There are many castles and lakes to choose from all across Europe and in Slovenia. So why should you go out of your way to see Snežnik Castle and Lake Cerknica? Because you can not find a duo like this anywhere else, and is a great way to explore the karst landscape in Notranjska.
This day trip itinerary is easily reached from Ljubljana and also perfect for those heading into Croatia.
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Traveling in Slovenia? Check out these other posts.
- The Complete Travel Guide to Slovenia
- 13 Things You Should Know Before Driving in Slovenia
- The Ultimate Guide to Castles in Slovenia
About Snežnik Castle
Snežnik Castle (Grad Snežnik) is from the 13th century and located south of Ljubljana, just about an hour and a half drive. It is often referred to as a fairy tale castle because it really does look like one.
Snežnik Castle was purchased at an auction in 1853 for 800,000 florins by a German prince. One of his sons, Prince Jurji, inherited it in 1859 and began remodeling it and introducing animals to the nearby woods, had paths built, and hired experts to maintain the grounds.
The estate was later divided between kingdoms after World War I. During WW2, a castle caretaker guarded the property against looters, and because of this, much of the inside is still intact.
How to Visit Snežnik Castle
Nomago has bus routes to Kozarišče (town where Snežnik Castle is located.) every day for just under 7 Euros. The trip takes around 2 hours and 15 minutes. Note that one daily route takes a bit longer (2hr 45m) so check your ticket before purchasing.
Snežnik Castle is open all year round. They are closed on Mondays and over the Christmas and New Years Holidays. They are open 10:00-19:00 with a tour at the top of the hour, every hour. The last tour begins at 18:00. For detailed information check out this website. I have seen photos of Snežnik Castle in summer, with colorful leaves, and covered in snow and each one is beautiful and magical!
Lake Cerknica: The Disappearing Lake
During our continued search for food and adventure, we realized we were very close to Lake Cerknica (Cerkniško jezero). This is an intermittent lake, meaning it is not always visible. It depends on the season and the amount of rain received in the year. This is due to the karst landscape, similar to in Kras. When it is full, it is the largest lake in Slovenia.
A fun fact is that there are fish in the lake. They appear and disappear with the water, hiding in the caverns below.
It is best to visit Lake Cerknica during the spring or fall, although it can be unpredictable and dependent on rainfall throughout the year. During the summer months, the lake is often drained and more of a marshy green wetland perfect for bird watching. Visiting the Notranjska Regional Park website can share more information about wildlife and visiting this area.
Other activities in Notranjska
Postojna Cave (Postojnska jama) – World famous Postojna Caves are just a 45-minute drive away from Snežnik Castle.
Predjama Castle (Predjamski grad) – Just a quick 10 minutes from Postojna Cave is Predjama Castle, the world’s largest cave castle! Don’t skip the audio tour as it adds a lot of context to the castle. Book a trip from Ljubljana to both Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle here.
Cross Cave (Križna jama) – For the cave enthusiasts is Cross Cave, the world-renowned water karst cave. Here you can take boat tours through the cave lakes. There are two additional tours that take much longer and go much deeper, but they are strictly reserved for a limited number of people per day so you must make reservations.
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