The Slovenia Castles... lots of charm and often built in the middle of beautiful scenery! They will offer a nice contrast with the wilder landscapes of the West. Here is an introduction to some of the best castles in Slovenia (and Castle-Monasteries) with photos and video.
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Slovenia Castles in Video
Let's start with a short video giving you a snapshots of the monasteries and castles in Slovenia. Photos of each location are shared in the next sections.
Best Castles in Slovenia
About the Slovenia Castles
Slovenia is quite famous from being fairy-tale like with castles and mansions almost at every corner 🙂
Several websites are indicating that they are more than 500 (including the mansions). I am not sure where they got that number from, but there are many for sure!
They don't look like the huge French Loire Castles but they all have a lot of champs and are often located in very scenic spots.
3 Best Castles in Slovenia
If I had to pick, I think the best castles in Slovenia are:
- Celje Castle - for its shape, its respectful restoration and the fantastic surrounding views over the city, the river and towards the mountains
- Lake Bled Castle - for the views of Lake Bled and the surrounding mountains
- Predjama Castle - For the unique visit within the cave and to learn how they used to live in such circumstances
Planning your trip to the Slovenian Castles
You can find all those amazing castles with access/planning info, GPS coordinates, Maps etc. in my eBook: The Road Trip Guide - Slovenia
Let's start with the capital city. Overlooking the charming Ljubljana is a medieval Fortress dominating the Skyline.
It has been heavily restored and houses several small museums.
It is not the one with the best atmosphere but the views from the top of the tower are amazing with the roofs of the old towns and the Julian Alps in the distance.
- Built in... Probably first build in the 11th century, but the majority of the current buildings date back to the 16th and 17th century
- Atmosphere... Very touristy, too much modern building but splendid views from the top of the Tower
- Location... Access via hiking path or funicular from Ljubljana Old Town
- Visiting... Visiting is possible with different prices depending on the access you want. I recommend taking the ticket with access to the Tower (if you are able to climb a lot of stairs) - And if you want to learn more as you visit, consider booking a Ljubljana Walking tour
Lake Bled Castle
Another very famous castle is the one overlooking Lake Bled. It is considered the oldest castle in Slovenia.
Built on a precipice above the lake, you can enjoy it from the opposite shore or climb up there to enjoy the views.
- Built in... First mentioned in 1011, it is considered the oldest in Slovenia. It was modified until the 17th century.
- Atmosphere... Very Touristy - not much to do inside, very small museum and small chapel. But just sitting to admire the views is fantastic!
- Location... at Lake Bled
- Visiting... Open to the public - Access by walking a steep path or parking at the top (for a fee)
- Getting there... Ljubljana to Bled Castle: 45min Drive
or join a day tour from Ljubljana to Lake Bled which include the Castle and and the magnificent Lake Bohinj - Check out the program
Predjama is the most fascinating castles in Slovenia. Located in the region of the famous Karst caves of Postojna and Skojcan, the castle has been built inside a cave mouth on a tall cliff.
It is amazing that we can still visit it today!
- Built in... Firs mentioned in year 1274, second version of the castle (after destruction) built in the 16th century
- Atmosphere... Great! Quite touristy but the labyrinth of rooms and stairs is quite an experience. Predjama Castle Tours include and audioguide to better understand how people used to live in such a unique fortress
- Location... West of Postojna, a short drive South of Ljubljana
- Visiting... Open to the public - Self-tour with audioguide - Combined tickets with Postojna Cave available
- Getting there... Ljubljana to Predjama Castle: 1h20 drive
or pre-book transportation and entrance ticket with a private tour to both Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle - Check out program and price
The Celje Castle is the largest medieval fortress in Slovenia. Lots of love stories and power struggles are art of the history of the castle. But the best part are the impressive views from all around the walls and from the top of the Frederick's tower.
- Built in... First mentioned during the 12th century - it used to be the home of the Count of Celje and one of the most powerful fortress in the region
- Atmosphere... Excellent despite being in ruins - The restoration work here is one of the best in Slovenia, so the atmosphere is really good. The views are helping 🙂
- Location... in the 3rd Slovenia Towns: Celje
- Visiting... Open to visitors, parking near the entrance gate - Self exploration
- Getting there... Ljubljana to Celje Castle: 1h drive
Skofja Loka Castle
Skofja Loka is considered one of the best preserved medieval town in Slovenia. Like many other, it is protected by a castle on the hill above it. Here the castle has been turned into one of the best museums in Slovenia (even thought there are not many visitors)
- Built in... The Original castle was built in 1202 but destroyed by an earthquake in 1511. Restoration took place the following century
- Atmosphere... Fantastic museum in the castle with lots to see. Very quiet area with a nice park.
- Location... Above the town of Skofja Loka - walk from the center or drive on one way lane to parking
- Visiting... Open to the public - Free access to the park - Self tour of the castle turned into a museum covering a lot of subjects, especially daily life in the region and old tools
- Getting there... Ljubljana to Skofja Loka: 40min drive
- Best view is from across the river - GPS coordinates in my eBook
Idrija Castle (Gewerkenegg)
Slovenia has only 2 cultural Unesco Sites and Idrija is one of them. This is due to its history of mercury mining. The castle, known as Gewerkenegg Castle, has now been transformed into a museum where you can learn about life in Idrija and the local activities of Mercury mining and Lace.
