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Slovenia

Main attractions

Lake Bled, Slovenia
Lake Bled / Maurice, Flickr. CC BY 2.0

This small Alpine country is very rich with natural and man made landmarks. Highlights of Slovenia are:

  • Caves - Slovenia has some of most magnificent caves in the world, such as Škocjan cave with 146 m deep undergriound canyon and prehistoric monuments, Postojna - Planina caves with the highest cave biodiversity in the world or Vrtiglavica with the deepest vertical drop in the world and, possibly, tallest cave waterfall in the world.
  • Historical cities - Slovenia is at the crossroads of different cultures and it shows in the diverse architecture of historical towns and cities. The towns at the Adriatic are rich with Italian Gothic and Renaissance architecture (Piran, Koper), but further inland - with Baroque and Neo-Classicism architecture (Ptuj, Škofja Loka).
  • Castles - The outstanding Predjama castle alone is a reason to mention castles among the highlights of Slovenia. Country has huge number of large, well preserved castles, mostly in Renaissance style.

Natural landmarks

Stone curtain in Postojna cave, Slovenia
Stone curtain in Postojna cave / , Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Caves and sinkholes

  • Čehi 2 cave - Slovenian Littoral. The deepest known cave in Slovenia, 1,533 m deep and 5,291 m long.
  • Dimnice cave - Slovenian Littoral. Impressive, 6,020 m long and 134 m deep cave, which has interesting peculiarity - in winter a fog rises from the entrance in this cave, caused by the condensation of vapour due to temperature differences.
  • Kačna cave - Slovenian Littoral. One of the largest caves in Slovenia, more than 16 km long, with interesting cave formations, gours.
  • Križna cave (Krizna cave) - Inner Carniola. Enormous, very interesting and beautiful cave, 8,273 m long. Contains a chain of 45 subterranean caves with emerald green water. Here live 44 species of cave organisms - one of the most biodiverse caves in the world. Thousands of bones of cave bear found inside.
  • Migovec system - Slovenian Littoral. Longest known cave system in Slovenia, 24.9 km long and up to 975 m deep.
  • Pekel cave - Styria. 1,310 m long cave, contains Peklenščica waterfall. Remnants of Neanderthal have been found in the cave.
  • Sistem Postojna-Planina - Inner Carniola. Some 25 km long cave system, recognized as the most biodiverse cave system in the world with 84 species of animals, mostly insects.
  • Škocjan caves - Slovenian Littoral. 6.2 km long cave system with numerous unique characteristics: giant, 146 metres deep underground canyon of River Reka, underground travertine terraces, Bronze Age and later temples and Prechristian pilgrimage centre.
  • Velika Dolina and Mala Dolina - Slovenian Littoral. Two closely located enormous sinkholes at the start of Škocjan caves. Velika Dolina is up to 163 m deep, 300 by 177 m wide. Mala Dolina is up to 120 m deep, 170 by 120 m large.
  • Vilenica cave - Slovenian Littoral. Oldest show cave in Europe, opened to tourists since 1633. More than 1,300 m long, up to 180 m deep.
  • Vrtiglavica cave and waterfall - Slovenian Littoral. 643 m deep cave, which contains the deepest pitch (single vertical drop) in the world (603 metres). Approximately 400 - 440 m tall waterfall inside, possibly the tallest underground waterfall in the world.
Boka Falls, Slovenia
Boka Falls / Svíčková, / CC BY-SA 3.0

Waterfalls

  • Boka falls - Slovenian Littoral. 144 m tall, impressive waterfall. Tallest cascade is 106 m high, width of falls - 18 m.
  • Brinta falls - Slovenian Littoral. 104 m tall waterfall.
  • Dvor falls of Krka - Lower Carniola. Interesting tufa cascades in Krka river at Dvor with two main steps, 2 and 5 m tall.
  • Gregorčič falls - Slovenian Littoral. 88 m tall waterfall.
  • Peračica falls (Pirašiški fall) - Upper Carniola. 102 m tall waterfall, for most part free falling. Impressive only at high water.
  • Peričnik - Slovenian Littoral. Waterfall with two cascades - 15 and 50 m tall, one of most impressive waterfalls in Slovenia.
  • Rinka falls - Styria. 105 m tall waterfall, highest cascade is 90 m tall.
  • Savica falls - Upper Carniola. Approximately 80 m high waterfall which starts from karst spring.
  • Suhe falls - Upper Carniola. 110 m tall waterfall, falling over tufa.

