As is so often the case with Slovenia, even its best places to swim are impossible to pigeonhole. They defy typical definitions. Sure, the county’s 29 miles (47km) of coastline between Croatia and Italy offers more than a few wonderful beaches where you can float, but this Central European nation also boasts a slew of unexpected inland swimming spots too.
Wedged between the Alps and the Adriatic, travelers will find swimming holes in the mountains, wild beaches at the confluence of rivers, and tectonic glacial lakes in which to brave a dip. And that's before Lake Bled even gets a look in.
Here are the six best beaches, bays, lakes, and sand bars for swimming in Slovenia.
Best for river swimming
Flowing from the heart of Triglav National Park into Italy, the electric-green Soča River is a wonderful place to swim amongst Slovenia’s stunning mountain landscape. There are several safe bathing spots, including Great Soča Gorge, a swimming hole six miles (10km) east of Bovec along the Soča Trail. This narrow, half-mile-long gorge (0.8km) is around 50-feet deep (15m) and begs to be leaped into.
Further downstream, about a mile south (1.6km) of Tolmin, is Sotočje Beach, another little-known area where locals gather to swim. Located at the confluence of the Soča and Tolminka Rivers, this sand bar creates a chilled area for sunbathing and exploration. It even has its own outdoor and well-being bar, which offers drinks, food, and yoga classes.
Moon Bay, Strunjan Peninsula
Best for privacy
Located at the very southwest of Slovenia, along the coast between Izola and Piran, this peninsula is home to the Strunjan Landscape Park, a protected thrust of shoreline jutting into the Gulf of Trieste. It also happens to be one of the most beautiful areas along the entire Adriatic coast.
In the center is a remote and wild beach called Moon Bay, hidden beneath 250ft-high (76m) cliffs. Ideal for nature lovers and families, this preserved seaside paradise is an hour's walk from either Izola or Piran, with no car access to the beach itself.
Lighthouse Beach, Izola
Best for families
Sitting at the tip of a peninsula, Lighthouse Beach (Plaža Svetilnik) in picturesque Izola is a great spot for families because of its easy access to the town. From Izola’s medieval Venetian-era center, boardwalks cut through a pleasant pine-shaded park and onto this arc of silver pebbles.
To the right is the beach's eponymous lighthouse and to the left, cliffs hang over the turquoise sea. Plaža Svetilnik also has all the necessities for a day on the coast with the kids – including a playground and ice cream – as well as lots of space to spread out, so you can catch up on reading and take in the salty breeze.
Grajska Beach, Lake Bled
You are likely to have seen photographs of Lake Bled on guidebook covers and in magazine articles. Here is an opportunity to insert yourself into the scenery and cool off in one of the world’s most beautiful settings at the same time. On the shore of the tectonic, glacial lake, Grajska Beach (Grajsko Kopališče) is a series of manicured grassy areas, boardwalks, and diving platforms that extend into the water, which can reach 72°F (22°C) in the summer.
Don't just swim here, the lake's enticing views make it a must-visit too. The 11th-century Bled Castle looks out across the lake from a bluff behind the beach, whilst the Church of the Assumption pokes above the trees on Bled Island that sits in the middle of the lake. All of that, just a camera click away.
Fiesa Beach, Piran
Best for watersports
It’s an easy-going, 15-minute walk along the seaside promenade from the center of Piran to Fiesa Beach, and this shoreline stroll makes it worth the trip alone. You’ll ogle the sailboats that dot the Adriatic’s horizon as you get closer to the Fiesa part of town, which includes a camp and a lake.
The shoreside area itself has a tree-covered section and a pebble beach, and for those after more than a day’s sunbathing, the typically calm currents at Fiesa Beach make it a popular spot to canoe, snorkel, and stand-up paddleboard too.
Žusterna Beach, Koper
Best for city swimming
Slovenia’s largest seaside city, Koper, is often overlooked as a coastal destination. Don’t make the same mistake. Its ancient architecture and wonderful restaurants make it a treat to visit – and its collection of places to plunge in the Adriatic are unduly underrated.
Take, for instance, Žusterna Beach, a 20-minute shoreside stroll from the city center. Its beach complex (a mainly concrete bathing area – typical of Southeastern Europe) attracts stand-up paddleboarders and kayakers. It also boasts two swimming pools (one Olympic-sized and one saltwater) and on-duty lifeguards, so parents can relax in lounge chairs until the sun meets the sea.
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