If you are planning a trip to Slovenia, then you might have noticed that there are a ton of castles and historic churches everywhere!
Some of them are restored, and some are left in ruins, but no matter the state of these historical buildings, you can still feel that that delightful and magical feeling upon seeing these castles.
We suggest renting a car in Slovenia and discovering these castles for yourself, as that’s the easiest way to travel around Slovenia. However, if you don’t want to rent a car (or you just prefer the context that a guided tour provides), we’ve suggested guided day trips which you can take from Ljubljana.
If you are planning on checking out some of them, then here is a list of the best Slovenian castles that you can add to your itinerary!
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The Most Amazing Castles in Slovenia
The word “Predjama” means in front of the cave, which is an apt name as . this castle has been strategically built for defense nestled in the cliff in the Postojna Cave Park. The castle is over 800 years old, tucked away in the middle of a 120+ meter cliff.
There are a lot of stories that surround it and one of the most popular would be with the Slovenian “Robin Hood” knight, Erasmus Lueger (Erazem). There are many secret passageways from the castle inside the cave which led to the top part of the cliff, where he would sneak out supplies and food as well as for his robberies.
It is believed that ghosts lurk here since they were not able to recover the dead bodies from a year-long siege during Erazem’s stay. It is usually open from 9 AM to 6 PM daily.
Cost: Around €14.90 (around $17 USD) to enter.
How to Get There: Generally, I don’t recommend going by public transport you need to take two buses and it takes about 2.5 hours to reach Predjama each way from Ljubljana. If you’re traveling in summer (specifically from July 5 to September 1), you can go to Postojna via train and walk 30 minutes to the caves, then use the free shuttle bus (timetable here) to get to Predjama and back.
Note that to use the shuttle bus you need to have purchased a combo ticket which is €38.50-45.60 per person, depending on inclusions. Plus, you’d have to pay for the train fare (~€6 each way). When you add it all up and factor in the ~1 hour of walking in the heat and waiting around for transit, a tour starts to sound a lot more reasonable.
Another option is to go by rental car, which takes about 50 minutes from Ljubljana or an hour and 15 minutes from Bled.
People who want to experience staying in a castle should go to Otočec Castle. It is one of the most popular castles in Slovenia that has been converted into a dainty luxury hotel.
Aside from the history of the castle, it boasts a golf course and several parks perfectly located on the island in the middle of the Krka River. This makes it the only castle surrounded by water in Slovenia (the word Otočec translates to “tiny island” in Slovenian).
During the 13th century, it was once inhabited by Otočec knights. It has been reconstructed several times (from Romanesque to Gothic styles) and what is evident today is its stone construction and its L-shaped ground plan. Everything has been adjusted to cater to the hotel function of the castle.
You can enjoy staying here for around $300+ USD a night, which is quite a fortune, but I mean… it’s a castle! Who gets to stay in castles these days? Well… you can! Check photos, prices, and availability here.
How to Get There: As Otočec Castle is now a hotel, it’s better to stay here to get the real feel of it, but it is possible to visit on a day trip and visit the grounds and have a coffee or meal at the restaurant. This would be an ideal place to visit if you have access to a rental car, especially if you’re exploring the Bela Krajina area near the border with Croatia!
If going by public transit from Ljubljana, there’s a once-daily bus that leaves at 7:45 AM and returns at 12:30 PM (information here). It takes an hour each way.
At present, I can’t find any guided tours that cover Otočec from Ljubljana, so the best options would be to stay there if your budget allows (click for prices), otherwise go by car to explore at leisure or take a bus if you don’t have access to a car.
It is considered the oldest Slovenian medieval castle, and it has a beautiful view of the city and the glacial lake it looks above. The castle has been a symbol of the city for centuries. Historically, the function of Bled castle was defensive, hence why the interior is not very luxurious. Now, it is one of the most popular tourist spots in all of Slovenia. Visitors can’t help but notice the ornate coat-of-arms which adorns Bled Castle, carved in stone or gorgeously painted as a fresco.
Records show that the castle was mentioned as early as 1011, and it has undergone numerous restorative efforts together with the Gothic chapel inside. For an added experience, you can dine at the restaurant inside the castle. Bled Castle is open from 8 AM until 8 PM in summer (they close earlier, at 6 PM, during the winter season). There is an entry fee of €9 (around US$10).
How to Get There: Most people opt to spend a few days in Bled and it’s easy to visit Bled Castle from the city of Bled as you can just walk there, which takes about 20 minutes from the center.