Cliff formations

  • Bled gorge - Upper Carniola. 1.6 km long gorge, with 50 - 100 m high walls. here are the 13 m high Šum Falls.
  • Pekel gorge (Hell Gorge) - Inner Carniola. Beautiful, 1.5 km long gorge. Borovniščica stream here forms a group of waterfalls, which are up to 20 m high, here is also natural arch.
  • Rakov Škocjan natural bridges - Inner Carniola. Two large natural bridges across river - Little Natural Bridge and the Great Natural Bridge.
Stara trta - 440 years old grapevine, Slovenia
Stara trta - 440 years old grapevine in Maribor / Dudva, / CC BY-SA 3.0

Other natural landmarks

  • Boka spring - Slovenian Littoral. Powerful spring - start of Boka river. Discharge of this spring can reach 100,000 litres per second. Located just 30 m before Boka Falls.
  • Divje jezero (Wild Lake) - Slovenian Littoral. Powerful spring of Vauclusian type, can discharge up to 60,000 litres of water in second. The inundated spring cave has been explored up to 160 m deep.
  • Sgermova smreka (Sgerm Spruce) - Styria. Tallest measured native tree in Europe - Norway spruce (Picea abies), which is 62.26 m high.
  • Stara trta - Styria, Maribor. Some 440 years old grapevine, possibly world's oldest. The plant is spread along the wall of Old Vine House.

Man made landmarks

Archaeological landmarks

  • Ig pile dwellings (Kolišča na Igu) - Inner Carniola. Remnants of prehistoric settlement, built in a shallow lake on piles several millenia ago. Nearby was found a wooden wheel, 5,250 years old - the oldest wooden wheel in the world.
  • Potok cave - Styria. Spatious, 115 m long cave with interesting archaeological finds. It was visited by people approximately 36 - 25 thousand years ago, possibly as a hunting station or possible cult site. Found remnants of more than 40 animal species, including the extinct cave bears, muskox. Here was found the oldest known sewing needle.
  • Šempeter Roman necropolis - Styria. Roman necropolis which was used mainly in the 1st - 3rd century AD. Necropolis was buried under the river sediments and thus has been well preserved.
Piran, Slovenia
Piran / nagerw, Flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0

Historical towns and cities

  • Izola - Slovenian Littoral. Medieval city at the sea, established in the 7th century.
  • Koper - Slovenian Littoral. Well preserved medieval city at the Adrian sea, with valuable historical buildings.
  • Piran - Slovenian Littoral. Medieval city in a spectacular location - peninsula in Adrian Sea. Impressive is the centre of city - the spatious Tartini square. Well preserved city walls.
  • Ptuj historical centre - Styria. Well preserved complex of historical buildings in the oldest city of Slovenia.
  • Škofja Loka - Upper Carniola. One of the most interesting medieval cities in Slovenia, with well preserved historical core part.
  • Štanjel walled town - Slovenian Littoral. Picturesque town, built around the mountaintop castle. Most of city walls preserved. Characteristic architecture of Karst region, two churches from the 15th century. Contains also Ferrari Gardens - beautiful park.
  • Tržic - Upper Carniola. Well preserved historical town, most buildings are in Neo-Classicism style.
Predjama Castle, Slovenia
Predjama castle / Cristina Valencia, Flickr. CC BY 2.0

Castles

  • Bled castle - Upper Carniola. Medieval castle perched on tall cliff, which rises over the beautiful Lake Bled. Romanesque style tower is the oldest part, the main body of the castle is built in Renaissance style and has interesting frescoes.
  • Branik castle - Slovenian Littoral. Large castle from the 13th century, rising on the mountaintop above the historical Branik village.
  • Brežice castle - Styria. Large Renaissance castle, built mainly in 1530 - 1551. Adorned with murals.
  • Brdo castle - Upper Carniola. Renaissance castle, built in 1510. Decorated with murals.
  • Celje castle - Styria. The largest fortification in Slovenia. Construction of this mountaintop castle started in the 13th century.
  • Ljubljana castle - Lower Carniola. Large medieval castle. First fortifications were build here millenia ago, current castle rebuilt in the 15th century.
  • Olimje castle - Styria. Renaissance style castle, built around 1550. Now serves as a monastery with exquisite Baroque church built next to the castle.
  • Predjama castle - Inner Carniola. Large Renaissance castle built at the entrance of an enormous cave. Cave was built here with a purpose to make it easy to defend the castle or escape from it. First castle was built here in the 13th century, but the current one - in 1570. Behind the castle starts the 13 km long Predjama Cave.
  • Ptuj castle - Styria. Large castle, built in the middle of the 12th century.
  • Snežnik castle - Inner Carniola. Castle from the 13th century with four floors, current furnishings mainly from the 19th century.
  • Turjak castle - Lower Carniola. Large and impressive castle from the 13th century with two chapels.
  • Velenje castle - Styria. Large, well preserved mountaintop castle. This old structure was rebuilt in the early 16th century in Renaissance style.

