Arrive at the airport for your flight to Ljubljana. We transfer by coach to stay for five nights, with breakfast, at a centrally located hotel in Ljubljana, the four-star Hotel Lev.
This morning we enjoy a walking tour of Slovenia’s picturesque capital with a local guide sharing the stories behind the main sights. Prešeren Square is where national icon, France Prešeren, has been immortalised in bronze, while the salmon-hued Franciscan Church of the Annunciation is a fine expression of the Baroque style. Crossing the Triple Bridge, we enter the pedestrianised Old Town with its many Baroque buildings, piazzas graced by attractive fountains and cobbled alleys, all with a distinct Italian flavour. Within the lattice of red-roofed buildings are the Renaissance Town Hall, which towers over the Central Market, whose stalls sell a variety of tempting goods, from souvenirs to local produce such as cheese, seafood and chocolates in unusual flavours – who knew that fig and prosciutto work so well with cocoa? You have free time this afternoon. If you’re feeling energetic, you may wish to walk up the hill to Ljubljana Castle for panoramic views of the city. A boat cruise along the river is a tranquil way to see Ljubljana, or stroll along its leafy banks, alive in the summer with inviting cafés offering alfresco dining.
Today we drive through undulating forested hills scattered with quaint villages before arriving at Lake Bled. You may have seen it in pictures, but they can’t compare to seeing the lake in person. The first thing you’ll notice are the dazzling waters, stretching over a mile in length and width. A tear-shaped island sits almost at the lake’s centre, crowned by a fairy-tale church with a soaring spire and terracotta roof. Your eyes are then drawn to the forested hills, where a medieval castle stands atop a craggy cliff. To explore the area, we offer an easy walk and a moderate one with local guides. Easy walk Duration: 2 hours (3.9 miles) Altitude gain: 410 feet Terrain: mostly flat paths Our easy walk begins in the dramatic Vintgar Gorge, which weaves through rocky hills accompanied by the swirling Radovna River. A wooden walkway makes it easy to criss-cross the river over gushing waterfalls and limpid pools all the way to the 52-foot-high Šum waterfall. We continue through charming villages and wildflower-filled meadows to the scenic shores of Lake Bled. Moderate walk Duration: 2.5 hours (5.6 miles) Altitude gain: 672 feet Terrain: country roads, paths and boardwalks With the majestic Alps in the distance, we follow a circular route from Lake Bled through inviting villages, verdant forest and mountain pastures dotted with colourful flowers. We arrive in Vintgar Gorge, where there’s time to take in the stunning natural wonders all around you. After time to admire the crystal-clear waters, we make our way back to Lake Bled. The rest of the day is yours to explore Bled at leisure. You could take a relaxing ride to Lake Bled’s islet on a pletna, a traditional canopied boat. Or visit atmospheric Bled Castle, perched close to the edge of a jagged cliff with a 330-foot plunge into the lake below. Those who venture here are rewarded with the most captivating views of this truly memorable scene.
The stunning Adriatic Coast is our destination this morning with a visit to Piran, which seems to mirror Venice across the Gulf of Trieste. The influence of La Serenissima is evident in Piran’s medieval streets, often leading to unexpected squares. The old town is centred on Tartini Square, named after local composer Giuseppe Tartini, whose statue stands proudly as its focal point. You have free time to explore Piran and its Venetian-Gothic architecture, such as the Casa Veneziana with its richly decorated facade. Maybe take an easy climb up to Saint George’s Cathedral, notable for its bell tower echoing Venice’s Campanile. Or why not sample some of the delicious seafood at one of the restaurants lining the promenade? After lunch, we take a short drive to the Lipica Stud Farm, where the legendary Lipizzaner horses have been bred for more than 400 years. We enjoy a wonderful presentation by the Classical Riding School as the elegant white stallions perform their complex dressage routines. A guided tour gives us insights into the history of this elite breed.
Today is devoted to one of Slovenia’s loveliest gems. Nestled in the heart of the Julian Alps, Lake Bohinj is the quieter but equally beautiful sister of Lake Bled. Framing the blue-green waters are emerald forests peppered with a string of idyllic villages, while fish, mollusc and algae species flourish within the lake’s glacial depths. You have a choice of an easy walk or a moderate one with our specialist guides this morning. Easy walk Duration: 2 hours (3.8 miles) Altitude gain: 900 feet Terrain: Steps and steep gradients to the waterfall, then gentle paths towards the lake We ascend through the forest along a paved route of more than 500 steps under a canopy of trees, pausing at the midway point to catch a glimpse of the lake. Once at the top, we are rewarded with a gorgeous view of the lake to the mountains beyond, and of course, the magnificent Savica waterfall. Slovenia’s most famous waterfall has a unique A-shape, as it emerges in two sections from underground lakes fed by the Savica river. After some time to admire the vivid colour of the clear waters, we begin our gentle descent along the riverbank to Ukanc. This pretty hamlet sits on the western shore, enclosed on three sides by towering peaks up to 6,300 feet high. There’s time for a drink or lunch at your leisure before we return to our hotel. Moderate walk Duration: 3 hours (5.6 miles) Altitude gain: 1361 feet Terrain: Steps and steep gradients to the waterfall, then gentle paths towards the lake Those who wish to explore further may prefer our moderate walk, which continues beyond Ukanc along the beautiful lakeshore and past a smattering of traditional wooden buildings.
Transfer to the airport for your return flight.
The elegant four-star Hotel Lev enjoys a privileged position just a few minutes’ walk from Ljubljana’s old town and close to the major sightseeing attractions. The spacious and inviting lobby leads to the hotel bar and breakfast room. The executive rooms are modern and tastefully decorated in a neutral palette, offering wonderful views of Ljubljana Castle or the city centre. Every room is equipped with tea and coffee making facilities, a flat screen TV, WiFi, a minibar, a safe and air conditioning.