If you have a rental car and are staying in Ljubljana, it’s just a 40-minute drive to Bled. Alternately, if you want to get there by public transit, there are frequent buses from Ljubljana to Bled, or you can combine a train to Lesce followed by a bus. Either way, it takes about an hour and a half and costs around $6 USD each way.
If you are looking to include Bled and Vintgar Gorge together on a day trip from Ljubljana, then you can check a cost-efficient package trip here.
You can find this in the heart and capital of Slovenia (which makes it one of the most visited castles). This medieval fortress was built during the 11th century – that’s around 900 years! It is well-known for the symbol of the city’s coat-of-arms with a dragon above it.
Take note that they are open from 10 AM to 8 PM (except Sundays and public holidays, when they are closed) and there is an entry fee of € 10,00 (around US$ 11).
You may opt to travel by road or the funicular railway. Once you get there you will see an archers’ tower, a courtyard, a chapel, a few halls, and rooms. A must-see is the outlook tower, so you can get the best views over all of Ljubljana! It also houses a museum that showcases Slovenian history, culture, and art.
How to Get There: Assuming you’re staying in Ljubljana, it’s quite easy! Simply walk from the center (15 minutes’ walk from the Dragon Bridge), or if you’re tired or the weather is particularly hot, you can take a funicular to skip ~70 meters of altitude gain and be up the hill in under a minute!
If you prefer a little guidance and historical context, I suggest this ultra affordable walking tour which includes a visit to Ljubljana Castle and a funicular ride ticket.
It is believed that the name of the castle originated from the original owner Majnhard Snežnišk. It was once a residential castle on the edge of the Loka Valley, and its history reaches back to the 10th and 11th centuries.
Due to its long history, many changes have been seen in the castle’s appearance, each change influenced by its different owners. Today, the castle is a four-story building with high walls, artificial lakes, and parks with meadows that are connected by walking paths. Stylish furniture from the 18th and 19th centuries are still well-preserved and on display for visitors.
One fun bit of trivia about the castle is that it was once given as a prize in a lottery! While you won’t be so lucky as to win a castle, you can visit them from 10 AM to 7 PM (closed on Mondays and holidays). The entry fee is €5 (around $6 USD).
How to Get There: The best way is by rental car as buses/trains won’t get you all the way here, but only so far as Rupa (bus) or Pivka (train) and then you’d need to take a taxi on. There are no guided tours that I could find.
Rače Castle was built between 1528 and 1533, and it lies in the eastern Pohorje Hills.
It was originally surrounded by a moat which served as a defensive measure. It currently has a wedding hall, painting studio, and a cinema house.
Locals from nearby often get married here, and some national or local political gatherings are also held inside. The chapel inside is dedicated to St. John Nepomuk and it has a baroque altar that dates back to the 18th century.
How to Get There: There are trains daily from Ljubljana, or it’s an hour and 15-minute drive from the capital. If you’re staying in Maribor, it would be even easier, as it’s just an 8-minute train ride away (or 15-minute drive).
This fairytale Slovenian castle dates back to the 12th century (but at this time, it was a far smaller building). It is currently the largest medieval castle in Slovenia.
It was the former seat of the Counts of Celje, but now it is just a castle ruin atop a hill. If you climb Frederick’s Tower, you will get a good 360° view of the entire landscape.
It is usually open from 10 AM to 4 PM and events such as weddings, festivals, and concerts are also held here. There is still an ongoing effort to restore most of the castle ruins. To get in, you have to pay a fee of €4 ($5 USD).
How to Get There: From Ljubljana, it is easily accessible by bus or train; the bus is faster, at only 1 hour and 10 minutes away. Alternately, you can drive the 50 minutes there.
Sources have first mentioned the castle as early as 1213. Some people compare the place to being in a fairytale with that happily-ever-after feel. The current style of the castle was inspired by the last owner Bruno Zuccolini who bought the castle.
This beautiful castle in Slovenia is open daily from 8 AM to 4 PM, but there are longer hours during the weekends and holidays. It is a popular place that will make any wedding or event grandiose. They are open from 10 AM to 2 PM and longer during weekends (until 6 PM). Tickets cost just €2 (around $2.50 USD) to enter.
How to Get There: It is quite difficult to get here via public transit from Ljubljana so I suggest going by car only. You can easily combine it with Sneznik Castle if you have a rental car!
