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Slovenia is one of the most attractive countries in the Balkans with its glistening glacial lakes, steep mountain cliffs, rambling caves and grassy meadows. Explore the laid-back capital city of Ljubljana and the countryside including, Lake Bled.
Explore Tour Leader
4 nights comfortable hotel
3 nights premium hotel
Trip maximum 16 Explore Average 11
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Arrive in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. This historic city lies in the shadow of its old castle upon the banks of the Ljubljanica River, which meanders through the pedestrianised centre.
For those arriving on time our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 6pm for the welcome meeting and for those that wish, there is the chance to go out for dinner. There are no other activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Ljubljana at any time. If you would like an airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Ljubljana Joze Pucnik Airport (LJU), which is 45 minutes' drive. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up.
If your flight arrives earlier in the day, perhaps you might choose to explore the centre of the city on foot and to take in the cafe culture along the banks of the river.
B&B Hotel Ljubljana Park (or similar)
This morning we drive to Skofja Loka, one of the oldest and most beautiful small towns in Slovenia, dominated by its castle. We will soak up the atmosphere of this medieval town which is now protected both historically and culturally. Later we continue to the picturesque resort town of Bled situated on a tranquil lake. Widely acclaimed as one of the most fashionable European resorts in the early 20th century, this was the home of the Yugoslavian Royal Family and also the summer residence of President Tito.
You may like to visit the island by travelling across in a traditional gondola known as a pletne (optional). On the island is the baroque Church of the Assumption and perched on a steep cliff above the lake is the 11th century Bled Castle with towers, ramparts, moats and a terrace. You may also wish to walk the 6 kms around the lake past linden, chestnut and willow trees, swans and water lilies on the water. There are also rowing boats for hire (optional), or you can swim in the lake.
Later, we continue to Lake Bohinj. En route if the weather is clear, we may see Triglav, the highest Alpine peak at 2864m. The name means 'Three Heads' and pagan Slovenes believed the mountain was the home of a three-headed deity who ruled the Sky, the Earth and the Underworld. It is a sacred mountain and according to tradition every Slovene should climb it at least once in his or her life. The peak was first climbed in 1778 by an Austrian and three Slovenes, and the mountain features prominently on the Slovene national flag. Lake Bohinj is a naturally preserved glacial lake enclosed by steep mountain cliffs on the southern edge of Triglav National Park - an ideal base from which to explore these magnificent mountains.
Hotel Jezero (or similar)
The Triglav National Park nestles in the Slovene Julian and Kamnik Alps. Founded in 1924, it is one of the oldest Alpine nature reserves covering an area of 82,000 hectares. The Julian Alps is the first of the mountain barriers separating the Mediterranean Sea from continental Central Europe. On our first day we plan to walk to the Savica Waterfall, the source of Slovenia's longest and mightiest river, the Sava. The breathtaking cascade of water tumbles into a pool 60m below. The walk to the lake is around four kilometres and takes about 90 minutes, before returning on the same route.
We then take the cable car up Mount Vogel to the ski station at a height of 1535m from where impressive views extend over the lake and the Julian Alps. After exploring the area we take the cable car back down. From here there is the option to take a public bus back to the lake, or for those of you with energy to spare you can walk back. If you were after a more leisurely route, you could take the tourist boat back.
Once back at the lake you may choose to take an easy walk around Lake Bohinj (6.4kms) or hire a mountain bike and cycle quiet country roads.
You have a free day today to explore Lake Bohinj and the surrounding area. There are several optional walks to choose from on our second day, which could take us through deep-carved glacial valleys, across rolling hills and past springs, waterfalls, rivers and lakes. There are a number of walks available of varying length through the Mostnice Gorge, the longest taking around seven hours for a return journey. Alternatively, you can hire a kayak to explore the lake itself.
The park is rich in flora and fauna and you should keep an eye out to spot chamois. The ground in spring is covered with a rich abundance of flowers; more than 10 species are endemic such as the Zois bellflower, Frolich gentian and Carniola cowslip. Throughout the countryside we will see 'kozolec', a special kind of rack for drying hay that is unique to Slovene regions. Also known as mountain harps, there are over 30 different types.
There is also the opportunity to do some river rafting on the Sava Bohinjka River, horseriding in the surrounding countryside or canyoning in the Jerecica Canyon.
We take the train from Bohinjska Bistrica to Nova Gorica. This journey is one of the most scenic in Slovenia with a back-drop of the Julian Alps. We pass through the Vipava Valley, a wine-growing region, onto one of the highlights of Slovenia, the amazing underground caverns at Skocjan, which have been protected by UNESCO since 1986. These five kilometre long caves descend 250 metres into a gigantic hollow into which a river disappears. Prehistoric people once sheltered in these caves and used them to make sacrifices to the gods of the underworld.
After a guided tour, we continue to the harbour town of Izola, situated on the Adriatic Sea. There are two distinct regions separated by a long shelf of steep cliffs extending down to the Istrian Peninsular. In the past, this natural divide has been used as a border between kingdoms: the Venetian coastal lands and the inland domains of the Hapsburgs. Olive and tangerine trees grow in abundance along the 40 kilometres of coastline. On arrival, your Explore Leader will take you on a brief orientation tour.
Hotel Marina (or similar)
The day is left free for personal exploration. You may like to explore Izola; an attractive town that has a more authentic feel and less crowds than many other places along this coastline. You can meander along the town's quaint narrow streets and view the timeless Venetian architecture. There are a number of restaurants and bars to take advantage of, as well as a boat filled marina and nice beach area.
