Slovenia's Julian Alps make for a fantastic road trip. #Slovenia #Europe #travel

The Best Road Trip Itinerary for Slovenia’s Alps

Triglav National Park was something I was looking forward to the entire time I was in the Balkans. There is so much to do in Slovenia that it’s hard to pick just a few things to see but this was top of the list. While I only spent a few days in this region I could easily spend more. This three-day itinerary for Slovenia’s alps has the highlights of this region and has everything you need to plan your road trip to Triglav National Park.

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Planning Your Trip to Slovenia lAST mINUTE?

Planning your trip to Slovenia? Especially around Lake Bled, hotels book up well in advance. Below are some places to stay, things to do, and more.

Best Tours and Experiences in Slovenia
  1. From Bovec: Rafting on Soča River (Top rated activity)
  2. From Bovec: Sušec Stream Canyoning in the Soča Valley
  3. From Bled: Full-Day Underground Kayaking (Unique tour!)
  4. From Bled: Emerald River Adventure (Highlights of Triglav, great option if no car)
  5. From Ljubljana: Triglav National Park Tour (Perfect for a short trip)
Top Hotels in Slovenia
  1. Apartment Rakušček, Kobarid (I stayed here, amazing mountain views)
  2. Apartments Masera, Kobarid (Fantastic reviews and location)
  3. Apartments Roberta, Bled (I stayed here!)
  4. Penzion Pibernek, Bled, Slovenia (Private saunas!)

Travelling Slovenia’s Alps independently? Click here to check Slovenia rental car rates!

Triglav National Park in Slovenia is easily accessible from the capital of Ljubljana or from neighbouring countries like Croatia or Austria. If you are looking for a budget-friendly trip to the European Alps, then Slovenia is the place for you. I was surprised at how cheap accommodation was in Slovenia. Triglav is also great for adventure activities like kayaking, hang gliding, or bungee jumping.

Slovenia's Julian Alps makes for a breathtaking road trip through the mountains of Europe. This is easily a travel highlight of Europe and great for an outdoor adventure. These mountains are right before the famous Vrsic Pass that go through the Julian Alps of Slovenia.
The mountains of Triglav National Park, looking towards the Vršič Pass in Triglav National Park, Slovenia

Slovenian Julian Alps Road Trip Itinerary

Slovenia’s Julian Alps are the perfect destination for a mountain road trip in Europe. While some of these places you can reach by bus, especially Lake Bled, doing it as a road trip gives a lot more freedom. In such a scenic area, it’s nice to just be able to pull over and take a photo or see somewhere to quickly explore. I did this road trip as part of a larger road trip through Slovenia and Croatia.

In this Slovenia road trip, I have everything you need for the perfect visit to the Julian Alps and Triglav National Park, including where to sleep and eat. If you’re looking for the perfect European vacation, there are many beautiful places in Slovenia.

Renting a Car in Slovenia

To drive on the highways in Slovenia, you must have an e-vignette. It should be included in your rental if you picked it up in Slovenia but if you picked up your car in another country, make sure you have this before entering a highway. You can find out more about e-vignettes here.

For car rental in Slovenia, I recommend and use Discover Cars. It compares local Slovenian companies and international companies so you can get the best deal. In Slovenia, I used Sixt rental and was very happy with the service. If you don’t have full coverage, you can also add this to your booking so you’re covered.

Even though it can be tempting to go with the cheapest price, don’t go with a company with low ratings.

Where to Stay in Slovenia’s Julian Alps

I chose to stay on either side of the Julian Alps, in Kobarid on one side and Bled on the other. Both are really cute towns that have lots to do nearby so they are great options to base yourself out of.

Kobarid Apartment Rakušček is located in a mountain village and has gorgeous views over the valley.
Bled Apartments Roberta has beautiful big apartments with mountain views.

Triglav National Park is full of beautiful lakes. This lesser visited part of Slovenia known as Most na Soci is famous for its bridge and the teal green of the water. It's an easy day trip from Ljubljana.
Just outside of Most na Soci is this gorgeous teal lake.

