Time spent: 6 days
Day 1- Ljubljuana
Day 2 – Ljubljana & Postojna
Day 3 – Postojna & Skocjan
Day 4 – Bled
Day 5 – Bohinij and Bled
Day 6 – Ljubljana
PM: Arriving in Ljubljana, Slovenia by bus from Venice was easy. Our GoOpti driver was incredibly helpful and offered to drop us off at our hostel just 15 minutes down the road from the planned drop off location.
Having chosen to arrive late in Slovenia we headed straight to our rooms at Hostel Pri Janezu to offload our backpacks, before heading out for a late night stroll around the old town.
Ljubljana was impressive by night. Crowded, but impressive. Tourists filled the streets and restaurants along the river, the lights did every favour to the shining white architecture, and the local people were incredibly friendly and welcoming.
The many bridges that jump across the river become stages to talented performers after night fall. We stood a while on the padlocked bridge listening to the beat boxing talents of a stranger, whilst cringing at the lesser talented dancing of tipsy onlookers.
When the clock struck midnight we decided it was time to head back to our hostel for a good nights sleep as the bells of the local churches rung out through the narrow cobbled streets of the Old Town.
AM: Today we woke around 8am to have breakfast before checking out at 10am. We left our bags in the reception and set out to explore Ljubljana in the day time.
Our first exploration was the infamous Dragon Bridge. After having spent weeks of listening to my partner express his excitement at seeing “Khalisi’s Dragons” we couldn’t not go and have a look at them. With a rich history of folk tales of Dragons in Slovenia it is a must see. You may be underwhelmed by the bridges size, or that the dragons are not much bigger than your dog at home, but at least you can say that you saw the dragons of Ljubljana.
Feeling slightly underwhelmed by the dragons, but keen to see more, we continued our stroll back towards the main streets of the Old Town to view the entirely pink Franciscan Church of the Annunciation
With the Church being so pink, it is highly doubtful that you will miss this attraction – even if you aren’t purposefully looking for it. As crowds gathers to stare at the pinkest building in town we found ourselves suddenly distracted by what lay in front of it.
Behold… Ljubljana’s miniature circle of rain!
Now this might not sound very exciting, but when the weather is pushing 30 degrees, and you haven’t seen rain for over a month this is nothing short of life changing. We passed through it no less than 4 times during our time travelling in Ljubljana.
Momentary rain left us in high spirits. With a new batch of energy we sought a random thrill, deciding that it was time to find the ‘Illusions Museum’ or that we had heard so much about – and what a Museum it was.
Without getting to much into the museums many strange rooms, it was a fun hour and a half spent looking around and interacting with it’s many puzzles. More information on the crazily themed rooms can be found here.
Following the curious activities of the Museum, and feeling sick because of the Vortex Tunnel (yes they have one of those), we thought it best to grab a small snack for lunch before heading up to Ljubljana Castle for a few hours.
The Funicular Railway sits besides the Central Market, and offers a comfortable, walking free, timely ascent to the castle on the hill for a small fee. Tickets can be bought online or at the terminal itself. Offering wanderlust worthy views over the city – you don’t want to miss this attraction. We chose not to pay for a full access pass to the castle, and instead just a standard up and down ticket. We were more than happy with this and spent our time admiring the view and architecture before heading back down for a proper meal.
PM: With just enough time to grab lunch we took it to go before grabbing our backpacks and setting off on the local bus to Postojna. Getting to Postojna took around 45minutes – 1 hour with a little traffic on the way. The ride was stunning.
We quickly realised that Postojna was…. quiet. I could see a flicker of doubt in Irfan’s eyes as he looked at me wondering why were were there. Our doubt was lifted slightly upon entering the Youth Hostel – Hostel Proteus which was fun, vibrant, and friendly.
One Snickers bar later and our energy returned. We only had one night in Postojna, but in our pre-trip planning we had forgotten that there were TWO incredible caves worth visiting here.
Not wanting to waste our time and miss out on seeing both caves we marched to the Postojna Cave on a mission to get there before the last tour at 6pm.
Made it! We managed to get to the Cave 15 minutes early and were ready to join the tour. We were separated into our chosen language and then ushered inside in an organised manner. Upon entering the cave you will walk for around 10 minutes before boarding a small train. You will then be transported deeper into and around the cave before hopping off for the middle section of the tour on foot. Once the tour has ended you will re-board the train and head for the exit.
With much to talk about we began the walk back to the hostel, grabbing a bite to eat on the way. Whilst in the cave we managed to catch a glimpse of the rare Olm Salamander – We called him Peen, and spoke about him for the rest of our trip.
AM: Today we woke up (9am) packed our bags, checked out, left our bags behind, and grabbed a walking breakfast on the way to the incredible UNESCO site… the Škocjan Caves.
We jumped on a bus and found ourselves lost in a small town along with 5 other baffled strangers wondering where on earth we had ended up. Randomly, and suddenly we were approached by a couple of strangers. “You wana go to the caves get in, free shuttle”. We stupidly jumped in. They could have been anyone! Luckily for us, they kept their promise as it turns out that your entrance ticket covers the shuttle costs. Bargain!
This experience was, in our opinion, much less organised than that of the Postojna Caves. The tour guides stood in front of a crown of around 200 people and shouted (without microphones) hoping that everyone could hear them and get organised. Rather than organising us into languages for the tour groups BEFORE arriving at the front of the cave, we were told to push through the crowd depending on which language you spoke and make your way to the front of the crowd.
Anyway, following this shambolic start (and 150 people later) we made it inside. This cave was different. The views, sheer drops, archaic caving equipment and sheer scale of the cave had a huge impact. As the man at our hostel had explained “It’s like something out of Lord of the Rings. It will make you say WOW”. He wasn’t lying.
