Croatia and Slovenia Itinerary: 9 Days of Epic Hikes and Amazing Food and Wine
During our travels, I have found myself gravitating toward certain destinations such as New Zealand, Japan, South Africa, and Chile. What is the commonality between these destinations? Amazing nature experiences + an amazing foodie scene. Croatia and Slovenia can now be added to that list. In this ultimate Croatia & Slovenia itinerary, I will share how we independently explored these two beautiful countries. This 9-day trip throughout Croatia and Slovenia is filled with epic day hikes, sprinkled with a few historic sights and museums, and of course, our local foodie experiences. I hope this itinerary is useful as you plan out your next adventure to these gorgeous countries.
DAY 1: TRAVEL DAY TO ZAGREB
With a layover in London, we flew from the United States into Zagreb at 11:15 pm. By the time we got to the hotel, unpacked, and got settled in, it was 1 am.
Uber is available in Zagreb! We took an Uber to our hotel, which was fast, easy, and cheap.
Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner: Today was a travel day, so all meals were eaten at the airport or on the plane.
DAY 2: DAY TRIP TO PLITVICE LAKES NATIONAL PARK
6:45 am: Bus ride from Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes National Park. Yes, it’s early, but you can sleep on the bus! It will be worth it.
9 am – 2 pm: Immerse yourself in one of the most gorgeous parks in the world. With 16 terraced lakes, lush forests, and cascading waterfalls, brace yourself for nonstop beauty. Check out my article on Plitvice Lakes National Park for everything you need to know to plan your visit.
8 pm: Pre-dinner cocktails at Aperitivo Bar
Breakfast: Grab a quick bite at the train station
Lunch: Pack some protein bars to eat at the park
Dinner: 8:30 pm reservation at Noel, Zagreb’s only Michelin-starred restaurant that focuses on Croatian dishes with a modern twist. Delicious. Book reservations in advance.
Overnight: Hotel Capital
DAY 3: EXPLORE ZAGREB
12:15 pm: After sleeping in, check out Dolac Market for all the fresh local ingredients. Then stop by Burek next door and taste the famous street food, burek.
1 pm: Grab a coffee at one of the world’s best coffee shops, Eliscaffe
1:45 pm: Walk through the mysterious Gric tunnel and then visit St. Mark’s Church
2:15 pm: Prepare to get heartbroken at the Museum of Broken Relationships
3:15 pm: Walk along Strossmayer Promenade, check out the Croatian Inventor Murals, and find the panoramic viewpoint of the Zagreb Cathedral.
6:30 pm: Pre-dinner drinks at La Bodega wine bar
Breakfast/Lunch: Burek and La Struk. Dinner: 9 pm reservation at Stari Fijaker
Overnight: Hotel Capital
DAY 4: TRAIN TO LJUBLJANA TO VISIT SLOVENIA WINE COUNTRY
7 am: Very comfortable train ride from Zagreb to Ljubljana. Arrive at 9:16 am. Pick up the car rental from Atet, great local company!
11:30 am: Arrive at stop #1 Predjama Castle, the world’s largest cave castle, for a few quick photos. Then continue your drive another 30 minutes to Gostilna Theodosius for a delicious local lunch at 12:30 pm.
Breakfast: Protein bars to carry you over for the train ride
Lunch: Gostilna Theodosius
Dinner: Just snacks for dinner due to the late heavy lunch
DAY 5: SLOVENIA WINE COUNTRY (VIPAVA + GORISKA BRDA)
All-day wine tour with Jani from Winestronaut to visit Vipava Valley and Goriska Brda, two of Slovenia’s top wine regions!
10 am: Pick up time
11 am: Burja Estate (our favorite experience!)
1:30 pm: Tilia Estate, House of Pinots
4:30 pm: Edi Simcic
Breakfast: Wonderful breakfast at your B&B (included in the rate)
Dinner: 8 pm reservation at Belica (your B&B can make the reservation for you). They serve some delicious local Slovenian dishes. If you are a foodie, please check out my article on top Slovenian foods.
Overnight: Garni Hotel Dvor
DAY 6: VINEYARD HIKE + KOBARID (HISA FRANKO + SLAP KOZJAK)
10:45 am: Hike #1! After a lovely leisurely breakfast at the B&B, drive to the trailhead of the hike known as Drugmbernca. It starts and ends at Dobrovo Castle and takes you through vineyards and the rolling countryside. One of the many highlights is climbing up in the Gonjace tower for a beautiful view of the Brda landscape. The hike is 9.5 km (5.9 miles) and takes about 3 hours.
2 pm: Drive the very scenic windy drive to Kobarid and check in to the Airbnb.
4 pm: Hike #2! This gorgeous hike to one of the most unique waterfalls, Slap Kozjak, requires little effort. In less than 30 minutes, you will be face to face with a gorgeous waterfall in a limestone cave-like setting. Check out my Kozjak hiking guide.
DAY 7: LAKE BOHINJ + LAKE BLED
10 am: Check out of the Airbnb and make the 2-hour drive to Lake Bohinj
12:30 pm: Walk around the crystal clear water of Lake Bohinj and grab lunch at one of the local restaurants.
