Need to Know...
We do our very best here at the Lodge to help guests out with tips, local knowledge & logisitics to get the most amazing and often surprising Green holiday, you might not have even thought possible in Europe anymore..
Well we noticed a few mildly alarming developments last summer that we wanted to WARN you about, so you are fully prepared to get the most out of your next Green Slovenian Adventure!
No need for panic, just read the few extra tips below and be prepared..
Most guests nowadays arrive here knowing there is an absolutely stunning forest walk from the Lodge to the most unique castle in the world at Predjama, so are already looking forward to doing the best short hike in Green Slovenia!
And nobody seriously needs any more help to find or explore the gargantuan hot spot places like Bled, Ljubllyjana, Postojna cave and Piran.. We don't bother telling you much about those other world class places on this website as there is enough cyber tittle tattle out there for you to read for the next decade, good and bad..
We do make sure though, our own guests get the latest tips & tricks for visiting those Mega places, especially to avoid any summer queues and all the rest of it..
And of course, you should absolutely go see the best known places too.. if you have time..
Then again.. There is a lot more to see and do in Green Slovenia if you only knew.. a lot more.. so that is what we focus on telling you all about here on this website!
OK, before the new tips, it is well worth mentioning yet again.. We always recommend doubling or tripling the amount of time you might have first thought to come to Green Slovenia.. This should ensure you get to see some more of the those amazing secret Green places!
We also totally understand if your hollibubbles are fixed to the school holiday dates, (there are half terms and other holidays outside summer, of course)..
But the ONLY times it can get mildly busy and then pretty much only at the better known places.. are in the 6 weeks of school summer holidays around mid July to end August..
Rock up here outside these weeks and you should be able to roll in and out easily!
Away from the 4 or 5 hotspot places in Green Slovenia, even in the middle of summer MOST of our hundreds of "Secret Places to Visit" will be about as busy as a wet weekend in Scarborough!!
You might bump into your neighbour from down the street on an overcrowded beach in Croatia, but you will certainly NOT meet them at ANY time of the year hiking through a forest or visiting a secret castle in Green Slovenia!!
So now, finally, it's time to get your paper & pencil out and make note of these extra little tips to help your Green Adventures go smoothly..
Indeed we would say you only really need to take notice of this extra advice if you are here in July and August..
1. You now need to buy a ticket in ADVANCE AND ONLINE for the Outstandingly Beautiful Skocjan Cave..
It might still come as a shock to some visitors that there are well over 30 show caves and 15,000 discovered caves here in the European capital of Caves and the Home of the Karst.. not just that big one with the kiddies train..
And of course you should go see the world famous Postojna cave once in your lifetime..
But if your agenda only allows for one cave visit here, then you are facing a massive shoot out to find the best particular cave for you..
Our best advice is to schedule time for at least 3 different cave experiences, cos ALL the caves here offer completely different experiences to each other! Check out our CAVE section for more details about all the fab options..
Even just last year, we finally did the uberamazing Epic 5 hour paddle exploring the largest water cave in Green Slovenia, Planina, just 14 mins down the road from the Lodge.. (to be written up for you very soon)!
We love asking guests who stay here at the Lodge for a week or more for their TOP 5's at the end of their stay.. A typical family would give a whole variety of different answers between them, including the hike to the Predjama Castle, a day on the Mediterranean Coast, Velika Planina, Bohinj lake, the Soca River, the Rakov Skocjan Stone Arches, Cerknica Disappearing lake, the Secret WW2 Partisan Hospital and some of the much younger guests might even include the Postojna Cave in their list..
BUT Ladies and Gents, Boys & Girls.. we need to tell you that the ubermassive Skocjan Cave almost ALWAYS gets into EVERYBODYS LODGE Top 5!
Yep, the biggest underground hole in Europe ALWAYS surprises & totally overwhelms guests at it's sheer size and power and you get a really good choice of hikes into the bargain too.. so this is a NOT a tour to miss out on and now there is a teeny weeny danger that you might, if you are not organised..
