Slovenia is not widely known as a popular outdoor swimming destination in Europe. However, there are several great open water swimming locations and hidden spots that you may have never heard of. We have put together a guide for the best 10 swimming spots in Slovenia. We also organise guided 4-day Slovenia swimming holiday trips.
Discover green Slovenia
This small European country nestled between the Alps, Pannonian Plain and the Mediterranean in the south is recognised as one of the cleanest and greenest countries in Europe. One fact showing how small Slovenia is is that there is only one island in the whole country. This is on Lake Bled which is one of the best swimming destinations.
Lakes, rivers and Adriatic sea
Slovenia has several lakes, rivers, and over 40 km of the Adriatic coast where you can swim in the sea. Often people joke that you can ski in the mountains and go for a swim all in one day. This is possible due to short travel distances between.
The water temperatures in the summer reach up to 25C in all waters and this offers several opportunities for swimming outdoors. Not to forget, people also swim outside in the winter months as cold water swimming has become popular in recent years.
Low or no boat traffic – safe swimming
One of the key elements of open water swimming is safety. Most of the swimming spots in Slovenia will be surrounded only by rowing boats, kayakers, SUP boards, and other swimmers or bathers. So, there will be no other motorised boats allowed. This excludes the Adriatic coast which we will mention in the details below.
Criteria for best swimming locations in Slovenia
We have been running our guided swimming trips in Slovenia for over 10 years and I am Slovenian myself (the author of this article). We have used the following criteria for putting together these best swimming destinations in Slovenia:
- Access and entry cost: how can you get to these locations and what are the fees to enter to swim there.
- Swimming options: coastline, crossing, bay, island. Where can you swim and are there any wind-sheltered options, tides?
- Facilities: any facilities available around, hotels, restaurants, bars, tourist attractions, boat, kayak, or SUP rentals.
- Water temperature: what are average temperatures in the summer.
1. Lake Bohinj
Lake Bohinj is one of the largest freshwater glacial lakes in Slovenia with a length of around 4.5 km. The entire lake is located in the Triglav National park and is a popular walking and cycling destination. The lake is fed by both the Savica river and underground springs and is known for its startling green- turquoise clarity.
This is probably one of the best open water swimming venues in Slovenia due to its remote location is at the end of the road, breath-taking scenery, and is regulated by national park authorities. You can swim and access the lake at any point, but there are properly marked beaches where most people tend to stay.
The lake is ideal for a 4.5 km crossing swim from one end to another. There are usually rowers or rowing teams on the lake, but they tend to stick to one side and you can swim on the other.
The lake is about 1 km wide in most parts, so there is plenty of space for everyone. Only one larger electric boat is running a passenger service from one end to the other. No other motorised boat traffic is allowed on the lake.
Access and cost: easy by road from Ljubljana and Bled town. No fee to swim in the lake, but you need to pay for parking if you arrive by car. It costs 3 Eur per hour for car-parking near the lake at marked areas. Or you can park outside the national park (cca 8 km away) in Bohinjska Bistrica and arrive by local transport bus for free. Buses run every 30 min.
Boat traffic: low or none.
Swimming options: all options (coastal, crossing, bay). Facilities: wide-range (apartments, hotels, hostel, restaurants, beach, bar, cable car, kayak, SUP, and boat rentals).
Water temperature: the warmest months are July and August. Lake warms up to 24C during the summer peak. Otherwise, it gets down to freezing temperatures in the winter.
2. Lake Bled
Lake Bled is one of the most visited places for any tourist who come to see Slovenia. It is also the only place that has an island with a church in the middle of and you can swim to! Without a doubt Bled is one of the most picturesque locations in Slovenia and a great open water location.
The lake is 2.3 km long and about 500-1000 m wide. There are several public beaches and lidos alongside where you can base yourself. There are also places where it is not allowed to enter the lake for swimming. So far there is no entry fee to pay for swimming, but you need to pay for services such as parking the car or using sun-loungers, etc.
