We have visited a lot of castles during our travels, but the Predjama castle in Slovenia is definitely the most impressive of all. It is well preserved, it is located in a lovely place, but what the most impressive is that it is constructed inside of a cave!
The Castle was shaped using the natural structure of a cave, fussing the handmade materials with the natural rock walls. It is a wonder of architecture and as you can imagine, due to its strategic position and defense, the castle was never conquered in battle. In this guide, you will get all the information that you need for visiting this fairytale-like castle! 🙂
How to get to the Predjama Castle
If you only want to visit the Predjama Castle, not the Postojna Cave:
- Take a train or bus from Ljubljana to Postojna, then a taxi to the Predjama Castle. You can also ask your driver to wait for you until you finish to explore the castle and then take you back to the station (or to the Postojna Cave if you decide to visit it).
During the summer months – July to September – EASIEST!
- Take a train or a bus from Ljubljana to Postojna, then walk to the Postojna Cave Park, get your combo ticket and take the shuttle bus. During the summer months, there is a free shuttle bus service between the castle and the cave.
During other months…
- Take a train or a bus from Ljubljana to Postojna, then walk to the Postojna Cave Park, get your combo ticket. After visiting the cave park, you can taxi and reach the Predjama Castle.
It can be quite tricky to get a taxi there, but you can reserve your taxi driver before your trip (at the hotel for example), to spare the stress and time.
4. Take an organized tour to Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle, then you don’t have to worry about the transport between the cave and the castle.
There’re parking lots right next to the Postojna Cave and the Predjama Castle as well, so renting a car would making your trip a lot more stress-free.
Predjama Castle as part of the Postojna Cave Park
Predjama castle is part of the Postojna Cave Park. You can buy your tickets to the castle at the Postojna Cave Park.
Tickets can also be purchased at the ticket office in front of the Predjama Castle.
Three of the attractions (the cave, the Vivarium, and the Expo Cave Karst) are in the facilities of the cave, the Predjama Castle is located some kilometers from the cave. In both places, you can find restaurants, snack stores and souvenir shops full of cool Slovenian products.
There are different combined tickets that can include more of the attractions.
The single ticket to the Predjama Castle is 13.80 € in the low season, and 14.90 € in the high season.
How to get from the Cave to the Castle?
After you finish visiting all the attractions in the cave, you can go to the castle. If you’re visiting during the summer months, you can take the free shuttle bus between the castle and the cave. All holders of the combo tickets to the Postojna cave and Predjama castle tours can use this service, between July and September. The buses depart every half an hour from the parking lot, right in front of the ticket offices.
If you’re visiting during the winter, spring or autumn, you need to have a car to get to the castle. You can also take a taxi from the cave to the castle, or you can take an organized tour from Ljubljana. Unfortunately, there is no public transport between the cave and the castle.
History of the Predjama Castle
This castle was first mentioned in the year 1274 known as the Luegg castle. This castle passed through the hands of a lot of different owners, but it was Erazem of Lueg the one who gave this place it’s the legendary category.
Erazem of Lueg was a famous robber baron and son of the governor of Trieste, he was kind of a real-life Robin Hood.
During the year 1483, Erazem killed the commander of the Habsburg imperial army, Marshal Pappenheim after he offended the honor of Andrej Baumkircher, a good friend and condottiere of Erazem. Pappenheim was an actual relative of the Habsburg family, so after the incident, Erazem ran away to hide in the strongest and most well-defended of his properties, The Predjama Castle.
The Habsburg sent their army forces to besiege the castle, but it was impossible for them to achieve to even approach the door. The Habsburg forces decided to surround the castle until Erazem and his allies would die of inanition.
But imagine the surprise of this army, when they realized that the inhabitants of the castle were living inside as if nothing were happening and getting an unlimited source of fresh food and resources.
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The incredible cave of Predjama
The Austrian forces didn’t realize how they were doing that until the end of the conflict. Predjama castle is constructed at the entrance of a huge cave system that includes a vertical natural shaft.
When Erazem got the ownership of the castle, he ordered to enlarge this shaft to an exit located at the top of the cliff that protects the cave.
This secret entrance allowed Erazem and his allies to supply the castle with food and resources during the time of the siege and also to allow him to continue with his robberies and adventures.
A sad ending for the hero of the castle
But sadly, this story came to an end that can be seen as cartoonish. After a long siege, one of the servants of Erazem decided to betray him. He sneaked out of the castle and inform the Austrian soldiers about the only weak point of the castle, the toilet room.
