21 Things to do in Slovenia for Free!
Last Updated on March 13, 2023
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As soon as I arrived in Slovenia, I fell in love with this country. Not only is there an abundance of things to do in Slovenia, but it’s one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever been to!
From rolling mountains to lush green landscapes and beautiful waterfalls, I am claiming that Slovenia is THE next country to go to if you’re looking for natural beauty.
And coming from New Zealand that’s a pretty big claim!
But not only is Slovenia a breathtakingly beautiful country, but it is also incredibly affordable – especially for a European destination.
That’s why I wanted to do this list to show you the top things to do in Slovenia that are not only naturally beautiful but won’t cost you a penny!
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Table of Contents
Best Things to do in Slovenia for Free!
1. Soca River
The Soca River is one of the best things to do in Slovenia for sure. The river’s emerald green colour will make you want to take more photos than you could ever imagine.
You can do a 25km walk that takes you from the Triglav National Park towards to the source of the river in Bovec. It will take you approximately 5 hours to complete.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to do this walk as it was miserable and we ran out of time but it’s one of the top things to do in Slovenia!
2. Walk around Lake Bled
One of Slovenia’s gems and also the busiest attractions in the country is Lake Bled and for a good reason. It’s absolutely beautiful!
You can opt to hire a row boat and row around the lake or you can walk around, which we did and I can highly recommend.
Lake Bled is also famous for its cream cake also known as Blejska kremna rezin. Apparently, the best place to get it is at the Hotel Park restaurant and café!
Although it’s quite touristy at Lake Bled, it’s 100% worth coming here because the views will take your breath away.
If you have limited time in the country and want to know where to visit in Slovenia, make sure this iconic site is on your itinerary.
3. Kranjska Gora
This is a stop not be missed! You will drive past this place on the way to the Triglav National Park if you’re driving the Vršič Pass.
The view is really phenomenal as you can see from the pictures. Again, it was quite cloudy and then it started to pour down but we still managed to grab our photos and run back to the car just in time!
4. Lake Bohinj
If Bled is too busy for you then take a trip to Lake Bohijni instead. The different colours of the lake are really pretty and there are even sun loungers for you to relax in.
Lake Bohijni is only a 35-minute drive from Bled so if you can squeeze a trip to this gorgeous place then do because it’s totally worth it.
5. Visit the village of Trenta
We stayed in a very rustic (old and a little run down) homestay in the tiny village named Trenta. It was such a cute little place which is surrounded by the Julian Alps.
There are only a couple of restaurants here but there is a really REALLY good restaurant called Gostilna Metoja, which is only a few minutes’ drive away from Trenta.
It was really hearty home-cooked food and wine was under €2 a glass so I was happy!
I would highly suggest hiring a car if you’re staying in the National Park because it would be impossible to get around without one.
In the summer there are buses but to be honest, it would be a real pain to time you’re exploring with them and they stop before the end of summer too.
6. The Virje waterfall
One of the most beautiful waterfalls in Slovenia is the Virje waterfall. It’s not located in the National Park but rather near a town called Bovec which I talk about at number #8.
But just beware, the water is freezing!
I could not feel my foot afterwards and feared I may have had frostbite after a quick dunk. It’s a photographer’s heaven.
The waterfall is 12 metres high and 20 metres wide, which is met by a pool of the most vibrant green you may have ever seen!
7. Drive the Vrsic Pass
If you are wondering where to go in Slovenia for a little adventure – this is a drive not to be missed!
It is probably one of the funniest/scariest/entertaining drives in the world. Race car drivers would definitely love this one!
There are actually plenty of viewpoints and stopovers I suggest you have a look at, one being the Ruska Cesta (Russian Church) which was built by slaves who made the majority of the pass.
The Statue of Julius Kugy is also a really good photo opportunity! Julius was a Slovenian writer who wrote about his adventures up in the Alps.
He essentially discovered 50 new routes and was famous for his mountaineering. He became a sort of Slovenian legend!
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8. Biking around Bovec
Bovec is highly popular with fitness enthusiasts and adventure lovers. There is a marathon and something called the Red Bull 400, which is a vertical run (literally).
It’s not my cup of tea but for those who love a challenge, you should check it out. People come from all over the world to participate.
Bovec is very set up for tourists so you will find a lot more shops and restaurants than in the National Park.
It’s a bit more happening and could be a good option for accommodation as there are lots of hotels and hostels.
Plus, it’s a good point to start lots of walking routes that go along the Soca River and biking is very popular too.
We hired a bike for a few hours and tried to stick to a route (we got lost many times) but it was a new way of seeing the landscape and despite all the blood, sweat and tears I really enjoyed it.
Bovec is a hub for adventure activities so you can do many things from here including kayaking, white-water rafting, zip lining, hiking, mountain biking, paragliding, caving and more!
9. The great Soca Gorge
I have never seen something like the Soca Gorge. The colour of the water and the powerfulness of the current really makes the gorge impressive.
It’s located in the National Park, only about a 10-15 minute drive from Trenta. The gorge is 15 metres deep and looks sometimes terrifying.