- Built in... 16th century to be the administrative building of the mines
- Atmosphere... Great internal square where frescoes have been painted similar to the original partial piece found in one corner - Great museum
- Location... in the town of Idrija - South West of Ljubljana, off the beaten track
- Visiting... Open to the public - free access to the square - self tour of the castle with a booklet
- Getting there... Ljubljana to Idrija: 1h15
or join a day tour from Ljubljana that will allow you to visit both the castle and a mercury mine - check out the program
If you are driving in the area, Zuzemberk castle deserves a quick stop to admire its position and shape over river Krka
- Built in... Originally built in the 13th century - currently from the 16th
- Atmosphere... Not much to see inside, however very picturesque from the river shore opposite the castle
- Location... int he town of Zuzemberk in the Krka Valley, South east of Ljubljana
- Visiting... Free entrance
- Getting there... Ljubljana to Žužemberk Castle: 45 min drive
Thanks to one of its famous owner, the Bogensperk Caste used to be a cultural and science center in the 17th century. Today is houses a small museum and is a favorite for weddings!
- Built in... beginning of 16th century, Renaissance style
- Atmosphere... Cute and charming with a beautiful park
- Location... Near Smartno pri Litji, East of Ljubljana
- Visiting... Short visit with small museum
- Getting there... Ljubljana to Bogensperk Castle: 15min drive
Otocec is the only Slovenian Castle surrounded by water. It is built on a small island on the Krka River.
- Built in... First mentioned in the 13th century, it has been modified a lot over time
- Atmosphere... Enchanting place for a short stop and walk
- Location... Just East of Novo Mesto, in the Krka Valley
- Visiting... You cannot visit the inside since it is now a hotel but you can enjoy a peaceful stroll on the grounds and on the river shore!
- Extra... If you enjoy the castle life, know that you can stay at the hotel inside the castle! Check out photos and availabilities
- Getting there... Ljubljana to Bled Castle: 50min drive
Olimje is probably the most recognizable buildings in Slovenia with its blue-grey color ans geometric shapes. It is actually a castle-Monastery still occupied by monks today. It is famous for its old pharmacy room.
- Built in... First mentioned in the 13th century, the current building is mostly from the 16th
- Atmosphere... There is not that much to see but the building is very photogenic. Sadly none of the old pharmacy furniture remains. Impressive black marble in the church
- Location... near the town of Podcertrtek
- Visiting... Free entrance to the grounds and inside the pharmacy
- Getting there... Ptuj to Olimje Castle: 1h10
Kozjansko / Podsreda Castle
Off the beaten track in the Kozjansko Park, the romanesque fortress offers magnificent views of the region. And a viewpoint a little bit further down the road, allows you to take in the shape of the castle
- Built in... 12th century
- Atmosphere... Off the beaten track, surrounded by nature and famous for its chandeliers. A little bit of a travel back in time
- Location... East of Novo Mesto at the border with Croatia
- Visiting... Open to visitors (closed on mondays) - Free access to viewpoints, nice drive
- Getting there... Ptuj to Podsreda Castle: 1h30 drive
If you want to get away from the crowds and enjoy a zen place, I recommend a visit to the Zice Monastery (a.k.a. Rabbit Monastery).
- Built in... Monastery founded in the 12th century
- Atmosphere... Such a peaceful place surrounded by trees! Nothing like any other places I visited in Slovenia
- Location... East of Celje
- Visiting... Open to the public with an audioguide
- Getting there... Ljubljana to Zice charterhouse: 1h drive
Ptuj is the oldest recorded city in Slovenia. Its castle overlooking the city and river is not a masterpiece of architecture but it houses a famous regional museum.
- Built in... Originally built in the 12th century
- Atmosphere... Great views over the city roof from the grounds
- Location... in Ptuj, East Slovenia
- Visiting... Free access to the grounds
- Getting there... Ljubljana to Ptuj: 1h20 drive
or join a tour from Ljubljana that takes your to both Maribor and Ptuj, as well as a village in the wine country - Check out program and price
Home to one of the most impressive museums in Slovenia, Bistra castle which also was a monastery, now combines history with fun and learning.
- Built in... originally built in the 13th century
- Atmosphere... Huge place with many buildings - Fantastic museum with a lot of old cars, equipments and tools - covering a lot of subjects and with fun activities for kids.
- Location... in Bistra, South of Ljubljana
- Visiting... Easy access to the castle and museum
- Getting there... Ljubljana to Bistra Castle: 40min drive
Off the beaten track, in the beautiful wine region of Brda visited mostly by Slovenians and Italians. Dobrovo is the main town with a square castle protecting it.
- Built in... 17th century
- Atmosphere... Nice square castle with small museum
- Location... in Dobrovo, close to the South Border with Italy
- Visiting... Open to the public
- Getting there... Ljubljana to Bled Castle: or join a tour from Ljubljana
Other Slovenian Castles
Other Castles in Slovenia to consider during your trip:
- Senznik Castle - Famous for it cute bridge over the water, it is a square mansion housing a museum
- Kamnik Castle - Kamnik had 2 castles. They are both in ruins. However they are work a stop for fantastic views of the region.
- Maribor Castle - In the center of Maribor, 2nd Town in Slovenia, it is now a museum but it is not architecturally interesting
Plan your Slovenia Road Trip
The best way to discover all those castles and the magnificent scenery of Slovenia is to rent a car and go on a Road Trip.
I wrote a guide to help you plan your trip. It has practical Maps with my selection of the best stops, planning tips and many photos.
Want to see more of SLOVENIA?
Discover more things to do & places to see in my Travel Slovenia Destination Guide.
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