the Secret Snail & Giant's Stone Window (Okno)
This is one of the many wonderful trips from the Lodge where guests trust us to follow a route for an adventure they could not have imagined before and come back with stories of green nature, rocky wonderlands and sheer amazement that somewhere so beautiful could be on our doorstep, but they had no clue it was here!
A generic book or an e-guide just cannot see or understand the people in front of it when recommending places to go in Slovenia and this is our extra special advantage at the Lodge.. not only do we see what our guests might like to do, but we are the same kinda people as our guests.. foreigners enjoying the beauty of Green Slovenia, so we can completely step into your shoes and help you choose the best natural wonder for you.. simples!
So depending on your family grouping, fitness, time pressure, preference for hiking, biking, driving, eating options, etc,etc, etc, we often send guests off on a main mission to "find the natural stone window", mercifully pronounceable in Slovenian as "Okno"!
What you get is a magical mystery tour filled with rocks, forest, mountains and the green Vipava wine valley.. all this within km's of 2 of Slovenia's most visited tourist attractions, the Postojna cave and Predjama castle and with no admission fees.. if only you knew!
Finding the Okno:
This is such a great day out as it also has so many side options for places to choose to spend more time at during your day, or options for longer hikes or just doing a driving tour with minmal stops.. the choice is yours..
Guests usually drive up past Predjama castle into the forest and experience a forest road that can take you up to the remains of an old Roman fortress and little museum, or you can take another route if you don't have time for this.
There are places to stop everywhere on the way if you want to experience the forest more and the main thing you will notice apart from the amazing variety of trees will be the white rocks littering the ground in all shapes and sizes.. this is because you are in a "Karst" area and these rocks are hiding secret caves, sink holes and mini cliffs.. everywhere.
It is a very pleasant, curvy, dusty forest drive up to the main road that protected the old route from Ljubliana for the Romans.. And there is absolutley no reason that you couldnt explore this road on an e-bike or regular mountain bike, depending on your energy!
The main road snakes across the mountains, high up and you go through picturesque little villages.. at one village there is a school with the most amazing view out across the mountains and towards the sea.. lucky kids!
You are basically travelling up & around our local mountain of Nanos and along a high plateau with views on the other side over Slovenia's biggest secret, the beautiful Vipava wine valley. The further up you go the more of this white rock you see and maybe now it is time that you understood a bit more about what the Karst is, so if you like you can read our little blog article helping to explain what on earth is the KARST.
There are little spots where you can park up and explore the numerous rock formations eroded by water over many years, some jagged, some smooth. We know a fab little place which we decribe as "Slovenia's Giant's causeway" (not nearly as amazing as the unique Giant's causeway, but we use this example so you get at least some idea of what you might see here).. a mini valley of eroded smoth rocks you will see. It's pretty good and it helps you also see how water can create the other amazing natural stone wonders in Slovenia.
Park up at the village of Otlica and this is where you can hike to the Window! You can get there and back in about an hour.. but if you consider you will be walking through rocky green fields and then along a cliff about 1,000m up, (don't worry not too scary) with stunning views down to the green valley below.. then you might want to take a bit more time to enjoy this and take a few photos on the way!
The Okno is a huge crack in the rock that is rumoured by locals to have been created by the devil, but you will surely feel this a more heavenly place as you creep to the base of the window and gaze down into the valley.
And on the way back be sure to deviate a bit to visit the beautiful, but slightly kooky stone snail! It's a piece of artwork with a huge conical (not comical) curvy stone tail that you can tip toe along.. all this surrounded by rock and forest, with maybe a sheep or cow wandering around.. idyllic!
There is yet another viewpoint to stop off at with another "terminator like" statue and great views at the next village of Predmeja and if the weather is right then don't be surprised to see dozens of paragliders floating around.. almost at your eye level!
The main point of the tour is then to descend into the Vipava valley through 3 swiss-like mini tunnels blasted into the mountain rock and continue your adventures in the Vipava valley..
Maybe you will stay the rest of the day in the valley to go elec biking, kayaking, hiking, visit a medieval hilltop village, go wine tasting or hang out in the stunning little town of Vipava with the 7 springs of the Vipava river or find the spring of the Hubelj river in nearby Adjective! (Indeed we should also mention that yet another option to visit the Window (Okno) is to hike directly up the massive cliff from the base of the valley.. you start here at the Hubelj springs at the top of the town of Adjective.. wow what a hike)!
Or maybe you will explore the valley a bit and then continue to drive up into the next Teran/Karst wine region and loop round back to the Lodge for a glass of local wine? Or maybe you will visit the nearby Lipca horse stud, home of the soon to be Unesco protected Lipizzaner horse or go to the already Unesco protected Skocjan cave. Or maybe you will leave the valley option for another day after the OKNO walk and turn instead towards the very pretty mountain town of Idrija.. also Unesco protected!
The choices for things to do and see even on just this one single line of adventure are massive and now you know a little more about them, they are yours to enjoy.. we just help our guests out with a bit of logistics, local knowledge and maybe a few tips for restaurants along the way... You do the rest!