Skofja Loka - Perfect Day Trip from Ljubljana, Slovenia
Skofja Loka is a little town, very close to Ljubljana. It’s easily reachable, so it makes a perfect day trip. Skofja Loka has a beautiful medieval style due to the old castles and the 4 bridges that cross the Selška Sora river. The town owns some beautifully preserved old, historic houses in the Old Town, and it offers hiking trails for long and short distances for those who seek adventures.
The town has interesting locations in diverse points and also in the forest around the town. There are clear hiking trails and guides in the forest that show you how to arrive at all the interesting places.
On the map, you can follow our route in the town.
The long route runs through the Old town and the Three Castle Path, and the short route through Puztal. Both of them are in the order that we wrote this blog 🙂
Why visit Skofja Loka?
Skofja Loka is only a short distance (45 minutes) from Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia.
Even if you don’t have a car, you can easily reach the town with public transport. The trip itself and the town are also very cheap, so it’s perfect if you’re on a budget.
A day trip to Skofja Loka is perfect for hikers, for backpackers on a budget, or just simply for every traveler, who likes to walk around in charming historic towns, or likes to hike in nature. Skofja Loka also offers some great exhibitions for museum lovers, the castle has temporary and permanent exhibitions. There’re also some great restaurants in Skofja Loka if you want to try Slovenian food.
How to get there?
If you’re planning a day trip to Skofja Loka, taking a bus is be an amazing choice!
The bus station in Ljubljana is very close to the center. (Check the map!) If you don’t want to use the public transport of Ljubljana, then we recommend you to book your accommodation close to the bus station.
You don’t need to get your ticket in advance, just arrive a bit earlier at the bus station to get your ticket at the desk. You can already get your return ticket as well, and you don’t have to stress about getting your return ticket in Skofja Loka. You can only pay by cash, but there are some ATMs in the waiting rooms of the bus station. The bus ticket costs 3.10 € one way per person. The journey takes about 50 minutes.
Click here to check the website of the bus company, Arriva. We couldn’t find the option to buy an online ticket, and we don’t think it’s necessary, but you can check the bus schedules! 🙂
The train station of Skofja Loka is located 3 km outside the town center, so we don’t recommend you taking the train. The bus stop is right next to the river and the bridges of Skofja Loka, so it’s much more convenient.
It’s also very easy to reach Skofja Loka by car. You can rent a car in Ljubljana and take day trips, or explore whole Slovenia by car! It’s definitely much easier than public transport, as buses and trains aren’t so frequent. Also, the highways in Slovenia are super green and full of beautiful landscapes, it definitely worth to hit the road.
How to explore Skofja Loka?
This charming town offers more than you would imagine! You can explore the whole town by walking. There’re many hiking trails all around the town, so basically you can spend the whole day in Skofja Loka and its surroundings.
You can take a half-day trip as well, in 4-5 hours you can visit the main attractions in the town, get a coffee or lunch in one of the lovely restaurants or coffee shops in the old town. We recommend you to arrive early (around 8 or 9 am) Like that you will have the chance to make the whole hiking route and check all the castles around before the light of the day goes away.
Our perfect day trip in Skofja Loka, step by step!
Our day trip to Skofja Loka was a surprise, the town is full of interesting places, and it’s very easy to walk around there!
We arrived in Skofja Loka at 10 am, we went out of the bus and turned to the left behind the bus station and the cafeteria, to cross the bridge. You can cross the bridge and find yourself looking at the magnificent view of the Capuchin bridge and the river. This view is picture-postcard perfect, very romantic. Then walk straight forward to the main square, to visit the tourist information office.
The Capuchin bridge
Also known as the Stone Bridge, and it’s the oldest bridge in whole Slovenia! The bridge was built in the 14th century and it kept the same shape for a long time until the year 1888 when it was renovated and got a new pair of iron railings.
It’s the only one of his kind in central Europe. It’s one of the most beautiful bridges and definitely a great background for a photo.
