Predjama Castle and The Caves

In one day, you can easily visit three of Slovenia’s most stunning destinations: the Postojna Cave, Predjama Castle and Škocjan Caves.

Postojna Cave is a 24 kilometers long cave system, made up of four caves interconnected through an underground river. This cave is the longest one in Slovenia and one of the longest in all Europe. As interesting fact, German forces used the cave to store 1,000 barrels of aircraft fuel during World War II.

Predjama Castle is one of Europe’s most dramatic castles. This Renaissance castle,  was built in the mouth of a cave halfway up 123-meter cliff around year 1200, but most of what we can see today is from the 16th century.

Škocjan Caves are a unique natural phenomenon included in the UNESCO list in 1986. These caves, one of the largest underground canyons in the world, are truly amazing. They have beautiful stalactites, stalagmites and other rocks formations, but what makes this place so unique is the underground river (Reka River) which disappears into the underground beneath a rock wall.

Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle are near to each other (like 5-10 minutes’ walk), however, from the castle to Škocjan Caves you have around 30 minutes’ drive. To reach them I highly recommend you to rent a car and drive there. It is a one hour drive from Ljubljana and around a 45 minutes drive from the coastal towns.

Postojna Cave

Some important information

To visit the cave you need to book a tour. The price per adult varies from €25,80 to €27,90, depending on the season of the year you visit the cave.

Before the tour starts, a guide will group you according to the language you chose. Guides speak many languages; Italian, English, German… If you speak different languages I highly recommend you to avoid the English group because it is usually the most crowded one.

Inside the cave

Inside the cave there is a constant temperature of 10 degrees. It is damp and chilly, so I suggest you to wear pants and to bring a jacket to avoid cold. If you get cold easily, you may also want to bring gloves and a hat.

The tour of Postojna Cave starts off with a train ride. The journey is around 4km long and it last less than 15 minutes.

The yellow train drives you through a hall with Murano-glass chandeliers. I couldn’t stop taking pictures since I was amazed at what I was seeing. However, I didn’t know that this was not even the best of what the cave had to offer.

After stepping off the train a guide will lead you through the cave, sharing interesting scientific and historical information. You will follow a well lit path and you will see enormous stalactites and stalagmites, the oldest one – open to the public – is 150,000 years old.

I have read many blogs where people say that taking photographs is not allowed. Well, we could take photos (no flash of course) during the whole tour, so I assume it depends on the guide. Therefore, if you want to take photos of this amazing place, ask your guide before starting the tour.

Predjama Castle

Some information

Less than 10 minutes’ walk from Postojna Cave you will find Predjama Castle.

The entrance fee for adults is €11,90 and the opening hours vary depending on the season of the year. If you plan to visit the castle between May and October, the first tour starts at 9:00 am, otherwise you have to wait until 10:00am to enter the place.

If you are planning to visit both the castle and Postoja Cave you can purchase a joint ticket for €31,90.

Inside the castle

The entrance fee includes an informative audio guide with 29 points of interest throughout the castle detailing its history.

During the visit you will find many original items, as well as replicas in the rooms and halls. Thanks to the audio guide you will learn several interesting facts as you walk among them.

The castle itself is easy to visit, although some areas are very narrow and cobbled, so I recommend you to wear compact trainers.

The audio guide tour lasts around one hour. You can also walk through the castle without the audio guide, in this case inform yourself about its history before visiting it, otherwise you will wander through the rooms without knowing what you are seeing.

Once you finish the visit it can be a good idea to drive 30 minutes to Škocjan Caves

Škocjan Caves

Some important information

To visit the caves, you will need to book a tour. There are three different tours:

Through the underground canyon: The first tour takes places at 10:00am every day of the year. The price per adult varies from €16 to €20 depending on the season of the year you visit the cave.

Following the Reka River underground: This route is only available from April to October. The timetable varies depending on the season of the year but the price per adult  remains constant to €12,50. A combined ticket of both tours (1 + 2) costs €24.

Along the Škocjan Education Trails: This tour allows the visitor to learn more about the geology, relief forms and hydrological characteristics of the area. This is also a guided tour and costs €6 every day of the year.

Before the tour starts, a guide will group you according to the language you chose. Guides speak many languages; English, German, Chinese…

In a group of maximum 25 people, you will enter the Škocjan Caves.

Inside the caves

Inside the cave there is a constant temperature of 12 degrees, so it is advisable to bring a jacket and hiking boots or compact trainers to avoid cold and to prevent yourself from the slippery floor.