Road Trip of the Julian Alps of Slovenia

Day One: Drive to Tolmin and Kobarid

While my road trip started out arriving from Rijeka in Croatia, you could easily start this trip from Ljubljana instead. Starting from Ljubljana would give you more time in the mountains than I had on the first day of this trip. The border crossing was simple and easy, just make sure to purchase a vignette for driving on the Slovenian highways. The highways are very easy to drive and navigate.

Solkan Bridge-The World’s Largest Stone Arch Bridge

Our first stop of the day was unexpectedly at the World’s largest stone arch bridge, the Solkan Bridge (Solkanski Most). We were short on time so the stop was just long enough to get out of the car and to see the bridge and people bungee jumping.

Back in the car, we took smaller roads that winded next to beautiful rivers. Our route to Tolmin Gorge had us driving through amazing scenery next to the Soča River including cute villages such as Most na Soči.

If you're looking for a great road trip in Europe, look no further than Slovenia. With well maintained roads and the beautiful scenery of the Julian Alps, Slovenia is the perfect destination. The southern most part of Triglav National Park is visited much less than Lake Bled area but Tolmin Gorge is beautiful and worth a visit.
Heading towards Tolmin Gorge, the Julian Alps of Slovenia have fantastic scenery

Driving Into the Julian Alps at Tolmin Gorge

Tolmin Gorge is the lowest and most southern entry point of Triglav National Park. Admission is only 5€ a person and includes free parking. The Tolmin Gorge Park also includes access to the cave above and is a nice way to spend 2 hours. It wasn’t very busy and made for a nice quick hike as the park is easy to navigate and the gorge is beautiful.

If you want you can also hike up to Dante’s cave which is on the roadside above the gorge. I didn’t go very far into it but it was interesting to read the signs there that provide some history about how Dante supposedly visited this cave and it was part of the inspiration for his famous work about the circles of hell. After the cave, you can walk back along the road over Devil’s Bridge and get a view down into the gorge.

Finish Up the Day in Kobarid

After exploring Tolmin Gorge, drive towards Kobarid. At this point you may want to check into your accommodation, I recommend Apartment Rakušček , and then see the sights of the town. Check out the Napoleon bridge, as it is on the way into Kobarid.

Kobarid is a tiny town but we found some really delicious pizza and wine at Soča Kobarid Pizzeria. There are also some nice bakeries in the town for picking up lunch the next day.

After eating, head to your accommodation in Dreznica. Because the village is far from most light pollution, it’s a great place to go for a night walk and look at the stars.

The Julian Alps above the small village of Dreznica, Slovenia near the town of Kobarid. This area is known for it's WWI museum and beautiful mountain scenery. It's the perfect place to base yourself near the alps to take part in adventure activities on the river.
View of the Julian Alps as we drove into the village we stayed, Drežnica, Slovenia

Where to Stay in Triglav National Park

A great place to stay right on the edge of Triglav National Park is the village of Drežnica. It’s located close to the larger town of Kobarid up the mountain. It is 20 minutes up switchbacks into the mountains. Even if I wasn’t going to be staying there, it was worth the drive. The village of Drežnica is really cute and has a lovely church there. It’s incredibly scenic and there are quite a few hikes you can do from Drežnica. I was really regretting only having one night here.

Apartment Rakušček has free parking and is a huge apartment that looks out over the mountains. It’s set in such a picturesque village, I highly recommend it. At check-in to the apartment, we were offered traditional blueberry liqueur and biscuits. This apartment is only seasonally available.

Apartments Masera is a good option close to the town of Kobarid and offers up a huge apartment at a very affordable price.

Church that is near the village of Dreznica in the alps of Slovenia. This area is perfect for hikers. There are short hikes here as well as much longer hikes that take you through alpine meadows and up mountain-sides.
Church near Dreznica village in the alps of Slovenia

Day Two: Drežnica to Triglav National Park

Kozjak Waterfall

On day two of our Slovenian Alps adventure, we started out early and stopped at Kozjak waterfall for a quick hike. The entrance for this hike is just before the Napoleon Bridge if you are coming from Drežnica. We encountered only two other small groups of people hiking. It was about an hour to hike and spend some time at the falls, and it was very peaceful and of course, scenic. Everything in Slovenia seems to be scenic though.

