Lovely Lokev

Lokev is in such a lovely spot, with lots & lots of secret Green Places close by and is also one of our very favourite little local villages for a stop off to have a bite to eat.. So we think you might like to know a bit more about it all..

This delightful village hamlet sits perfectly on the map, close to Divaca and more importantly between the Unesco protected Skocjan cave, (one of, if not the best cave tours in the world) and the Unesco listed Lipica Horse farm, (founded and created by an Emperor over 400 years ago).

So not a bad spot really and just over 20 mins from the Lodge.. so many of our guests do spend one at least one of their amazing Slovenian adventure days out around here mixing the cave visit with Lipica and a lovely local meal out..

Whilst it is difficult to imagine a holiday in Green Slovenia without seeing the breathtaking splendour of the Skocjan cave, not so many visitors might arrive here also knowing how close Lipica, the home of the world famous Lipizzaner horse breed, actually is to the Lodge and that you can easily go visit there, even see a horse show!

step away from the busy Lokev main road and go back in time..
step away from the busy Lokev main road and go back in time..


But what we are now gonna tell you all about in this article is, INCREDIBLY, there are lots of OTHER amazing things to do and see around Lokev.. this tiny dot on the map that you probably didn't even notice when planning your trip to Green Slovenia!

Yes, just a sliver of a slice of the map contains some very pleasant headaches for visitors, cos there is just so much to go see and do.. so better to know before you arrive in case you might need to reconsider your agenda..

And when it comes to Eating Options, the little village of Lokev also punches well above it's weight!

There are 2 main reasons for writing this article.. 1. Lokev's proximity to so many secret places to visit you have almost certainly NOT heard about AND 2. How much choice there is in Lokev to try some excellent homecooked local food..

Before we start, maybe have another quick look on our LOCATION map to find where on earth Lokev is.. (just click the + button 4 times and look left from the Lodge towards Trieste.. Found it next to the Italian border? Ok, now prepare for some very pleasant surprises indeed..

do not blink as you go through Lokev or you might miss another restaurant..
do not blink as you go through Lokev or you might miss another restaurant..


Why is Lokev so special.. the Location

The first thing to note about Lokev as you whizz through, very probably on your way to Lipica to see the horses, is that it is actually the largest village in Slovenia! Which is wierd cos you might drive completely through without noticing anything at all!

The next and last stop in Slovenia is Lipica and then it's just a stone's throw to the Italian border and Triestein between, a crazy network of other little picture perfect Slovenian heritage villages that are now in Italy.

So this is yet another very different corner of Green Slovenia, littered with leaky white Karst limestone rocks & boulders that look like discarded dragon's teeth & scrabby bushy green trees, all drenched in Mediterranean sunshine in the far corner of the Teran Kras wine region..

Lipica is like another nature park, but for these stunning horses..
Lipica is like another nature park, but for these stunning horses..


We should explain here that Lokev is on the tip of this unique Teran Kras wine region and the magic is NOT just geological.. this mini region is the ONLY place in the world where you can find the unique blood red Teran wine and the local speciality for your starter plate will most almost certainly be the air dried Prsut, (prosciutto) and delicious local cheese.

The mini region is defined by lines and lines of tidy stone walls, built from lots of smaller Karst rocks without cement to divide lots of wide green fields, vineyards with ruby red soil and Mediterranean forests. 

For local people this amazing diversity is all quite so normal, but for us living here, we have noticed the locals just do not seem to think to tell visitors how special it all is or what to look out for or what to order on a local menu and this is EXACTLY the reason why we need to tell you!

So the Teran Kras mini region is special, it is tiny, it is very different, beautiful & delicious.. and we are lucky it so close to the Lodge!


Why should Lokev be on our holiday Radar?.. What special Stuff is nearby..

Just in case you did not know about the only two places that the numerous "5 minute reviewers" of Slovenia will probably mention for this mini region.. we will briefly describe the Skocjan Cave and Lipica.. (and where we have written longer secret place articles on these and the other secret places you can click on the links if you would like to find out a bit more about them).

the tour at Skocjan cave does not end when you leave the cave mouth, the green adventure continues..
the tour at Skocjan cave does not end when you leave the cave mouth, the green adventure continues..


The Skocjan Cave..

If you have seen "The Hobbit" film then you might be able to imagine how big this cave really is.. the largest open underground space in Europe and sure to amaze and humble you by the sheer magnificence of nature.. 

The Skocjan cave tour is fantastic, teasing you inside and then confusing your senses with a mix of Indiana Jones style lighting and a bridge far below in the distance.. 

We find a reason with friends or family to go here at least once a year it is so good and we have lived here for 10 years now.. 

When guests stay here for a week or two, we often ask them their TOP 5 places and Skocjan cave is almost ALWAYS in there for one of the family! If you knew how much amazing stuff there is here in Green Slovenia, this is quite something!

Green Slovenia is just a small country, but we do seem to have a lot of very big things!

inside Lipica, plenty of black baby Lipizzaners to see..
inside Lipica, plenty of black baby Lipizzaners to see..


Lipica, home of the Lipizzaner..

Any other country in the world would be desperate to have such a dreamy countryside location where the Austrian Emperor created the imperial Lipizzaner horse over 400 years ago.

Acres and kilometres of woodland are set aside for the hundreds of beautiful white horses to graze with their even more cute black, brown babies. (Yes, like a true fairy story, baby Lipizzaners are black and only turn white with age). 

Inside the grounds there is training, a tour, a show and a demonstration on different days.. more recently, riding a Lipizzaner has also become a serious possibility.

For horse nuts, this is a mecca of the horse world.

So seriously, how on earth are we gonna persuade you to consider some of these other lesser known, even UNKOWN secret places below.. surely they cannot be as good, can they?

don't miss the sensational colours underground at Vilenica cave..
don't miss the sensational colours underground at Vilenica cave..


Vilenica Cave..

It is no exageration to say this might be the most beautiful cave in Slovenia! The Vilenica cave is just an hour to tour and with so many different underground coloured dripstones it is a like a fairy grotto.

But not a lot of people know about it, we have had guests here being the only foreigners on the tour.. there are a lot of steps too, so if you are reasonably fit, then you are in for a rare treat without any crowds.

Take a right at the Lipica end of Lokev village, direction SEZANA and the cave grounds are not far out of the village on the right. The sign says Vilenica JAMA (cave)..

This Karst beauty is ONLY open for one visit a week at 3pm on a Sunday, so you need to juggle your plans to make sure you get to see it.

Honestly, it is difficut to imagine how you could imagine not seeing this beautiful cave once in your lifetime.

another world far below at the bottom of Dragon's crater..
another world far below at the bottom of Dragon's crater..


Dragon's Crater.. (Risnik)

You might easily drive through and miss Lokev village in a flash, but it is even easier to miss this wonder of the Karst world, locally known as Risnik.

Yep, there is a very small car park on the left as you leave Divaca, direction Lipica, and a line of trees hiding this HUGE round hole.

Park up carefully and you can hike around the rim of this massive crater in half an hour if you have to or spend much longer exploring.. the path also integrates with more paths that can get you to the Divaca cave below.

Be very careful by the edge of this massive Karst sinkhole as the cliffs & rocks down are mostly sheer and used by the few rock climbers who actually know about this secret treasure for climbing.

We called this place Dragon's Crater cos if you look down deep inside to the crater floor, the huge green forest growing there would be a perfect hiding place for a dragon!

You can go down the crater to explore the forest floor too.. if the car park is 7 O Clock, then walk around to 4 O Clock and there is a slippery scree (little stones) slope down into this magical green hole and another rocky way back up directly across the other side via the cliffs.. BUT PLEASE GO VERY CAREFULLY, for most visitors it will be enough to walk around the huge rim of this wonder of nature..

the small car park to look out for, on the right behind these trees is a massive massive hole..
the small car park to look out for, on the right behind these trees is a massive massive hole..


