4 days in Slovenia (part 2)

Hello everyone!

Today we are continuing on with our 4 day tour through Slovenia. After visiting the capital, Ljubljana, the first day, we went towards Lake Bled, one of the most visited attractions in the country, and we spent the morning there. It was around a 40 to 50 minute car drive from Ljubljana.

You can also go by bus from the Ljubljana station. Buses leave every hour and the journey takes around 1.5 hours. The cost of the trip is 8 euros.

Lago Bled

On our arrival we tried to find a place to park for free, but after going around the area several times, I think that the easiest thing to do is to leave it in a car park right next to the lake which costs 10 euros. If you are lucky and there are several of you in the car, such as in our case, it will not work out too expensive and you will save time to enjoy the lake.

The lake is incredible, the landscape with the mountains in the distance, an island with a church in the centre of the lake, a castle at the top of a hill...

4 days in Slovenia (part 2)

You need around 1.5 hours to go around the lake on foot on the route which surrounds the riverbank. We didn't have too much time so we just went round part of it and we went to the top of the hill to see the castle. We went on foot even though it is also possible to go by car and park in a car park which is right next to the castle.

4 days in Slovenia (part 2)

Before visiting the lake, I did some research and from what I read on different blogs, it was not worth visiting the castle and it cost around 8 euros, if I remember rightly. They only recommended it for the views from it, but there is another way to enjoy a nice panoramic view.

We tried to follow the instructions that I had read on a blog and we followed a route behind the castle which was fenced off but we went anyway; we saw people along the route so we didn't pay too much attention to the fence and the sign which said "access forbidden". At one point along the route we must have got lost since we didn't come across the views that we were hoping for, but it was worth it anyway.

4 days in Slovenia (part 2)

The lake offers lots of possibilities. You can rent a boat and row to the island in the middle of the lake and visit the church. The price is between 10 and 15 euros. We decided not to do it but another time with more time to spare it probably would have been worth it (even though it is quite a lot of effort to go there and back because it is not as simple as it seems).

An interesting fact about this island is that there is a tradition that says that so a marriage is long and happy, the groom must carry the bridge up the 99 steps of this island, in fact there are still couples that celebrate their wedding here.

Ah! Make the most of it if you go in summer since swimming is permitted, in fact there are areas which are especially dedicated for it, however odd its seems, seeing as it is lake water it is actually quite nice.

Bled is most definitely one of my favourite places in Slovenia. I have already been twice and I always want to go back there. Also, depending on the season the colours of the landscape change and they give a very unique touch to the place.

4 days in Slovenia (part 2)

I also recommend visiting the Bojinj lake, which is really near to Bled, since it also seems incredible. Unfortunately, we had to miss out on seeing some places so that we could see things without rushing.

Vintgar Gorge

At lunchtime we ate in one of the restaurants in the area and right after eating, we headed to our next stop: Vintgar Gorge. It is just 4km from there and it takes around 15 minutes to get there. On our arrival, we came across a quite big car park to leave the car in, which was free.

It belonged to the Triglav National Park, a nature reserve. To enter the park, you have to pay 3 euros if I remember rightly, which goes towards its maintenance.

In our case, we didn't have to queue since we went to the park in low season, but if you go in peak season they advice that you visit the park first thing in the morning to avoid queues and to be able to enjoy the park without loads of crowds.

It is a gorge over the Radovna river with emerald coloured waters which will leave you gobsmacked. This gorge separates two mountains, Borst and Hom, so as you can imagine the landscape is full of vegetation and some of the its vertical sides reach a height of 100 metres. You can go around the gorge thanks to some wooden walkways and paths which were built in 1893.

4 days in Slovenia (part 2)

The route is not difficult, almost completely flat and it takes 1.6km to go from one end of the park to another. We took around 2 hours to go around it although you can do it in less time, but we stopped quite a lot to take photos and it took us a bit longer.

Along the route we came across several wooden bridges that bought us from one side of the river to the other. At some parts of the route the river flows really peacefully and they even create natural pools.

In an area, there was the riverbed with several piles of stones stacked which had been built by tourists, of course we didn't hesitate in building our own.

At the end of the route we came across the Sum waterfall, around 13 metres high. From here you will get the perfect photo!

