Category: Transport

Transport information. Getting to and around Slovenia

Motorhome hire in Slovenia

Motorhomes for hire in Slovenia
Motorhomes for hire in Slovenia

As we said in our Camping and campsites in Slovenia article, we travel around Slovenia in our campervan and stay overnight on one of the many excellent campsites. It is a great way to explore the country and, for us very convenient, but not everyone has the time to drive across the continent on their annual holidays. Apart from flying and using hotels, or perhaps booking an apartment, what other alternatives are there? Well, one option would be to hire a motorhome in Slovenia.

We found on the Internet a company called sloveniacamper.com, who have motorhomes for hire. They have a fleet of over 30 coachbuilt motorhomes that sleep from four to seven people.  Based in Ljubljana, they can arrange pick up at the airport.  (Flying to Slovenia article)

They advertise –

  • competitive prices without hidden costs such as mileage, etc.
  • over 30 brand new motorhomes
  • the option to rent camper for 1 day only
  • low fuel consumption
  • simple to drive – if you can drive a car, you can drive a motorhome
  • bring your family and friends! Most motorhomes are registered for 6 persons
  • 12 hours reservation response
  • 24 hour call service

On their website are full details, prices and booking information.

Worried about driving a motorhome?  Well, its not a difficult as you might think and as TDS say, “if you can drive a car, you can drive a motorhome”. (We have a handy guide to driving in Slovenia, with hints and tips and links to motoring organisations).

Disclaimer: This article is not an advert and we have no connection with TDS Group Plc.  Information in this article should be checked before making a booking.

A drive over the Vršič Pass, or Russian Road

The Vršič Pass, which rises to a height of 1611 metres, is the highest pass in Slovenia. It connects, in the north, the Sava Dolinka Valley in

Vršič Pass - mountain view
Vršič Pass – mountain view

Gorenjska to the the Soča Valley in Primorska, in the south. The road, impassable in the winter months, is an exhilarating and spectacular drive, climbing and descending 49 hairpin bends, each one numbered and with height recorded, taking you across the spine of the Julian Alps. It is not a difficult route, though not recommended if you are towing a caravan. What makes the drive so special, apart from the views and scenery, is the history behind its very existence.

Zlatorog
Zlatorog

We begin the traverse on the northern side at Kranjska Gora. The road soon passes the blue waters of Jasna Lake, which on a calm day reflect the majestic mountains that form the lake’s backdrop. Nearby, upon a large boulder is a statue of the mythical golden-horned Zlatorog. Continue on, climbing a little, along the side of the Pišnica Valley to the first numbered hairpin bend that gives a taste of the steep climb that is to come.

A little history.  The Austro-Hungarian authorities decided early in 1915 that they needed a road to supply their forces who were preparing to defend their border with Italy (to become known as the Isonzo Front). Building, using Russian prisoners-of-war as forced labour, was begun in March 1915 and, unbelievably, was completed by the end of that year. The pass needed to be kept

The Russian Chapel
The Russian Chapel

open all year so prisoners were stationed in camps to shovel the snow off the road during the winter months. In March 1916 an avalanche buried one of these camps killing around 400 prisoners and 10 of their guards. There is a small Russian cemetery near hairpin 4. To commemorate this disaster and in remembrance of their comrades, other Russian prisoners built a beautiful Russian Orthodox Chapel on the site of the camp and this can be seen by stopping at hairpin 8. To honour the Russian prisoners the road was renamed in July 2006, as the Ruska cesta (“Russian Road”).

After hairpin bend 10 there is some respite from the twists and turns for about one kilometer until just after the mountain hut, Koča na Gozdu. Again the road climbs steeply, the cobbled bends coming in quick succession. Just after hairpin 16 the angle eases and there is an opportunity to stop, get out of the car, and admire the mountain views. Beyond, more steep hairpins follow and you soon pass another mountain hut, Erjavčeva Koča. Two more bends and a steep final section lead to the pass summit where there is plenty of parking space (a small fee is charged which goes towards the high upkeep costs of the road) and it is well worth stopping. This is a great kick off point for high level mountain walks but one of the most popular is the relatively easy walk to Slemenova Špica (Walk 10).

One of the great highlights of the pass is Ajdovska deklica, the rock face of a maiden, on the flanks of Prisank to the east of the road. You may have spotted it from the road on the way up but the best view is found by walking up the track beside the Tičarjev Dom mountain hut (turn left at the first junction).

Ajdovska Deklica, Vrsic Pass, Slovenia
Ajdovska Deklica, Vrsic Pass, Slovenia

“Legend has it that the Ajdovska maidens foretold the people of Kranjska Gora their fortune at birth. They also advised the people when to sow their crops and when to harvest them. One of the maidens foretold the son of a hunter that he would kill the Goldenhorn which inhabited the surrounding mountains. This prophecy angered the other maidens who punished Ajdovska deklica by turning her into rock”. Quote from this Kranjska Gora website.

Refreshments, can be purchased from the mountain huts and at the souvenir kiosks.