Breakfast/lunch: Strud’l near Lake Bohinj
Dinner: 8:30 pm reservation at Finefood Penzion Berc (restaurant at your hotel, which happens to be one of the best restaurants in Lake Bled)
DAY 8: VINTGAR GORGE + EXPLORE LJUBLJANA
8 am: After a wonderful breakfast at the hotel, drive to Vintgar Gorge and arrive around 9 am. Crisscross the wooden walkways across the gorge and take in the stunning emerald green waters. Pure alpine beauty. Do not miss this attraction.
10:30 am: Drop off the rental car at Atet. Take a taxi to the hotel in Ljubljana.
12:30 pm-8 pm: Check in to the hotel. Ljubljana is a small city that is easy to explore. Start with lunch at the Open Kitchen, which is a gourmet market with over 60 vendors showcasing everything from Slovenian street food to fine dining. Lots of other sights to discover including all the famous bridges, the Mlekomat, House of Illusions, and the unique water fountains. See my article on Ljubljana for all the top sights.
9:30 pm: After-dinner drinks at Wine Bar Suklje
Breakfast: At Penzion Berc
Lunch & Dinner: Open Kitchen. Only held on Fridays. Plan the itinerary accordingly.
DAY 9: 1/2 DAY IN LJUBLJANA & THEN FLY BACK HOME
12:00 pm: Sleep in and then stroll around the Central Market. Pick up some prized pumpkin seed oil as a souvenir. Delicious with sourdough bread.
12:30 pm: Grab a coffee at the adorable, pocket-sized coffee shop called Crno Zrno.
1 pm: Stroll around the beautiful streets of Cankarjevo Nabrezje and Gornji trg
1:30 pm: Take a taxi to the airport for the 5 pm flight back home
Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner: At airport lounges and plane ride
9 Day Croatia & Slovenia Itinerary as Seen on a Map
Map of 9 day Croatia & Slovenia itinerary
Who Will Like This Croatia & Slovenia Itinerary
- Casual wine drinkers and serious wine connoisseurs
- Outdoor enthusiasts
Best Time to Go to Croatia & Slovenia
The best time to do this 9 day Croatia & Slovenia itinerary will depend on what activities you want to do.
Overall though, to enjoy fewer crowds plus still have decent weather, the shoulder seasons are best. I would advise May/early June and mid-September/October.
If you do not mind the crowds and want to enjoy the warmer weather and numerous festivals throughout Croatia and Slovenia, then the summer months of June, July, and August are ideal. Just realize though places like Plitvice Lakes National Park and Lake Bled will be extremely crowded.
9 Day Croatia & Slovenia Itinerary: Number of Nights in Each Place
- 3 nights in Zagreb, Croatia
- 2 nights in Goriska Brda, Slovenia
- 1 night in Kobarid, Slovenia
- 1 night in Lake Bled, Slovenia
- 1 night in Ljubljana, Slovenia
- To make this Croatia & Slovenia itinerary work, we booked 2 long haul segments with American Airlines: United States to London Heathrow Airport and vice versa. Then we took regional airlines to Zagreb and from Ljubljana.
- 8 pm flight from London Heathrow Airport. Arrived in Zagreb at 11:15 pm
- 5:05 pm flight from Ljubljana to London Heathrow Airport with a short layover in Warsaw, Poland. Arrived in London at 9:45 pm. Spent the night in London and flew out early evening the next day.
Car Rental & How to Get Around Croatia & Slovenia
- Zagreb, Croatia: We used Uber to get to and from the airport. We used the bus to get to Plitvice Lakes National Park
- Slovenia: We rented a car through the local company, Atet. They were very professional and efficient.
Wineries Booked in Advance
- Guerila Wines
- Burja Estate
- Tilia Estate
- Edi Simcic
What I Would Have Considered Changing in My Croatia & Slovenia Itinerary
- We went in early May when the temperatures were still a little cool. If I were to go again, I would go towards the end of May when it is a little warmer.
- This Croatia & Slovenia itinerary was packed. If we had more time, I would spend 1 extra night in Goriska Brda and use it to relax by your hotel’s pool for a day.
- If we had more time, I would also add 1 more night to Lake Bled, so we could have done another day hike in Triglav National Park.
- My husband’s grandparents came over from Croatia, and his grandma used to make wonderful sarma (stuffed cabbage). I was hoping to find a restaurant in Zagreb that served some local Croatian dishes. Although the reviews are great, our dining experience at Stari Fijaker fell well below the mark in both the food and service. Maybe we were there on an off-night, but I would advise booking another restaurant.
- We tried Apertivo Bar for pre-dinner drinks in Zagreb. It was incredibly smoky for a cocktail bar. We happened to get a brand new bartender, who was still learning the drink recipes. Not his fault, but the drinks and ambiance were subpar. I would try Vinoteka Bornstein next time.
- Consider booking another accommodation for Kobarid, especially if you add an extra night. Apartment Honey Bee was adequate and clean, but I would recommend trying to stay on the property of Hisa Franko (book well in advance) or Nebesa Chalets.
Ljubljana showing off at night. How beautiful is this city?
Questions about our Croatia + Slovenia itinerary?
Let me know in the comments below!