I would definitely not want to jump in there when it’s been raining for a couple of days but this is a really pretty natural attraction to see.
10. Sunik Water Groove
This is another attraction that is on the same road as the Soca Gorge.
I really loved this place even in the rain because the colour of the forest was this bright green, like you would see in photos. It doesn’t need an Instagram filter!
Even though it was pouring with rain and the waterfalls weren’t as graceful as they probably were in the summer, this was a really beautiful and peaceful place to stopover in.
11. Slap Boka (Boka waterfall)
The Boka waterfall is the highest waterfall in the country and one of the most impressive in Europe.
It’s a whopping 144 meters high. It was quite popular with tourists, but it’s still worth seeing it and definitely one of the top things to see in Slovenia!
There is a viewing platform where you walk for about 20 minutes (mostly uphill) but you get a great view of the waterfall in the distance.
From below you can see all the kayakers trying to tackle the river.
12. Napoleon bridge
Within the National Park is a road that leads to the Italian Border.
If you have a free afternoon I highly recommend you drive right up to the border because on the way is a pretty spectacular bridge called Napoleon bridge and also a Fortress which I talk about below.
If you are a photographer you may find this location of particular interest. I think drone flyers would have a fantastic time here.
13. Fortress on predil pass
The Fortress is on the same road at Napoleons Bridge. It’s about a 10-minute drive from the border of Italy. It’s totally abandoned which is a real shame.
I didn’t see this place on any guidebooks or Google maps. We just simply drove past it and decided to go in and have a look for ourselves.
It’s actually much bigger than it looks as most of it is underground which you cannot get into as those are the graves of those who lost their lives in the battle.
On the opposite side of the road it continues on too and on the edge of the road is a monument to remember those who died.
14. Kozjak waterfall
The Kozjak waterfall is quite popular but I was slightly disappointed. Maybe it was a mix of the horrible weather but in pictures, it looked a lot different.
I would love to go back on a summer’s day and see the difference because it has been named one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Slovenia.
I did want to recommend this though as people seems to highly advise coming here. If it was the right conditions then I can see it’s a lovely place.
The walk is really nice and before you veer to the right to continue towards the waterfall you can turn left and do a looping walk.
You can also see the remains of World War 1 bunkers. If you’re in the area these are worth stopping over for!
15. Walk Around Ljubljana
Taking a leisurely walk around Ljubljana is one of the best things to do in Slovenia. There’s a great variety of things to see, from architecture and art to nature and much more.
The Old Town is a must see in Slovenia, with its cobbled streets, tall residential buildings and fountains.
Just to the north you can find the Dragon Bridge crossing the river Ljubljanica, with its famous statues. Further along, you can stroll into Prešeren Square, which is actually quite round!
Some of the most beautiful places in Slovenia are the parks, and in Ljubljana you can walk around Tivoli Park for free, in the west of the city centre.
One thing Ljubljana has a lot of is street art!
In addition to what you might find on the walls of buildings throughout the city, there are two areas specifically dedicated to street art: Metelkova and ROG.
Both have a vibrant collection of creative murals, paintings and sculptures, and are great places to see in Slovenia for urban artwork.
I recommend taking a walking tour of Ljubljana in order to get a unique local insight into the city, and see some of the things you might otherwise have missed!
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16. Wild Lake
In western Slovenia, just to the south of the city of Idrija, you can find Slovenia’s first ever outdoor natural museum: Wild Lake.
This gorgeous lake is not only one of the best things to see in Slovenia. The setting is so secluded and peaceful, with tall hillsides and trees all around.
Though the lake might look small, it’s actually deceptively large. Divers have been down to 170 metres in depth and still not found the bottom!
Along with the Slovenia waterfalls which I talked about earlier, this lake is perfect for those who wonder what is there to do in Slovenia for nature lovers.
As I mentioned, Wild Lake is very close to Idrija, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It’s a mining town, but instead of things like coal or salt they have naturally occurring mercury!
You can take a tour down the mineshaft and see how the local miners worked throughout the 500 years of the mine’s history.
It’s one of the best things to do in Slovenia with kids – so long as you’re not claustrophobic!
17. Zelenci Nature Reserve
Zelenci means “green” in Slovenian, and you can see why they named this place that when you see the lake that sits in this natural paradise, one of the best places to visit in Slovenia.
The reserve is made up of 15 hectares of land, situated right in the northwest corner of Slovenia.
Zelenci’s emerald lake is the centrepiece of the reserve.
The waters are so clear you can see fish swimming in the shallow depths, and there’s a boardwalk around the edge to bring you nice and close.
After the winter, the nearby trees will begin to come back to life but there will still be snow on the surrounding mountains – a beautiful combination.
So if you’re looking for things to do in Slovenia in April, make this one a priority.
18. Logar Valley
If you’re wondering what to see in Slovenia or what the best places in Slovenia are for outdoor activities, Logar Valley will definitely be up your street.
Not only does it have all kinds of hiking, biking, skiing and climbing options, but the scenery is second to none.