The tour was long and cold with far too many steps, and yet none of that mattered because of the sheer brilliance of the cave. Having been on the tour of Postojna the day before we worried that this tour would be much of the same information. Thankfully, the tour was unique and offered new information that was bespoke to this exact cave rather than caves in general.
Once we had finished climbing our way our of the caves (take your inhaler if you have one) we grabbed a souvenir and pushed our way to the front of the shuttle bus queue – much like we had done to get inside the cave.
PM: We arrived back in Postojna in good time. Annoyingly we had to go and retrieve our bags from the hostel which meant that we missed the hour-and-a-halfly bus to Bled via Ljubljana. Bored, sweaty, and tired we sat in the bus shelter for 3 hours listening to a group of boys play terrible Dubstep covers. At least it rained… That was a welcome treat.
Eventually the bus arrived and we clambered aboard ready to see ‘Beautiful Bled’. The ride was smooth and offered wonderful views along the way. We arrive in good time as night fell over the town. Ready to take the hour hike to our hostel the heavens opened, this was the one and only time we would take a taxi whilst in Slovenia.
The taxi driver left us his card (very convenient if you aren’t renting a car of your own) and we entered the ever so charming Vila Mangart to offload our bags and dry off. Feeling hungry, adventurous and deprived of rain (the temperature had been way in the late 20’s early 30’s – more than any Brit can bare) we took a walk back in to town to see what the night life had to offer.
Bled is not the flattest of places in Slovenia. The hills make you feel like you’ve been walking for hours, and the lake was smaller than expected surrounded by hotels at one end, and sealed of swimming areas on the other. We were left underwhelmed and decided to give it another chance in the daytime. Eventually managing to find a snack, we called it a night.
Despite having 13.5 minutes of sleep today was phenomenal.
Last night was nothing short of horrid. Of course, when you book a shared room in a hostel you don’t expect a perfect nights sleep – but, you don’t expect two randoms that just met to get jiggy with it in the bed underneath you. Angry and tired I shouted at the drunken pair and dubbed the guy ‘Three Pump Wander’ before jumping into Irfan’s bed to attempt to get some sleep.
Before I move on – If you are in a shared room, show at least SOME politeness. Coming in STINKING of alcohol at 2am, shagging a random stranger, and snoring like a drowning pig just isn’t really ok. Shared dorm or not.
Anyway, rant over!
Walking down the long path into the main part of town was lovely. Last night all we had seen was darkness, but today we were surrounded by mountains.
Taking in our beautiful surroundings we ended up at a small cafe for breakfast . Two cold coffee’s and two panini’s consumed – we headed back to the hostel and awaited our pick-up. Pick-up for what? I hear you ask…
Today we went Horse riding! It was such an excellent experience it deserved it’s own blog. Read about Charlie and Tim (our incredible horses) here.
The rest of the day was spent eating, dipping our feet into lake Bled and long walks around the lake.
Today was reserved for rest and relaxation.
A great plan… However, me and Irfan are absolutely crap at resting and relaxing. It’s just not fun enough. We did give it a good shot. We planned to go swimming in Lake Bled, before realising that it’s just too expensive to be worth it with all the kids that were running around.
Instead we sat by the water with our feet dipped in. The water was so clear that the fish could be seen swimming around no matter how deep they went.
A good 2 hours of soaking our feet later we decided that this just wouldn’t do. We jumped on the next bus to Bohinij Lake. We had heard that it was bigger, colder, and most importantly, it was free of charge.
Double checking that we had packed our snorkel we paid the small fee to get to Bohinij and settled in for the hour drive through the picturesque mountains to get there.
Arriving at Bohinij we immediately realised that it was severely underrated. This wasn’t a problem as it mean that the crowds were small, and finding our own private piece of beach was easy. We dumped our bags in a small spot of grass and waded out into the water.
IT WAS FREEZING!
Irfan plunged straight in whilst I flapped about like an idiot in shock for a good five minutes. Eventually I put my snorkel on and began to forget about the cold as hundreds of tiny fish came to inspect us.
As today was a special holiday in Slovenia we had to be vigilant with bus timings. This meant that we had to leave slightly earlier than we would have planned. Luckily we had enough time to fully enjoy the waters before we had to come back. With nowhere to change our clothes we assisted each other in towel holding before setting off up the pathway back to Bled for the evening.
We spent the evening as we had done the day before, exploring, eating, laughing, talking and dipping our feet in the lake. The next day we would head back to Ljubljana.
Our last day in Slovenia had been left clear for us to buy souvenirs, explore a little more, and eat more pizza.
Today we decided that we had become ‘human carbs’ despite this we opted for more carbs. The main issue we had found with Slovenia, was that unless you wanted to pay extortionate amounts for fine dining, you were stuff with cheap fast food. There didn’t seem to be a middle ground.
Today we wanted to see the things that we hadn’t seen in the night time during our initial visit. In the day time Ljubljana was alive with musicians and street performers. e sat a while watching them all and taking them in before moving to the next act.
Not wanting to pay for a taxi to the bus station we (stupidly) decided to walk to the station where our GoOpti driver would collect us. The walk felt like a 4 hour hike in 32 degree heat with our backpacks on. In reality the walk was 1.5 hours . On the bright side, we didn’t fee like ‘Walking Carbs’ by the time we got there. We waved goodbye to Slovenia as we headed back to Venice for our final few days of adventure.
We had fallen for Slovenia. The people had been incredibly welcoming and friendly. The scenery, caves, horses, sites… It was all amazing. Perhaps we may just come back.