There are incredible views to pop your head out to all around this hole, but do try get to the 12 O Clock location at the other side of the crater, via the marked path, where there is an info board and some seats and at last, a bit of reassuring safety fence to lean on and admire the best views of this giant sinkhole! 

From here the views across are really stunning and you will see how close the entire town of Divaca is built to this massive hole hidden away next to the road by only a few trees, but today, for your eyes only.

Little Chicken Hill.. (Kokoš hill)

A lovely hike directly out of Lokev through fields and up into the Red Karst forest to reach the top of the hill, which has stunning and excellent views over to Italy and the Adriatic coast.

You park up at the cemetary car park at the Lipica, Italian border side of Lokev and go directly up the steepest bit of the hill from there.

And we added another nearby hike too, called Hike up the Lovev Hills, which might also be of interest to you in combo with any of these other amazing places..

dramatic entrance to Divaca cave, dont't worry there are some stairs too..
dramatic entrance to Divaca cave, dont't worry there are some stairs too..


The Divaca Dancing Cave..

This is another of the numerous secret cave tours here that you have probably not even heard about, so we totally understand you might not trust it can be as good as the 3 better known caves.. BUT just like Vilenica, above, you do need to know that you are REALLY MISSING OUT if you do not see this cave.

There is a short stoney track road signposted off the main road not far out of Divaca, direction Lokev & Lipica where you need to turn and quickly enter another world.

You will NOT have crowds bothering your underground experience here and the tour is simple, just rock up at 10am on a Sunday, (2 extra tours every day in the summer).

The tour is a little over an hour and you will not believe what wonders are hiding under your feet. A Dancing hall, huge chambers and dripstone formations all expertly announced by a friendly local guide.

None of the 30 or so showcaves in Green Slovenia are alike.. Can we underline yet again how really really good these "unknown" cave tours are..

Green Slovenia is just so blessed with caves, just think about it.. if this cave or the Vilenica cave was in your country, then it would almost certainly be your number ONE known underground attraction with queues all the way from Brussels to Dusseldorf!

The Karst Nature Park..

This is yet another secret Green spot we have not even fully visited ourselves yet, but are really excited to do so soon..

Picture this, the old border here between Slovenia and Italy was very long and empty, with a vast stretch between the two lines on the map left as "No Man's Land".. effectively the bit between the EAST and the WEST, the Good Guys and the Bad Guys, Coca Cola and the Iron Curtain!

Well, that is hopefully history now and this land was never settled, so has become a long large nature park paradise in an area of natural Teran Karst rock outstanding beauty!

We will bring the E Bikes here too and let you know how we got on, but you can also endlessly hike here..

Check it out on a map, it is just under Sezana and is called something like the Karst Living Museum, going all the way down to Lipica.. We are very excited about exploring here! 

outside the military museum tower in Lokev..
outside the military museum tower in Lokev..


the Tower Museum IN Lokev..

Just slow down a touch as you whizz through Lokev itself and look right to see a pretty little village square dominated by a big round Tower. This is a perfect example of the towers that were required round around here to deter the Turkish raids and protect local people when the invaders came.

Apart from being a great spot to park to go to a restaurant, if you are interested, make time to also visit this tower.. it has so many surprises inside it could blow your cotton socks off!

The field gun protecting the entrance is the only clue to the secrets inside this place. This is a very rare military museum STUFFED FULL of uniforms and exhibits from EVERY SINGLE SLOVENIAN war and there have been a lot!

Yes, Slovenia is right in the CENTRE of Europe and has hosted a lot of European battles as different "Powers" have scrapped over the land and then drawn and redrawn the map to suit themselves.. (Slovenia was actually 3 times it's current size by the way), but if you want to see a fantastic mini museum that will help you make some sense of Slovenia's history, then this is the one to see.