The descent is perhaps a little easier and the bends are not cobbled. Soon, the

Julius Kugy Monument, Trenta
Julius Kugy Monument, Trenta

views open out over the Upper Soča Valley and Trenta far below. Look out for the signposted lay-by, Razgledna Tocka (viewpoint), at the end of the first long straight. From here, the site of an old military observation area, there is a fine view of Jalovec (2645) and, to the left, Bavski Grintavec (2347m). There now follows a steep twisting descent with little chance to stop until you reach hairpin 48. Here, beside the road is parking place and, opposite, a short footpath to the Kugy Monument, a wonderful bronze statue of the pioneer climber and author Julius Kugy. This is a beautiful place, so do not miss it. Our walk along the River Soča (Walk 12) visits this scenic spot.

One more hairpin to go and it is just a little further on. At hairpin 49, you can turn right to Izvir Soče, the source of the River Soča. Less than 2km up this road, a path leads from a car-park and the mountain hut, Koča pri Izviru Soče (refreshments available) up to the source. The top is a bit of a scramble but there are wire cables and iron pegs to help you over the tricky bit (Walk 12 visits here also).

From the last hairpin the road continues down in to Trenta and the Soča Valley, but that is another journey!

Vršič Pass in autumn
Vršič Pass in autumn

Language notes for using Slovenian timetables

Just like any other timetables, Slovenian ones can be a bit complicated and you may need some help reading the service notes. So here a few words, phrases and terms that you may come across.

On the bus or train, “please – prosim”, “thank you – hvala” and a smile will be appreciated. If you cannot pronounce the name of where you want to go, simply point to it on a map or guidebook. Once on the journey it is natural to worry about getting off! – we find that most rural bus drivers will make sure that you get off at the right stop.

We also have a handy Slovene pronunciation guide and a Slovenian vocabulary for walkers on the website, as well as in the book.

  • Vozni red – timetable
  • Avtobus – bus
  • Vlak – train
  • Remiza – bus station/depot
  • Avtobusno postajališče –  bus-stop
  • Železniška postaja – railway station

Days of the week

  • Ponedeljek – Monday
  • Torek – Tuesday
  • Sreda – Wednesday
  • Četrtek – Thursday
  • Petek – Friday
  • Sobota – Saturday
  • Nedelja – Sunday

Months of the year –

  • Januar – January
  • Februar – February
  • Marec – March
  • April – April
  • Maj – May
  • Junij – June
  • Julij – July
  • Avgust – August
  • September – September
  • Oktober – October
  • November – November
  • December – December

Some phrases/terms –

    • Vozi vsak dan od 1.7. do 31.08  – Runs  every day from 1.7. do 31.08. to 31.08
    • Vozi ob delavnikih od ponedeljka do petka – Runs on weekdays from Monday to Friday
    • Vozi ob nedeljah in praznikih – Runs on Sundays and holidays
    • Vozi ob sobotah v času od 1.6.-31.8 – Runs on Saturdays in the period 1.6.-31.8
    • Vozi od ponedeljka do petka, julija in avgusta – Runs from Monday to Friday, July and August
    • Vozi ob delavnikih od ponedeljka do sobote – Runs on weekdays from Monday to Saturday
    • Vozi ob delavnikih razen sobote – Runs on weekdays except Saturdays
    • Vozi v dneh šolskega pouka – Runs in the days of school lessons
    • Vozi v dneh šolskih počitnic – Runs in the days of school holidays
    • Ne vozi – Not running
    • Ne vozi od 27.12. do 31.12 – Does not run from 27.12. do 31.12 to 31.12

Please, if you can add anything else to this list (or spot a mistake) please leave a comment below or contact us.

Driving in Slovenia and car rental

Driving in Slovenia – renting a car or taking your own vehicle to Slovenia gives you the most freedom to explore the country and access those areas where public transport is limited or non-existent (most of our walks can be accessed by bus but there are some where a car is more convenient or necessary).  A little research before you go will pay dividends, perhaps avoiding an on-the-spot penalty for a minor driving offence.  Learn the speed limits, don’t wait to be told by a police officer!

Drivers need to be aware of the driving regulations in Slovenia, which include using dipped headlights in daylight hours, wearing a seat-belt (if fitted), having a high-visibility vest for all passengers and carrying a warning triangle

Logarska Dolina, Slovenia
Logarska Dolina, Slovenia

(available from the likes of Halfords or the Amazon Automotive Store. The AA has a comprehensive list of driving requirements in Slovenia, including speed limits.  Another source of information is the Slovenian national automobile club, the Avto-Moto Zveza Slovenije (AMZS) – it has details of speed limits, on-the-spot fines for various offences, fuel and prices, a route planner and traffic reports.

We have had no problems on Slovenia’s roads having driven 1000s of miles there and have found that driving standards are good. Statistics paint a different picture though as Slovenia is at the bottom end of European road safety tables. Please remember to pull over and let others by – you may be on holiday but others are working. Enjoy your driving, take care and stay safe!

Road conditions in Slovenia are generally good but some roads, especially minor ones, can be bumpy and potholed in places. Road signs do not display road numbers so you need to know your route before you start your journey – Sat-Nav is ideal or, of course, a good old-fashioned Road Atlas. Motorways are mostly two-laned and of a high standard.

