We are three women (in our 20s, 30s and 50s respectively) traveling to Slovenia for ten days in late Sept/ early Oct. We really want to make the most of our trip, so please advise if there is anything you think we should add to our itinerary. Our primary interests are Nature, Culture, Food, and New Experiences in general (but nothing too extreme). We are not really interested in night life or clubbing. Here is our itinerary:
day 1: arrival in the afternoon. See the Castle & have dinner at Strelec.
day 2: guided city tour in the morning. Lunch somewhere (possibly Monstera Bistro). Union experience. Museums (esp. Museum of Contemporary History, National Gallery, Ethnographic Museum... would we likely have time for more?). In the evening, we want to participate in the Slovenian Tourist Information Centre's free intro class to Slovene. Dinner somewhere. Boat ride. Illusion museum.
day 3: [Not sure what to do in the morning. Is the Zoo worth seeing?] picking up our rental car @4pm. Participating in a cooking class in the evening.
day 6: Skocjan Caves & Predjama Castle
day 7: hike in the Valika planina area
day 8: (might have stuffed too much in this day...) Visit a cheese farm in the morning. Drive through Skofja Loka, see Jamnik, Kropa, and Radovljica(visit the bee factory there). See Lake bled, vintgar gorge, Lake bohinj. Dinner at Vila podvin.
day 9: drive on some part of the Solčava panoramic road. See Robanov Kot and Rinka.
day 10: hike from vrsic pass to slemenova spica (not sure how long that will take...Would we have time for additional hikes?).
(We also want to try the restaurants Gostisce Gric, Gostilna Skarucna)
Here are some questions we failed to find definitive answers to by googling:
I. We are a bit concerned about the weather: how cold does it get? How often does it rain? & When it does rain, does it last for the whole day, or even several days, or just a couple hours?
II. I speak fluent English and some German. I was curious if it would be worth it to work on my German before the trip. My understanding is that the older generation does not necessarily speak English. So I was wondering if German would be helpful if I talk with older people.
III. Is driving difficult in Slovenia? When we went to Croatia a couple of years ago, we were quite stressed at several occasions because the roads were super narrow and drivers are a bit crazy (esp. in Dubrovnik). Are there areas we should avoid driving-wise?
IV. An additional concern is that we are not big wine drinkers and usually prefer to have our meals without any drinks (water at most). Would it be rude to not order any drinks at restaurants? (I was told that it's rude to not order drinks when I was in Austria...) Related to that, I read that tipping is not necessary and we should just round our bills; is that correct?
V. Finally, what do you think are some good souvenirs to bring home from Slovenia? I read that wine, honey, lace, and salt are the most popular choices. Are there any particular brand you recommend?
Thank you. (This is my first time posting a question on Tripadvisor; please let me know if I am not doing it right.)