This museum is family run and the owner is a master colllector of military memorobilia.. It is like an Aladdins cave of trinkets and souvenirs form each phase of Slovenian modern history and you will need at least an hour to wander around.

This might not be your cup of tea, but if you have any interest in history or are confused or curious about Romans, Austro Hungarians, Napoleon, Italians, Partisans, Communists and now the European Union ruling the roost over this essential piece of the central European jigsaw, then this might be the place to come!

the entrance to the museum is up the stairs, more to see through this door in the basement..
the entrance to the museum is up the stairs, more to see through this door in the basement..


Wow, what about all that then.. you may have thought your day out combo to the world famous Skocjan cave and Lipica might have been one of your easier choices for really close days out from the Lodge..

But now you have some other really fantastic possibilities to go into the mix and enough in reality for two whole days of adventure!!

It is also possible to fit any of these special extra tips into a day at the Skocjan cave with Lipica included to as everything is so close.. you just need to get your logistics right.

Every family has different dynamics, every couple contains different interests, maybe you will now drop Lipica or replace Skocjan for an adventure in another more secret cave. Maybe you will go hiking all day or find a dragon down a secret crater..

The most exciting thing about Lokev is the huge CHOICE of stuff to do and see available and it is ALL yours.. you can even decide at breakfast what to do for a fantastic day out in Green paradise, as it is all so close!

we had a lovely lunch here at this restaurant in Lokev, with most diners speaking Italiano..
we had a lovely lunch here at this restaurant in Lokev, with most diners speaking Italiano..


BUT, one thing that is beyond doubt that you really should do on this particular day out is go have some local food in Lokev..

Lokev has Lots & Lots of Fab Restaurants too..

Lokev is absolutely stuffed with different kinds of restaurants.. all over the place and one for every day of the week, if you so choose!

Now Italians always know where to find good food and if you do not believe us about how good the restaurants are in Lokev, then you will see them in every corner of this villlage, especially on a Sunday.. when we advise our guests book a table in advance to avoid disappointment.

big terrace outside at the restaurant with the butchers on site..
big terrace outside at the restaurant with the butchers on site..


As you enter Lokev from direction Divaca, there is a very good seafood restaurant down a side road at the start of the village marked by a big sign with a giant red lobster.

In the centre of the village is the largest restaurant with a car park, outdoor terrace and a butchers shop attached.. (always a good sign to have a butchers as part of the restaurant).. order sparingly here, we have had lots of guests unable to finish their plate here!

Opposite this car park on the other side of the road and a flash by the window as you drive past are two more smaller local restaurants with colourful facades.

Then comes a shop where you can get roasted chickens on a spit.. if you really must take away.

you would hardly believe there was a really good restaurant serving lots of Teran Kras dishes inside here..
you would hardly believe there was a really good restaurant serving lots of Teran Kras dishes inside here..


Just a bit further down the main road is one of our favourite Lokev restaurants, especially if you want to choose from a menu full of Teran Kras dishes. This place is mysteriously called "Fly" (Muha) and despite it being so long and right next to the road you will almost certainly miss it first time through, as it looks like a couple of houses with just a tiny sign! 

There is still one more restaurant.. if you go to the end of the village on the main road that continues to Lipica, there is a tight right turn direction Sezana and Lokev village snakes out past another little local restaurant on a corner that we haven't even tried yet, but always seem full of local cars, especially at lunch.

Do not be concerned if you have to turn around and go back to find any of these restaurants as Lokev is one of those long villages, hugging the busy main road, so it is no surprise that you might not even think to stop off and have a look around.

The trick is to stop and park up, then despite the busy road, take your time to explore and then even more little treasures will pop up..

