Predjama castle in central Slovenia looks more like something out of Game of Thrones or a Studio Ghibli film than something in, y’know, the real world. Built into a sheer cliff face, it appears to be floating – or, at the very least, on the verge of slipping down into the valley below.
Built in the thirteenth century, Predjama has become one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions. Its current façade dates from the 1580s, and behind it you’ll find a castle complete with kitchens, bedrooms, armouries, dungeons and secret tunnels. It’s best known for once being the abode of a knight named Erazem Lueger, a brave and rebellious dude who – so legend has it – died on the loo in the middle of a siege.
So, why build a castle in a cave? Well, for starters it’s got plenty of natural secret tunnels. It’s also pretty unbeatable as a military fortress, being both pretty high up and having its own natural shelter too. Unbeatable, that is, if you don’t manage to die on the crapper.
Predjama was turned into a museum after the castle was occupied by the Yugoslavian authorities after World War II. These days it’s a pretty magical museum, filled with all your usual medieval-museum stuff (a restored kitchen and armoury, plus lots of creepy dummies). And it isn’t just any old cool cave castle. According to the Guinness Book of Records, it’s the biggest cave castle in the entire world.
In other words, it’s the perfect place to live out your medieval fairy-tale fantasies. And even if that isn’t your kind of thing, you can also take adventure tours through the cave beneath the castle, which is home to a colony of bats and forms part of the 14km-long Predjama cave system.
The castle is around an hour's drive from Ljubljana and open year-round, with tickets starting from €11.90 (£9.90, $13.50) for adults. The cave tours, meanwhile, run from May to September, and start at €24 (£20, $27). See Predjama’s website for more info.
Planning a trip already? Now discover four Slovenian getaways that are good for the planet.