The Selška Sora river flows in the middle of Skofja Loka, the people constructed 5 bridges through the time to make it easier to cross fro one side to the other one, and all the bridges have very interesting stories behind. We had the chance to see almost all of them through our day trip.
After crossing the bridge, we were received by this amazing building from the year 1709.
The building is constructed under the arquitectural style ruled by the religious order of those times. But the most interesting thing is the library. There is a very unique and antique manuscript named “The passion of Skofja Loka” from the year 1721.This is the oldest theater play in Slovenian language. It is so epic that in 1999 the play was interpretated by more than 600 actors in a special event
The beautiful Old Town square
After crossing the bridge, we entered the old town. It’s full of very beautiful medieval-styled houses.
Here you can find plenty of restaurants and souvenir businesses, all of them have been crafted to fit with the medieval sight. There is also a nice scale model of the whole town from where you can plan your route and check the location of every building.
The road led us to the main square, where we found the tourist information office. There you can get a very detailed paper map of the town and the hiking trails. The personal is very friendly, they will show you the interesting points on the map, and explain to you how to get to them. They will also tell you about all the events of the day and opening times of the places of interest!
The buildings on the Mestni trg (Old Town square) all have historical importance, but the Homan House is the most interesting one of all. The house was renovated back to 1511 after the infamous earthquake.
Later in 1529 it got a new outside renovation. The interesting thing is that during this renovations some medieval frescoes of St. Christopher and a soldier where discovered. Nowadays there is a café in the building.
Ivan Grohar, one of the most famous Slovenian artists used to visit this place very offen.
The church of the nuns
This beautiful church is located under the Loka castle, and it is conected to it. It was constructed in the year 1358 but it was fully renovated into baroque style in 1669 after a big fire.
The interior is very beautiful with great pieces of sacred art like a pulpit and a carved cross.
During the year 1782 the new religious organization of the church created a school for women inside of the castle, using the church as an entrance.
There are some hiking routes that you can follow through the town to get the castles and interesting highlights, so we decided to follow the three castle path starting at the Loka castle. This castle is the first landmark of the three castle path, and it’s also the most preserved one.
This was also the first castle constructed by the Freinsing bishops after they got the Loka territory. In some documents from the year 1202 the castle is mentioned as a very strong and steady construction.
The castle is amazing, it was almost destroyed in an earthquake more than one century ago, but the constant efforts of the locals brought it back to life and today you can enjoy it in a wonderful state.
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There are a lot of hidden points from where you can also check a great sight of the city. When we arrived at the castle we decided to take an outside look and surround it. The castle has also a great museum and a cafeteria, but we wanted to visit it after making the hiking trail.
The three castle path
After exploring the outside of the Loka castle we continued the three castle path.
It’s very easy to follow because you can find signs and arrows through all the trail.
The three castles in order are:
Loka Castle with the Loka Museum, the Krancelj Tower and the wild Loka castle.
After hiking for some time through the forest behind the Loka castle, we found that the trail continued through a fence, everyone can enter. Remember to close the door after you, we don’t want the cute sheep to escape!
After wandering the trail for 10 minutes, we arrived at our next landmark, the Krancelj tower.
This construction looks very different from the first one, mainly, because there are just some ruins of the original building.
This was not a castle, but a tower. From here people of the 12th century used to protect the city and the surroundings, but it was destroyed by an earthquake in the year 1511.
When we arrived at this location we were very impressed with the feeling around the antique stones, how much history passed through this place? It’s always incredible to find a place like this. We wandered around for some minutes, looking at the little hidden details. We didn’t follow the hiking trail to the wild Loka castle, because it would be another 1,5-hour hike to there, and 1,5 hour back. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time for that.
After that, we decided to go back to the Loka castle and get a drink before continuing our adventure. There’s a small cafeteria at the Loka castle, where you can relax a bit, before continuing your adventures.
