slovenia and croatia itinerary

7-Day Slovenia and Croatia Itinerary | Scenic Road Trip 2024


Embark on a memorable road trip through Slovenia, a touch of Italy, and Croatia. Joined by my wife, our 22-month-old son, and my 60-year-old mother, we set off on this exciting journey, ready to explore and create lasting memories.

Day 1 – Arrival in LjubljanaExploring the Heart of Slovenia

Car Rental Building - All the ofices
Car Rental Building – All the offices

We started by renting a car in Ljubljana, booked through Discover Cars using our special Auto Jardim link, which provided a great discount.

Toyota CHR SUV In Free2Rent Parking Garage - Picking Up The Car
Toyota CHR SUV In Free2Rent Parking Garage – Picking Up The Car
Booked car with Discover Cars through Auto Jardim special link
Booked car with Discover Cars through Auto Jardim special link
Free2Rent Office Reception
Free2Rent Office Reception – waiting time was about 20 mins

Here is the full voucher which shows that the selected company is Free2Rent

Full voucher Slovenia car rental with Discover Cars - Free2Rent car rental company
Full voucher Slovenia car rental with Discover Cars – Free2Rent car rental company

More about Free2Rent car rental company

Free2rent Slovenia Ljubljana review
Free2rent Slovenia Ljubljana review

My review for this car rental company and experience

The pick-up process and car rental in Ljubljana airport were smooth, and the staff were very professional and friendly. However there was small issue, I didn't notice that I needed to have a credit card, so they were not able to rent me a car with the Discover Cars insurance, and I had to take their Full Insurance because I only had a debit card.

Even though it was my fault and overall booking became more expensive I could enjoy full insurance and peace of mind.

The car that I received was a Toyota Chr only with 10000 km, was in excellent condition, great trim level and was perfect for our needs, just a little bit tight, we had to use the passenger seat for putting the stroller inside.

Rented Car Toyota CHR Packed With Luggage
Rented Car Toyota CHR Packed With Luggage

Returning the car was also straightforward, and the staff were efficient. Overall, I highly recommend Free2rent for their great service and quality vehicles.

Here is a summary of my final car rental contract

Rental Agreement Slovenia Free2Rent
Rental Agreement Slovenia

What was included?

• Base Car Rental: €148.32

• Tire and Glass Coverage: €43.21

• Super LDW Coverage: €97.23

• LDW Compact: €0.00

• TP Compact: €0.00

• Full Tank Petrol Charge: €71.52

• Cross Border Fee: €48.02

• Child Seat (9-18 kg): €48.02

• Total Cost: €496.31

Pro TIP:

When driving on Slovenian motorways and expressways, you will need to purchase an e-vignette for toll payment with some other car rental companies, however using free2rent it was already included in the price. Here are the key points you need to know:

Types and Prices:

Weekly e-vignette: €16

Monthly e-vignette: €32

Annual e-vignette: €117.50

It’s essential to have a valid e-vignette before entering any toll roads in Slovenia to avoid fines or rent a car in Slovenia from a company that also have this prepaid.. The process is straightforward, and purchasing online is convenient. For more information and to buy your e-vignette, you can visit the official website.

We arrive at 6 PM, 2024 Jun 29, so after we pick up the car, we head to the Airbnb we rented for two days which is in Ulica Milana Majcna 24, Ljubljana, Slovenia and it is called “One Bedroom Apartment in Ljubljana for 4 guests

One Bedroom Apartment in Ljubljana for 4 guests - picture from Airbnb.com
One Bedroom Apartment in Ljubljana for 4 guests – picture from Airbnb.com
One Bedroom Apartment in Ljubljana Town With Mountain View
One Bedroom Apartment in Ljubljana Town With Mountain View

At the moment of booking it was

Rated 4.63 out of 5 stars with 38 reviews

Quite a good deal though as we got it with free parking and for 212 Eur for 2 nights

Our Airbnb, Apartment A1, offers two stylishly decorated apartments in the heart of Ljubljana, perfect for business travelers or families. Apartment includes a spacious kitchen, living room, bathroom, and bedroom, all on the third floor of a charming older building. Enjoy city views, a fully equipped kitchen, dining area, and private bathroom with shower. Additional amenities include free parking, a double bed, a sofa bed for two (however these were pretty uncomfortable because they were too soft), and all essential items like towels and a hairdryer. We were conveniently located near Tivoli Park.

Check-in process was also a bit complicated as I had to call someone else, and arrange the meeting.

After we got some rest, we headed out to the city center to grab some food and then simply rest prepare for the perfect trip start.