Car-parking at Bled is expensive – around 3 Eur per hour. You can park your car outside Bled town and arrive by a dedicated transport bus free of charge or just walk.
You can swim straight across the lake from one end to the other following a rowing lane which is a marked rowing lane for rowers. Bled is famous for rowing teams and rowing events that are held there. Be aware that rowers usually train during the summer months in the morning between 8-10 am and in the afternoon between 5-7 pm. You are not advised to swim right in the middle during this time as rowing boats go fast and an accident could happen.
Swim to the Lake Bled island
You can swim to the island at any time and the shortest distance is about 300 m. The island itself is a stunning venue and a popular destination spot for famous wooden Pletna boats. Local boatmen bring tourists to the island rowing exclusively by human power. It costs 15 Eur per person to enjoy this service.
When swimming out there you must watch the boat traffic coming in and out of the island as they can’t change the course quickly. Swimming around the island is a great experience and worth doing and you can stop on the island free of charge. If you wish to visit the church, then you must have a shirt and long pants on you to be allowed to enter. There is also a restaurant and toilet on the island. Several people also get married on the island!
Access and cost: easy by car, bus. There is no fee to swim in the lake, but you need to pay for car-parking. Boat traffic: mid to high-level at most times in the summer.
Swimming options: island swim, bay, and crossing swims.
Facilities: wide-range (apartments, hotels, hostels, restaurants, beach, kayak, SUP, and boat rentals).
Water temperatures: during summer months in July and August up to 25C. In June and September of around 22C.
3. Strunjan Nature Pak, Moon Bay (Adriatic sea)
The Slovenian Adriatic coast stretches between northern Italy and northern Istrian Croatia. The total coast length is about 45 km. Strunjan nature park is located between Izola and Piran and is easily accessible by car. To get to the Moon bay for the best swimming spot you need to start your journey at the Strunjan public beach (Plaza Strunjan) and then walk east towards Izola for about 15 min on the footpath.
You will reach the Moon bay (Mesecni zaliv) from the top and then you need to find a small pathway going down to sea level. Moon bay is not a public beach, there are no lifeguards and many people go there to escape the crowds and enjoy the peace.
You can swim anywhere under the stunning cliffs, enjoy the views and the Adriatic sea. It is easy to get in and out of the water, just be aware of rocks and possible sea urchins when stepping on the seafloor.
Access and cost: easy by car, bus. There is no fee to swim in the sea, but you need to pay for car-parking in Strunjan. Boat traffic: low-level. Swimming options: bay and coastal swimming.
Facilities: mid-range in Strunjan (hotels, restaurants, beach).
Water temperatures: during summer months in July and August up to 26C. In June and September of around 23C.
Google Map Location:
4. Kolpa River
Kolpa River is located on the southern border with Croatia. Pretty much for the whole length in Slovenia, it remains a river border with Croatia. Kolpa is one of the cleanest and warmest rivers in Europe and therefore, it offers a great open water swimming destination in the summer.
You can expect the water temperature to be around 25C in the summer which is unusual for rivers. There are numerous river dams and watermills on the river and you can swim between them easily.
We have explored almost the entire river for our 4-day river swimming holiday. The best part for swimming is in the lower part where the current gets a bit slower, but still moving enough to enjoy the river adventure.
We recommend going to Adlesici village and swim from the Adlesici mill to Podbrezje mill. The swim distance is about 2.5 km. At Podbrezje, there is a nice Kuzma local restaurant with a gravel river beach, car parking, and a campsite. You can also visit the 100 years old homestead being kept as original on that location. You need to pay for car-parking in the summer months of around 5 Eur per day.
Be aware of stronger currents after rainy days. River level flow goes up significantly and it becomes unsafe for swimming. Usually, during the summer months, the rain is rare or at least not severe and the river flow remains low.
