hidden gems in slovenia

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Best Hidden Gems in Slovenia you need to visit before they get crowded!

Slovenia is one of the most beautiful countries in Europe, and this is no secret… Welcoming millions of visitors yearly, Slovenia is a huge tourist destination! But avoiding the crowds and still seeing some of the most wonderful sights is more than possible! Learn how in this post about hidden gems in Slovenia!

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slovenia odd the beaten path

About Slovenia

The Republic of Slovenia is a small south-central European country, often described as Europe’s green heart. Slovenia has borders to Italy, Austria, Hungary, and Croatia. With a total of 20,271 km2, it’s only a small country, which makes a road trip through Slovenia much easier!

Slovenia is mostly mountainous and forested. Its capital city is Ljubljana and 2 other important cities are Koper and Maribor.

Slovenia is a small country with endless things to offer!

Slovenia hidden gems

Luckily there are still untouched places in Slovenia that will certainly amaze you!

Some of these places are getting more popular by the day, so you can expect some people, but nothing like the big crowds you are bound to find in Lake Bled, and such.

Rakov Škocjan Valley

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Let me introduce you to the oldest landscape park in Slovenia; the Rakov Škocjan Valley. However this valley is only 2,5 kilometers long, it will certainly blow your mind! This picturesque karst valley was formed by the collapse of a cave ceiling, which is pretty awesome if you ask me.

With several stunning places to see, like the little and the big natural bridges, and wonderful gorges, the Rakov Škocjan Valley will leave you breathless!

Kamnik-Savinja Alps

slovenia hidden gems

Surely you’ve heard about the Julian Alps, but did you know there’s another Alpine region that might be even more beautiful?

Imagine enchanting green valleys, stunning historical villages, and a backdrop of 30 mountain peaks over 2000 meters…

The Kamnik-Savinja Alps are truly a hidden gem in Slovenia. While everyone’s headed to the Julian Alps and Triglav National Park (which you must also visit, it’s amazing, not gonna lie), you should go to the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, instead!

With both easy and very challenging hikes, the Kamnik-Savinja Alps are a hidden hiker’s paradise!

Logar Valley

slovenia hidden gems

Also referred to as the gateway to the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, Logar Valley is not quite the same…

As one of the most beautiful Alpine glacial valleys in Europe, Logar Valley is a place that allows you to unwind and relax. This valley will embrace you in its greenery and out-of-this-world beauty!

With the opportunity to discover extraordinary, rare, and even endangered flower species, this valley will grant you a unique experience.

Other popular activities in the Logar Valley are hiking, cycling, horseback riding, and skiing in winter. One thing is sure, the Logar Valley will blow your mind!

Read all about visiting the Logar Valley here.

Rinka Waterfall

slovenia hidden gems

Slovenia is a country famous for its mighty waterfalls. With the biggest one being the Boka Waterfall (total height of 144 meters and width of 18 meters), the smaller waterfalls get overlooked easily.

However, the Rinka Waterfall isn’t that small with its 90-meter drop, but still, most people never heard of it.

Located at the far end of the beautiful Logar Valley (yes, the one above), this waterfall is very accessible. It’s an easy 10-minute walk up a forested slope from the parking lot, to get to the bottom of the waterfall.

Insider tip: Embedded into the cliff right of the waterfall is an amazing little bar called Eagle’s Nest. I highly recommend sitting down there for a drink while enjoying the beautiful views of the 2nd highest waterfall in Slovenia!

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Skofja Loka

visit skofja loka

Once it was one of the best-hidden places in Slovenia, but lately, Skofja Loka has become more popular. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still pretty quiet in this town, but in summer you may stumble upon crowds…

And no wonder why! This town is a paradise for architecture lovers, photographers and people who love being taken back in time!

You should start your day in Skofja Loka with a picturesque walk in the old town. Then visit the castle and soak in the atmosphere. You will feel like you’ve stepped into a fairytale, you should enjoy it while it lasts.

All in all, Skofja Loka should be on your bucket list!

Here you’ll find the best things to do in Skofja Loka!

Pokljuka Plateau

slovenia hidden gems

One of the most special places in Slovenia is the Pokljuka Plateau.

And what makes it so special is that time stands still… With only a handful of settlements, you won’t find many residents here. People don’t live here permanently, it’s mostly farmers who bring their cows and sheep up here for the summer and leave again in winter.

It’s been like this for hundreds of years, and to this day, the farmers do this year after year. You can even buy their products, like milk, cottage cheese, butter, and cheese.

Whenever I feel like this world is ruined by people, I’d like to think about this special place. Where traditions still stand and nothing ever changes. Where nature is still untouched and the animals graze freely.

Pokljuka is a place you must experience for yourself!

Coast of Slovenia

coast of slovenia

If you’re visiting Slovenia, you may not realize that this tiny country has a coastline. However, not as long as the coast of neighboring countries, Slovenia’s coast is well worth a visit.

With only a 47-kilometer coastline, it’s easy to explore its hidden gems in just one day. The main towns of the coast are Koper, Izola, and Piran, and they are no hidden gems. Although I was surprised by the tranquility in Izola, but it was a May morning, so I’m guessing that summer won’t be as quiet anymore.

I highly recommend visiting at least one of these 3 towns (Piran was my favorite), and checking out these hidden gems:

  • Pokopališče školjk (beach made up of shells)
  • Moon Bay
  • Strunjan nature park
coast of slovenia
Moon Bay

When traveling through Slovenia, I think it’s always nice to go by the coast for a refreshing swim in the Adriatic.

Make sure to read this post about visiting the coast of Slovenia!

Krka Valley

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A Slovenian destination that’s completely off the beaten path is Krka Valley. With many historic sites, delicious food and wine, and amazing spas, the Krka Valley is a must-visit!

The source of the Krka River to the southeast is only 30 km from Ljubljana. From here it continues east towards the Croatian border and flows into the Sava River at Novo Mesto. Along the way, you will pass many wonderful attractions, like:

  • Otočec castle
  • Novo Mesto
  • Zuzemberk Castle
  • Kostanjevica na Krki
  • Terme Dolenjske Spa

The Krka Valley is truly a magical place where you won’t find tourist crowds at all. You have to check it out!

Idrija

slovenia hidden gems

One of the most cultural sites in Slovenia is for sure Idrija. Being home to the second-largest mercury mine in the world, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is full of surprises!

And mining isn’t the only thing Idrija is famous for. This town has always been recognized as an important center of the lacemaking tradition.

From museums to mines, Idrija is worth checking out!

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Radovljica

slovenia hidden gems

Imagine a town perched up on a hill with 600-year-old houses and a magnificent backdrop of the Julian Alps. Welcome to this next hidden gem: Radovljica.

Famous for its Beekeeping Museum, Museum of Pharmacy and Alchemy, Sivec House Gallery, St. Peter’s Cathedral, and much more, Radovljica is a town you must see!

Radovljica is often called the sweetest town in Slovenia because of its beekeeping and honey traditions, but also because of the annual chocolate festival.

So there’s a beautifully historic town, good food, museums, and natural surroundings! I see no reason to skip this amazing hidden gem!

Zice Monastery

The most perfect representation of ancient Slovenian architecture has to be found at the Zice Carthusian Monastery.

Located in an isolated valley, in a very peaceful area, the monastery is full of charm and history. It was founded in the 12th century and has a very interesting history of monks who chose to live in total silence and dedicated their lives to intellectual work.

Make sure to also check out:

  • The ruins of the church
  • The old vine and herb garden
  • And walk the rest of the estate

Zice Monastery is a super interesting place you simply don’t want to miss!

Here’s how to visit the Zice Monastery!

Hrastovlje Church

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The Hrastovlje Church or Holy Trinity Church, is a Romanesque church from the 12th century. But this church is one like no other… It has its very own defense walls, built in the late 16th century.

For an entrance fee of no more than €5,- euros, you get to enter this beautiful Roman church, where you can admire the amazing gothic paintings.

With dreamy wine fields by the church and a backdrop of beautiful mountains, just the views will take your breath away! And just wait til you go inside… You will be amazed by this church in a 100 different ways.

You have to visit this hidden gem and see for yourself!

Mežica mine underground kayaking

hidden gems in europe

The most unique activity in Slovenia must be kayaking through the flooded tunnels of a lead and zinc mine!

I mean…

How cool is that?!

In this activity, a guide will first take you 91 steps underground. With a light and all the right equipment, he will lead you through the mysterious waters of the flooded mine.

Just writing this makes me want to go back to Slovenia to go kayaking underground (because sadly I didn’t know about it last time).

The price for this super cool activity is €55,- per person and it takes 4-5 hours. The price may be high but you will get an epic experience in return!

Solcava Panoramic Road

slovenia hidden gems

If you’ve done some research on visiting Slovenia, you must’ve heard about the Vršič Pass; one of the most scenic roads in Slovenia.

And you definitely should drive this road, and if you haven’t gotten enough of the stunning views, Solcava Panoramic Road is for you.

With views you will not believe are real, Solcava Road is a must-see! And the best thing about it… No tourist crowds. No full parking lots next to the road. Just you, the road and peaceful views. Who wouldn’t want that?

Make sure to save Solcava Panoramic Road to your Slovenia bucket list!

Celje

slovenia unique experiences

As the 4th biggest city in Slovenia, Celje is very much overlooked. And that’s what makes Celje very underrated and an incredible off-the-beaten-path destination!

Just imagine a beautiful old castle, a town forest with tree houses, and a lively old town. And best of all; no tourists!

Celje is a town that’s doing an incredibly good job of keeping its history and culture alive! And you can see this in many places and landmarks in the city.

Make sure to stop by Celje when you’re visiting Slovenia!

Final thoughts on Slovenia’s hidden gems

While you may get tired of the tourists in Ljubljana and Lake Bled, Slovenia is still quite an undiscovered country filled with hidden gems and quiet valleys.

Have you ever been to Slovenia? Let me know in the comments below!

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