Day 2 – Discovering Vintgar Gorge and Lake Bled

Soteska Vintgar parking scenery - Parkirišče VINTGAR Blejska Dobrava
Soteska Vintgar parking scenery
Google Maps Route - Vintgar Gorge and Lake Bled
Google Maps Route – Vintgar Gorge and Lake Bled

1. Soteska Vintgar (Vintgar Gorge)

Travel Time: 45 minutes from Ljubljana

Visit Time: 2 – 3 hours with all the transportation, walking etc.

Parking cost 5 euro for 5 hours

Description: We started our day with a refreshing hike through the scenic Vintgar Gorge. The wooden walkways and crystal-clear Radovna River provided a beautiful experience for the whole family.

Keep in mind that if you come to Parkirišče VINTGAR Blejska Dobrava like we did, the bus shuttle goes every 1 hour. It brings you to the entrance of the Vingar Gorge, the good thing is that you pay only 5 euro, rather than 10 if you park close to the entrance and you don't have to come back the same route, as you just go straight where you parked the car.

2. Lake Bled

Couple Enjoying Lake Bled View
Enjoying The Lake Bled View

Travel Time: 10 – 20 minutes from Vintgar Gorge

Visit Time: 5 hours

Parking cost about 2 – 3 euros per hour

Description: We enjoyed a leisurely stroll around Lake Bled, we tried the famous Bled cream cake and we circled all of the lake and also tried swimming in it. It was really refreshing!

Couple Swimming In Lake Bled
Couple Swimming In Lake Bled

Optional Places You Can Visit If You Have More Time Left

Ojstrica Viewpoint

Travel Time: 10 minutes from Lake Bled (hike start point)

Visit Time: 1-1.5 hours

Description: For stunning views of Lake Bled, consider hiking up to Ojstrica. The hike is short but steep, taking about 20-30 minutes, and is manageable even with a toddler.

Peričnik Waterfall (Lower)

Travel Time: 40 minutes from Lake Bled

Visit Time: 1-1.5 hours

Description: Visit the lower Peričnik Waterfall for a refreshing experience and beautiful scenery. The short hike from the parking area is easy and rewarding.

Total Driving Time: Approximately 2 hours 47 minutes


• We experienced the natural beauty of Slovenia with manageable hikes and stunning views.

• It was a perfect mix of activities for our family day trip, including easy hikes and scenic spots.

Practical Tips:

  • We started early to make the most of the day and avoid crowds
  • Book Vintgar Gorge tickets in advance, you will save up time!
  • Vintgar not allowed with strollers, paths are pretty narrow, can be challenging with toddlers, but still worth it!

Here is the Google maps route link

Day 3 – Ljubljana to Poreč with Stops in Trieste and Piran

We checked out and headed to our new day trip.

Stop 1: Trieste, Italy

Visit Time: 3 hours

Distance from Ljubljana: 94 km (about 1 hour 30 minutes drive)

Me In Front Of Miramare Trieste Castle
Me In Front Of Miramare Trieste Castle

Highlights: We started our trip with a visit to the beautiful city of Trieste. We explored the stunning Miramare Castle overlooking the Adriatic Sea. The blend of Italian and Austro-Hungarian architecture made this stop truly fascinating. Then we walked around the city center and ate some food.

We needed to pay for the parking in the castle parking as well as in the city, around 2 euros per hour.

Stop 2: Piran, Slovenia

Distance from Trieste: 38 km (about 45 minutes drive)

Highlights: Next, we headed to the picturesque coastal town of Piran. We strolled through the charming old town with its Venetian architecture, took in the views from Tartini Square, and climbed up to St. George’s Parish Church for panoramic views of the coastline. Piran’s narrow streets and scenic views were perfect for a leisurely exploration.

Me In Town Square - Piran
Me In Town Square – Piran

Stop 3: Poreč, Croatia

Distance from Piran: 76 km (about 1 hour drive)

Highlights: Our final destination for the day was Poreč.

The Airbnb was located in Lindarska ulica number 22, Poreč, Istarska županija 52440, Croatia

Airbnb in Porec Croatia
Airbnb in Porec Croatia

Optional Recommendations

If you have more time or are traveling without young children, consider adding these stops:

Novigrad, Croatia

Distance from Piran: 40 km (about 40 minutes drive)

Highlights: A charming town known for its well-preserved medieval architecture, beautiful marina, and excellent seafood restaurants. Visit the Lapidarium Museum and the Church of St. Pelagius.

Umag, Croatia

Distance from Novigrad: 15 km (about 20 minutes drive)

Highlights: Known for its historic old town, seaside promenade, and beautiful beaches. The Church of St. Mary and St. Peregrin and the city walls are notable attractions.

