Hello from the top of the Julian Alps. It’s so incredibly cold here, at the top of one of Slovenia’s most infamous peaks. You would think that being wrapped up in all my puffy ski gear, which I am barely able to walk in would keep me warm but I could still feel the cold biting through to my skin. I felt frozen inside but thankfully adrenaline was running through my veins because this was my first attempt to snowboard. I am an adrenaline junky, so at this point in time I was in my element! Not for long though, because as I quickly learned, snowboarding is A LOT harder than I ever could have imagined. But I would not change a thing about our recent Slovenia ski trip. Not even the freezing temperatures, despite my unfaltering love for everything sunshine, ocean and warmth!
If you are looking for an affordable skiing trip, Slovenia is definitely your best option. Here you will find a variety of budget-friendly alternatives to the extravagant ski resorts found in France, Austria, Switzerland and Italy. Nestled in the Julian Alps, a Slovenia ski trip will give you everything that you need and a magical landscape that you will not find any place else. Set against a fairytale backdrop of castles, grottos, mirror-like lakes, oak forests and Alpine peaks, you might think that you have just stepped out the back of your wardrobe and into Narnia.
Slovenia ski trip: The lowdown
We were lucky enough to take this trip with some of our best friends from home. South African’s are very enthusiastic, especially when it comes to snow since it’s a completely unique experience for us. We spent two days exploring Ljubljana and then moved onto Bled for our ultimate ski experience. Here is everything that you will need to know when planning your Slovenia ski trip.
1. Where to stay
I would highly recommend staying in Bled for your Slovenia ski trip. This is one of the most beautiful Alpine resorts in all of Europe and is centrally located which gives easy access to various ski areas. With Lake Bled as the focal point, It’s the most notable tourist destination of Slovenia. The remarkably stunning landscape has to be one of the most breathtaking sights that I have ever seen. If you think the pictures are beautiful, it’s every bit as lovely in real life.
Bled is a hotspot for tourists which means that there are all types of accommodation to choose from. Whether you are looking for a guesthouse, hotel, Bed and Breakfast or perhaps a cosy log cabin, you are spoiled for choice. We found a beautiful little wooden cabin situated right on the lake, thanks to Airbnb. You could also check out HomeAway for some other options.
There are of course other locations that are also said to be worthwhile, if you are thinking of spreading your time across Slovenia to include other areas into your trip. Kobarid is surrounded by mountain peaks and situated on the Italian border, Piran is found on Slovenia’s Adriatic coast and is stunning if you are also looking for a seaside view and Bovec is a mountain town in Northwestern Slovenia, full of adventure sports enthusiasts. But no matter where you decide to stay, Slovenia is sure to steal your heart!
2. Ski resorts
- Straza Ski resort: Located just next to Lake Bled, the scenery here is truly magnificent. At only 645 meters high, the slope at Bled Straza Ski Resort is one of the best for learning or brushing up on your skiing and snowboarding skills. This is however not where you want to go if you are a die-hard skier.
- Kranjska Gora’s: Set in the Julian Alps, Kranjska Gora is a small and beautiful resort that is perfect for beginners. It’s also worthwhile to note that Kranjska Gora has appeared on The Best Value Ski Resorts list a number of times. While it’s not the trendiest of ski resorts, it’s got everything that skiers could need.
- Maribor Pohorje Ski Resort: This is the largest winter sports resort in Slovenia and boasts 250 hectares of fun! Featuring a combination of easy and challenging slopes, there is something for everyone here. The downside; situated at a very low altitude, much of the snow here is artificial. If you are after the real deal, this is probably not the best option.
- Vogel Ski Resort: Found in the Triglav National Park and forming part of the southern Julian Alps, Vogel is considered to be one of the best places for skiing in all of Slovenia. The main ski area of Vogel overlooks Lake Bohinj, offering some spectacular scenery. There are also a number of runs here that are ideal for beginners or intermediaries.
- Krvavec Ski Resort: Krvavec is not the most spectacular but it does offer something for everyone. From beginners to weathered skiers, you can expect a truly wonderful skiing experience. The location of Krvavec, at the edge of a mountain range, make the conditions here perfect for the ultimate Slovenia ski trip.
It is highly recommended to hire a car when on your Slovenia ski trip. This way you are able to easily move around and have the option to visit different ski resorts without relying on public transport. If you stay in Bled – like we did, you can fly into Ljubljana and spend a day or two exploring the capital city. Getting from Ljubljana to Bled is fairly easy by car. There is a highway connecting the two cities and the drive should only take about 40 minutes.
If you are not comfortable hiring a car there is also a train and bus option. There is a bus route from Ljubljana to Lake Bled that operates daily between 6AM and 10PM, with departures approximately every hour. The bus usually takes between 70 and 90 minutes since they drive via the country route and make multiple stops along the way.
The alternative option is to use the train system. There are two train stations found in Bled with frequent train connections from Ljubljana to Lesce train station. Lesce is however 4.5 km from Lake Bled. If your accommodation is at the lake you will need to take a bus or taxi further down. Situated at the North Western end of the lake and is 3km from the town centre, You will find the second train station, Jezero.
4. What to pack
Packing for a ski trip is not an easy task. Not least because you have to consider your 15kg – 20kg baggage allowance. While essential ski items are available to hire at the resorts, there are a few items that you should bring along with you.
- Thermals: It’s a good idea to pack in some fleeces or thin lambswool jumpers that you can wear under your ski gear. It’s cold and you are going to want to keep warm.
- Ski gear: Yes you can hire this stuff at the resort but the majority of people know that you better off taking your own. So what do you need? Waterproof ski pants, ski gloves, goggles, fleece or merino scarf or neck warmer, ski helmet and ski boots.
- Gloves: Not the type you get at H&M though.You will need high quality gloves that are made for snow conditions.
- Hat: Keep your head warm under your ski helmet. You also likely to need your hat when out and about on the town.
- Suncream: It sounds crazy but trust me on this one. Between the altitude and the reflection from the snow, the sun can be extremely powerful on the slopes. Many people catch a goggle tan or even burn on their ski trip.
- Sunglasses: When you are not skiing (not wearing your goggles) sunglasses are a necessity to protect your eyes. The glare on the slopes can be strong.
- Waterproof ski jacket: You are bound to fall on the snow and waterproof gear is essential to keep you warm and dry
- Thick socks: Some people get away with the everyday socks but it is advisable to wear thick or specialist skiing socks, especially to wear in your ski boots