From Carinthia in Austria on a day trip to Slovenia

Dit bericht is ook beschikbaar in: Nederlands (Dutch)

When we plan our holidays to different regions in Austria we realize that at the end of the holiday we are very close to the border with Slovenia. The last week we stay at Landal in Bad Kleinkirchheim, not very far from Villach and that makes me look at the possibilities for a visit to Slovenia. Soon I find out that we just have to do that; according to route planners we will cross the border within an hour, after which we will immediately be in Triglav National Park. I contact people in Slovenia that we met in Utrecht last year and with some tips from them I map out a route for a day visit. I am very curious!

Make a day trip to Slovenia from Villach in Austria

During the week that we are in Carinthia, the weather only gets better and better, so it doesn’t really matter which day we choose for our visit to Slovenia. Because we can’t “cram” everything in 1 day, we even decide to cross the border 2x in 1 week. We really want to see the Vintgar gorge, but it is actually just too far from the route I have mapped out. So we postpone this visit and do it later in the week.

Via Wurzenpass in Karawanken from Austria to Slovenia

The road from Bad Kleinkirchheim to Villach and then towards the Slovenian border is very easy to drive and it takes us about 40 minutes. As we approach Villach, the Karawanken mountain range looms in front of us. A large gray mountain mass, as if you were looking at the background in a painting. Beautiful! From Villach it is another 20 minutes drive to the border, but before we reach it we have to cross the mountain range and we do that via the Wurzenpass. This mountain pass connects Furnitz in Austria with Podkoren in Slovenia and it is incredibly steep with a gradient of 18%! In no time we drive to the highest point of the pass: 1073 meters high. In first gear, neatly as signs along the side of the road indicate ;-)

It is amazing how big the difference is immediately between Austria and Slovenia. In Furnitz there is quite a bit of traffic, many houses and businesses can be seen and people live there. When we cross the border we really end up in another country. Green, very green, but that’s what it is in Austria too. So what’s different here? Mountain meadows, green slopes against mountains, forests… tranquility. It is peaceful and pristine. And we don’t see any electricity pylons. It is immediately beautiful, very different. We drive towards Kranjska Gora where we arrive earlier than we expected.

Lake Jasna in Kranjska Gora

One of the places that is really on my list is Lake Jasna. This lake is located in Kranjska Gora and after an hour’s drive from Bad Kleinkirchheim we arrive here. What a beautiful place this is! Blue / green water, light sand on the banks and the jagged mountains in the background… A picture. The lake consists of 2 parts that are connected by a narrow water passage. It feels serene here and it just doesn’t echo when you shout something with all those high mountains around you. Here and there in the lake is a wooden jetty. It’s quiet, but it’s still early. I can imagine that it is a lot busier later in the day.

Lake Jasna, from Carinthia in Austria on a day trip to Slovenia -
Lake Jasna in Slovenia. A day trip to Slovenia from Austria -

Next to Lake Jasna is a place where water streams meet. In the spring there is actually another lake, now in the summer it is a large plain with white pebbles. There are a number of small water streams that flow into a deeper part with beautiful clear blue water. The children are immediately busy throwing pebbles into the water and I walk around Lake Jasna.

On the shore of the lake is a small catering facility where you can get a drink and where snacks are sold. I also see pizza slices on the menu. It looks cozy, with beautiful awnings and nice seats. Not massive, just right!

I would like to stay here all day but we want to see more today. We decide to come back later in the week and spend more time here so that the children can build dams in the streams with pebbles at their leisure.

Cairns along the Vršiška Cesta

We continue the road to the Vršič Pass, with 1611 meters the highest pass in Slovenia. On the way we eat a sandwich somewhere along the side of the road, with a beautiful view. It is all very rough, so different weather than in Austria! When we are just back in the car, we quickly get out again when we see a lot of cairns along the Vršiška Cesta in one of the many hairpin bends. The children build on it and eventually sit down on a fairly steep slope, which results in the photo below. This photo shows what it is like in Triglav so well: green, lots of white rock and rugged, high mountains as a backdrop. Beautiful right?

Triglav National Park Vršič Pass in Slovenia. A day trip to Slovenia from Austria -

Erjavčeva koča

Another beautiful place is where the mountain hut Erjavčeva koča is located. What a view from here! The mountain hut is located at an altitude of 1525 meters. There is also a rich history here, although the current hut was newly built in the 1990s. There is good parking here and a path leads directly to the mountain hut. When you choose the path straight ahead instead of up (to the mountain hut) you have really stunning views!

Erjavčeva koča, Triglav National Park - A day trip to Slovenia from Austria -

Vršič Pass

On to the highest pass in Slovenia: Vršič pass. This is really a tourist attraction of Triglav National Park and we are immediately a bit disappointed. It is difficult to find a parking space, many cars and buses. Many hiking trails start from here and you will find the more than 100 years old mountain hut Tičarjev dom with a rich history. You can take a walk of about 20 minutes to the viewing platform Poštarski koča. It’s very windy here, we take a few crazy pictures together and quickly get back in the car. Looking for quieter places :-)

Triglav National Park -

Beautiful viewpoints all over Triglav National Park

Those beautiful quiet points that I talk about above can be found here in countless places. At a nice viewpoint in Triglav National Park or at other beautiful places, there is quite a place where you can safely park your car without getting in the way of others. While it was quite busy on the highest pass, the rest of the park is very quiet. In fact, in most places we don’t meet anyone!

