that wanted to get to the island to ring the bell in the church to make a wish and find her beloved one. On her way back she founds out that actually the boat owner is her beloved one. The return ticket to the island and back is about 5€ and you will have about 20min on the island on your own. This is more than enough as you can have a little walk around and see the church and enjoy the scenery. The tourist organisation in Bled limits the time so that not too many people are on the island for too long and nature will be at its best preserved. Inside the church it is said that ringing the bell will grant wishes just as it did for the girl in the song. Be aware of no toilet facilities on the island. Around the lake there are a lot of swans and ducks and in Summertime you can swim in it if you want to or even go diving as it contains a lot of different fish.

If you want to walk around the lake it will take you about 2 hours and a lot of runners use this path for workout. In summer Bled hosts an event - Nočna desetka - a quite popular night run around the lake.

On the other side of the lake you will find a tall cliff with a castle on top of it. You can visit the Castle of Bled by walking up about half an hour and see and exhibition about the ancient history of Bled from the first excavations. Moreover they show the castle in individual stages of its historical development with furniture and typical characteristics in that time. From the castle you can have a really nice view over the lake, the island, the town Bled and the wider countryside of the Gorenjska region. If you feel like the time of your life as come, you can also marry at the castle, but you will have to book a long time in advance as a lot of people (especially people from abroad) want to do that.

5. Bohinj and Triglav National Park

Going to Bohinj takes a bit longer than going to Bled. Bohinj is situated in Triglav National Park in the west of Bled. By car it takes about 1,5 hours and by bus about 2 hours. There is a bus running from Ljubljana to Bohinj every hour from 6am until 9pm daily and in return it runs every hour from 5.45am until 7.47pm. The ticket is between 9-12€ for a one-way ticket, if you take a return it is cheaper.

Lake Bohinj is the largest permanent natural lake in Slovenia and again, quite touristy (but a bit less then Bled). You really can enjoy nature here, relax, go hiking, take a tour on the boat, whatever you feel like. It is surrounded by some mountains, hills and plateaus you can walk up if you want to (e. g. Rodica, Vogel, Komna and Fužinarska). When you arrive the bridge and the Church of St. John will get your attention immediately. Within the Church and in front of it you will find some of the oldest frescoes paintings in Slovenia and it is said that it was built around the 1300.

The Savica Waterfall is definitely worth to go to and quite unique among world waterfalls because its watercourse is divided into 2 parts in the hidden undergrounds. There are several ways to get to the waterfall. You can walk along the marked trail from Zlatorog Hotel in Bohinj which will take about 1 hour to the parking place below the waterfall. From there it will be a 20-25min walk on stone steps to get to the waterfall. If you rented a car, you can also drive to the parking place of Savica hut and make your way up the waterfall. A bus will take you there as well but only in Summertime. You will have to pay to see the waterfall, it is between 2,20€ and 2,50€ for students.

Mostnica gorge expands over the length of 2km and a footpath is provided on both sides of the gorge, so you can go one way along it and the other way back. You can start your walking way in Stara Fužina at the Church of St. Paul, from the centre of the village by passing Zois Manor or from the parking area at Vorančkovca. It might be helpful to go in a bigger group so you don’t get lost on the way but it is marked clearly so it should be fine. There are waterfalls, pools and interesting stone figures made by water along the way. One rock is quite special as people say it is shaped like an elephant and it happened when the water was breaking through the rock. You can walk along the way for about 2,5 hours if you want to and there is Hut in which you can eat or drink something if you need to. If you do the walk in winter take care of the paths as it might be a bit slippery and not so easy to see it anymore. On the other hand you might see icicles hanging everywhere and the snow is pure white. You have to pay a fee when visiting the gorge from April to October but it is less then 3€.

6. Postojna Cave

Postojna Cave is situated near the town Postojna about 55km southwest from Ljubljana. It is a very touristy place and you have to pay a lot for the ticket but if you have never been in a karst cave, this is your chance. The cave is about 25m long and it has the second-longest cave system in the country. The cave was created by the Pivka River and you can only go there with a guide. They offer the tour in several languages, e. g. in English, French, Italian and German and it lasts for about 1,5 hours. A little mountain train will bring you inside the cave and from a certain point you will walk through it. You can admire Stalactites and Stalagmites all over and at some points you will walk in darkness as light and a high humanity will make little seaplants grow on the rocks and destroy the stones. Already because of so many tourists groups every day, seaplants are growing which is not good for the stones in the cave. Within the cave you can see the Proteus Anguinus (Slovenes say it is the little dragon being alive again), an aquatic salamander and the only animal found in Europe that lives in caves. It eats, sleeps and breed underwater and adapted to a life in complete darkness underground. The ticket for a tour in Postojna cave is 25,80€ for an adult and 20,60€ for a student.