Access and cost: easy by car from Metlika, just follow the main road signs. There is no fee to swim in the river. Car-parking near the river is around 5 Eur per day. Boat traffic: low-level and there are no motorised boats allowed, only kayakers, canoeist and swimmers.
Swimming options: from dam to dam in the river stream. We recommend having an escort with you while swimming.
Facilities: low-range (restaurant, beach, kayak, canoe rentals).
Water temperatures: during summer months in July and August up to 25C. In June and September of around 20C.
5. Idrijca river
Idrijca river is the Soca river tributary on the left. It is warmer than Soca but significantly smaller in river flow. Therefore, this river is usually warmer compared to Soca. We recommend a good downriver swim from the Baca river bridge to the Soca river confluence. This is about 2.3 km in distance.
The best place to get in is at Natural bride bridge (Pod mostom) where you can park your car or leave it there. Usually, it is shallower at the beginning and then it gets deeper and easier to swim. You should count on some paddling at the beginning and then you can properly swim.
The river narrows through the channel and creates an interesting winding path before it opens up half-way through toward Most na Soci. There is only one place after about 1.0 km to get out, otherwise, you need to go all the way to Soca river.
Access and cost: 5 min drive by car from Most na Soci. There is no fee to swim in the river. Car-parking near the river under the train bridge Baca-Idrijca is free of charge.
Boat traffic: no motorised boats, only kayakers, SUP boards and swimmers.
Facilities: low-range (restaurant, beach).
Water temperatures: during summer months in July and August up to 21C. In June and September of around 18C.
6. Krka river
Krka River is the second-longest Slovenian river. It is 94 km long and it merges with the Sava river in Brezice near the Croatian border. The river is very clean and known to be slower in the lower part. We highly recommend visiting Kostanjeva na Krki town and swim around the town’s island in the middle.
The island splits the Krka river into two parts (left and right channel) and this creates a great loop swim around the entire island. The whole distance is about 1.5 km. Be aware of stronger currents when the river level is higher. Otherwise, there is no other dangers around.
Access and cost: easy by car from the main highway, just follow the main road signs. There is no fee to swim in the river. Car-parking near the river is free of charge. Boat traffic: low-level and there are no motorised boats allowed, only kayakers, canoeist and swimmers.
Swimming options: around the town’s island or up and down the river considering the river current.
Facilities: mid-range (hotel, restaurant, beach, toilets, kayak, canoe, Sup rentals). Visit Mestna čolnarna venue.
Water temperatures: during summer months in July and August up to 24C. In June and September of around 18-20C.
Google Map Location:
7. Soca river
Soca river flows in the north-western part of Slovenia and northeastern Italy. It is considered as a colder river stream, especially popular for rafting trips in the upper part.
Soca river has a distinct emerald green color and we consider it a special place for an open water swim. We recommend swimming at the lower part when the river becomes warmer and slower which allows you to swim safer.
The best swimming spot is at Most na Soci town on the left side just before the river bridge and the river confluence with Idrijca river. A bit further down the river is also a Doblar river dam. Locals call this area “the lake” as the river widens and slows down. The best venue to base yourself on is Modrej beach on the left riverside. There is public parking nearby, local restaurant and toilet facilities. Locals rent out boats, kayaks, and SUP boards.
You can swim up and down the Soca river as you like. The only riverboat that departs in this area is Lucija boat. It goes slow speed up to Tolminka river confluence and back. You can enjoy a drink or lunch on board.
Access and cost: easy by car from Tolmin or Nova Gorica, just follow the main road signs. There is no fee to swim in the river. Car-parking near the river is payable (1 Eur per hour).
Boat traffic: low-level and there is only 1 motorised boat allowed.
Swimming options: coastal or crossing the river.
Facilities: mid-range (hotel, restaurant, beach, toilets, kayak, canoe, Sup rentals).
Water temperatures: during summer months in July and August up to 19C. In June and September of around 15C.