After that, when Erazem needed to attend the call of nature, the betrayal was arranged. The servant made a light sign with a candle warning the Austrians that Erazem was in the toilet, so they shot a strong cannonball to the exposed room killing him instantly and finishing the conflict. 🙁
After this incredible episode, the castle passed through the hands of other private owners until it was confiscated by the Yugoslav Communist authorities after the end of WWII. Since then it has been a Museum.
Exploring the Predjama Castle
Predjama castle is one of the most interesting places that we have ever visited. Not only because of its incredible history and architecture, but also because of the fact of how well conserved all these things and the interesting legends between its walls are.
When you arrive at the entrance of the castle, you can show your ticket from the Postojna cave park or buy a ticket for the castle only.
The ticket price includes an audio guide in 17 different languages, so you can listen to the information of every interesting landmark, room and object inside the castle. Be aware to get your audio guide because the Museum doesn’t have so many written information inside.
After the main entrance, you will arrive at the main hall from where you can watch the stairs and the wall of rock from the cave, from here you can start the tour following the numbers. These numbers will be also the numbers of the information capsules of the audio guide.
The expositions in the tower
The first 4 rooms of expositions are located in the first tower of the castle. Here you will find some of the objects of the antique owners of the castle, including a painting of Erazem of Lueg and some of the original objects and furniture. The most interesting room is at the top, here you can see some of the instruments for defending the castle like the pot where they were heating the oil to be thrown through some special gaps on the walls.
The Courtroom and the fusion of the cave and the castle
This part of the castle is one of the most interesting because it has a lot of curiosities around.
It is in this part of the castle where you can see the fusion spot between the walls made by the people and the rock formed by nature and time. If you see to the right you will see the cold and humid rock that has been there since thousands of years, if you watch to the left you will watch the wall that has been already restored several times. In the middle you won’t be able to see where starts one and finishes the other.
The Courtroom is located after this hall. Medieval times were harsh and medieval law was also very extreme! Here you can see the place where Predjama rule was judged and applied. It would not be so impressive if the main penalty location were not there. Next to the desk where the “judge” decided if the imputed were innocent or not, is a huge door that opens to a huge fall of more than 30 meters to the base of the cave.
The imputed who was founded guilty were thrown through this door to its ultimate fate!
The torture chambers
Even if the punishment of falling more than 30 meters to a bed of rock sounds super bad, maybe the room next was not a great option either 😮
The torture chamber doesn’t need an explanation, the antique inhabitants of the castle settled this little cave to be the place where they applied the harsh laws of those times. Inside you can see some of the original torture and imprisonment devices.
INTERESTING FACT: The torture chamber of the Predjama Castle is the only place registered where the crew of Ghost Hunters International found actual paranormal activity registered! How spooky, isn’t it?
Life in castles was very active, people were going up and down working very hard to keep the place safe. The kitchen was a very important part of the castle, all the food was prepared here, and what is more important than keeping everyone nourished?
Here you will be able to see a lot of old kitchen cookware and other devices, and what is more interesting, another of the interesting technological features of the castle, because this location had an actual fridge!
There is no doubt that the cave protected the castle and all its inhabitants on a lot of levels. The kitchen was constructed in that specific location because of the presence of a big natural chimney of the cave. The temperature inside the cave is cold and constant, so the castle inhabitants used this section as a natural fridge.
The castle worked as a little city, so that means that every little institution was inside. The chapel was located just next to the main bedroom and they were connected by a little window. Not because the ruler of the castle was lazy, but because his room was the warmest one in winter, so it was better to attend the mass from that comfy place 😉
What is a knight without his sword, coat, and armor? A romantic person like Dante would tell you that the knight is in his braveheart and noble actions, but it is a fact that the armor is always impressive!
This place has displayed a lot of armor, weapons, arm coats and flags that gave the castle its identity through the years. Here is also a little souvenir store where you can buy a lot of nice things with medieval motives
The entrance to the cave is in the deepest part of the castle, it can be actually considered as part of it! This room was the emergency exit for the inhabitants. In case that any large number of invaders would break the defense of the castle, this people would be able to escape through the cave just as Erazem did several times.
The castle has so many hidden features and history, you can be sure that the visit is totally worth it!
Let us know if you liked our guide in the comments! If you have questions, you can also send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where to stay?
Ljubljana is a perfect base for exploring Slovenia! So we recommend you to book your accommodation in Ljubljana (close to the bus station, if you are planning to use public transportation on your day trips).