Alternatively, just a short public bus ride along the coast is Piran - one of the best preserved historical towns anywhere on the Adriatic that is protected as a cultural monument. From the remains of the 15th century walls, there are some great views over the town and the sea. The ancient central square is surrounded by beautiful patrician villas and there is a monument dedicated to the local composer and violinist Giuseppe Tartini. From Piran it's also possible to take a boat (operates June to September)over the border to the medieval city of Trieste in Italy and spend the day exploring here.
You may prefer to take a public bus to the nearby Strunjan Landscape Park. The saltpans that are part of the nature park are the northernmost saltpans in Mediterranean. You can explore the wetland area, see the saltpans and then take in the small museum detailing the history of harvesting the salt. There is a walk along the headland back to Izola that you might choose to do, if you are feeling energetic.
Today we make our way back to Ljubljana with a visit to Predjama Castle, built into a dramatic 123m craggy cliff en route. This four storey castle dates back to the 16th century and has all the features a castle should have such as a drawbridge, holes in the entrance ceiling for pouring boiling oil on intruders, a dark and dingy dungeon and a 16th century treasure chest. We drive on to Ljubljana, a small, majestic baroque city where we can visit Ljubljana Castle (optional). The original dates back to Celtic times, but the present one was mostly built after the 16th century. After climbing the 150 steps up to the tower, you can walk along the ramparts where there are some great views over the Old Town.
The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Ljubljana.
There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Ljubljana at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like an airport transfer today, you need to depart from Ljubljana Joze Pucnik Airport (LJU), which is 45 minutes' drive.
Slovenia has a continental climate, with warm summers and the possibility of some rain in the Julian Alps. There is an average of 5-6 hours of sunshine in April, May, June and September and 7-8 hours in July and August. Seasonal weather patterns can be unpredictable. In the capital, Ljubljana, in spring and autumn temperatures average at around 15°C, with April being cooler at around 9°C, and in summer the temperatures average at 20°C.
2 Pin Round
A selection of optional activities are listed below to help you budget for your holiday. Whilst the trip price you pay before you travel includes a great selection of highlights, we have also built in free time to allow you the flexibility to choose from a carefully selected range of additional excursions and activities or take time to relax, the choice is yours. At certain destinations along the way there may be several options to choose from and it may not be possible to fit all the activities in; your Explore Leader will be able to give advice on which are the most suitable for you. Lake Bled: On day two you can take a traditional gondola boat ride €15.00 per person; hire a rowing boat for €15.00 per boat; entrance to Bled Castle €11.00 per person. Triglav National Park and Lake Bohinj: On day three you can hire a bike for €7 per hour; hire a kayak for €8 per hour; go horse riding €40 for two hours (some previous experience is preferred); take a boat trip on Lake Bohinj €9 per person; canyoning on the Jerecica Canyon for €69 per person (minimum of two people). The canyoning trip includes all safety equipment and lasts for three to four hours. You must have the ability to swim to take part in this activity. River rafting on day four along the Sava Bohinjka River €29 per person. A variety of walks are available during this trip for a maximum of five hours walking per day. These walks are graded as easy. Allow €10 for local transport to and from the start and end points for the walks in Triglav National Park. Izola: On day six you may take the public bus to Piran, approximately €2.30 per person per way. It takes around 20 minutes each way. In Piran you can walk the city walls for €2 per person; take the boat (one hour per way) from Piran to Trieste, Italy (departs in the morning and returns in the evening, so you spend the full day in Trieste, it operates from July to September, you must take your passport) €40 per person return. On day six you may take the public bus to the salt pans, approximately €1.80 per person per way. The saltpans entrance fee is €7 per person. Ljubljana: On day seven entrance to the Castle Museum €10 per person
Pack for hot weather for July and August departures. Temperatures are cooler in the Julian Alps so a fleece is essential plus a windproof/water-proof jacket whilst hiking. Remember to bring your swimwear.
Bring comfortable walking boots or shoes with ankle support and good tread for the Julian Alps and trainers or sandals for general travel.
One main piece of baggage and a daypack. Remember that you are expected to carry your own luggage - so don't overload yourself.
We recommend taking a water bottle, insect repellent, and sun cream. You may find a walking pole useful. You may also wish to bring a swimming costume and towel.
Bus, Cable Car, Public Bus, Taxi, Train
Please note that some of the hotels used on this trip don't have air-conditioning.
Can you drink the water?
It is generally possible to drink the local tap water, therefore to reduce the need for single-use plastic bottles we recommend you bring a refillable water bottle with you. Your leader will advise you on refill points each day.
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.
Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
Slovenia: Visas are not required by UK, US, Canadian, Australia and New Zealand citizens. Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office. You should confirm all visa related issues with the relevant Embassy prior to departure.
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
Please note that our guided tour at Skocjan Caves may be with other non-Explore customers.
An ability to swim is essential for your safe enjoyment of the water based activities on this trip. If you wish to participate in these activities then we insist that you are able to swim.
Nothing compulsory, but we recommend being up-to-date with your routine vaccination courses and boosters as recommended in the UK including protection against measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, diphtheria, hepatitis A, typhoid and polio. Tick-borne encephalitis protection is recommended by some medical sources at certain times of the year. Ticks are most active between spring and late autumn. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.