After our hike, we stopped at the grocery store in Kobarid and got some pastries to sustain us for the day. Kobarid is the place where Ernest Hemingway set his novel A Farewell to Arms which documented the military campaign that happened in the area during WWI. Because of this, I wish I had more time here to check out the WWI museum that is located here, but we had a packed day ahead.

Kozjak waterfall is found at the end of a short hike near the town of Kobarid, Slovenia. This waterfall is known for being in a small canyon and having crystal clear water below it.
Kozjak waterfall in Slovenia is a short hike from the road  and through a small canyon
The Soca River near Kobarid, Slovenia. This river has some of the most beautiful river water I have ever seen. This peaceful hike to the popular Kozjak waterfall is a must do if you are near Kobarid.
The hike to Kozjak waterfall includes this beautiful view of the Soča River and the pedestrian bridge that hangs over it

Boka Waterfall and Bovec

Heading towards Bovec, the scenery was beautiful. I hoped to see the Boka waterfall, but it was completely dried up. Just a big, white riverbed. If you are visiting earlier in the summer and spring you will likely get a chance to see it but by October it was gone.

Bovec is where a lot of the more adventurous day tours leave from. If you have more time, it would be worth staying another night in Kobarid or adding a night to Bovec to explore some of the activities in this area as it is a popular spot for white water rafting, canyoning, and kayaking.

The road that goes through Triglav National Park and towards Vršič Pass has so many places where you can just pull over to the side of the road. We stopped at a few of them to look at the river and take photos. There are many locations that are the starting points for hikes. It was hard to choose which ones we wanted to do when they all sounded amazing.

The white rocked dried up riverbed near Boka Waterfall, Slovenia. During a wetter season, this is full of water and there is an impressive waterfall. As it is the dry riverbed does look pretty neat.
Just a dried-up riverbed where we were hoping to see the Boka waterfall.
One of the highlights of driving in the Julian Alps is seeing many river views like this of the Soca River. This has to be the prettiest river in Slovenia and there are many opportunities for pictures of it.
One of the many stops to see the Soča River on the way through the Julian Alps to Vršič Pass, Slovenia

Hike to the Source of the Soca River

We had a bit of trouble finding it but we were finally able to find the Koča pri izviru Soče hut. We had to go off the main road and questioned ourselves a lot about where we were heading.

The reason we were so set on finding it is that from here, you can do a short hike to the source of the Soča River. With this river being so unbelievably beautiful, I just had to do this. The hike is one of the more unique hikes I have done. You start off just hiking a bit up the mountain and then at a certain point, there are chains bolted into the rock for you to hold onto and use to walk along the cliff face. The source of the river is in a bit of a cave and is so clear it looks like you are looking through glass.

Driving through Triglav National Park

Back on the main road, we continued with the crazy amount of switchbacks and stopped at a place that had the remains of a WWI system that was used to transport goods across the mountains. The supply telpher line was built in 1915 to supply the Austro-Hungarian army in the mountains of Krn. Snow made the Vršič road impossible to supply troops any other way so they would run the supply lines of 250 tons of supplies a day.

Driving in Triglav National Park, Slovenia will give you lots of winding mountain roads like this one. If you are there in autumn, you will see beautifully coloured trees all over the place.
One of the windy roads through Triglav National Park, Slovenia

Driving The Vršič Pass Through the Julian Alps

Finally, we knew we had to be getting to the Vršič Pass. We stopped right at the beginning to take some photos because it’s a great view. The pass itself is full of switchbacks and each one is cobblestone instead of pavement. The whole road leading up to it and then the pass itself has to be one of the prettiest roads in the Alps.

A tall mountain with evergreen trees at its base near the Vrsic Pass in Triglav National Park Slovenia. This mountain is right next to the road and you can hike part way up it.
Mountain near the Vršič Pass, Slovenia

The Russian Chapel was a stop that we almost missed because of not seeing the parking lot and the sun rapidly setting. In WWI, the Austrian military had more than 10,000 Russian war prisoners build the Vršič Pass to connect Kranjska Gora to Trenta. Kranjska Gora became important because of the location of the front line near the Soča River. In 1946 over 100 Russian POWs and some Austrian guards died in a single avalanche. The following year surviving Russian POWs built the chapel in their memory.

