On numerous small hills of this boutique country in the heart of Europe stand the mighty remnants of times gone by. Castles, or their ruins, dating back more than 1000 years in some cases, tell of true stories, romantic, fun, and cruel, of kings and queens, and they allow you to experience music, paintings, sculptures, and architecture from long ago. You can walk through many of these remnants from feudal times, and you can even spend the night in some.
Many castles are built on top of small hills, so they are worth a visit for the view alone. Bled Castle has incredible views of Lake Bled and the surrounding mountains, Ljubljana Castle and its panoramic tower dominate the capital city, and a fortress that is unique in the world is Predjama Castle, the largest cave castle built into rock and connected to cave tunnels. After visiting the Old Castle in Velje, Slovenia has many more beautiful castles that you can visit.
Bled castle, Photo: Klemen Kunaver
Bled Castle is certainly one of the most iconic images in Slovenia. The castle is situated on a steep cliff rising 130 metres above the glacial Lake Bled. From the castle, which you reach by climbing 99 stone steps, there is an enchanting view of the lake and the surrounding Alps. At the castle, you can have a bite of the traditional Bled Cream Cake or drink a glass of excellent wine. If you choose to have a bottle, you can fill it and seal it with wax yourself. Just as they did in the past.
Ljubljana castle, Photo: D. Mladenovič
On the Castle Hill in the centre of the city, the approximately 900-year-old Ljubljana Castle can be found. If you visit the capital city, make sure you don't miss an opportunity to climb up its tower, where you will be rewarded with a wonderful view of Ljubljana and its surroundings. You can reach the castle by taking the funicular, a tourist train, or walking. At the top, you can enter a virtual museum and re-live the castle’s history or you can treat yourself to traditional Slovenian cuisine in one of its restaurants.
Predjama castle, Photo: Matevž Lenarčič
Predjama Castle is entered in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest cave castle in the world. It will impress you due to the fusion of a natural cave and castle walls made by human hands. The more courageous visitors who have climbing skills can also tour Erazem's cave tunnels, and from May to October, you can visit the karst cave under Predjama Castle, which is considered to be the longest Slovenian cave.
Kamen castle, Photo: Miran Kambič
Celje Castle is the former castle and seat of the Counts of Celje, and today it is considered to be the largest medieval castle in Slovenia. Even though it has not been preserved at its full size, it is still breath-taking due to its appearance and fascinating atmosphere. Enjoy the most beautiful view of Celje from the renovated Friderik Tower, and head to the interior of the castle on a guided tour, where you can hear the myths and legends surrounding the castle. Some of these can also be experienced at one of the events at the castle, which can be enjoyed throughout the year. You will be able to return to the time of the Counts’ receptions and medieval feasts, or enjoy the diverse offering of modern musicians or providers of cultural experiences.
Sevnica Castle will take you through history and fill you with the energy of the earth. The castle, which was visited by the first Slovenian Bible translator in the 16th century, is surrounded by a wonderful castle garden, which is rich in various energy points. Find the energy that you need most in a given moment.
Today, couples in love can commit to eternal love and faithfulness at Sevnica Castle, and visitors can take part in a guided tour of the Castle and enjoy a cup of coffee and a view of Sevnica at the Castle Café. You can taste excellent local wines and even buy a bottle to take home at the Castle Wine Shop. If you wish, you can even become a godfather or godmother of one of the 500 castle grapevines of the Blue Franconian variety.
Otočec castle, Photo: Matevž Lenarčič
Staying at a castle
Enjoy some comfort and pampering in a place where members of royal families once resided. In Slovenia, there are many castles and manors that have been redesigned into modern hotels with excellent hospitality and catering services, but they differ from other hotels due to the sense of bygone luxury. You can stay at Otočec Castle, which is located on a river island, Mokrice Castle, from where you can hike to play a game of golf, Kenda Manor, where you will stay in rooms with 19th century furniture, Drnča Manor, which is surrounded by the Alps, or at Jeruzalem Manor, in the vicinity of which world-class wine is produced.