Slovenian motorway vignette
Slovenian motorway vignette

Slovenia’s motorway system has undergone a massive expansion in recent years and it is quite possible to travel from one end of the country to the other in a matter of a few hours. You do need a vignette (picture right) to drive on Slovenian motorways and expressways and these can be purchased in neighbouring countries, at the border and in major petrol stations. Vignettes are available for weekly, monthly or yearly periods.

Prices for vehicles weighing up to 3,500kg in 2010 –

  • Weekly vignette – 15.00EUR
  • Monthly vignette – 30.00EUR
  • Yearly vignette – 95.00EUR

Click the following link to DARS for more information about Slovenia’s motorway network and the vignette.

Fuel: Unleaded petrol (95 & 98 octane), diesel and LPG is available.  Credit cards are accepted at filling stations.  In 2009 petrol was about 10% cheaper than in the UK and diesel approximately 20% cheaper.

Parking: In many towns you must now pay to park in the centre.  Parking charges are also levied in many tourist areas – around Lake Bohinj and at Vršič are two examples.  Illegally parked vehicles will be towed away or clamped – you have been warned!

Car rental: Many major car rental companies are based at the Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport, as well as in Ljubljana and the larger towns.  Your hotel or a tourist agency can easily arrange car hire for you.

Please leave a comment below, or contact us, if you have some up to date information that you think might be useful or any suggestions to improve Slovenia-walking.

Driving to Slovenia from the UK

Driving to Slovenia is a popular option and easy to do providing that you have the time and are well prepared before you set off.  Whilst we have driven to Slovenia many times, we are not authorities on the legal aspects of driving abroad and so have only provided links to helpful websites.

All vehicles using Austrian motorways (autobahns) and expressways must display a motorway tax sticker (vignette), which you can buy at the border and at major service stations.  Penalties for not displaying the vignette can be severe, so don’t risk it!  (Slovenia also requires a vignette for motorways and they can also be bought in Germany as well as bordering countries – see our Slovenia motorway vignette information).  Some tunnels in Austria are tolled, for example the A10 Tauern Autobahn, south of Salzburg.

For peace of mind consider vehicle breakdown cover. This will get you on the road again after a breakdown and, in the worst case scenario, get you and your vehicle home again if it cannot be fixed or you are involved in a road traffic accident.

For most countries in Europe you will need a warning triangle, high-visibility vests, a First-Aid kit, spare bulbs, and some form of GB sticker (or at least a Euro-GB number plate). A fire-extinguisher is also recommended.  All these are readily available from the likes of Halfords or the Amazon Automotive Store.

Routes across the continent.

Its approximately a 850-900 mile drive across the continent from the Channel ports to Ljubjana and we can usually cover this in a day and a half (about 13 hours driving). Most of the journey is on motorways and there are plenty of service areas to rest and refuel.  Don’t forget your Sat-Nav or Road Atlas! We have prepared a few routes with Google maps, like the one below from Calais to Ljubljana, with ready made directions (they can be easily edited) – simply click on the links.

[googlemap width=”600″ height=”400″ src=”http://maps.google.co.uk/maps/ms?hl=en&ie=UTF8&msa=0&msid=117540639388365738460.0004743afe6504004e487&ll=48.516604,8.173828&spn=5.822595,13.183594&z=6&output=embed”]
View Calais Ferry to Ljubljana, Slovenia in a larger map

Dunkerque Ferry to Ljubljana
Oostende Ferry to Ljubljana
Zeebrugge Ferry to Ljubljana
Ijmuiden (Netherlands) to Ljubljana

Please leave a comment below, or contact us, if you have some up to date information that you think might be useful or any suggestions to improve Slovenia-walking.

Flying to Slovenia

Slovenia’s main international airport is the Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport (LJU) (sometimes refered to as “Brnik Airport”) located just north of the capital city, Ljubljana.  Scheduled flights from the Uk are operated by easyJet from London-Stansted (STN) and by Adria Airways from London-Gatwick (LGW), Manchester (MAN) and Dublin (DUB).  The airport is refreshingly small scale, easy to navigate and has all the facilities that you would expect at an international airport, shops, restaurants, duty free, conference facilities, WiFi, Tourist Information, bank and Post Office.

Adria Airways is Slovenia’s National airline, operating scheduled routes throughout Europe.

Onward travel from the airport is by bus or taxi as there is no direct train connection.  Buses run to Ljubljana and Kranj from where you can travel onwards by bus or train.  If you are travelling to Bled, a much easier alternative, and very competitively priced (13EUR in 2009), is a scheduled mini-bus service direct from the airport to Bled (with online booking).  We have used this service and can highly recommend it.

Many major car rental companies are also based at the Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport, such as easyCar, Hertz and Sixt.

**Hotels near Ljubljana Airport – Book Now!**

Book Ljubljana, Slovenia with Hostelbookers

The Slovenia for airport is “Letališče”.

(Ryanair once operated a scheduled fight to Maribor, but this was suspended in January 2008).

Please leave a comment below, or contact us, if you have some up to date information that you think might be useful or any suggestions to improve Slovenia-walking.