7. Predjama castle – Predjama grad

You will find the castle about 9km from Postojna Cave and it is quite unique as it is built within a giant rock. It supposed to be the largest cave castle in the world and stands for more than 800 years already. By having a look at this castle from the outside you can imagine that it is very difficult for enemies to conquer it or even break through. Since the 15th century, the castle gave refuge to its most famous and notorious owner, Erazem of Predjama. The castle could easily be defended for over a year as the karstic terrain with its cave system gave Erazem and his people a secret passage out of the castle. The had a source of drinking water, hided food in a food storage and were able to resist the siege.

The legends says that Erazem then was betrayed by one of his servants and continues to live on within the castle, wandering around like a ghost. From May to September you can visit the cave under Predjama Castle and also the castle itself with numerous weapons from medieval times in which they defeated themselves. The entrance fee for the castle would be 13,80€ for adults and 11€ for students.

8. Škofja Loka

Škofja Loka is one of the oldest and maybe prettiest towns in Slovenia, also known as the best preserved medieval Slovenian town with a history that goes back until the 10th century. It is located 25km in the west from Ljubljana and you can get there bus bus or train. The local bus will take about 40min and a ticket will be 3,10€ one way. The town inhabits about 12 000 people and it was originally named “Loka” which describes a wet, grassy area near water. Within the town you will be impressed by the medieval old town having a walk around and enjoying views from the Town Square as well as from the Lower Square. Many of the historic buildings are protected as monuments and the Selška Sora river is going through it.

Not so many tourists are to be found here, the locals sit in a café and have a chat while you are walking around the little town and enjoying this special atmosphere. On top of a hill you will see Loka Castle that was built in the 13th century and they host art exhibitions as well as an exhibition about former times in the castle. You don’t have to pay a lot to see the castle (around 2€) and from the outside you can enjoy outstanding views over the town and the surroundings with its green fields (in Spring and Summer) and the forest. The Granary (Kašča) is one of the best preserved medieval buildings in Škofja Loka. It has an impressive structure (shape of an irregular rectangle, with 2 doors and 39 windows) and there is a restaurant inside.

9. Idrija

You can get to Idrija by car (1 hour), bus or train (between 1 and 2 hours). The ticket price for the bus will be between 18€ and 24€ while the train will cost up to 30€. It is located 57 west from Ljubljana and it is smaller than Škofja Loka with a population of about 6 000 people. This town was one of the richest during the Middle Ages because the men were working underground in the mines to get mercury. Nowadays you can visit the mines with stores and have a look at the miners’ living quarters. The town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2012. As in many cities of Slovenia, a legend is told here as well. Once upon a time a bucket maker was working in a local spring while he spotted a small amount of liquid mercury. That’s how the people discovered the mercury in Idrija and one of the few places in the world where you can find mercury liquid as well as cinnabar ore.

10. Piran

Visiting this town will be a nice experience as it is situated at the coast to the Adriatic Sea and 120km away from Ljubljana in the southwest. You can get there by buy (it takes about 2,5 hours from Ljubljana) and the one-way ticket is between 12€-16€, for return it is cheaper. When you arrive in Piran, you might get the impression that you are in Italy already as the town’s design is very Italian. You can go to the castle on top of the hill and will have a beautiful view over the little town. Walking in the little, narrow streets, you will definitely see locals and get the idea of sitting down in a café or restaurant and just enjoy the atmosphere.

The town itself grew up on olive oil and sea salt. Nowadays you will find good seafood in the restaurants and budget-friendly wine. From the coastline you can go swimming in Summer and take a 30min walk to the neighbour town Portoroz, a larger town with a touristy sand beach. This is a really nice town to spend a very hot, sunny day at but also in Spring or Autumn Piran will not loose its charm.

11. Soča valley, Kozjak waterfall and Napoleon's bridge over Nadiža

At Soča valley you get the true nature experience again. It is situated in the northwest of Ljubljana, about 115km away and it would be helpful to have a car as buses do not really go there. It will take you about 2 hours at least to get there but it is worth a try. Soča valley is a really calm, peaceful nature area in which you can go hiking. In the valley you will find the Kozjak waterfall (about one hour walk from the parking place, about half an hour walk from Kobarid) which is just beautiful as it falls down in between narrow walls and shaped stones from the water.