You DO NOT have to worry that the cave will be overcrowded with visitors as it is UNESCO protected, so the number of visitors is restricted.
What you DO have to worry about is making sure you have a ticket AND as your time in Green Slovenia will almost ineveitably be too short, you need to make the most of your logistics and get the best time slot for YOU so you can see some other amazing Green places during that day too!
So we noticed in high summer 2023 that you could NOT just turn up at the cave on the same day for your tour OR EVEN book online the same day and so we started to warn our guests to book at least a day ahead, better two days ahead if you know your movements and what else you plan to do for the week.. this way you get your preferred time for the Skocjan adventure.
Most Lodge guests are here for a good few days or a week anyway now, so there is still plenty of time to organise this epic tour and logistics when you arrive..
Skocjan cave is just a little over a 20 min drive from the Lodge and logistically better tackled as either the first or last part of that particular day out, so you can combine some other nearby Green adventures into your day..
Having the Skocjan cave as either the start or close of your day out means you can easily choose from a whole host of other amazing locations to fit into your magical day.. such as the Lipizzaner horses, the Slovenian Riviera, the Red Karst, the Vipava Valley, the secret Brkini mini region or lots of other combos!
So you should't and indeed DO NOT need to book up weeks in advance for Skocjan, cos it is good to keep a bit of flexibility in your hols..
Please note, YOU DO HAVE TO BOOK ONLINE, as you cannot risk turning up directly at the cave and there being no tickets left to buy at the ticket office.. so you will need a credit card or payment card to do this.. Not everyone has a card.
We do find this pretty unfair to people who might not have access to a card or the internet.. Last season, when we explained this to our guests, we needed to urgently help a few book their tickets on our computer here, as there were problems with the Skocjan website or they couldn't do it on their phones!
Unfortunately the only other option for the cardless people is to arrive early on the day at the cave and buy the next available ticket, but that could leave you several hours waiting to go in or even without a ticket available the entire day.
Also do not forget that to buy tickets online you usually have to CONFIRM the purchase via a text from your bank on your phone AND you do not need to print the tickets BUT must be able to open them on your phone via an email when you enter the cave to show the bar code..
So please, just make sure to keep an eye on the Skocjan Cave Ticket Page ahead of your arrival and then book up when you know your exact movements, (click "add to basket" to proceed to day and times).
Tolmin Gorge.. Another Attraction you might well need to book ahead at..
There is another monster of mother nature tucked away along the Soca river in the west of the country, a little too far to get to if you are stuck in Bled or Ljubljana or Piran, but perfectly accessible from our amazing location as a fab day trip.
The Tolmin Gorge looks like something Disney might have constructed for a theme park, but it is very real indeed. Huge stunning rock cliffs have been cracked open over millions of years by the Tolminka river, with a slightly grey blue tinge to the thundering crystal clear ice cold water.
We have recently been very complimentary of what the local tourist people in Tolmin have done with car parking and a hiking trail to help visitors enjoy one of the most missed, but beautiful gorges in Green Slovenia and last year they introduced an online ticket system too, limiting admission to 200 visitors per hour..
You actually need about one and half hours minimum to enter the park and walk down to see the gorge, then back along the stunning river and up the steep hill steps to the mountain road and Devil's bridge.. So it is absolutely a fair enough number to allow two hundred people in per hour.
So this is another online card only system, otherwise take the risk to pay when you arrive.. Click here for the Booking Page for Tolmin Gorge..
If you are gonna book ahead, then due to the slightly tricky location of Tolmin, one of the 4 beautiful main Alpine towns along the Soca river, you might not know exactly which hour you will arrive at the gorge, so best to book directly in the car on the way and if you will be a little out with your timings, we do know the ticket office people at the gorge are very understanding & flexible too.
But do not forget your online ticket for say, 11am allows you to enter the park ANYTIME from 11am to midday, so you should be able to make your time slot and then there is NO limit to how long you spend in the park..
