17 May 2009

Slovenia - Postojna & Predjama


So you've been to Ljubljana, you gambled on the shores of Lake Bled, you even managed to get a bit of hiking in at Bohinj, and now you think you've done Slovenia. You are dead wrong, and to convince you of that, here are just two things to add to your agenda: the enormous Postojna Caves and the fairy-tale vision of Predjama Castle, both located in the beautiful Notranjsko-kraška region of western Slovenia.

Postojna Caves

According to their promotional materials, the Postojna caves are the Number One tourist attraction in Slovenia. Judging by the crowds even in the off season, that may just be right. It is one of the world’s largest karst caves encompassing some 20.5 km of caverns created by the Pivka River, of which you can visit 5.7 km on a 1 ½ hour guided tour (including 4 km covered by train – the first lines were laid in 1872). It stays a constant 8 to 10 degrees Celsius year round and is massively humid, so take a waterproof jacket. Also check to see if they are having any musical events – the “Concert Hall” at the end of the tour hosts concerts from time to time, and would be an amazing location for a performance. The caves are also where the “human fish” (proteus anguinus) was identified – you’ll see some on the tour. For 2010, tickets run €20 for the tour only, or do yourself a favor and get the €26 combo ticket for the Postojna Caves and Predjama Castle, 9 km drive from the cave.

For centuries the Predjama castle (Predjamski grad, or loosely translated, "castle in front of the cave") has hung on to the 123 metre cliff covering numerous caves into which the castle linked, and which allowed its inhabitants to “miraculously” withstand sieges. The interior isn’t so interesting, but the exterior really is an amazing sight – it outdoes all pictures. The current look of the castle dates to the 1500s, although the structure was there from long before.

More tourist information on both is available here.

Although a bit out of the way, with the freeway from Ljubljana you can easily hit both Postojna and Predjama castle in a (longish) daytrip and still book in at Piran, Ljubljana, Bled, or even Bohinj for dinner. Alternatively, take it a bit slower and book into the basic but comfortable Hotel SPORT in Postojna for a night.

Hotel SPORT

Kolodvorska 1
6230 Postojna
+386 (5) 720 22 44
Small three star hotel with modern, clean rooms, Hotel SPORT is your best choice for accommodations near Postojna caves and Predjama Castle. Obviously they cater to the healthy set – SPORT stands for “Supporting Passion for Outdoor Recreation and Travel”. So if you are so inclined, stick around, rent a bike, or join in some of the outdoor activities of the beautiful Notranjsko-kraška region. The hotel is easy to find even after a long day on the road – just follow the signs into town. Internet available. CCs accepted.

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