Slovenia is a country you can drive through in half a day. However, with a huge diversity of landscapes, fairy tale-like lakes and long hiking trails, you can spend a whole month in this country and not see it all. This time we decide to just drive less than one hour south from the capital and see what kind of adventure is waiting for us.
It´s 9 am and we are driving from Slovenia´s capital, Ljubljana, to the Predjama Castle and the Postojna Caves: two of the most popular destinations in the country and a very common tour destination that most private companies in Ljubljana offer. The weather is dry and chilly, but equipped with a fleece jacket and the right hiking shoes, I don´t need to worry about anything at all. I must confess that I didn´t do my homework, so I´m traveling to Predjama and Postojna without any prior knowledge or image in my head. I just hope to see something new.
The trip to this area is quick and simple with a car – 10 minutes to get out of the city and half an hour on the highway. However, we decide to take a detour to see a little of the countryside and the small villages along the way
After just a little more than an hour – and that includes many stops inbetween – we arrive and the first view of the Predjama castle leaves us speechless. I´m just glad I didn´t see a photo of this place before. This medieval castle is located at the top of a hill just 9km from the town of Postojna and emerges from a 135m high cave. What served as protection many centuries ago, is now a symbol of unique architecture. I´ve never seen such a structure before, so I can’t wait to enter and see what´s on the other side of these walls.
Now in November the castle has no tourism masses, long lines or annoying tourist guides talking loudly and disconnecting you from the destination. Instead you can wander around the castle by yourself with an audio guide and listen to the story of the castle at your own pace.
A visit to this castle is a must during your stay in Slovenia. It does not only offer amazing views of the valley, but also transfers you back in time. The water drops coming down from the ceiling and the cold stone walls make you very aware that you are literally between a rock and a man made structurea rock and its cold and humid rooms create an atmosphere which takes you back to the middle ages.
Of course, a visit to the castle is not complete until you do one of the hiking trails around the structure.
After visiting the castle we decide to take one of the tours through the nearby Postojna caves. With the images of the castle still in our heads, I can´t imagine this day getting even better. Caves have always interested me, but without a full idea how big this cave really is, I´m not sure what kind of wonder is waiting for us inside.
With 24 kilometers of beauty created by nature itself the Postojna caves are known for their incredible formations of stalagmites and stalactites. These mighty structures cover most part of the cave and create an structure which no designer or architect could ever make.
Once inside the cave we take a 10-minute train ride to the center of the cave. 120 minutes tours depart around three times per day and with not enough time to visit the whole distance, visitors are only allowed to walk the most beautiful 3 kilometers of it.
Although this isn’t the first time I entered a limestone cave, I am just amazed every time we get into a new room and start staring at these 10-meter high natural columns. A journey which is worth every minute we are inside.
The Postojna Caves and the Predjama Castle are two completely different destinations. A perfect daytrip for travelers looking to see something new and want to get the feeling of being small in this big world. Definitely a trip to take into consideration if you are visiting Slovenia and to be honest: if I had to skip one day at Bled or Kranjska Gora to visit Postojna, I would absolutely do it.
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