IN CASE YOU HAVE MORE TIME
Wild Loka castle
The wild Loka castle is located in the middle of the forest and you can reach it following the path that starts at the Loka castle.
This castle is in the same conditions as the Krancelj tower due to the same earthquake of 1511. But even though the construction is in ruins, the shape is conserved and it has a great “lord of the rings” aura.
If you want to hike one extra hour to arrive and make some good exercise we recommend you to visit this landmark too.
Loka Castle Museum
After exploring the Krancelj tower, we decided to go back to the Loka castle and check the exposition of the museum and take some refreshment after the hike.
The Museum has a full exposition with a lot of different collections focused on art, ethnology, culture, history and science. It’s one of the most complete museums in whole Slovenia.
The cafeteria of the castle is the perfect place to chill after the hiking. One of the cutest details of this town is that the green areas are full of little lizards, and while we were drinking some coffee we could see them running between the flowers and the tower of the castle.
The Path to Puštal
After going down the castle hill, we heade to our next hiking path. The Puštal path is 2 km long, if you want to go this way, you will spend 1 hour walking.
Puštal is another town inside of the Skofja Loka region. The Puštal castle, the Church of the holy cross, the Nace’s house and the other 5 remarkable buildings are part of the famous Puštal path. If you want to follow this path, you just need to follow the signs of the little frog. You will find these sings on the street and also on the map of the tourist office.
The famous Devil bridge is also part of this path, this one was the one that we crossed to go back to the main square.
The Devil's bridge
When you follow the path , then you will find yourself crossing a bridge. This is the longest bridge in the town and also, the one with the most interesting story. The legend says that the devil itself used to appear on this bridge. The terror of the locals was so big that they constructed two shrines from both sides of the bridge and for a while, he didn’t appear anymore. After a while, the devil started to appear again in the middle of the bridge, so the people of Skofja Loka constructed a statue of St. John Nepomuk to get rid of him once and for all.
This is the longest bridge and connects both Puštal and Skofja Loka, when we were there we could listen to the frogs singing and e could admire the landscape of the river full of people taking a swim in the water.
This house in Puštal was built in the 16th century and obtained its Baroque appearance in 1755. This traditional house is protected as a preserved monument of the Slovenian rural architectural heritage.
You an visit the house if you want to check the preserved interior, but for that you should make a call and an appointment with the owners of the house 🙂
Church of the Holy Cross
So we followed the path to Puštal, decided to reach one of the highest points in the Skofja Loka region, the Church of the Holy Cross.
This one is located on the top of a hill in Puštal, one of the suburbs of Skofja Loka. We took approximately 20 minutes walking to arrive here, it is on the top of the hill so you should be aware that it will be a bit challenging if you have been hiking the whole day 🙂
The church was constructed in the 18th century and you can appreciate beautiful artwork inside. The uphill is also decorated by some representations of the Stations of the cross.
The sight is incredible, and you can find a beautiful square of grass surrounding the church that will be perfect for taking your shoes out and resting after going up the hill.
After taking some nice photos, we decided to go down and reach the Puštal castle.
Located in the middle of the Puštal suburb, this castle has it’s first to mention in documents from the 13th century. It looks like a big and precious building from the outside. Nowadays is a music school, so it is not possible to watch the interior. After watching this and another of the close constructions, we decided to go back to the main square to get some lunch.
The end of the day trip
After that, we came back to the main square.
We found a very nice restaurant where we got some pizza very close to the bus station. Is there a better way to end a perfect day trip than eating pizza and drinking wine? 🙂
We spent the whole day wandering around Skofja Loka, and we really wish we could stay longer to explore the Wild Loka castle and watch more exhibitions in the museums! A day trip to Skofja Loka is definitely a must to do if you visit Slovenia and Ljubljana. It’s one of the loveliest towns in Slovenia!
We didn’t stay in Skofja Loka because we had our accomodation in Ljubljana.
But in case you want to stay here more time you can check our deals finder below. You can also check our deals finder for Ljubljana in case that you are staying there.