The most visited attraction in Slovenia are the 24km long Postojna Caves. The caves are located in an area where much of the beauty lies beneath the surface – nearly every square kilometre hides caves and rock formations.
I knew to prepare myself for something special. Yet, nothing could have primed me for the sheer size and beauty of the caves. There was something magical and other worldly about them, it was the highlight of my trip.
Only 5km of the caves passages are open to visitors and are accessed by a train which takes you 2km into the caves. Our guide took us on the 1km circular walk through the various passages, galleries and halls. The highlight for me was the White Room – a cave solely filled with limestone rock. When I passed through, rain water had dripped over the entire surface giving it an ethereal feeling.
Back above ground, the entrance price to the caves also grants you access to the picturesque Predjama Castle which has been perched in the middle of a vertical 123m high cliff for more than 700 years. Its romantic appeal is further emphasised by the idyllic River Lokva, which disappears into the underground world deep down below the castle. Walking up the stairs in the castle, you come to a small bridge and at the end, a door where you can’t see beyond, once you walk through the door an entire cave expands in front of you – you are literally walking into the cave, it’s the stuff of fairytales.
Not far from the Croatian border and more than 1000m above sea level, sits the small village of Gornje Poljane. Among its four houses you will find Turizem Jure.
We visit for lunch and it was like returning home to see your family. Jure had shot of his homemade liquor waiting for us. I tried a peach and one similar to Jäger and my, they were very strong.
Jure then treated us to a four course, which by now is standard in Slovenia, in his bright and airy conservatory. Thankfully, no course consisted of field mice – he catches up to 5,000 a year and then skins them to make clothes and uses the flesh, well, in stew. There is something about eating a mouse that doesn’t sit right with me.
High into the forest, the Loz tourist centre and local hunters offer bear watching. Under the steady gaze (and gun!) of one of the hunters, they lead you through the forest to a viewpoint hidden in the trees and you can settle in with the hope of spotting a brown bear. Sadly, when we visited, the bears didn’t want to come and play, so we had to contend with seeing some paw prints. Despite being on the verge of tears when it came to rafting down a river, somehow I have no problem walking through a bear-filled forest.
We spent our final evening in the lap of luxury (they have massage chairs in the rooms) in Hotel Union in Ljubljana. We arrive just in time to take a stroll into town and visit one of the many bars that line the Sava river. A glass of Slovene red and a river-side seat was the ample moment to reminisce over the past few days.
I knew nothing about Slovenia before I visited and when my WIZZ Air flight landed into Ljubljana airport I didn’t know what to expect. What I found was a small country, but one brimming with charm. From the jaw-dropping scenery to Alpine-fresh smell, and not forgetting the warm hospitality – I can’t wait to go back.