Including Novigrad and Umag can add a rich cultural and scenic experience to your journey, making it even more memorable.

Total Driving Distance: Approximately 184 km

Total Driving Time: About 2 hours 45 minutes (excluding stops)

This route offers a delightful mix of scenic views, cultural experiences, and historic sites, perfect for a family trip or an adventure with friends.

Here is the google maps picture and link for this day.

Ljubljana To Porec
Ljubljana To Porec

Google maps link

In Poreč that evening we just spent the night and appreciated the amazing interior and garden of the Airbnb

Green design apartment

Everything in this apartment was just amazing.

Day 4 – Exploring Plitvice Lakes and the Beautiful Coastal Town of Opatija

Our next adventure took us from Poreč to the stunning Plitvice Lakes National Park, with several beautiful stops along the way.

Route from Porec to Plitvice
Route from Porec to Plitvice

Stop 1: Poreč

Distance from Airbnb: 2 km

We flew a drone over the city, capturing stunning aerial views of its historic architecture and beautiful coastline. We enjoyed a delicious meal at a local restaurant, savoring the regional cuisine. Afterward, we took a leisurely walk through the charming streets, soaking in the vibrant atmosphere and rich history of this picturesque town.

Porec Harbor
Porec Harbor

Stop 2: Nature Park Učka

Distance from Rovinj: 70 km (about 1 hour 15 minutes drive)

Car Navigation System Display Going To Porec
Car Navigation System Display – Going To Porec

Highlights: Our next stop was Nature Park Učka. We enjoyed a scenic drive through the park, stopping at various viewpoints to take in the stunning vistas of the surrounding landscape. It was quite a serpentine, but well worth it!

Mountain Top Tower Nature Park Ucka
Mountain Top Tower Nature Park Ucka

Pro tip: navigation will lead you to a park, however, you have to turn right to go to the top, you will see an entrance that looks like forbidden but it is actually the only way to go up, otherwise you have to hike which I do not recommend.

Nature Park Ucka
Nature Park Ucka
Nature Park Ucka Radar Tower
Nature Park Ucka Radar Tower

Stop 3: Rijeka, Croatia

Distance from Nature Park Učka: 40 km (about 45 minutes drive)

Marina in Rijeka
Marina in Rijeka

Highlights: We then headed to Rijeka, Croatia’s third-largest city and a major port. We explored the bustling city center, the main pedestrian street lined with shops and cafes, visited one of the famous fish restaurants. Rijeka’s vibrant atmosphere and historical sites were a perfect stop.

Parking: There were plenty of parking spaces in Rijeka, and it was approx only 1.3 Eur per hour, something similar.

Final Stop 4: Villa Angy Korenicko – close to Plitvice Lakes National Park

BB Villa Angy
BB Villa Angy

Distance from Rijeka: 155 km (about 2 hours drive)

The space inside was huge, the staff was amazing, totally recommend staying in Villa Angy!

Optional Recommendations for Other Travelers

If you have more time or want to explore additional spots, consider these recommendations:

Senj, Croatia

Distance from Rijeka: 70 km (about 1 hour drive)

Highlights: A historic town with a medieval fortress, Nehaj Tower, offering great views of the town and the Adriatic Sea. It’s a good stop for history enthusiasts.

Total Driving Distance: Approximately 302 km

Total Driving Time: About 4 hours 45 minutes (excluding stops)

This itinerary offers a mix of historic towns, scenic natural parks, and vibrant cities, making the journey to Plitvice Lakes National Park an enriching experience.

Google Maps for this day.

Day 5 – Plitvice Lakes and Opatija

We started our day with a hearty breakfast, fueling up for an exciting day ahead at Plitvice Lakes National Park.

Visit to Plitvice Lakes National Park

Entrance 1: We entered the park through Entrance 1, which offers immediate access to some of the park’s most stunning waterfalls and lakes.

Plitvice Lakes Entrance 1 Immediate Scenery
Plitvice Lakes Entrance 1 Immediate Scenery

We spent the entire day exploring the well-marked trails, admiring the breathtaking views of the cascading lakes and pristine nature. The wooden walkways and crystal-clear waters provided a serene backdrop for our adventure.

Tip: Remember, drones are not allowed in Plitvice Lakes National Park. Be sure to respect this rule to help preserve the park’s natural beauty and ensure a peaceful experience for all visitors.

Extra tip: If coming with a toddler or a baby, try to bring a stroller with larger wheels, otherwise it will constantly get stuck in a wooden pathway. Otherwise better get a baby carrier.