The Russian Chapel in the Vrsic Pass that was built to commemorate that Russian POWs that died building the road.
Russian Chapel

Lake Jasna After exiting the Vršič Pass, we made our final stop at Lake Jasna to see the statue of the goat. It was a long day of driving, but it was so rewarding. I definitely was looking forward to eating some food and sleeping.

We drove onwards towards Lake Bled, where we rented an apartment in nearby Kornica. Once we were out of all the switchbacks and mountain driving, it was quite quick to get to Lake Bled.

Accommodation in Lake Bled

While you can stay right in the village of Bled, I was happy to stay outside of it. I stayed at Apartments Roberta and loved that it was in such a peaceful area with views of the mountains. It was a huge apartment for a great price and I would happily stay there again.

Day 3: Lake Bled and Vintgar Gorge

Start your day by heading to Lake Bled. It can get very busy as it is popular with tourist buses. I enjoyed walking around and visiting Bled Castle which sits high above the lake. There is a fantastic little museum there to learn about the history of the area. Depending on how long you spend in the museum, you may have time to row to the island in the middle of Lake Bled. I ended up skipping this because I was more excited to see Vintgar Gorge.

Afterward, enjoy lunch at one of the restaurants here and try the famous Bled cream cake.

Vintgar Gorge

From Bled, drive to Vintgar Gorge. It’s very close to Bled and is a great short hike. I enjoyed visiting Vintgar Gorge more than Lake Bled. The pathway next to the river takes you by rapids and beautiful scenery.

After you are done in the Lake Bled and Triglav National Park area, continue your trip by spending two days in Ljubljana.

Exploring Triglav National Park, Slovenia

After spending the better part of 3 days exploring Triglav National Park in Slovenia, my only regret was not spending longer. There is so much to do in this area that you could easily spend 5 days or longer there. This 3-day itinerary for Triglav was enough time that I got to see the main highlights of the park including the Vrsic pass as well as Kobarid and Lake Bled. If you have more time to budget, I would consider adding on some rafting activities and longer hikes in the park.

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  1. What a gorgeous and fun road trip in Slovenia. I’ve never been but the more photos and blogs I read the more I want to visit! I can imagine you were non stop taking these gorgeous photos on every corner of the road! It’s interesting to hear about the history with WW1 of the pass too.

    1. It’s a fantastic destination that absolutely exceeded my expectations. Before researching for my trip there I had no idea that it played such a prominent role in WWI battles.

  2. This looks like such a perfect road trip, especially those fall colors, waterfalls and nature’s pristine beauty! Slovenia is such an underrated gem of Europe, thanks for showcasing its beauty!

    1. I got really lucky with fall colours, it’s so hard to time that out! It really is an underrated gem of Europe.

  3. Why do there have to be so many beautiful Alps mountain ranges going through so many countries? I mean, I’ve seen the Swiss Alps, but they’re different to the Solvenian Julian Alps. I’ve got to see them all!

    1. That’s exactly how I feel about the Alps! They are just ever so slightly different in every country that I want to see it all.

  4. The mountains are soooo pretty, and goodness, the colour of those lakes and rivers is simply gorgeous!

    This sounds like a fantastic holiday, especially because you fit in some little hikes in between all that driving! I have not visited the Julian Alps, but I would looove to visit and hike there!

  5. wow! The scenery is absolutely stunning. Was the hike to Kozjak Waterfall difficult? I would love to view this for myself one day if the hike isn’t too bad. LOL!

    1. The hike to Kozjak waterfall is super easy. It’s a really gentle slope, hardly any at all. When you start to walk in the canyon/up the river there is a small boardwalk and steps built up. It’s also a short walk so it’s easy to fit into your schedule, you can do it in 1 hour.

  6. The hiking trails are gorgeous! So much greenery all around. The colour of the river is so otherworldly. Is it due to a particular mineral?

    1. The colour of the water here is from suspended sediment particles in the water, I think it is chalk for Slovenia’s emerald waters.

  7. What a fun road trip around Slovenia. I’m not familiar with the country, but I love the look of outdoors. The waterfalls are simply stunning. Thanks for the introduction to the country.

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