8. Nadiza river
Nadiza is not far geographically from Soca and Idrijca rivers but is usually the warmest of all three. Many call Nadiza river the best destination for alpine river swimming in Slovenia! The river source is in the Slovenian Julian Alps (Trenta Valley), but then it flows into Italy and all the way into the Adriatic sea. There are three main spots to explore for the top swimming venues:
- Robic village
- Podbela car bridge
- Napolean bridge
- Logje bridge (iron made bridge)
All of these spots have car parking areas nearby, so you can stop and go for a swim. The riverbed can be shallow at certain times and you may have to explore up and down a bit to find deeper areas, but this will depend on the current week you are there. You can spot different fish in there such as: trouts and graylings.
There is also a good local bus connection (Hop On Hop Off bus route) from Kobarid and return. See ticket price list and times at: https://www.soca-valley.com
Access and cost: easy drive by car from Kobarid (Slovenia). There is no fee to swim in the river. Car-parking near the river is around 10 Eur per day or 1.5 Eur per hour and it paid on the parking machine.
Boat traffic: no motorised boats, only kayakers, SUP boards, and swimmers.
Facilities: low-range (restaurant, beach).
Water temperatures: during summer months in July and August up to 23C. In June and September of around 18C.
9. Velenje lake
Velenje lake is located next to the 5th largest Slovenian town Velenje in the northern part of Slovenia. It measures around 1.5 km at the widest part and you can swim coastal or straight across. During the summer months the lake becomes a popular event venue with its beach and services. There are 2 other smaller lakes on either side (Sostanj and Skale). We consider Velenje lake as a great swimming venue for open water. You have all the facilities there to rent a boat, kayak, sup, changing rooms, toilets, restaurant and car-parking.
During the summer months June-September the lake can warm up to 25C. We recommend swimming early morning or late in the afternoon when there aren’t too many other visitors around to have your own space. The best area for swimming is opposite the “beach area” on the other side where there are usually no other people and boats.
There is no charge to enter or swimming in the lake. But you will need to pay for car-parking during the summer months June-September.
Not interested in swimming? Then you can enjoy a great walk or stroll around and observe the wildlife such as: swans, ducks, birds, etc.
10. Kocevje lake
This artificial lake is located in the southern part of Slovenia near the town of Kocevje and it was formed when the coal mining ended in this area back in 1970s. The local lake’s name is Rudnisko jezero. Is it a fairly deep lake of around 40 m and today offers a great open water recreational venue. There is a nice 3 km trail around for walking, running, cycling or you can also camp. In the summertime you will often see people sailing, rowing, paddleboarding, fishing, diving and swimming.
You can swim around the entire lake’s shoreline of about 3 km. Ocassionally, there will be sailing or rowing boats around, so please make sure you are aware of other activities on the lake.
You can get there easily by car from Ljubljana or Novo mesto and park your car at the brand-new Campsite Jezero Kocevsko.
10.2. Kozjak waterfall
This is a one-off special place in Slovenia and we would consider it more of a swimming dip rather than a proper open water swim! And because it is so special, we believe it is worth visiting and having a place here in this Slovenian swimming guide.
Kozjak waterfall lies in the protected natural area near the town of Kobarid in north-western Slovenia. Most visitors get there to enjoy a 30 min walk on a marked walking path.
There is also a campsite Koren if you want to stay longer in this area and enjoy camping outdoors.
The local Kobarid tourist board has recently introduced an entry fee (4 Eur per person) to walk to Kozjak waterfall. Once you get there, there is a little narrow valley at the end where you can change and have a dip under the fall. Be aware you need to get over the slippery rocks and we highly recommend having water shoes for easier walking. Once there you will see a little rounded swimming pool with a diameter of around 10 meters. You can swim around, but make sure nothing dangerous falls from the waterfall.
The water temperature is cooler, around 15C, but extremely refreshing and rewarding. Please do not try to climb up the rocks to jump as people have been hurt in the past. Due to its difficult access, it takes a long time to get any medical treatment, so please be careful with this adventure pursuit.