This alpine glacial valley is so picturesque you have to see it to believe it. It also has its own waterfall.
The air here is clear and refreshing, because the Solčava Region in which the valley is located is one of the highest areas in Slovenia.
Many local residents live on farms up in the mountains, and have their own local cuisine with specialities like stomach sausage, ripened cottage cheese and masovnik (flour cooked in cream).
19. Walk Around Maribor
With its terracotta townhouses, turrets with conical tops and domed towers, walking around Maribor is like walking through history.
This northeastern Slovenian city is the second largest in the country, and has been settled for over 800 years.
Walking through the streets on a sunny day is one of the best things to do in Slovenia.
See the round Judgement Tower, the pointed Water Tower, Betnava Castle and the incredibly ornate Franciscan Church of St Mary Mother of Mercy, all of them distinct and impressive.
20. Nature Reserve Strunjan
You will never be at a loss for what to do in Slovenia in the summers – not with the magical Strunjan Nature Park.
Located along the coast just outside of the city of Piran, the Nature Reserve Strunjan is one of the most unique places to visit in Slovenia.
Within the reserve visitors can hike along the coast and experience a diverse ecosystem, including the sea, the Stjuža lagoon and the distinct 80-meter cliffs that run along the coast.
The park also boasts both the northernmost and smallest saltpans in the Mediterranean, which are an integral part of Strunjan’s unique ecosystem.
Although entrance to the reserve is free, some of the sites have admission costs during peak season, including the beach.
This is because it is the only state-protected stretch of sea in Slovenia.
Strunjan is one of the best Slovenia hidden gems and shouldn’t be missed – especially if you are in Piran!
21. Martuljek Waterfalls and Gorge
One of my favourite Slovenia waterfalls is Martuljek Waterfall, which is located within Triglav National Park.
The Martuljek falls consist of two falls: Lower Martuljek Waterfall (30 meters high) and Upper Martuljek Waterfall (110 meters high).
These falls are one of the most beautiful Slovenia hidden gems, and are well worth the 8.4 kilometre hike to reach them.
Hiking up to these Slovenian waterfalls is one of the best outdoor activities in Slovenia for hikers and anyone who loves exploring nature.
However, if you don’t have time, you can do an easier hike of 5km to just see the lower falls, which is still one of the most beautiful places in Slovenia.
You’ll find this one near to the more popular (and also worth visiting) Peričnik Waterfall, which is a must if you are visiting Slovenia in December or January.
Note: entrance to Peričnik is free, but unfortunately, parking is not, which is why it didn’t quite make this list!
How cheap is Slovenia?
Now, you may be asking: If it has so much to offer, is Slovenia cheap? But fortunately, Slovenia is a very affordable country!
A meal can cost €3-€10. And we had some fantastic meals here. Most of the time we had two-course meals with drinks because it was so cheap!
Flying to and from Slovenia is also very inexpensive if flying withing Europe. A flight from London cost us £30/40 and I know you can get cheaper if you book in advance.
Easy jet is who we flew with and although the service is pretty rubbish if you’re on a budget it’s the way to go!
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Where to stay in Slovenia
Depending on which region you stay in here are some budget-friendly options of the best places to stay in Slovenia.
Ljubljana (From £9.50 a night)
- Zeppelin Hostel – Modern, trendy and close to town!
- Vila Veselova – It has a homely feel with free breakfast included too.
Lake Bled (From £11.99 a night)
- Jazz Hostel and Apartments – Has won many awards such a best hostel in Slovenia!
- Hosteller – Located in an impressive family style house and only 900 metres from the lake.
Bovec (From £11.00 a night)
- Hostel Mangart Bovec – Includes buffet breakfast and towels.
- Hostel Soca Rocks – Centre of town and you can book adventure activities directly through them.
Trenta (From £30.00 a night)
- House Pod Lipo – The cutest house which can fit five people which means you can split the costs. (book early!)
- Accommodation Zorc – Very basic and old-fashioned but it’s cheap and in centre of the village (this is where we stayed in Trenta).
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, especially for a European country, Slovenia is an incredibly affordable option. Accommodation, food, and transport costs are all considerably lower than many other European destinations.
I recommend at least 5 days in Slovenia if you can. This way you will have enough time to explore a few different regions without skimping on the best activities within each area.
Like most of Europe, the most popular times to visit are June-August. And if you are only able to visit in the summer, this is still a great time to do so as Slovenia is much less busy than other European destinations. However, in my opinion, the best time to visit Slovenia is from mid-March through May. September and October are also nice for the fall colours, but keep in mind that this is also the rainy season.
It’s time to book your trip to Slovenia now! Don’t forget to read about my experience at the Big Berry resort in the South-East of Slovenia. You can actually swim to Croatia from there, I’m not kidding! Let me know in the comments if you are planning to go to Slovenia and what things to do in Slovenia you’re hoping to check out!
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- Big Berry: A luxury resort nestled in the countryside of Slovenia
- The Best European Contiki Tours to Go On
- Balkan Travel: Best Things to do in Montenegro
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