The castle that we see right now is all thanks to the efforts of Bishop Filip, who helped in the restoration since it was almost completely destroyed by a devastating earthquake in 1511.
Loka Castle now consists of four buildings, and it has been through a ton of renovations and reconstructions due to different unfortunate events like fires, earthquakes, plagues, and revolts. Sadly, because of this, the castle we see today is not the same as it was before, but it is still quite beautiful. However, there is a well-preserved wooden farmhouse, Skopar House, which dates back to the 16th century, if you want to see a touch of its previous life.
This lovely Slovenian castle is also home to a museum filled with different kinds of collections of art, culture, history, and science. Tickets cost €5 (around $6 USD).
How to Get There: You can take a train to Škofja Loka from Ljubljana and then walk to the castle. Alternately, if you’re flying into Ljubljana and picking up your rental car there, you can make a detour to Loka Castle on your way to Ljubljana, as the castle is just a 30-minute drive from the airport.
This castle was built in the 12th century and has had several owners until it was abandoned around the 18th century. It was inspired by Romanesque to Gothic styles; however, today what’s left are basically just ruins.
Some people may say that the castle isn’t really what you visit here, but the views which are just breathtaking. You would need to take on a long trail, Lambergh Trail, to get to the castle.
Once you arrive, you can climb the dilapidated-yet-beautiful Romanesque tower, so you can get a better view of the mountains. It is free to enter, but it’s at your own risk as the castle is not fully being kept up at present. Just imagine the nostalgia of going to a castle hidden inside the woods!
How to Get There: Start at the parking lot in the center of the town of Begunje, then make the trip to Kamen Castle in the woods via the Lamberg trail. It’s an easy path, not too much hiking involved, but it will take about 3 hours (more details here).
The castle was once the home of the famous 17th-century scientist and natural historian, Janez Vajkard Valvasor. There is a museum inside that houses a collection of Slovenian traditional costumes, precious minerals, as well as Valvasor’s studies.
The castle has a bit of resemblance with the houses in Santorini because of its dominant white walls; the only difference is it has orange pointed roofs. It stands on a low hill and is considered as one of the important castles in Slovenia.
You can enjoy visiting the castle for a ticket of €5.50 (around $6 USD) and they are open daily from 9 AM to 6 PM.
How to Get There: From Ljubljana, you can take a bus or train as far as Litija and then take a taxi the remaining 8 kilometers. Alternately, go by car, which takes approximately 40 minutes.
Velenje Castle will surely remind you of the ones in fairy tales!
It was built in the Šalek Valley, which is home to a number of other gorgeous Slovenian castles, in 1270 on top of the hill to serve as a fortress. Currently, the grounds are kept well, and there is signage to help you understand the historical importance of this castle.
One of its interesting features is the defense tower and the courtyard that has a well and a large flowerbed. Expect to climb up many steps to get the best views! It also has a museum which houses a good collection of jewelry as well as, for some reason, African art (and a huge mastodon fossil, apparently?).
The castle is open every day but Monday, and they operate from 10 AM to 5 PM. You can pay €2.50 (around $3 USD) for an entry ticket.
How to Get There: Public transit from Ljubljana is not recommended as it takes about ~3 hours each way, whereas by car it’s only one hour drive.
This 13th-century Slovenian castle was named after the Turjak counts, and it has a strong connection to Slovenian literary history as it was used as a setting for several popular stories.
The grounds have a triangular layout and it has two special features considered to be a first in all Central Europe: the round tower or bastion and the Renaissance triangle-shaped defense corridor.
People find the castle unique because of its two chapels, one for Catholics and the other for Protestants (Dalmatin Chapel). The second chapel with preserved Gothic murals was named after Yuri Dalmatin, who was responsible for translating the Bible into Slovenian while he was hiding in the castle.
More Slovenia Travel Resources
If you’re just starting to prepare for your trip to Slovenia, read our guide to planning a trip to Slovenia which features an 11-step checklist!
Next, check out our all-season, all-gender Slovenia packing list.
Don’t Forget About Travel Insurance!
I’m sure you’re aware that travel insurance is a good idea for traveling in Slovenia (or really, any part of the world)! Stephanie and I have both been paying customers of World Nomads for the last three years. We love the peace of mind it gives us in case of emergencies, accidents, illnesses, theft, or trip cancellation or disruption.
While Slovenia is perfectly safe to travel around, there’s always a risk inherent in everyday travel, so it’s better to play it safe.