Caves and Castles in Slovenia

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What do you think of when you hear “Slovenia”?

If you're like most people, you're probably just like, “Slo-where?

Slovenia isn't exactly the most popular destination in Europe. In fact, many people have barely even heard of the little nation wedged in between Croatia, Austria, and Italy. I know I didn't even know much about it before last year, when I started to notice a bunch of bloggers going there and raving about it.

Based on those ravings, I decided to go check out what all the fuss was about Slovenia.

Predjama Castle, Slovenia

It turns out that this country is amazing, with a gorgeous capital city, a stunning resort town, all sorts of adventure activities, and some really lovely people. But the amazingness doesn't stop there.

My third day in Slovenia was full of yet more surprises — of both the natural and man-made variety.

Postojna Cave

My morning began with an hour-long train ride from Ljubljana to Postojna. It was made extra exciting when I fell asleep on the train and missed my stop. I ended up at the tiniest train station ever trying to explain my stupidity to two women who barely spoke enough English to realize that I deserved to be laughed at. Somehow, though, they understood enough to call the taxi driver who had been supposed to meet me at the Postojna stop, explaining the mix up and asking him to come get me a few miles up the tracks instead. Thank goodness for the kindness of Slovenians.

My destination for the morning was the #1 tourist attraction in Slovenia — the awe-inspiring Postojna Cave. I was even visiting on the same day as the country's president.

Postojna Cave, Slovenia

This 20,570-meter karst cave system is the second-longest in Slovenia, and was discovered by accident more than 100 years ago. Since being discovered in 1818, the cave system has become the reason many people come to this part of Slovenia.

Postojna Cave, Slovenia

Getting into the caves is half the fun, with a train ride that takes you through narrow tunnels and shadowy caverns. Once deep inside the cave, “tours” are offered in various languages. Unfortunately since English is the only language I speak, I had no option but to join a group that must have been at least 100 people strong. With only 1 tour guide and an odd audio system, I missed a lot of the fun facts shared about the caves.

Postojna Cave, Slovenia

I guess it's a good thing the surroundings were cool.

Postojna Cave, Slovenia

Postojna Cave, Slovenia

Postojna Cave, Slovenia

My biggest pet peeve about visiting Postojna Cave though? Photography *technically* isn't allowed. … Oops.

The reason for the photography ban is because there are organisms that live inside the cave that can be hurt by light — like mosses and the olm, a blind amphibian that's often called the “human fish” because of its fleshy color. But, I figured as long as I didn't use a flash, I could get away with a few cool cave shots. Because the caves ARE admittedly very cool.

Postojna Cave, Slovenia

Postojna Cave, Slovenia

Predjama Castle

After the caves, I shared a taxi with 3 Australians I'd met in the parking lot to drive the few kilometers to Predjama Castle. As far as castles go, this Renaissance-style one is especially cool. Why, you ask? Because it's built into the mouth of a freaking cave.

Predjama Castle, Slovenia

The castle isn't huge as far as castles go, but, walking up to it, it looks and feels like something that would easily fit into a fantasy novel.

Predjama Castle, Slovenia

I spent about an hour wandering through the castle's rooms, but it was the location of the place that really amazed me. You could see where the castle walls melded into the stone of the cave — and you could walk back into the cave to see the “escape route” that inhabitants could have used during times of war or siege.

Predjama Castle, Slovenia

Predjama Castle, Slovenia

Predjama Castle, Slovenia

Predjama Castle, Slovenia

By the time we left, I had decided that I wanted to live in a cave castle.

 

If You Go…

Planning a trip to Slovenia and want to visit these spots? You can buy a combination ticket for both Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle. Adult combo tickets run about 28 EUR, but do not include transport between the two attractions. I paid a taxi driver 30 EUR for the whole day (including pick-up/drop-off at the train station in Postojna), but ended up splitting the costs with the Australians I met.

Perhaps a pricey day trip if you're on a budget, but these are still both pretty cool things to see in Slovenia.

——

Would you want to visit either of these sites in Slovenia?

 

Big thanks to the Slovenia Tourist Board and the folks at Postojna Cave for helping set this day trip up for me. As always, though, opinions are my own.

"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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25 Comments on “Caves and Castles in Slovenia

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  1. Wow, Postojna cave looks amazing- glad you got some photos of it (even if you broke the rule!). I visited Slovenia for the first time this summer too and I was amazed at all of the beauty in this teeny tiny country.

      I feel a little bad for breaking the rule… hopefully the tourist board doesn’t scold me! Lol.

      But yeah, Slovenia is such a lovely country. I definitely need to go back sometime!

    Love the cave. You did OK not using flash. The castle cave combination sounds liveable. I keep adding places to my Central Europe list from your visit. Thanks.

      I got a few decent cave shots without flash! And awesome to hear that you’re adding places to your list based on my trip!

    Ooooh, pretty! I’ll have to go here next time I’m in Slovenia. So much more of the country I need to explore!

      Same here! Which is crazy, considering it’s not really a very big country!

    Caves are notoriously hard to photography- nice job.

    Slovenia is the number one country to visit on my list of European countries I haven’t visited.

      Thanks! I took plenty of terrible cave shots to get those few good ones, though… lol.

    I am a great fan of many things, including caves. I am thinking of going to Slovenia but unfortunately their tourism board cannot support bloggers for the next year, so I was told. Budget cuts. I think they are cutting the branch they are sitting on by not helping travel bloggers come and see such great places you got to go to and then inspire other tourists!

      Well, for what it’s worth, I would suggest going to Slovenia and paying for it yourself anyway! It’s a fantastic country. And double-check on them working with bloggers – I think they ARE planning to do a bit more in 2013.

    Wow this is awesome! I LOVE caves and diving cenotes but the cave/castle things is ridiculously cool. I am so putting Slovenia on the list!

    I too have only heard wonderful things about Slovenia but this post has definitely sold me on the country! The caves look amazing. I’m so glad you snuck pictures 🙂 I love that castle! Its location is really unique and interesting. Both will be on my list of must sees.

    Great post. Although you broke some rules by taking photographs, I loved them 🙂

      Thanks, Puru! I don’t like to break rules, especially when I travel. But this was one rule I just had to rebel against!

    I’ve once read that Slovenia has everything you can wish for: breathtaking mountains, charming towns, beautiful lakes, castles and caves as well as relaxed coast. And I guess it’s true. Such a tiny yet beautiful country! I’ve been there 3 times but still there’re a lot of places I need to visit, Postojna is one of them!

      I definitely agree with the fact that Slovenia has everything you could wish for! It’s certainly a country I could live happily in for a while.

    Say what, Slo-Where!!! Haha, I like it 🙂 Seriously though, Slovenia is like the gem of Europe that know one really gets to because they all end up in neighboring Austria or Croatia. Thats good for us though cause it makes for less tourists.

      Yes, definitely! With Slovenia being so close to Austria and Croatia (and even Italy!), I feel like people do tend to skip over it. But they shouldn’t, because it’s amazing!

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