As usual I tried to pack as much as possible into my Slovenia trip, despite only being there for a long weekend over Bank Holiday. I can’t help it, I just need to see everything. It’s that insatiable wanderlust, it’s hard to kick.
My main aim was to see Lake Bled as part of this trip but after researching it online, it seemed quite complicated to get there on my own. Public transport wasn’t the best and I didn’t really want to hire a car just for one day. So I decided to see what was available on day tours.
So after taking a look at the day tours that Roundabout Travel offered (I really enjoyed their Ljubljana food tour), I decided to go for their Lake Bled and Postojna Caves tour. It gave me a chance to see Lake Bled which was right at the top of my Slovenia wishlist, as well as a whole host of Slovenian highlights I didn’t really know anything about.
Lake Bled and Postojna Caves Tour
Our tour leader was very flexible during this tour so she would ask what everyone wanted to do and where we wanted to stop from a few options available. So it’s nice that the tour adapts to each group.
However the only thing was that this isn’t really designed as a full day tour. It’s two half day tours that are run by the same tour leader so they market it as a full day tour. But it did mean that there was no lunch stop between the two tours and you drive back to Ljubljana half way through the day to drop off the morning tour people and pick up new afternoon tour people. It’s not a big deal, but worth making a note to eat when you can!
Here are the stops we made throughout the day and how I got on…
The first stop en route to Lake Bled, was the gorgeous Vintgar Gorge. And honestly, I hadn’t expected much from this stop. I kinda thought it would be a lookout point we would briefly stop at and take photos of, but actually it was a half an hour hike through a really beautiful gorge.
It’s such a gorgeous part of Slovenia’s landscape, all jade waters and waterfalls and dramatic cliffs. SO beautiful. And we had lovely weather so it was such a massive highlight of our day. I mean, just look at some of these photos, it’s a real hidden gem.
The main event, Lake Bled was a lot quieter than I had imagined. It’s the kind of place you she on Pinterest a lot so I figured it would be quite touristy, especially on such a hot summer’s day. But it was so peaceful and relaxing!
Like I said, the tour leader was flexible so we could choose how we wanted to spend the time we had here. As we had spent time at Vintgar Gorge, we didn’t really have time to explore both the lake and Bled Castle that overlooks it. So I decided to stick to the lake.
We got one of the Pletna boats across to the island in the middle, which cost €14 per person (make sure you get cash out before you arrive!). And it was a really scenic ride as the guy hand-rowed us across. Seeing as there were like 15 people in the boat I think that’s pretty impressive. Plus, the guy must be ballin’ at €14 a pop.
What is really cool is that there are only 23 families that are allowed to operate a pletna boat in Lake Bled. And you can’t just buy them out, you have to be born into or marry into the family to be able to run the business. And I’m not surprised it’s so exclusive, it’s such a cool job. Plus it means the lake isn’t ruined by hundreds of boats going backwards and forwards and driving the price down. I like that, it feels more authentic.
Anyway, the way the boat ride works is that you’re allowed 45 minutes on the island before your boat goes back to the shore. This was definitely enough time to explore the little island, get an ice cream and appreciate the glorious view. This is easily one of the most spectacular views I’ve ever seen, hands down.
As the people at the castle finished up, we got time to wander around the edge of the lake and grab a quick sandwich in town before heading back to Ljubljana for the next half of the tour.
The next stop after collecting new passengers, was Postojna Cave. This is a 24,340 m long karst cave system in the South West of Slovenia that is famous for its beautiful stalagmite and stalactite structures inside.
What was super cool was that a tour of the cave started off with an electric train ride through the caves. I really liked this, it felt just like I was in Aladdin! Although straight away I realised that it was freezing down here and I really shouldn’t have worn shorts for this part of the day. Thankfully I brought a jacket though!
At the end of the train ride, an English-speaking tour guide walks you through the caves explaining how the stalagmites/stalactites are formed and why they are certain colours (all to do with the iron/calcium/other minerals!). It was super interesting but I have to say it was so slow-paced. The tour guide really could have turned it up a notch.
But nonetheless, it was cool to go into the different caves that had different rock formations.
Although at one point the lights went out and we were in pitch black darkness. The light came on about 20 seconds later but for those 20 seconds it was freaking terrifying!
You have another train ride back to the start so overall the tour was about 2 hours long. Again, I remind you to bring a jacket as Josh didn’t and was cold for 2 hours. Not cool.
The last stop of the day was the awesome Predjama Castle! This castle was built into the side of a cliff so is very striking to look at from the outside. And there’s a legend about how Erazem, this dude that lived there, managed to avoid being found for ages as the castle was so hidden. And then when some kind of army found it, they tried to wait him out, not realising there’s a secret passageway that connects to the cave system, and they were using it to get fresh water and food to the castle.
I mean I’m sure there are more accurate details than that, it’ all pretty vague, but that’s what our tour guide told us so I’m going with it.
The only thing is that the inside was kinda bare. They had a cool room with medieval weapons they’d sourced but otherwise it was pretty much empty. And the furniture that is in there has been sourced from elsewhere which makes the castle lose its appeal a bit in my eyes.
But I still enjoyed this stop. I was just bloody knackered at this point!
I think all of these stops were awesome and I would totally recommend them, but I think doing it all in one day was overly ambitious! Roundabout Travel offer these experiences in two half day tours rather than the full day and that’s definitely what I would recommend. It means you don’t have to rush to find lunch too. (You know how important lunch is to me…)
But it did massively open my eyes to how much cool stuff there is in Slovenia. This country is completely gorgeous and I could easily return and spend a week at Lake Bled alone. Such a gorgeous part of the world and I would totally urge you to visit this underrated country.
Would you do this tour in Slovenia? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me @HeelsInBackpack!
Total Blogger Transparency: I enjoyed a complimentary spot on this tour but all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I wouldn’t play you like that, shorty.