Slovenia in Autumn

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It’s been said that exploring the storybook landscapes of timeless Slovenia is like discovering “Europe in miniature.”  Slightly smaller than New Jersey and often referred to as "the sunny side of the Alps," the number one reason to have an autumn landscape photography adventure in tiny Slovenia is the country is ridiculously pretty!
Autumn colors pop on Slovenia landscapeSurrounded by Austria, Hungary, Italy and Croatia plus a short stretch of Adriatic coastline, it is the place in Central Europe where the Alps meet the Mediterranean.  Slovenia lies at the nexus of four major European biomes—Alpine, Mediterranean, Pannonian lowlands and Dinarides mountains.   Currently 13 percent of Slovenia’s territory is protected through nature parks, reserves and natural monuments.  Almost 60 percent of the country is covered by forest and features some of the most beautiful fall color displays in all of Europe.
As we photograph our way around Slovenia, we encounter a patchwork of spectacular lakes, majestic mountains, striking waterfalls, alpine meadows, vineyards, bucolic farms and architecturally picturesque villages—many ablaze with autumn colors.  To top it off, there seems to be a photogenic fairytale castle or eye-catching church perched on every available promontory.
Our group photographs Lake Bled and its iconic church on Bled Island.  Lake Bled is one of the most popular places to visit in Slovenia and is arguably one of the most beautiful spots in the whole country.  If ever there was a picture postcard setting, this is it!
This trip can be combined with our Undiscovered Montenegro tour Sep 27–Oct 8, 2021.

With a photogenic backdrop of the Julian Alps we capture the tranquil beauty of Lake Bohinj—Slovenia's largest lake—with plenty of time to soak in the dramatic alpine surroundings.  We shoot creative long exposures to photographically accentuate the water of fast-flowing rivers and waterfalls at Vintgar Gorge, and travel Slovenia's pastoral scenic byways to shoot traditional hayracks—often artistically designed, handcrafted and regarded as a distinctive form of Slovene architecture.

We linger in the Soča River Valley to photograph the incredible emerald and turquoise water of the Soča as it wends beneath the warm tones of autumn-cured foliage.  Our route takes us on an exciting tour of some of the highest mountains in Slovenia offering incredible sunset views across Slovenia and into Italy.  For two days we explore the Adriatic coast, and shoot the graphically attractive vineyards that are just starting to show fall colors in the grape vines.  Finally we visit the historic capital Ljubljana.  From Roman ruins to baroque palaces, the pedestrian-only historic city center provides imagery of its past as well as today's café culture, vibrant riverfront and bustling markets.
Fall is an amazing season to photograph in Slovenia.  Along with a rich cultural experience and varied culinary pleasures, we delight in the smell of the crisp cool air, the explosion of color on the autumn countryside, and the sound of forest leaves crunching underfoot. On this compelling 11-day Slovenia photo tour we capture an impressive trove of vibrant images to be found in this small country’s rich autumn landscape.

