As somebody else said, Slovenia is not just Ljubljana, Bled and Postojna cave. Slovenia is, as of our experience, a true outdoor playground.
In one day, you can visit a complete flat land, drive under the mountains which reach 2.864 meters, and swim in the sea at the end of the day. The coast is short, it has only 40 klikometers, but it’s diverse and has a lot to offer, as well. Slovenia is full of hot water (thermal) springs and pools, bikeparks, hiking trails, and spiced up with wine regions which produce some of the best wines you will ever try – both red and white. It’s a marvel of geographic diversity in a small corner between the Alps, the Adriatic, and the Panonian flat land, with a naturally beautiful Karst area somewhere inbetween. No wonder that in all that, Slovenes picked up some of the super-picturesque areas like Bled and Postojna cave to promote around the globe, which leave literally everyone amused when they visit this beautiful country.
So if you are and outdoor recreation enthusiast and plan to visit Slovenia, what can you do in the summer?
Well, first of all, we suggest you to bring your hiking and mountain biking equipment with you, if possible. Second, rent a car. Now you’re good to explore. 🙂
Nearby the capital Ljubljana, and even closer to the airport, there is one of the larger ski center in Slovenia, which runs an amazing bikepark in the summer: Krvavec. The bike park used to be quite small, but in the past years, the tracks from the mountain all the way to the valley were developed, turning Krvavec mountain into one of the most amazing mountain bike playgrounds in the country. If you are in Ljubljana or if you arrive by plane, and like mountain biking, then don’t miss that one.
In the Koroška (Carinthia) region which is close to the Austrian border, you will find trail park Jamnica. Only once you are there, you will understand why I say that it’s like in a fairytale there. Nicely shaped hills, with the farms and woods scattered on them, create the most beautiful scenery you can imagine for mountain biking – and in this scenery, there is a large number of trails of different difficulties, that were built and legalized by the locals, particularly around the Bike hotel Koroš. You have to pedal up to get the downhill, and a long-travel enduro bike is perfect to bomb down those trails.
If you are visiting Bled, you may want to take your trip a bit further to the beautiful Kranjska Gora, where you will find one of the first slovene bike parks. The mountain-side area of Slovenia (Gorenjska) is generally naturally super beautiful and you can find a handful of nice trails, some for hiking and some for mountain biking there, with the Bike Park Kranjska Gora being in the center of them. In the hiking section, there are some advices for hikes which are location-wise close to the parks and areas mentioned in this section.
Going further towards north-east, towards the Štajerska (Styria) region, you will arrive to the Slovenia’s 2nd largest city, Maribor. Maribor is proud to have the Slovenia’s largest ski center with one of it’s slopes entering directly into the city. You can take the city bus and go skiing in the winter, or biking or hiking in the summer. Ain’t that amazing? 🙂 Maribor also has a nice bike park with a variety of trails spanning in the area close to the cable car which is connecting the city with one of the peaks of the Pohorje, which is closest to the city.
Just a few tens of kilometers away, there is another bike park on another ski center, called Rogla, in proximity of which are super-nice hiking trails that reach little lakes and natural habitats, deep in the woods of the Pohorje hills.
If you want to feel the alps while in the Gorenjska region, we can recommend you 2 trails that are easy to access with the car and quite fast to hike: Slemenova Špica and Debela Peč. Both of them offer really amazing views and can be reached in 1.5 or 2.5 hours, respectively. To easily access Slemenova Špica, you should use a car and drive up to one of the famous Slovene mountain passes, called Vršič. Park on top, and walk from top of the pass into the mountains. You will finish your hike at Slemenova Špica which is just a bit below 2.000 meters above the sea level. If you want to go above the 2.000 meters above sea level, then Debela Peč can offer you a relatively easy trail up there from the Pokljuka area.
Close to Rogla and Maribor area of Pohorje, you may find really nice trails. From Rogla, you can reach a beautiful natural habitat Lovrenška Jezera, and on Pohorje near Maribor, you can take a walk from the area called Bellevue to the area called Areh. All those paths are marked with the mountain path markings and can be very relaxing and refreshing.
Both of the trails mentioned are classified as “easy trails” in the Alps, but that doesn’t mean that it’s smart to do them without the proper alpine hiking shoes – contrary! Even the easier trails in the Alps are usually harder than some of the trails which may be considered “hard” in some other areas (for example on the islands). Trekking Slemenova Špica in Slovenia (an easy trail) and Pico da Vara in Azores (classified as a hard trail there), I may say that Slemenova Špica was technically a considerably harder trail.
On the seaside, we suggest you to visit Piran. Piran was the city built on the peninsula, guarded by the sea on 3 sides, and by the long preserved city wall on one side. It was a rich city which traded and functioned with Venice in the past, and is today considered as one of the historic jewels of Slovenia with it’s tight streets, squares, and old buildings. If you stay in Piran, then you can take a long walk towards the North to Fiesa, grab a beer there, and proceed on the beach further up north towards Strunjan. There you may find the camping site, and close to it, you may find the Paranzana road. Paranzana is a road connecting Italy and Croatia through Slovenia, which is built on the old tracks of the old railroad (build by Franz Ferdinand in the time of Habsburg monarchy). It is perfect for a bike-ride or a run. It features some nice tunnels on the way, and is today used only for the touristic purposes.
In Piran, there is also a diving center, so you can go have a look under the surface of the sea and visit wrecks of an old boat. If you prefer windsurfing, you should walk (or take a longboard or bike for a ride) towards Bernardin and Portorož: just at the doorsteps of Portorož, between the hotel area of Bernardin and the big buildings that we used for salt storage, you can rent a windsurf.
What I can suggest you is to make a circle, full of activities: straight off the plane, hop to Krvavec, from there through Carinthia head towards Maribor, and from Maribor through Rogla back towards Ljubljana. From Ljubljana, visit the seaside, and from the seaside, return to the mountainside region of Gorenjska where you can visit Bled, do a few bike trails and hikes. And at that point, you will be again close to the Ljubljana airport, full of beaufiul memories and experiences. 🙂