But firstly i want to tell you about some practical aspects of planning your journey in Slovenia without hiring a car. Slovenia is very car friendly country (roads are one of the main businesses here) and it’s public transport is good. Usually when i plan my route, I choose a shortlist of places to see in the country. Next step, I try to make my route logical as possible and make the shortest route possible.
For my current journey I had an idea of visiting Ljubljana, Bled lake, Postojana cave and Predjama castle, Scocjan caves and after it exploring coastal part of Slovenia. The only trick was that most of the places makes a great day trip from Ljubljana and all of them are located in the same area. Slovenia is not that big and the distances are not huge, most of the sights are 40-60 minutes by car or 80-100 minutes by bus. If you got no car, you have to go there and back 3 or 4 times to see all the places as this sights got almost no transport between them. It was a question of couple extra days to see all sights, which wasn’t the most efficient way to do as i have to overpay for my stay.
My first idea was to visit Postojana cave, Predjama castle and Scocjan caves in one day on the way from Ljubljana to Koper. It is very logical on map, but after researching, i found that it was close to impossible to do it using public transport. I had very big chance to stay somewhere in the middle without no busses till next day. That was one of trickiest puzzle of this part of my journey.
So i had 2 choices: spend 1-2 extra day for day trips or visit Scocjan cave on the way to Koper. It was doable using train as there is an option to catch the right trains. I would have to wait few hours and solve some tricky logistic stuff, but it was doable. And than solution has came: i have found this tour, which goes from Ljubljana through Scocjan caves to the coastal part of Slovenia and then back to Ljubljana. I simply can leave earlier! I contacted Roundabout and asked whether it was possible and they told me it was perfectly fine! WOOOOHOOOO! It’s gorgeous solution as i missed all the hustle and spend very pleasant day visiting lots of places instead of being nervous about schedule and sitting at the empty train station with my bags.
So after all that preparations the time has came! My day has began early with the pickup at one of the points, which was literally next door from my AirBnb stay.
Our first stop was checking Lipica horses. Horse farm is located in very pretty place and the horses are very famous as this is those beautiful white horses, that you probably saw in Wien. They are very smart creatures! Apart from it, their main feature is that they are born brown, but turn white after 6 years.
Our second stop were famous Scocjan caves. This place is the one of three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Slovenia and the only natural. By the way, it is one of the early places in the list, they were inscribed in 1986. These days there were less than 250 of sites in the list compared to 1000+ now. I already visited another famous Postojna caves in Slovenia, but i have heard a lot of interesting about Scocjan caves, so they were on my must-do list. And for a good reason as this cave is one of the largest underground caves in the World.
Visiting Scocjan caves is possible with the regular group tour. You buy ticket and go. When i was there, we had 3 large groups going together, but very quickly there was no-one around, but our group. This tour is moderately hard as there is flat way, but with lots of ups and downs. You don’t need to jump or climb to the rocks, but probably for some people this walk could be little hard. First 20 minutes were boring. Ok, another rocks. OK, another 250 000 000 years old stalactite. Nice, but i saw it before and it is forbidden to take pictures inside.
But then we came to that largest underground cave and my heart goes boom! I mean, it is really big! HUGE! Somewhere 45 metres below me grand river makes her very loud sound, couple hundreds metres ahead i saw no end of the cave and it got ceilings somewhere! That place is enormous and was build by water during millions of years! It’s really insane, i can’t even imagine that this kind of place exists!
The cave was filled with the fog, coming from the river and some lights from the pathway and spotlights. Pathway is another miracle of this place: it goes right on the side of the caves and looks scary from outside. The scariest part of it is the bridge with 45 metres abyss. It was very well made and looks not extreme, but my inner me, who is beware of heights, was nervous.
Same as others, i took couple of pics, but the conditions were so hard and the light so low, that i need much more time to do it right, so that’s the best one i got. Probably it shows 5% of the place. To be true, i realise that taking pics inside Scocjan caves makes no big sense as this place is not suited for it and there is very little chance to do something appropriate without preparation. So probably it’s better to concentrate on what you see, than on what you shot.
Our third stop was little lunch, but special one. This part of Slovenia is famous with it’s own prosciutto, which is dried inside the Karst caves. We went to one place to try it together with some local wine. Prosciutto was nice, very soft and fresh, worth checking to know what it is.
Fourth stop was little surprise for me as it wasn’t mentioned. We went to the observation point to see the coastline. The trick of it was that from just one point we saw Triesto in Italy, all the coastline in Slovenia and little part of Croatia. So it was the place to see 3 countries! Very cool for a nice pic, isn’t it?
From this moment we entered the coastal part of Slovenia. This part of the country have a lot of Italian influences. Slovenian coastline is around 46 kilometres long and i wouldn’t call it the best place for a beach holidays (but the water is clean and you can spend good time here). It’s the area, where Mediterranean region starts, it got the most salty water in it, northernmost olive trees in the world and several very picturesque town.
Our fifth stop was Piran, which is said to be the most romantic coastal town in Slovenia with lots of beautiful Venecian style buildings. We had a couple of hours, which we spend strolling around it’s beautiful streets and enjoying ourselves. I went away from the main piazza and found another little place with couple of pretty cafes. There i had that very beautiful moment of being in a beautiful place, amazing summer weather, clear blue sky, coffee and glass of wine! I mean, is there anything more i can ask during this big day! And good news, it all cost us 5 euro for 2 people! That’s definitely a bargain! Piran city centre is really so nice and cute, it’s hard not to enjoy it!
After it i was expected to leave and take some local bus to my next stop as i had accommodation in Koper, but my guide and driver from Roundabout were so nice, that the brought me directly to Koper to the closest point where it was possible! The group continued to check one more site, which was Predjama castle, but i saw it before, so for me it was even better to quit at this stage.
That was the end of this fantastic day! I mean, visiting UNESCO Site, viewpoint with the view to 3 countries, trying some local unique food, walking around Venetian style city in a good company of people, who could ask for more! That’s why i will end this story with my appreciation to Roundabout. Check their web site and consider them as an option to see Slovenia, as it’s one of the leaders on their market and as you see from my story they are doing great!