After seeing the waterfall you can take the car to get to the Napoleon's bridge over the river Nadiža. The bridge was established around 1812 and it is a symbol for the routes the Ancient Romans took when crossing the country. It was part of the ancient route from Pradol and Robidišče along the Nadiža river. The stone bridge is quite unique concerning the technical accomplishment and as the nature should be protected, you should not walk or swim in the river, do no barbecue there and do not leave any rubbish there.

12. Maribor and wine tasting

Maribor is the second largest city in Slovenia with about 96 000 inhabitants. It is located in the northeast of Ljubljana, about 130km away. Also for this destination a car would be helpful as the train will take at least 3 hours. In former times the town has been attacked several times by the Turks but it was constantly under the rule of the Austrian Habsburgs untiel the end of World War I. Nowadays Maribor is a lively city, it has a university as well and is quite big in wine growing as the Pohorje Mountain is close. The town itself has a rich wine culture and hosts also traditional events, has a theatre, galleries and museums. I would advise doing a wine tasting in Maribor (you have to book before) at a winery close to the mountains as they can tell you everything about how to grow wine, when to sell it and for what occasion to buy it. You can order food to it as well and they will prepare some traditional Slovenian food but also Mediterranean if you ask for it. The price per person for the wine tasting can start at 10€ already and I would advise to choose a place that is more traditional and family run as these are the best experiences.

13. Šmarna Gora

Šmarna Gora is a hill close to the city of Ljubljana you can hike up on a nice day if you feel like it. You can get there with the local bus no. 8 and you have to get off at Tacen. The bus runs every hour. From there you walk about 30min to more than one hour up the hill, it depends which route you take. Šmarna Gora hill is 664 metres above sea level and at the top you will have beautiful views of the Kamnik and Julian Alps, the Ljubljana basin and the distant Dolenjska region. Furthermore you will find a restaurant and an old church which was built in the first half of the 18th century. The oldest sight at Šmarna gora is a plague column erected by those people who survived plague and the struggle with the Turks. Same as in Bled, at Šmarna gora you will find another bell you can ring and it supposed to fulfill wishes. At 11.30am each day the bell tower rings.

14. Otočec castle and Otočec grad

Let’s go to the unknown East of Slovenia and explore Otočec castle, the Jovski wetlands, Pišece castle, Najger repnica cave and the Olimje monastery. About 80km in the east of Ljubljana you will find Otočec castle. Again a car would be advisable for this trip, as the train takes about 2 hours to get there. The castle itself is on a small island in the middle of the Krka River in the settlement of Otočec. It is the only water castle in Slovenia and its facade as well as the interior is really beautiful. The castle was first mentioned in documents in the 13th century but archaeologists found out that the walls of the castle can be dated back until 1252. It was burned in World War II. and the furniture was completely destroyed or dispersed as well as the wooden bridges leading to the castle were damaged. In the 1950’s the castle was renovated under the supervision of the heritage protection service and became a tourist hotel then. You can get to the castle over a bridge and as it is a hotel now, you should ask if you want to have a short look inside.

  • Jovsi

    Half an hour by car from the Otočec castle you can get to a Natural Park (wetlands) close to the border to Croatia. It is a vast area of moored grasslands and the Municipality of Brežice declared it a monument of nature that needs to be protected in 2000. You can go to the information centre and learn about the surrounding nature and rare species living within that area (about 80 species of birds nest in the wetlands). Furthermore you can take a little trail which leads from Kapele to the each of Jovsi. At the end of the trail is a viewing tower on which you can observe the life of the animals living in that area. If you are lucky you see some, but you need to be patient and quiet for that.

  • Pišece castle

    Another 20min by car to the north from the Nature Park Jovsi you will get to Pišece castle which is situated on a high rock and it is very big compared to the Otočec castle. You can walk up the hill to the castle on a forest footway from the centre of the settlement Pišece, it will take you about 30min and in front of the castle there is a beautiful park you can enjoy. It is a Romanesque castle and was built by the Archbishop of Salzburg around 1329. After World War II. the castle decayed and only parts of the furniture of some of the decoration in the castle has been preserved. The renovating works are still going on at the castle but you can visit it by announcement of arrival in advance. It is beautiful to walk around in that big building or just sit down at the yellow stairs in the courtyard.