Stop at Opatija

Opatija: After a day immersed in nature, we made a relaxing stop at Opatija on our way to Slovenia. Known for its elegant Austro-Hungarian architecture and beautiful seaside promenade, Opatija provided a perfect spot to unwind. We strolled along the Lungomare, enjoyed the coastal views, and even had a quick coffee at one of the charming seaside cafes.

Seaside Cafe With Ocean View in Opatija

Arrival at Apartments Mihelčič

Postojna Airbnb
Postojna Airbnb

Final Destination: We then continued our journey to Slovenia, arriving at Apartments Mihelčič, located in the peaceful countryside of Mali Otok near Postojna. The rooms were cozy and well-appointed, offering a perfect retreat after a day of exploration. The countryside setting provided a tranquil atmosphere, allowing us to relax and recharge for the next day’s adventures.

Apartments Mihelčič
House With Car At Dusk

Accommodation Details:

Address: Apartments Mihelčič, Mali Otok, 6230 Postojna, Slovenia

Highlights: Comfortable rooms, beautiful countryside views, and a welcoming atmosphere. It is a working farm, very unique experience. My Tip – go for the breakfast, it's just 8 euro per person and very fresh & homemade.

This day was a perfect blend of nature, relaxation, and travel, making it a memorable part of our journey.

Day 6 – Adventures in Postojna Cave, Predjama Castle and Ljubljana

Our journey on Day 6 was filled with exciting stops and beautiful scenery. Here’s a detailed look at our route and experiences.

Starting Point: Apartments Mihelčič, Mali Otok

Departure: After a comfortable night at Apartments Mihelčič, we set off for our first destination.

Stop 1: Postojna Cave

Me In Postojna Cave
Me In Postojna Cave

Distance: 7 km (about 10 minutes drive)

Highlights: We explored the extensive karst cave system at Postojna Cave, which includes a thrilling underground train ride and a guided tour through the stunning cave formations. It was a unique and memorable experience for the whole family.

Pro tip: Buy tickets at least one day before to avoid queues.

Stop 2: Predjama Castle

Predjama Castle
Castle Built Into Cliff
Predjama Castle
Man With Car In Scenic Mountain Village

Distance: 9 km (about 15 minutes drive)

Highlights: Next, we visited Predjama Castle, a remarkable Renaissance castle built into a cave. The history and architecture were fascinating, and the location offered breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

Pro tip: Park your car for a few minutes for free at the top, enjoy the view and decide if you want to visit the castle itself as we decided to skip it.

Stop 3: Walking in Ljubljana

We visited Ljubljana and checked into Apartment Sand 26, a studio apartment in Trnovo. The apartment was unique, modern, compact, and stylish, providing a perfect base for our explorations.

From there, we visited Ljubljana Square and the city center, trying some delightful restaurants and enjoying Aperol Spritz. We also visited the iconic Dragon Bridge, admired the castle, walked by the river, and enjoyed various street performances.

Me Smiling By River in Ljubljana
Me Smiling By River in Ljubljana

Additional Tips and Recommendations

Plan Your Time: Ensure you allocate enough time at each stop to fully enjoy the attractions, especially at Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle.

Comfort and Safety: Wear comfortable shoes and bring layers, as the temperatures can vary, especially in the caves and at higher altitudes like Vogel.

This route offers a mix of natural wonders, historical sites, and breathtaking views, making it a perfect day trip itinerary in Slovenia.

Optional stops if you have time:

Lake Bohinj

Highlights: Consider visiting Lake Bohinj to enjoy the serene beauty of Slovenia’s largest lake. It’s less crowded than Lake Bled and offers a peaceful environment perfect for a picnic or a leisurely walk along the shore.

Vogel Cable Car

Highlights: Take the Vogel Cable Car up to the Vogel ski resort area for stunning panoramic views of Lake Bohinj and the Julian Alps. This is a fantastic spot for great photo opportunities and to enjoy the breathtaking alpine scenery.


Maribor is Slovenia’s second-largest city. It's famous for its old town, vibrant culture, and historic sites. Notable spots include the Lent district along the Drava River. There, you'll find the world’s oldest grapevine and Maribor Castle. Also, the nearby Pohorje Mountains offer great hiking and skiing. This makes Maribor a popular year-round destination. The city hosts festivals and events, adding to its lively spirit. Renting a car lets you explore Maribor, its wine regions, and landscapes at your own pace, if you come directly to Maribor, you can also rent a car in Maribor as well..

Day 7 – Departure Day – Farewell to Slovenia and Flight Home

After waking up in our Airbnb, we enjoyed a nice breakfast before heading to the airport. We returned the car and prepared for our departure. That concluded our legendary and amazing trip!

I hope this helped you a lot and if you have any questions, feel free to contact me!

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