- Gredič in Goriška Brda wine region, famous among Slovenians in the last few years as a setting for a Slovenian soap opera.
- Otočec castle on a little river island in Dolenjska region is today a luxurious hotel, popular with golfers
- Mokrice castle, also in Dolenjska region with access to some great golf courses as well as thermal resorts
- Strmol castle ran by Slovenia’s official state protocol is a beautiful retreat in Gorenjska region
- Drnča or Lambergh castle in Gorenjska region as well
- Kendov mansion near Idrija
- Jeruzalem mansion in the vineyards of Prlekija
Castles are by far one of the most attractive tourist sights all around the world. Travelling in Europe always includes at least a few, if not on a daily basis. In Slovenia there are around 500 castles, manors, mansions and ruins scattered so plentifully that it is impossible to not visit at least one. We have compiled a short list of some of our favourite types of castles that you can visit in Slovenia: I. MUSEUM CASTLES Ptuj Castle is not only a remarkable stop because of its stunning views over Ptuj, the oldest town in Slovenia, and Drava river, but also for its impressive collection. Some parts of this castle are still furnished, so it feels like some lord or lady is about to enter the room, and in others there are permanent exhibitions of paintings from 16th to 18th century, an impressive collection of musical instruments, weapons and the traditional carnival masks from the area of Ptuj. The castle in Brežice, unusually situated almost in the middle of the old town, has a wealthy collection of artefacts from the region that takes its visitors from the prehistoric times to the turbulent times of the previous century. Besides the museum, it boasts one of the most unique Baroque ceiling paintings in its Knight’s hall, picturing scenes from Greek mythology. Tucked away in the vast forests under Snežnik mountain, Snežnik castle is one of two castles in Slovenia that has completely preserved interior furniture. Walking into this castle is stepping into different times, allowing you a glimpse of the 19th century luxurious way of life. Above the old town of Idrija, the town famous for its mercury mining heritage, towers a castle which was not built for any lords, bishops or aristocracy, but was erected here in the 16th century solely for the administration purposes of the Idrija mercury mine. Today it houses the city museum, a tour through five centuries of the history of the Idrija region. II. CASTLE RUINS Stari grad, or the old castle as the locals call it, is a large castle ruin above the town of Celje. It used to be the largest castle in surface in the area of Slovenia. Even in ruins, it is a breathtakingly beautiful place to visit due to the views it offers down onto the town of Celje and the stories that surround pretty much every stone. It used to belong to the Counts of Celje, by far the most important noble family in the area of Slovenia, one point rivaling even the Habsburgs. The next ruin lies at the foot of the Karavanke Alps in a peaceful setting guarding the entrance of a small valley important for trading routes that used to come through here. Kamen (stone in Slovenian) castle is fun to visit because you can easily imagine what it was like in its former glory while making your way through it on small wooden staircases and bridges that have been placed there in the recent years. Kamnik, an absolutely charming town in northern Slovenia with the backdrop of Kamnik-Savinja Alps, has a small castle ruin right in the heart of its old town. With stories of greedy ladies and the mountain vistas it makes for a perfect little stop during your visit. III. CASTLES WITH EVENTS Architecturally, the castle in Ljubljana might be one of the strangest ones to see in Slovenia. The mixture of both old and modern turned it into a venue sometimes downright perfect for different events, such as open air cinema and various concerts. A very popular spot for locals as well, it has plenty going on, not just a museum, but also two excellent restaurants, cafes and shops. And on some nights its underground can be turned into a nightclub. Almost a must-visit attraction of one of the most popular spots in Slovenia is Bled castle. Besides the picture-postcard views it offers plenty of goings-on. Every month there is a multitude of events from concerts and Medieval days to an Easter egg hunt in spring and other holiday connected activities. IV. CASTLES WITH THE BEST STORIES The first to be mentioned in this category is definitely Predjama castle. The story set in the stronghold built into a rock cliff has the makings of a true Medieval drama. The hero, Erazem of Predjama, went from a member of the imperial guard to a rogue knight that terrified even the bravest of the emperor’s men. A turbulent siege, secrets, trickery, and a violent death in the toilet make up this marvellous tragicomedy that legends say took place at this castle. In the hills of Bizeljsko there is a castle of the same name. The legend says it was rebuilt by peasants after they destroyed the previous one. They did so angered by the brutality of the lord and especially his sadistic daughter, who liked to whip her serfs while they worked on the fields. It is said that both the lord and the daughter still haunt this place. However, a winemaker who lives in the castle today doesn’t mind the ghosts. He has a wine cellar in the castle where it is possible to try some of the local wines. Only a short drive out of Ljubljana sits a Renaissance castle, one of the first of this type in Slovenia. As legend has it, its name, Turjak, came from the indigenous aurochs, or tur in Slovenian, an extinct European wild cattle that used to roam the forest surrounding it. This castle also stars in a poem by the greatest Slovenian poet, France Prešeren, titled Turjaška Rozamunda (Rosamunda of Turjak). It tells the story of a beautiful girl, Turjaška Rozamunda, who was courted by many, and when finally a knight called Ostrovrhar managed to capture her heart, her aunt spoiled their wedding when she asked a bard if a more beautiful girl than Rozamunda existed anywhere. The bard said that Leila, the sister of a Turkish leader in Bosnia, was more beautiful, which sparked enough envy in Rozamunda that she sent her knight to Bosnia on a crusade. To her misfortune, Leila was indeed more beautiful, and Ostrovrhar took her home instead and converted her, while Rozamunda ended up in a monastery. V. CASTLES TO STAY IN If you wish to spend a night or two in a castle, there are quite a few all around the country, mostly superior luxury accommodation: