Riddled with caves, rolling with wine country and carpeted with spectacular Alpine scenery, Slovenia and its neighbors, southern Austria and Hungary, are enchanting places to discover on foot. Hike above glacial valleys and through medieval villages, find gorgeous waterfalls, and soak up serene mountain scenery that once figured in World War I battles. Watch the sunset over the Adriatic from the harbor in Piran and from Bled Castle, perched high above Lake Bled. Sample some of region’s best wines and cuisine, and experience the unusual and engaging cultural blend of some of Central Europe’s least discovered landscapes.
Stroll vineyard-striped hillsides and taste wines from Hungary’s Lake Balaton to Goriška Brda in Slovenia.
Hike Slovenia’s stunning Alpine scenery from snow-covered peaks and glacially carved valleys to pristine Lake Bohinj.
Discover medieval history at a floating grain mill and herders’ cone-roofed huts.
Delve into the otherworldly limestone cathedrals of Škocjan Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Activity Level: Moderate
We will hike 1 to 4 hours per day (1 to 8 miles) on moderate grades and at elevations ranging from 900 feet to a maximum of 5,330 feet.
Itinerary - 10 Days
Day 1 — Budapest, Hungary
Arrive in Budapest, a city that flanks the Danube River and harbors grand imperial architecture and a vibrant, progressive culture. Transfer to our hotel in the heart of the city before an orientation and welcome dinner. (2-3 miles, 3 hour city walk) Hotel Kempinski Corvinus (D)
Day 2 — Lake Balaton
Head southwest to the beech forests and aquamarine waters of Lake Balaton, Central Europe’s largest lake. Set out on a hike in Balaton Uplands National Park and learn about the region’s geology. The mild climate and volcanic soil are perfect for viniculture, and wineries abound. Enjoy lunch overlooking the lake while sampling some of the local vintages, then check into our historic lakeside hotel. (5-6 miles hiking, 3 hours) Anna Grand Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 3 — Prekmurje, Slovenia/Styria, Austria
Discover northern Slovenia’s distinct Prekmurje cultural region today. Hike the floodplain of the Mura River known for birdlife such as storks and kingfishers, and visit a floating grain mill, a tradition dating from the fourth century. Cross into Austria’s Styria region, often compared to Tuscany for its rolling hills and vineyards. Gather for a special winery tour, tasting and dinner. (3–4 miles hiking, 2 hours) Schlössl Hotel Kindl (B,L,D)
Day 4 — Robanov Kot Valley/ Logarska Valley, Slovenia
Head to the Robanov Kot Valley, where preserved sheepherders’ wooden huts tell of highland life long ago. The special conical shape of the buildings’ roofs is unique to this area and some of the buildings date back over a century. Hike on gentle terrain through green meadows while the limestone peaks of the Kamnisko-Savinjske Alps are within hands’ reach. After our hike, we'll drive to the Nature Park Logarska Valley, a secret pearl situated right on the Austrian border. (6 miles hiking, 3 hours) Hotel Plesnik (B,L,D)
Day 5 — Logarska Valley/ Kamniske Alps, Slovenia
Our destination today is the remote glacial cirque of Okreselj, tucked beneath a semicircle of steep mountain walls. A forested trail next to a stream leads us to the sparkling Rinka waterfall, the second highest in Slovenia. (6-8 miles hiking, 3-4 hours) Hotel Plesnik (B,L,D)
Day 6 — Velika Planina/Lake Bohinj
Explore the herding lifestyle of the Velika Planina or Great Highlands. Hike through pasturelands alive with the sound of cowbells, past old herdsmen’s wooden huts with Alpine peaks all around. Pause to taste a bit of locally made cheese. This afternoon, travel west into the Julian Alps to crystal-clear Lake Bohinj and check in to our lakeside hotel. (5 miles hiking, 4 hours)
Hotel Jezero (B,L,D)
Day 7 — Lake Bohinj and Lake Bled
The mountains that embrace Lake Bohinj are part of one of Europe’s oldest national parks, Triglav. We’ll hike along Mostnica River here, passing gorges filled with blue-green pools and waterfalls. Picnic in lush meadows beside the lake and discover its secluded beaches. Later, visit 1,000-year-old Bled castle perched high on a pinnacle above Lake Bled, and witness the panoramic view at sunset. Sit down to dinner in the lively town of Bled tonight. (5 miles hiking, 4 hours) Hotel Jezero (B,L,D)
Day 8 — Vršič Pass/Soca Alpe-Adria trail/Kobarid
As we traverse the Julian Alps, stop to admire the breathtaking vista from Vršič Pass, built by Russian prisoners of war during World War I. Drive down to the valley of Soca where we start our hike on Alpe-Adria trail. This trail is connecting three countries; Austria, Slovenia and Italy. The hiking path follows the river where we can enjoy emerald colors of Soca river, white limestone rocks and beautiful mountains in the heart of Triglav National park. Walk to the hidden waterfall of Kozjak just before reaching our hotel. End the day in the valley of the jade-colored Soča River, settled in at the countryside villa of one of Slovenia’s best chefs, near the town of Kobarid. (5-6 miles hiking, 3-4 hours) Hiša Franko (B,L,D)
Day 9 — Kobarid/Piran
The Soča River Valley was the setting for the fierce battles of WWI’s Isonzo Front described in Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms. Trace this turbulent history at the Kobarid Museum. Follow the scenic wine route of the Goriška Brda, stopping to taste local wines including the native Rebula whites. Continue to the picturesque town of Piran on the Adriatic coast. (1 mile hiking, 1 hour) Hotel Piran (B,L,D)
Day 10 — Škocjan Caves/Ljubljana
The geological phenomenon known as karst is named for Slovenia’s Kras region. Head there today to discover a landscape of eroded limestone formations, and venture into the otherworldly underground passages of the Škocjan Caves, a World Heritage site. Our adventure ends this afternoon in the delightful capital city of Ljubljana, where a bright and lively mix of cultures thrives along the Ljubljanica River. Transfer to the airport for your flight home, or extend your stay to discover Ljubljana. (1 mile walking, 2 hours) (B,L)
Pricing starts at $5,500 per person, double occupancy. For a single room, add $1,400. International airfare to Budapest and return from Ljubljana is not included in the adventure cost. Group Size: 8–16
Accommodations (hotels, tents and cruise cabins) are based on double occupancy. If you prefer single accommodations, and if such are available, you can pay a single supplement fee. If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we can assign a roommate of the same gender. If there is no one with whom you can share, a single supplement fee will apply.
See special terms and conditions for this adventure.