Our final advice for eating out in Lokev would be to choose wisely and sparingly from the menu as the generous prices might betray how large the portions actually are.. and you you really should save space for a desert!

the museum is in the best preserved tower of several that were joined to protect Lokev in Medieval times..
the museum is in the best preserved tower of several that were joined to protect Lokev in Medieval times..


Also an absolutely Fantastic Vesna Cake shop & Cafe..

If you only have time for a coffee and want to try a delicious cake then follow that same side road out of Lokev towards SEZANA and on the edge of the village is a car park for Vesna's cafe.

You will have an overwhelming feeling of everything "Italy" here, away from the bustle of the main village High Street and gazing out upon the Karst countryside.

Almost every car in the car park will be Italian..There is a very good reason for this.. The cafe makes the most fabulous biscuits and cakes to go with the coffee!

They are so good we also order birthday cakes here for ourselves & guests and often pick up some boxes of their numerous types of delicious homemade cookies.

We also love to drop in to have a coffee of course and like to sit on the terrace outside watching the Karst world go by and smiling at all those Italian speakers on neighbouring tables, wondering how on Earth these English speaking people found this secret place!!

modern looks, but seriously fantastic cakes and views from Vesna cafe on the edge of Lokev..
modern looks, but seriously fantastic cakes and views from Vesna cafe on the edge of Lokev..


There is one more, final Lokev tip.. Green Slovenia's Honey Belt Road..

You might spot collections of brightly coloured boxes all over the place in nature on your adventures here and this is one more clue for a country deeply connected to nature.. but you might not realise what these boxes are?

Well this is beekeeping Slovenian style and colonies of friendly Slovenian Carniola Lavender bees have been patrolling these Green lands and feasting on the green nature ever since a Slovenian brought this important box method of beekeeping to the notice of the rest of the world.. in the 18th century!

Nowadays Slovenian Carniola Lavender Queen bees are highly sought after by the beekeeping fraternity all over the world..

Yet another first in nature for this sensational llittle country! 

Why did we mention beekeping here though? Well Lokev is also really close to an area that we have decided to call the Slovenian Honey Belt Road as there are honey producers all over the place and an incredible variety of honey produced by the bees, who get to eat so many different goodies in all seasons.

We didn't even realise there were different flavours of honey till we came to Slovenia and chatted with so many local honey producers.. we found out that, of course, the colour, texture and taste of the honey depends on what and where the bees are collecting from!

So you can get different coloured honey tasting of chestnut blossom, wild cherry, meadow flower, Arcacia and lots of others, depending what is in season.. wow!

Think about it, Slovenia is so clean & green and the third most forested country in Europe, so the bees can buzz off all over the place to feast on so many different eco ingredients for their honey!

So it should come as no surprise that Beekeeping is a MAJOR hobby here and you can get honey all over Slovenia.. just look for the roadsigns that say MED (Honey)..

But there is a road that leads from Divaca through a village not far from Lokev called POVIR on the way to Sezana where there are honey producers all over the place and for us, Povir is the very epicentre of Slovenian Apiculture!

We get our breakfast honey from Jani and his bees in Povir and it might be that one of the adventures you had never even considered that you might get up to here in Green Slovenia would be to go try some real honey!!

Lokev village centre, just off the main road..
Lokev village centre, just off the main road..


One very last thing to tell you about is that you have probably been reading this article in the rare comfort of having a Slovenian place name that you can actually easily say.. Lokev!

Well, we now have to sadly shatter your confidence once more about the Slovenian language..

If you ask a local where Lokev is, they will almost certainly stare back at you in total confusion.. that friendly little V on the end of the name is actually pronnounced as a W, so this lovely cute little village you have been getting all excited about getting to know on your Slovenian holidays is actually pronounced "LOW QUEUE".. please do not have nightmares.. it really is a very lovely place indeed!


Address: Landol 17, Postojna 6230, Slovenia

Phone: +386 5620 3443
Mobile: +386 40 47 0239 or +386 40 37 8037