4 days in Slovenia (part 2)

Arriving to this point, turn back until you arrive at the park entrance again, perfect to appreciate the route one more and see the landscape with fresh eyes. I, at least, didn't tire of seeing the emerald colour of the water.

To finish off with Vintgar Gorge, I recommend wearing comfortable footwear since even though the route is simple, there are sections where the wood is damp so it can be slippery and other parts where there are gaps between the wooden slabs. Also, I always walk more peacefully and enjoy the walk more with comfortable footwear on.

4 days in Slovenia (part 2)

Predjama Castle

The third day we visited Predjama Castle in the morning. This castle is the biggest one inside a cave, in fact, it even appears in the Guinness Book of World Records!

It is located on a rocky wall 123 metres high for no more or no less than 800 years. Behind the castle, there are various interlaces galleries.

You can visit the whole castle, as well as the common rooms, the room where they tortured the prisoners, the kitchen, etc., like the start of a secret cave. The entry fee is 13 euros which in my opinion, if you are not a massive castle lover it may not be worth entering. Also, seeing it from outside is what is most worth doing and it's free!

In our case, some of us went inside the castle but most of us decided to stay outside having a drink in the cafe which was next to it; which gave beautiful views of the castle. The visit for those of us who decided to do it lasted an hour and a half, almost two if I remember rightly, quite a lot longer than we expected. During the visit you could go around discovering things about the castle with the audio guide which was included in the entry price.

4 days in Slovenia (part 2)

I have seen different photos of the castle at night and they also look pretty, even though we were waiting for our visit to the Skocjan caves.

I have to say, very close to the castle, only 10km away, there are other very famous caves: Postonja caves. As we only had time to visit a few we went to the Skocjan ones, a bit further away from our starting point, about 30km away. The journey took us around 40 minutes.

That same day we ate right at a restaurant to the side of the entrance of the Skocjan caves and to our surprise, we realised that on this day of the week they were closed. So guys, be more intelligent than us and always take a look at the website of the places that you are going to visit to see the opening hours or you will miss out, like us. We didn't have any other option than to go back to the apartment and leave the visit for the following day.

Skocjan Caves

Therefore, the fourth day we got up early to have enough time to visit the Caves in the morning and then go and see the coastal city of Piran.

The Skockan Caves are the only site declared a Heritage Site in the whole of Slovenia. And the truth is that it is merited, since these caves exist due to an incredible natural phenomenon. The Reka river flows for 55km on the surface and then disappears underground, already in Italy. Along the route of the caves you can sometimes see the river.

The entrance to the caves cost us 12 euros. But you have to bear in mind that we had a student discount and as I said, it was in low season, thus it would probably be about 5 euros higher normally.

Before entering the caves we walked a while to get to them, longer than we had expected. The visits are always carried out in groups, at set times which you can look up beforehand on the website, with a guide in different languages. We went there with the guide in English since we were an Erasmus group and each one of us come from different countries. Anyway, they don't give the option to do it in Spanish. The visit lasts around 2 hours.

The Skocjan Caves are millions of years old and were lived in during prehistory. There is evidence of this inside and they are explained by the guides. The tourist guides cover around 3km of the 6km total of the cave. However, the route is full of steps, around 500, even though these don't make it too hard.

Another important thing to know is the low temperature inside the caves, therefore it is important to not forget to wear warm clothes, even if you visit in the summer.

For me, the most impressive thing about the cave and what I remember the most is the Cerkvenik bridge, around 47 metres high over the Reka river. If you are scared of heights like some of the people in my group, take it slowly, because you will get across it quicker than you expect!

This was the only photo that I was able to take of the visit since it was forbidden to take photos inside the caves, even without flash.

4 days in Slovenia (part 2)

Final stop: Piran

Amongst the visit, eating and the journey to Piran, it was quite late and it was also in November, or rather it got dark there at around 4 or 5pm. For this reason, we weren't able to enjoy this city but, speaking of the little bit that we could see in the evening, it looked really nice and it is a place with a very different vibe to the other ones that I have told you about previously. I, at least, was left wanting to find out more of this welcoming city.

This has been all that I want to tell you about my trip to Slovenia. I most definitely recommend to everyone to visit this incredible country. I hope you liked it. And as always, thanks for reading!

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