Arrive at the airport in Ljubljana, Slovenia for a 1pm pickup and transfer to our hotel in Ljubljana?s charming city center. Enjoy some free time to explore the old town center and its lively streets. We?ll meet in the hotel lobby in the early evening for a short walking tour through old town, followed by dinner. Overnight in Ljubljana. Dinner included.
Walking: 1.5 hours
Today we head to the foothills of the Julian Alps! Our first hike is quite steep, over some rocky terrain, but rewards us with two amazing viewpoints above Lake Bled. From here, a series of switchbacks lead us down to the lake, where we?ll walk along the shoreline to a local beekeeper?s farm. For such a small country, Slovenian beekeepers produce up to 2,500 tons of honey a year! We learn about their work, bees and honey (and get to taste some!), then head to a local inn for a taste of the local mountain fare. Our second hike takes us along the deep Mostnica Gorge and by the shore of crystal-clear Lake Bohinj. The path here winds through beech forest and past interesting rock formations like the "elephant's head." We?re almost always within view of the aquamarine river below, where we can take a dip before heading to our hotel on Lake Bohinj. Overnight in Bohinj the next two nights. All meals included.
Hike 1: 3.5 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +800? / -800?; Hike 2: 6.5 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +850'/-850'
This morning we set off for Triglav National Park, where we will begin our journey through its dense and magical spruce forest. Follow a less-frequented route from Blato meadow to the beautiful Krstenica meadow, where we meet local shepherds, learn about traditional cheese and yogurt making, and sample some farm-fresh dairy products. Our hike continues above the tree line into a narrow alpine valley, often brimming with wildflowers and the chance to see some marmots and mountain goats. We enjoy a simple shepherd?s lunch in one of the mountain huts. Our hike ends on a combination of grassy and rocky terrain, with some steep sections through the forest. There is time in the afternoon to enjoy Lake Bohinj: go for a swim, rent a kayak or stand up paddle board, or explore the quaint, local villages by bike. All meals included.
Hiking: 8 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +2,800'/-2,800'
Get off the well-trodden paths and climb to rarely visited viewpoints with views of the impressive limestone walls while Slovenia?s tallest peaks surround us. We follow a pristine forested trail that seldom sees other hikers until we reach our lunch spot at a small mountain hut. Continue along a gently sloping trail built by prisoners of World War I and finish up at the Vr?i? Mountain Pass. In the afternoon, a short van ride bring us to the So?a Valley, where we get settled into our alpine homestead. Overnight in the lovely So?a Valley next two days. All meals included.
Hiking: 6 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +2,500'/-900'
Today we explore the western side of Triglav National Park, above the beautiful So?a Valley. We begin our semicircular hike through a spruce and larch forest, climbing higher until we get above tree line, where we?ll enjoy spectacular views of the highest summits in the Julian Alps and the valley below. We continue gaining elevation until we reach the top, Krasji Vrh peak, where our guides treat us to a delicious picnic lunch. Next, we descend into the valley where we meet a local historian who specializes in this region?s WWI past. All meals included.
Hiking: 8 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +3,000'/-3,000'
Enjoy rafting the "Emerald Beauty," otherwise known as the So?a River. We paddle along as the river winds through the So?a Valley, taking in the incredible crystal clear green waters and beautiful natural surroundings. (Yes, there?s plenty of time to swim in its many pools.) After rafting, we walk along the river?s edge & across wooden hanging bridges to the charming town of Kobarid. We stop for lunch, then take a short van ride to the Gori?ka Brda wine region, an area with rolling hills ("Brda" is Slovenian for "hills") straddling the Slovenia-Italy border. It is a land of excellent wine and, due to the mild Mediterranean climate, mouthwatering fruit and olives are also regional specialties. We visit a local wine maker, taste some first-class olive oil and discover why food lovers the world over rave about the Brda region. Overnight in Gori?ka Brda. All meals included.
Rafting: 1.5 hours, Class II-III; Hiking: 4 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +300'/-300'
A private tour of the spectacular subterranean chambers of the ?kocjan Caves starts off our day. This UNESCO World Heritage site hosts a spectacular cave system and features the largest underground cavern in all of Europe. We make our 4-mile descent along mostly paved paths, including about 500 stairs. After this amazing cave experience, we visit a local prosciutto producer and winemaker, enjoying a wonderful private meal at their property. Later, we make our way to the coast to the picturesque town of Piran. Walk along its narrow streets and squares filled with amazing Venetian Gothic architecture hugging the Adriatic Sea. Gather in the evening for a farewell dinner and raise a toast to a wonderful week of adventure in Slovenia. All meals included.
Hiking: 4 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +500'/-500'
After breakfast, we head to Ljubljana in time to meet afternoon flights or train departures. All departures should be scheduled for after 12pm. Or, extend your stay to explore the city's Old Town, baroque cathedrals and colorful marketplace. Breakfast included.