An Autumn Road Trip in Slovenia: A Picture Perfect Itinerary

Slovenia is fast becoming one of Europe's favourite destinations thanks to its rich cultural heritage and beautiful country landscapes. Our road trip explores the best of these qualities.

From the magnificent Julian Alps that tower above forested hills to shimmering emerald green lakes and rivers, Slovenia’s dramatic natural beauty is wondrous to visitors. Add a hip capital city with a penchant for dragons and a delectable cuisine focusing on local, rustic ingredients, it’s no wonder Slovenia is considered one of Europe’s best-hidden gems.

Even better, Slovenia’s compact size means you can easily fit a multi-destination road trip into a relatively small amount of time. While most travellers head to Slovenia during the warm summer months, Autumn is an ideal time to escape the crowds. Soak in the vibrant colours as the beech forests turn to fiery reds and golds. Or, get your adrenaline pumping in cooler but comfortable weather. The options for a fairy-tale fall vacation are endless.

Cover image: Old town embankment in Ljubljana – Credit: Velirina

Here’s our itinerary to get you started on the perfect Autumn road trip in Slovenia:

Ljubljana

Start your road trip in Slovenia’s chic capital city, Ljubljana. The first thing you’ll likely notice is how pedestrian friendly it is; leave the car for a moment and explore downtown by foot or bike to best soak in the bustling cafes, unique concept shops, and medieval architecture.

Keep an eye out for nods to dragons, the symbol of Ljubljana. You can’t miss the iconic dragon sculpture at the aptly named Dragon Bridge. Then, wander the hills around the Ljubljana Castle to catch beautiful views of the city while admiring the vibrant colours of the fall landscape.

A castle built into a cliff sidePredjama Castle – Credit: PytyCzech

A perfect day trip from Ljubljana is the fascinating Postojna Cave. This million-year-old karst cave system is over 30km of tunnels and caverns, with a full 5km open to the public. From here, you can drive over to Predjama Castle, a castle built into the middle of a towering cliff.

Lake Bled

An island in the middle of Lake BledImage credit: istockphoto.com/AlbertoLoyo

No trip to Slovenia is complete with a stop at iconic Lake Bled. Morning temperatures are cool, so you’ll want to start them with a cup of coffee and a piece of Bled’s famous cream cake. Afternoons are warmer and ideal for a leisurely row or a walk around the picture-perfect lake.

From Lake Bled, be sure to drive to Lake Bohinj. While not as well-known as Lake Bled, some consider it even more beautiful. Stop for a quick photo, or take a boat ride around the lake as you enjoy the quiet and colourful landscape.

Finally, before continuing on your road trip, head to Vintgar Gorge. During Autumn, you’ll get to enjoy this natural wonder without having to worry about crowds of strangers in your snapshots. On a sunny day, the juxtaposition of autumn colours with the turquoise water is nothing less than magical.

Vršič  Pass

A lake in a tree covered valleyImage credit: istockphoto.com/Remedios

Continue your road trip across the Julian Alps via the stunning Vršič Pass—the highest pass in Slovenia. Not for the faint-hearted, this iconic road boasts 50 hairpin turns and endless views of the Triglav National Park. It’s perfect for a fall picnic – as long as you don’t forget to wear warm clothes.

Before embarking on the pass, spend the night at the town of Kranjska Gora. This will ensure ample time for stops and snapshots on the journey. It is important to note that access to the Vršič Pass is weather-dependent. Check to ensure there are no closures due to snow.

From Vršič Pass, continue to the charming mountain town of Bovec. While the temperatures might not be ideal to enjoy the area’s famed water sports, there is still plenty of adventure to be had. Horseback riding, hiking, and zip-lining along the slopes of Mount Kanin are all great ways to start.

Gorška Brda

With rolling hills, olive bushes and red-roofed farmhouses, it’s hardly any wonder Brda has earned itself the nickname ‘the Tuscany of Slovenia’. And just like its western neighbour, here you can wash down mouth-watering cuisine with world-class wine.

A perfect match to the region’s glittering fall colours is its famed orange wine. Orange wines are unique in both their taste and colour, yet they are entirely natural. Don’t worry if you don’t take to this trendy wine; you’ll find plenty of delicious red and white varieties as well.

Vineyards on a hillside overlooking more vineyardsAutumn Landscape Smartno, Brda – Credit: Dragoncello

Autumn might just be the best time of year to enjoy this magnificent, hidden-gem of a country, and the best thing about it is it’s perfect for a road trip.