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Depart from home
Day 2 (Oct 10)
Arrive in Ljubljana, Slovenia and transfer to our hotel at Lake Bled.  Dinner at one of the nearby fine restaurants. (D)
Days 3–5
Misty forest and autumn foliageThree days photographing the picturesque Julian Alps featuring extensive landscape photography of the fall-colored palette reflected in beautiful Lake Bled.  At what is, perhaps, the most beautiful scenic location in Slovenia, our attention turns to Bled Island surrounded by the tranquil mountain lake.  The 17th-century baroque Church of the Assumption crowns the little island, its bell tower and red shingled roof juxtaposed against these rugged picturesque mountains.  The impressive and highly photogenic 11th-century Bled Castle is perched on a sheer 430-foot-high cliff that soars up from the lake.  Autumn brings a blaze of color to its surrounding forest.  The strategic position of this medieval fortress was once a key stronghold for Napoleon.  Bled Castle was obviously built when defense, aesthetics and opulence trumped modern architectural priorities like easy accessibility.
We visit Vintgar Gorge with sheer canyon walls carved by the Radovna River.  We have wonderful access to its swirling pools, rapids and waterfalls by an amazing rustic boardwalk that traverses otherwise inaccessible areas of this scenic gorge. Here is a great location to experiment with slow shutter speeds to accentuate water movement as we "shoot the rapids."
Our second spectacular glacial lake is Bohinj—the largest lake in Slovenia.  This is another Slovenian picture postcard location where the oranges from beeches and the golden yellows from larches and birches brighten the landscape.  Here, charming wooden houses and iconic hayracks compete with fall colors for pixels in our cameras.  We have plenty of time to explore this intensely photogenic area to capture that explosion of color in a wide variety of natural landscapes and bucolic scenes of rural life.  (BLD)
Days 6–7
Our planned itinerary brings us to the Soča River Valley in the western Julian Alps that border Italy.  The Soča is a unique turquoise/emerald waterway that cuts through a rugged maze of narrow gorges that are sculpted by the river, its whitewater rapids and associated alpine springs and waterfalls. The river is one of the best destinations in Europe for whitewater rafting and flyfishing. 
Fall colors and foggy skiesIt’s hard to imagine that this land of aquamarine river rapids and dense forest was once the site of WWI’s Isonzo Front, where 1.7 million soldiers died. This was the the biggest mountain battle in WWI between Italy and Austro-Hungarian empire. Here, Ernest Hemingway, an 18-year-old ambulance driver for the American Red Cross, was struck by a mortar shell while serving on the Italian front.  His novel, Farewell to Arms—half fiction, half biography—is based on his experience here.
With high elevation snow conditions permitting, we drive up to the highest mountain road in Slovenia (almost 7000ft) where we photograph sunset over the Alps. Here, mountain views are spectacular.  During our ascent, mountainsides of glowing yellow larch trees tempt our cameras.
Days 8–9
We travel south to the attractive coast of Slovenia.  Our late afternoon arrival at Piran—one of the best-preserved historical towns on the Adriatic—is in time to capture sunset over the ocean.  The following morning we start our day by capturing sunrise above Piran—a classic Adriatic photo experience.  Later we shoot the historic city walls as well as its Venetian Gothic architecture.  The nearby vineyards of Slovenia’s wine country are reminiscent of those of France and Italy.  They are at a substantially lower elevation than the Lake Bled area and, with luck, the fall color conditions should just be starting on the picturesque grape vines.   (BLD)
Days 10–11
Hillside covered in fall colorsWith the coast behind us, the journey continues on to Ljubljana.  The town is dominated by the majestic Ljubljana Castle on the hill overlooking the Ljubljanica River that splits the town in two.  Here we wander the charming streets of the old city—camera in hand—and capture the delights of Ljubljana including baroque churches, diverse architectural details, the bustling marketplace, street artists and the cafes crowding the river.
Day 12 (Oct 20)
Following breakfast we transfer to the Ljubljana airport for flights home.
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Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris Enrollment Information

Slovenia in Autumn

Oct 09, 2021 - Oct 20, 2021


A deposit and completed and signed Registration Form are required to reserve a place for you on a Joseph Van Os Photo Safari.


All prices are quoted in US dollars and all payments must be paid in US dollars. For deposit only, we accept Visa, MasterCard or American Express. Final payment of the trip fee is due 120 days priors to departure and must be paid by check or bank transfer. Trip deposits are non-refundable and non-transferable.

We must receive written notice of your cancellation, at which time cancellation fees in the following amounts apply:

If Written Cancellation is Received:
90 days or prior:
89 to 61 days prior:
60 or fewer days:
Cancellation Fee:
100% of deposit
50% of trip fee
100% of trip fee

No partial refunds are made for unused portions or services of a trip for any reason whatsoever. Trips are sold as a package only. This policy also applies to tour extensions and independent travel arrangements. Cancellation fees are not transferable.

Protect your travel investment and purchase a trip insurance policy that includes emergency evacuation coverage. A trip insurance brochure will be sent with your enrollment confirmation. A CANCEL FOR ANY REASON policy is available.

Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris are within the capabilities of average people in good health. Some of these trips require the capability of walking for several miles over uneven trails, stepping from a small boat to a wave-washed rocky beach, flying in small planes and helicopters, and occasionally hiking at high elevations—all while carrying an assortment of camera equipment. If you have concerns about your own capabilities and/or fitness as it relates to a trip, please inquire with our office before reserving a space. By forwarding a signed Registration Form and trip deposit, you certify that you do not knowingly have any physical or other conditions of disability that would create a risk for you or other trip participants and you agree to inform our office in writing if changes in your health occur any time prior to the tour. We reserve the right to request a doctor's statement of good health. The company's or trip leader's judgment shall provide the ultimate determination of an individual's ability to embark upon or to continue a trip. Once a trip has been confirmed, medical circumstances will not be considered as exceptions to our cancellation policy. We assume no responsibility for medical care or for special dietary requirements. “Meatless” meals are normally available at most locations. Due to the remote nature of many photo locations, and the growing diversity of today’s dietary trends, participants requiring special food items are encouraged to bring their own.

Tour members are asked to refrain from smoking with or near the group.

Participants will receive three emails before the trip departs: 1. Initial Tour Information sheet confirms the deposit and provides pre-departure information. 2. Invoice/Practical Information provides clothing and photo gear recommendations, climate data, applicable health advisories and reading list. Visa information will also be included (if applicable). 3. Final Tour Information includes arrival instructions, itinerary revisions (if any), hotel addresses, trip telephone contact information and participant list. We provide the trip leader's telephone number(s) and/or e-mail address with final documents so you can inquire about special photographic questions you may have regarding your trip. We welcome your calls or e-mail messages to

Information supplied upon enrollment describes the specific costs that are included in your trip fee. Generally these costs include lodging in double room occupancy, all meals (specified in the itinerary as BLD denoting breakfast, lunch or dinner), ground transportation during the trip in vans or small busses, air transportation as specified, meal and baggage tipping, and guide services provided by the trip leaders. Not included are airfare or other transportation from your home to the trip staging location, airport departure taxes, insurance, alcoholic beverages and bar expenses (plus bottled water and soft drink expenses on international tours outside of North America), tips and gratuities to local guides abroad, phone calls, passport or visa expenses, laundry or items of a personal nature. Gratuities to Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris trip leaders are optional and always appreciated. Rates are based on group tariffs; if the trip does not have sufficient registration, a small party supplement may be charged.

Single accommodations are available for a supplemental cost in many locations; see the pre-departure trip information or call our office for details. You will be charged the single supplement fee if you desire single accommodations or if you wish to have a roommate, but one is not available. In some remote locations, clients with single rooms are infrequently compelled to share a room due to circumstances beyond our control. In such cases, appropriate per diem refunds will be made reflecting the direct cost of the single room at the facility where clients are required to share. There is no additional single supplement fee on ship-based cruises, if you request a roommate and one is not available.

Cost increases may occur unexpectedly due to rising costs of airfares, ground transport, fuel surcharges, accommodations and currency fluctuations, among others. Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. may be compelled to amend prices, and we reserve the right to do so without prior notice. An increase in trip prices shall not be sufficient grounds for any refund of funds paid for the trip other than as determined by the terms of our cancellation policy.

Whenever possible, our trip participants are lodged in comfortable, modern hotels. We select among the best available accommodations, but refrain from extravagance. Some interesting photographic destinations are far removed from modern amenities, however, and where necessary we will be accommodated in rustic country inns, cabins or tented camps.

Meals are always a special part of our trips for the camaraderie they engender and the opportunity they provide to try new foods from different areas. Depending on the trip and specific locale, participants order restaurant meals from the full menu or, less frequently, table d'hôte. Some trips include picnic lunches in the field. Fruit juice for breakfast and coffee or tea are included with the meals. Soft drinks are included with meals on tours within North America. Participants are responsible for their own bar tab (including bottled water, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages on tours outside of North America) at restaurant lunches and dinners.

Our itineraries are intended as examples only. Participants should allow for flexibility due to changes in weather, natural history or cultural events, or other logistical arrangements deemed necessary by Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. or our leaders.