  • Najger repnica cave

    6km from the Pišece castle in the east you can find the Najger repnica cave, it is located at the top of Brezovica in Bizeljsko. This place is quite special as you can book a tour and get to know how the people dug in former times (19th century) in the grounds to find a storage room in winter. Nowadays a family runs the place and shows how the store the wine in different caves which have different temperature and they show you how the material of the ground makes natural frescoes at the ceiling of each room. They also have a central tasting room in which they offer homemade varietal wines and other sorts like red and white bizeljčan and laški Riesling. You will get to taste homemade cheese, buckwheat cake and nut roll, apple strudel and salt pastries along with the wine. Those tours will be guided by arrangement in advance and it is good if you are a group of at least 5 people that want to do it. At the end of the tour the family will show you their wine cellar so you can buy some local wine or cheese if you want to.

  • Olimje monastery

    Another 27km from the cave in the north of Slovenia (still close to the border to Croatica), you will get to a place called Olimje. They have a really nice castle (the facade is of dark blue and white with a red rooftop) which is a Franciscan monastery now. If you ask for it, a monk might give you a deeper insight of the story of the monastery and how the monks make medicine out of the herbs and flowers in the cultivated garden south to the monastery. They also grow vegetables and fruits in the garden. Furthermore you can find a beehive, a traditional hayrack, a mill and a pond. In the 11th century the building was a castle whereas in the 16th century the structure was rebuilt in Renaissance style and in the mid 17th century it was converted into a monastery as a gift for the Pauline monks. Since 1990, monks of the Order of Friars Minor occupy the monastery. On the ground floor of the corner tower left of the main entrance you will find an old pharmacy (from the 17th century) that still provides medicines from natural sources. It is open daily between 10am until 6pm. It is the oldest pharmacy in Slovenia and the 3rd oldest in Europe. On the walls of the pharmacy you will find paintings with religions and medical scenes from the 18th century. You do not have to pay any entrance fee to the monastery but donations are welcome.

    If you like chocolate a lot, there is the possibility to visit the Synerus Chocolate Boutique (Cokoladnica Olimje) just next to the monastery where you will find all kinds of homemade chocolate, a real paradise for chocolate addicts.

15. Zagreb

If we are already talking about the East and checking out places close to the border of Croatia, a visit to Zagreb would be possible in one day too if you want to. Be aware of the strict border controls, they will take some time and if you are from a country in which Croatians might think you are living as a refugee (e. g. Turkey) be aware that they stare at your passport quite some minutes and ask you questions about your purpose of stay etc. after giving you the passport back. Zagreb is about 140km east from Ljubljana and if you book with Flixbus the ticket is only between 9€-15€ and it will take you between 2 hours and 2.15 hour to get from the capital of Slovenia to the capital of Croatia. Flixbus runs 7 times on a weekday and even 10 times on Saturday and Sunday. But also the local buses run at least 7 times a day between the cities and you don’t have to pay more than 17€ for a one-way ticket.

The population of Zagreb is 800 000 and it has a nice medieval city centre you can visit. There are some local markets as well and a very popular street among tourists (and locals) to go eating something or have a drink. The city is divided in 3 parts: 1000-year old Gornji grad (upper town with the Presidential Palace, the iconic St. Mark’s Church, the Croatian Parliament and museums and galleries), the 19th century Donji grad (lower town with shops, restaurants, cafés, theatres, parks) and the modern Novi Zagreb (with high-rise buildings, shopping centres etc. ). From Trg Bana Jelacica you will have every point of interest of the city within walking distance like the Zagreb Cathedral, the Archbishop’s Palace, the Dolac Market, the Stone Gate, the St. Mark’s Church, Lotrscak Tower and the Zagreb Eye. If you are also interested in visiting some nature, take the tram to Maksimir Park, it is a big green area in which you can take long walks, enjoy nature, see some birds, ducks and swans and relax. If you want to taste some Croatian food, try Štrukli (a dough filled with cottage cheese and sour cream), Knedli (sweet potatoe dumplings) and Fritule ( fried ball shaped dough made with flour, raisins, local schnaps and lemon zest, with icing sugar or chocolate sauce on top). Be aware that you have to pay in Croatian kuna, not in Euro. So best might be to withdraw some money from a bank in Zagreb and use it for the day.

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