Caves, Castles & Baby Dragons: Our Unusual View of Postojna

Postojna

Most travelers to Postojna come to explore a cave, tour a castle or catch a glimpse of a cave-dwelling baby dragon. We happened to be just passing through, so we weren’t really looking for anything in particular.

What we discovered was a panoramic mountaintop that left us with a memorable first impression of Slovenia: a country we’d fall very much in love with over the next 5 days. Now, we’ll do our best to help you find the best view of this mysterious city.

The word Postojna may refer to the white-tailed eagle that soars over the local plains, but the name of the town itself has another, more colloquial meaning: the Slovene verb postojáti (or postati) means to stop for a brief time. We didn’t realize what we were doing, but that is exactly what we did. 

Stop for a brief time with us, in Postojna

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Croatia Slovenia: crossing the border

We left the Plitviče Lakes around mid-morning, with no idea where we were going or where we’d be sleeping. As a traveler, if you can get past the uncertainty or anxiety of approaching a day in this fashion, you’ll be rewarded with a feeling that can only be described as traveler’s liberation. It’s an incredible feeling!

What’s the worst that can happen? We had shared a Sahara tent with a scorpion 2 months prior. We were prepared to spend the night in our red Škoda Fabia.

After a brief shakedown at the border, we made it to Slovenia.

Crossing the border. Croatia → Slovenia.

travelhelix tip: crossing the border from Croatia to Slovenia, we were asked for an international drivers license. Rental car companies had never verified that we had one. Border patrols in a dozen countries had never asked for one. In our understanding, it was not necessary to own one. After 5 minutes of discussion, it turns out we didn’t need one. Learn more, here.

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Slovenia: first impressions

The Slovenian landscape offered a stark transition from northern Croatia’s maritime industry. Shipyards & rugged steel structures gave way to pristine rolling hills, blanketed with fields of grass. Not a single piece of trash lay on the ground. Even the side of the highway seemed immaculately taken care of.

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Postojna’s lesser-known lookout point

Again, most tourists come for the caves. But after 5 hours in the car – and with no end in sight – we opted to soak in some outdoor scenery rather than spend the afternoon spelunking. We stopped at a local tourist bureau to ask them where we could find the best view of the city. Using a combination of handwritten notes, local Slovene street signs and our travelers’ intuition, we began our search.

Postojna
Map to Koča Mladika na Pečna rebri, Postojna

Here’s how you get there:

  • Say goodbye to the city center
  • Pass the Železniška postaja Postojna train station
  • Cross the E61 National Highway
  • Make a couple wrong turns
  • Meander up some narrow roads
  • And find your way into the surrounding mountains, east of the city

 

 

After about 20 minutes, we arrived at our destination: Koča Mladika na Pečna rebri. The views were spectacular.

Postojna
Spectacular views from Koča Mladika na Pečna rebri.
Slovenian purple!
Slovenian green!

Now, there’s also a cabin-cottage-restaurant up here, but Koča Mladika (the Mladika Cabin) was closed when we arrived, so we couldn’t check out the inside. Get there during business hours and grab yourself a snack and a beverage!

Our transportation (and shelter!?) for the week: the red Škoda Fabia.

During the hour we spent near Koča Mladika – at 4:00pm on a Friday – we only saw one other car and a single hiker. If you’re looking for a quiet place to think, relax or be at one with nature, you’ll find some Zen up here.

Postojna
A private view of Postojna!
DnA do Postojna!
Postojna
Panorama over Postojna!

This viewpoint is accessible by car, by bike, or on foot. Here’s some useful info, courtesy of the Alpine Association of Slovenia.

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Other things to do in Postojna

If your main motivation is hilltop hiking, there are some other amazing viewpoints around the city. But as we now realize: in Postojna, there’s much more to do than soak in the views:

  • Tour Postojna Cave Park: Europe’s most visited cave and Slovenia’s #1 tourist attraction (!)
  • Visit majestic Predjama Castle, which holds the Guinness Record as the world’s largest cave castle (!)
  • Observe mysterious olms (also known as baby dragons / human fish) in their natural habitat inside of Planina Cave. Who doesn’t want to see the largest (and most adorable?) cave animal in the world? (!)
  • Visit the Notranjska Museum where you’ll find everything from the sacred Predjama Treasure to the skeleton of an Ice Age cave lion (!)
  • Learn all about limestone at the Karst Museum – the most comprehensive karst exhibition in Europe (!)

travelhelix tip: save a few bucks with a discounted ticket package. Options include the Postojna Cave, Predjama Castle and other Cave Park exhibitions such as Vivarium Proteus: a scientific wonderland dedicated to the locally-cherished olm!

And finally, depending on the time of year: walk, run, bike, horseback ride or ice-skate around Planinsko Polje.

Planinsko Polje. After heavy rainfall, this beautiful field becomes a massive lake!

For D and I, this piece is a classic case study of “know before you go.” We hadn’t done any homework on Postojna before passing through; we just happened to stop by for a bit. Having known then what we know now, we would have stayed overnight and discovered for at least an extra day.

We’ve got to applaud the Postojna tourist bureau for creating some engaging & intriguing content to promote their city; some of the best that we’ve come across! We’ve never had more fun doing research on a destination, and we can’t wait to come back and visit you guys!

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Where to stay

Stay at Hotel Jama for an experience truly centered around Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle.

Or, take a look at some other accommodation options around the area.

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Exactly 200 years ago, local cave guide Luka Čeč discovered Postojna Cave and declared “This is a new world. This is paradise!” Though we didn’t get a chance to explore the cave, we share his sentiments about the city.

Postojna: thanks for giving us an awesome first impression of Slovenia. We are fired up to continue exploring!

Cheers!

-DnA

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