The second tour leader (and any subsequent additional leaders) listed for each trip on the website will be added as the group size warrants. If only one space remains on a trip, and logistics permit, we accept two persons traveling together, even if it exceeds the trip maximum.

Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. and/or their Agents act only as agents for the passenger (trip participant) in regard to travel including, but not limited to, sightseeing, meals, lodging, transportation, and all other services whether by railroad, motorcar, motor coach, boat, ship or aircraft or other conveyance, and they assume no liability for injury, damage, loss, accident, delay or irregularity which may be occasioned either by reason of defect in any vehicle or for any reason whatsoever, or through the acts, bankruptcy or default of any company or person engaged in conveying the passenger or in carrying out the arrangements of the trip.

They can accept no responsibility for losses or additional expenses due to delay, cancellations or changes in flights or other tour services, and by force majeure including sickness, weather, strike, war, volcanic eruption, terrorist acts, political unrest, quarantine, epidemics and outbreaks, or other causes.  All such losses or expenses will have to be borne by the passenger, as trip fees provide for arrangements only for the times and locations stated. Baggage is at the owner's risk entirely.

The right is reserved to 1) substitute hotels of similar category for those indicated and to make any changes in the itinerary or transport where deemed necessary, or caused by changes in flight schedules or equipment substitution; 2) cancel any trip prior to departure due to low enrollment, in which case full refund of the paid trip funds will be given, but Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. is not responsible for any other trip preparation expenses such as penalized or non-refundable air tickets, visa fees and medical related expenses; 3) At the company’s sole discretion, suspend or postpone any trip due to force majeure in which case the trip may be rescheduled, or a refund issued less any non-refundable deposits paid to tour component providers on behalf of the passenger, or a travel credit given, but Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. is not responsible for any other trip preparation expenses such as penalized or non-refundable air tickets, visa fees and medical related expenses; 4) substitute trip leader(s) for the leader(s) originally specified, in which case the substitution is not a basis for participant cancellation or refund other than provided by our normal cancellation policy; or 5) accept or retain any person as a member of any trip.

Trip prices are based on tariffs and exchange rates in effect at the time of publication and are subject to adjustment in the event of any change therein.

A Registration Form including the Enrollment Conditions and Release and Assumption of Risk sections must be signed by each participant prior to the commencement of the trip. Participation by any trip member will be declined in the absence of the signed Registration Form including the Release and Assumption of Risk section, with no trip fee refund. No modification to the Registration Form including the Release and Assumption of Risk section will be accepted.

Should Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc., or anyone acting on their behalf be required to incur attorney's fees and costs to enforce this agreement, the enrolling trip participant(s) agree(s) to indemnify and hold them harmless for all such fees and costs. In the event a lawsuit is filed, the enrolling participant(s) agree(s) to do so solely in the County of Lewis in the State of Washington. Certain ship owners require the use of pre-printed ticket forms that limit the ship owner's and operator's liability. When such tickets are used, the passenger is bound by the terms of these tickets with respect to the passenger's legal relationship to the owners and operators of the ship, their agents (Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc.), and the ship's crew.

Slovenia in Autumn: Moderate Activity Level

Van transportation.  Photography from roadways and trails near the vans.  Walking on cobblestoned streets and established trails for up to two miles (total) on several days.  Daily photography commutes from our lodging with midday breaks and lunch at restaurants.
Trip Details
Oct 09 - Oct 20, 2021
Fee: $6,495 from Ljublijana, Slovenia
Deposit: $800
Limit: 12 participants
Activity Level: ModerateModerate
  • Capture some of Europe’s most colorful and expansive fall foliage displays throughout Slovenia’s picturesque mountain forests
  • 9 photo days exploring the landscape, architecture and culture of captivating Slovenia, from its pristine alpine wilderness to the stunning Adriatic coast
  • Shoot a picture-postcard castle enveloped by stunning fall-colored trees reflected in iconic Lake Bled with the Julian Alps in the background
  • Experiment with slow shutter speeds as you “shoot the rapids” of stunning Vintgar Gorge 
  • Enjoy the warm hospitality and wonderful cuisine of this tiny Central European nation
Tour Leaders
Joe Van Os

Joe Van Os

And Local Guide