For an hour and a half, a guide will lead you through the caves, sharing interesting historical and scientific information. You will see enormous stalactites and stalagmites, you will walk across a bridge that sits 50 meters over the river, you will see the largest underground canyon in Europe and you will enjoy a unique uphill, downhill walk.

The tour ends at the natural opening of the cave.

 

Your turn

Have you ever been to Predjama Castle and the caves? What did you like the most? Is there any other recommendation you would like to do?

In case you want to share your experience, feel free to leave a comment below or to contact me via social networks. I am always thrilled to read your adventures!

 

 

 

*Please, note that I am not an English native speaker. Therefore, you may find some spelling mistakes in this post. Feel free to let me know it and help me improve my English skills.

Visit Slovenia: Piran & Izola

Slovenia is mostly landlocked, with the exception of a small part of land that stretches out the Adratic Sea. In this part of the country there are three small coastal towns: Koper, Izola and Piran, which are worth a visit.

Since I was not really sure what to do, my Slovenian colleagues recommended me to visit Izola and Piran, two beautiful towns with incredible views and great seafood restaurants.

Let’s start our visit to the coast of Slovenia in Piran!

Some information about Piran

The colourful town of Piran was part of the Republic of Venice until 1797, then it bounced between Austria, France and Italy until 1991, when it became part of Slovenia (What a mix of cultures! 😊).

Much of the food and architecture in Piran have Italian influences, since this village is located not far away from Trieste. In fact, until the middle of the 20th century, Italian was the official language.

Best things to do in Piran

Tartini Square

Until the end of the 19th century Tartini Square, named after the violinist Giuseppe Tartini, was filled with water. It was not until 1895 when some platforms were added and buildings were constructed forming the square we can see today.

Medieval Walls of Piran

You can walk the medieval walls of Piran to get a unique view over the city.

These walls were built during the times when the village was part of the Republic of Venice to protect it from Turkish invasions.

The Church of St.George

To get another spectacular view of Piran and the coast, climb up the hill to visit the Church of St.George. From the yard, in a sunny day, you can even see the Italian and Croatian coastlines.

The Old Town

The old town is a stunning mix of cobblestone streets and colorful houses.

Wander through the old town, eat some seafood in a restaurant in front of the sea and take a walk until the beach.

Some information about Izola

Izola is a hidden gem located between Piran and Koper. I did not know anything about this town before I visited it. In fact, I planned to visit Koper until my Slovenian colleagues stopped me and recommended me to visit Izola. And thanks God!

The town of Izola was established on a small island by refugees from Aquileia in the 7th century. Its name originates from the Italian word “Isola”, which means Island. It became part of the Republic of Venice in 1267. It was in 1954, when it was first incorporated into Slovenia.

Izola still preserves the fisherman’s traditions. The small harbor is the belly of the town and there you can find nice bars and restaurants. The point where all streets meet is consider the center of the town.

Best things to do in Izola

Church of Mary of Haljaetum

The Church of Mary of Haljaetum dates from the 11th century and it is considered the oldest building in Izola, consecrated to protect fishermen.

This ancient building is generally open during daylight hours.

Church of St. Maurus and The Bell Tower

At the top of Izola stands the Church of St. Maurus, patron saint of the town.

The legend says that when praying to the patron to save Izola people from the Genoese navy, a white dove appeared and drew the nave away from the town.

The church was originally built in 1356 and reconstructed several times in the past centuries, but the original Renaissance design and later Baroque modifications were preserved.

You will find a Gothic bell tower standing beside the church. This bell was built in 1585 and is more than 30 meters high. You can visit and climb the almost 100 steps leading to the top of it.

The Besenghi Degli Ughi Palace

This palace, built in 1781, is one of the most well-preserved Late Baroque monuments in Slovenia.

Nowadays, the palace hosts the Izola Music School and it is used as a venue for wedding ceremonies.

Parenzana bike trail

Enjoy some biking in Parenzana Bike Trail. A trail that connects the three countries of Italy, Croatia and Slovenia.

Your turn

Have you ever been to Slovenia? Is there any hidden gem that I forgot to mention?

In case you want to share your experience, feel free to leave a comment below or to contact me via social networks. I am always thrilled to read your adventures!

 

 

 

 

*Please, note that I am not an English native speaker. Therefore, you may find some spelling mistakes in this post. Feel free to let me know it and help me improve my English skills.