Beautiful viewpoints all over Triglav National Park - A day trip to Slovenia from Austria -

Piece of the inhabited world in Triglav National Park: Trenta

Trenta is a town with only 114 inhabitants, so don’t blink your eyes too much or you’ll miss it when you drive through. It is worth taking a look around here. After all, you don’t get to see landscapes as beautiful as this every day… Many hiking trails start from Trenta and this is also the place where hikes to Mount Triglav start. There is an information center and a museum: Dom Trenta.

Trenta, Triglav National Park - A day trip to Slovenia from Austria -

Building dams and paddling in the Soča river

Almost the entire route we follow through Triglav National Park we see the Soča river on our side. Clear blue water that flows slowly over white boulders and pebbles. It really invites you to take a little swim, so we just look for a parking space along the side of the road, walk over a suspension bridge and sit down at the edge of the river. The children are real die-hards and even dip their heads in the ice-cold water in their swimming trunks. I stick to paddling in the Soča river myself, I think it’s cool enough :-)

Soča Gorge

Between Trenta and Bovec you will find the Soča Gorge, which is 750 meters long and 15 meters deep. It takes a while to find the entrance to the gorge. On the road from Trenta to Bovec you have to keep to the village of Lepena valley. As soon as you cross the Soča river you will arrive at a parking lot. We do not make the walk through / along the gorge itself, I find it just a bit too exciting with my 5-year-old. The walk is not long, about 2 kilometers. But it is (hearsay) quite a bit of climbing and scrambling here and there, so there is about 50 meters of height difference in the walk. For next time :-) But it seems to be worth it!!

Soča Gorge - A day trip to Slovenia from Austria -

Cross the border with Italy via Predil Pass

The “beautiful” is a bit off when we drive to Italy via the Predil Pass, although the pass itself is still very impressive. For the children it remains very special to be in one country one moment and in another country the next. They ask like 8 times: “So we are in Italy now?” In Italy, the very outdated mining area that we drive through is really extinct. It’s a shame that they let it deteriorate like this here, because the area is beautiful. Every now and then we have a nice view to the mountains that are almost on the border, or even in Slovenia itself. In any case, it feels good when we cross the border again to make the last part of our day trip to Slovenia.

Via Predil Pass from Slovenia to Italy - A day trip to Slovenia from Austria -

Zelenci, the source of the Sava river

Zelenci is a small nature reserve where you will find the source of the Sava river, with 221 kilometers the longest river in Slovenia. It takes a while to find out exactly where we need to be, there is not a clear entrance. If we found it, it will show why. Apparently there was once a small information center here, but it is completely dilapidated. Not really a nice entrance to a nature reserve :-( But looking at the signs we are in the right place. We walk about 5 minutes from the parking lot to the sources of Zelenci, on a nice walking path through the woods. The source is located on an open place, super beautiful! The water is incredibly clear and at the bottom you can see water bubbling up here and there. It’s beautiful, at the end of the day. Nice light and nice and quiet. Nice to end the day with :-)

Zelenci Springs in Slovenia - A day trip to Slovenia from Austria -
Zelenci Springs in Slovenia - A day trip to Slovenia from Austria -

Vintgar gorge

If you have time left, you can drive from Zelenci to the Vintgar gorge within 40 minutes. The Vintgar gorge is open to visitors until 7 p.m. The beginning of the gorge is the most spectacular, with high rock walls and swirling water. But here it is also the busiest! The walking paths and bridges are very narrow and you regularly have to bend over because the rock walls above you lean over. Advice: visit the Vintgar gorge either early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Then it is quiet and the buses loaded with tourists are not there.

Vintgar Gorges Slovenia - A day trip to Slovenia from Austria -

Successful day trip from Landal Bad Kleinkirchheim

Beforehand I was quite curious if this would be possible, this day trip to Slovenia from Landal Bad Kleinkirchheim. Of course we don’t take long walks like we did in Austria, but that was clear in advance. It is very doable and we do not feel rushed all day. Don’t keep looking at the clock to see if we are still “on schedule”, after all, we don’t have a schedule! Around 8 pm we are back in Bad Kleinkirchheim where we have a nice bite to eat in a steakhouse. The kids are devastated, yes. But they also had a super fun day :-)

Toll vignette for Slovenia

Keep in mind that you need a toll vignette if you want to use the Slovenian highways. You do not need it for this day trip to Triglav National Park, but if you want to include a visit to Bled in your program, for example, it is useful: you can then take the highway back to Austria in the evening. Weekly and monthly vignettes are available (in addition to the 6-month and 12-month vignettes). With a vignette you have free access to various attractions in Lipica, Maribor, Ptuj, Predjama Castle and the beautiful caves of Postojna, among others. More information can be found on

This article may contain affiliate links. When you click through these links and make a purchase, we receive a small commission. However, this costs you nothing; the selling party pays this commission. Happy with the information you found in this article? Then we are grateful if you book your plane ticket, accommodation or rental car via one of our links. More direct links to providers can be found on this page. For now: enjoy reading!
Back to top button