What you are missing in the Green Karst!
For the many visitors to that "well known cave" who just visit and then clear off, maybe getting a quick photo up the road at the "most unique castle in the world", maybe staying a brief night.. they really ought to know that they have come to a Green paradise and totally missed what there is to see here!
We could have chosen anywhere in the world to live.. we chose a sleepy little village with excellent connections in the Green Karst.. If you are interested, we will explain why..
There are so many reasons and bits of incredible luck that helped us to land here in the village of Landol, but two are particularly relevant to this story..
Firstly the location is second to none in Slovenia to get you to pretty much everything worth seeing, (and that means hundreds and hundreds of amazing places folks).. all within easy reach. Our plan was to build a homely Lodge in "the middle of the countryside" yet perfectly positioned for our guests to make short or longer day trips all around Slovenia, west Croatia and North Italy.
There are several excellent motorways and roads positioned perfectly close by, to whisk our guests off for day trips up the Soca or Vipava valleys, the Gorica Hills, or down to the Slovenian Croatian or Italian coasts. We have so many caves nearby for guests to choose from.. (you really have a fantastic choice of caves to visit here). You can also reach any of Slovenia's 3 Alpine regions, 7 wine regions and lakes from the Lodge easily within a day trip.
But secondly, our own mini region, the Green Karst, is stuffed full of all that is great about Green Slovenia, with ancient forests, castles, disappearing lakes, caves, mountains, secret rock valleys, rivers and so many amazing hikes for our guests to explore that it is easy to arrive here having heard about a castle hanging out of a cliff and a big cave and leave totally overwhelmed by what you could have seen if you had just received a little more info or encouragement in advance!
At Lipizzaner Lodge, we are so lucky to have the best of Slovenia and the Green Karst on our doorstep. Most visitors to Slovenia have no clue of what "Karst" actually means, (we certainly didn't).. so we have taken the liberty of explaining the Karst in simple terms in our KARST BLOG for you.
Once you know what the Karst is, then the name Green Karst can actually have some meaning for you! This mini region between the Alps and the Mediterranean is pretty much the capital of the rocky underground & over ground stony green covered paradise that is known as the Karst.. Now, how lucky is that?!
But the name Green Karst has only recently been adopted. We have been banging on to the local tourist board for as long as we have been here to use such a descriptive, catchy name to bring meaning to visitors coming here. Now, you know what you are gonna get when you come here, as you can see the "name on the tin"! Green, green nature of all types mixed with the rocky wonderland that is known as the Karst!
So now you know what the name Green Karst means and what the Karst is, it actually doesn't matter that much if you know when you are physically in the Green Karst or not.. the most important thing is that you enjoy Green Slovenia!
OK, so let's get on with telling you about just a few of the amazing places, other than the fantastic Predjama castle and Postojna cave, that you might miss in the Green Karst! if you didn't know!!
Rakov Skocjan is tricky to say, but is a world class mini nature park where a river flows between 2 massive natural stone arches. The entire park was a huge prehistoric cave, which collapsed and left the 2 arches. There is an amazing secret stone valley under the smallest arch, just waiting for you to explore.
Lake Cerknica is the largest disappearing lake in Europe. In the autumn the lake is filled from huge underground rivers and Karstic caves swelling up to 40 square km! In the summer the water mysteriously drains away and the lake disappears!
Okno.. the Window is a 7 metre high natural stone window with amazing 1,000 metre high views up over the Green Karst region down to the neighbouring Vipava valley. You get here along a forest road, then travel high up along an amazing curvy road with great mountain views and stony outcrops everywhere, all the way to the window.. oh yes there is also a giant stone snail.. see if you can find it!
The 17 Disappearing Lakes of Pivka are interconnecting disappearing lakes scattered around a beautiful green mini region with a really wonderful mini museum at it's centre, close to Pivka, which we call the Museum of the 17 Disappearing Lakes!
Planina is a little green wonderland of a village, hiding the amazing Planina cave (Baby Dragon cave), the Rapunzel tower, one of the most expensive fishing rivers in Europe and oh yes, yet another amazing disappearing lake!
Nanos mountain, 1,313m, with views of Venice on a good day is at the edge of the Green Karst and pretty much defines the region.. rocky, green, massive, covered in forest and just waiting to be explored!
The Black Cave is a much quieter, stunning cave tour just around the corner from the Postojna cave.
Sneznik castle is in our opinion, the second best castle in all Green Slovenia, (and that is saying something)! It's small, perfect, surrounded by water and you get a warm feeling the occupants have just popped out for a spot of hunting, as it it fully furnished.. all this on the edge of Europe's wildest, deepest, oldest forest!
Krizna cave is the one with the underground lake and boat ride, but you really want to get a seat on the restricted 4 hour underground extravaganza tour if you can!
Sneznik mountain, 1,796m is the highest non Alpine mountain in Slovenia. It is surrounded by deep forest and from the long sloping summit you can see all the way to the Adriatic sea!
And the local Green Karst Agency also runs a minibus service around some smaller, lesser know local attractions and you can get around them all in a day or a couple of days! It's a great idea as you can leave your car behind and go with someone who knows the area. See below:
Prem castle doesn't look much from the outside, but inside is well worth a look as there is a medieval defensive tower to explore and a drawing room with paintings of all the signs of the zodiac. From the top of the tower there are great views.
We already described the museum of the 17 Disappearing lakes and this is on the minibus travel list, including the Karst museum in Postojna, which will tell you all you need to know about the Karst and finally the Pivka "Military museum", which is so much more than a tank museum.. it has the best exhibition in Slovenia explaining the days of the Slovenian war of Independence in 1991 for example, a great restaurant, gift shop and hours of other fab exhibits to wander around.