Palaces

  • Loggia palace in Koper - Slovenian Littoral. Venetian Gothic palace, built in 1462, with second floor added in 1698.
  • Praetorian palace in Koper - Slovenian Littoral. Ornate city palace in venetian Gothic style, constructed in 1452 - 1505.
St. George's Church in Piran, Slovenia
St. George's Church in Piran / Richard Huber, Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 3.0

Churches

  • Assumption church in Lake Bled - Upper Carniola. Picturesque church on the island in Lake Bled. Located in the former paganic cult site.
  • Holy Trinity church in Hrastovlje - Slovenian Littoral. Unusual fortified church, surrounded by 8 m tall wall. Constructed in Romanesque (or early Renaissance) style before 1480. Beautiful murals from 1490, includes a painting of Dance of the Dead.
  • Kamnik St. Eligius chapel - Upper Carniola. Unusual chapel in Romanesque style, built on a tall masonry fundament. Constructed in the 11th century or somewhat later. Remnants of medieval murals.
  • Ljubljana Cathedral - Lower Carniola. Baroque cathedral, built in 1701 - 1706. Valuable murals and other embellishments.
  • St. George's church in Piran - Slovenian Littoral. Beautiful church in Venetian Renaissance style, built in 1592 - 1614. Next to it is a freestanding bell tower, similar to St. Mark's campanile in Venice. Gorgeous interior.
  • St. George's church in Ptuj - Styria. One of the oldest churches in Slovenia, parts of it were built already in the middle of the 9th century. Much of the present day structure was built around 1140, murals made in the late 13th - end of the 15th century.

Monasteries

  • Kostanjevica abbey - Lower Carniola. Large Cistercian abbey. Present buildings are built mainly in the early 18th century in Baroque style.
  • Žiče charterhouse - Styria. Old, fortified Carthusian monastery, constructed inthe 12th century. For a while had one of largest libraries in Europe, rich collection of local manuscripts.
Solkan bridge, Slovenia
Solkan bridge / Johann Jaritz, Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 3.0

Other man made landmarks

  • Anthony's shaft in Idrija (Antonijev rov) - Slovenian Littoral. Old mercury mine (1580), with a large house built over the entrance. Idrija is one of rare places where mercury was found in its liquid form. Upper floors of shaft are opened for tourists, shafts extend up to the depth of 400 m.
  • Franja partisan hospital - Slovenian Littoral. Secret partisan hospital complex, built in the secluded Pasica Gorge in 1943 - 1945. Consists of 13 wooden buildings which were suprisingly well equipped for secret partisan base.
  • Nebotičnik - Lower Carniola, Ljubljana. Skyscraper in Art Deco style, built in 1931 - 1933. 13 floors, 70 m tall.
  • Orpheus monument - Styria. Beautiful Roman monument, 5 m high stele from marble. Grave marker from the 2nd century AD. Central part of the stele shows scenes from the myth of Orpheus.
  • Solkan bridge - Slovenian Littoral. Second longest stone bridge in the world, with 220 m long arch, constructed in 1900 - 1905 in a beautiful natural setting.

List of described attractions by traditional regions

Slovenia is divided into 211 municipalities - too many for the purposes of this site. Thus here landmarks are presented by the 7 following traditional regions of Slovenia:

Carinthia
Inner Carniola
Lower Carniola
Prekmurje
Slovenian Littoral
ArrowŠkocjan cavesCaves, Ancient shrines
ArrowVrtiglavica caveCaves, Waterfalls
Styria
Upper Carniola

Map of Slovenia

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