So really nothing to worry about here, just worth knowing.. and again, this really is a middle of summer tip..
Indeed the most difficult thing to get right on this particular Tolmin day trip adventure is to know beforehand what other amazing Secret Green Places you can mix into your day WITH the gorge to get your logistics spot on..
You see without even rushing, it is perfectly possible to see 2, 3 or even 4 Green wonders of nature during your Tolmin day out..
So guess what.. we did another BLOG to help you out with that too, called .. Tolmin, the Full Monty Day Out..
The Secret WW2 Partisan Hospital near Cerkno..
We have done a separate blog on this issue, cos this is the most famous and biggest of the network of secret Partisan forest hospitals you can find, explore and visit, but not the only one. Click here for the latest on Visiting the Secret Hospital..
You might have seen in the news last summer that parts of central and eastern Slovenia were affected by violent storms and sadly the "Franja" Partisan Hospital museum, one of the best Outdoor-Indoor museums in ALL Europe in our humble opinion, was badly affected, so it is closed in 2024.
Our blog will also explain about the many other secret Partisan forest hospitals you could and should think about visiting instead, but in the meantime, please note, the Cerkno secret Hospital, one of the VERY, VERY best secret Green Slovenian Jewels will be closed until further notice..
We will stay on the case and update this blog when the hospital reopens.. we are not entirely sure Local people here fully realise & appreciate what an incredible and unique tourist destination they have on their hands with this amazing historical museum masterpiece, so we are not sure how urgently the repairs will go, but we will do what we can to keep you informed!
Other Stuff to Think About..
By the way, we do have another couple of handy blogs to help you out with preparing for your trip to Green Slovenia, which might help a bit.. Planning your trip to Slovenia.. Do NOT join the Dots to Explore Green Slovenia and Handy SLOcal Lingo!
It does appears to be the trend here to go towards online booking for attractions, which panders to the "smartphone" generation, all fine and dandy, but does tend to dumb down the experience, when you can expect and achieve MUCH MORE in Green Slovenia with just a little extra effort..
We really, really know how much stuff the internet warriors are missing out on here by keeping their heads down, blindly following other peoples limited shared experiences and relying on their phones a bit too much to guide them around the most beautiful country in Europe. (Maybe we should do a blog on that too)!
In many ways this is really fantastic news for the other people reading this blog, like you, who are far more likely to want to look up from your phone, smell the incredible fresh air, hear the silence, dip your toes in the water, explore around that hidden corner and to find just some of the hundreds of Green Secret places that the phone warriors will completely miss out on and leave wonderfully empty for you to discover on your own.. even in JUL and AUG baby!!
But you will need to have a card & phone at the ready to book up some of your visits in advance..
Otherwise, there is absolutely NOTHING BETTER than taking local advice, researching ahead a bit to identify the secret Green places you want to see AND getting your logistics spot on to make sure you get the very best out of Green Slovenia!
It is NOT about rushing around like nutters trying to see everything.. but due to Slovenia's tiny size & excellent connections, it IS perfectly possible to have the best day out you ever had on a European holiday seeing a combination of Green Wonders.. DAY after DAY after DAY!
We know from our own multi experiences that Green Slovenia is such a "rinky dinky, easy as lemon pie place" to get around, BUT a lot of frustrating things Can & Do go wrong with your logistics if you do not plan your day, so you end up missing stuff and then you do not have the time in your schedule to go back and see them later.
So our very last tip for you here is to PHONE ahead if you are not sure, either to the venue itself or use the good people at the LOCAL TIC's (Tourist Info Centres)..
And do phone.. generally, we noticed Slovenians will not be breaking any world records anytime soon for replying to emails AND local websites in English often flatter to deceive, so allow no escape by phoning! Locals are really very friendly once you pin them down and you will have a jolly nice chat at the very least!
You can rely on these local people to give you extra little nuggets of information that can save you time, even save your day and let you know if the cable car is running today, or the castle is open tomorrow, or if indeed you need to book online and how far ahead!