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Day trip to caves, castle and Piran

I'm trying to plan our family trip for this July and one of the day trips from Ljub I'd like to do is some combination of the caves, castle and Piran. I know for sure I want to visit Skocjan cave. So the original plan was Skocjan and then hit Piran for the rest of the day. But since the castle is on the way, I figured we could stop by the castle for a tour and then hit, Skocjan and Piran. But now I'm thinking that it would be crazy to not do the Postojna cave so long as we're in that area. But 2 caves + castle + Piran feels like it may be trying to do too much in one day. Several questions here.

  1. Is the castle worth visiting (2 kids with us, 14 and 11)?
  2. If we're seeing the Skocjan cave, is it worth the extra time and money to see Postojna as well?
  3. Is it realistic to do all of this in one day or should I choose between 2 caves + castle and 1 cave + Piran?
  4. We're going to be making our way down the Croatian coast later on our trip and will stay a few nights in Dubrovnik. Since we're seeing a coastal city, is that extra 1/2 day to Piran really worth it (vs doing an extra cave and maybe castle)?
  5. Can tickets for the caves and castle be purchased in advance? Would that be a good idea? Or do you purchase them at the door? I'm worried about it being high season in July and having to wait in long lines (or is it never that bad?).

Thanks for your input.

Glenn

Posted by
16883 posts

All 4 destinations and a return to Ljubljana sounds like a lot within one day. Each cave takes about 2 hours to visit, but count on some wait time, too. Skocjan is a fairly physical experience. Since you're leaning toward Skocjan over Postojna, I think you could also skip Predjama Castle near Postojna, which Rick only rates 1-star (I haven't seen it). So I'm saying, "stick with the original plan." If you get done with Piran early, you could possibly make another stop on the way "home" (castle open to 7 p.m.).

Posted by
7 posts

Thanks for the response. It's interesting that Rick rates the castle as a 1. On tripadvisor, it's very highly rated. Maybe Steve's 1 score is more about it being a low relative score compared to other castles around Europe? I hear it's not well furnished but the audio tour brings it to life. If we wanted to try to do that plus the Skocjan caves and minimize wait times (so we can hit Piran as well), can we purchase tickets in advance? Or do you have to wait in long lines (for the castle and the caves)?

Posted by
20802 posts

I went to Skocjan on a weekday in August 2015. I didn't have to wait long in line, but English tours are not as frequent as those conducted in Slovenian (and perhaps Italian??), so there was a bit of a wait. I suppose there's also some risk that the next tour might already be filled, so you'd have to wait longer. You can Google for the cave website and see whether there's any information about advance purchase of tickets.

I do think that one cave system per trip is sufficient. Skocjan is considered a more natural experience. Postojna has some colored lights and a little train. The latter is probably easier if you have very young children who might not do well with a lot of walking.

I have not been to Predjama Castle and cannot comment on it. I assume you know that there's a castle in Ljubljana itself. I'd think that would suffice (it's a rather time-consuming place to visit), but I'm not that big on castles.

Posted by
16883 posts

Rick's rating of 1 is on scale of 0-3, and translates to "worthwhile if you can make it." He probably is more interested in authentic furnishings, whereas kids don't care about those fine points. He also criticizes a lack of info in English but it sounds like they have solved that with the audio-guide, which those TripAdvisor reviews describe as about 90 minutes of material.

I don't see any instructions for booking ahead for Skocjan caves, although you can for Postojna, probably because Postojna is busier.

Posted by
470 posts
  1. I would say it is worth visiting for kids, they usually like the legend surrounding the castle. However, I would not go out of my way to visit it on a busy schedule. The kids would surely enjoy more time at the seaside, too.

  2. No, just one cave will suffice. Despite their differences, the caves are overall quite similar experiences, not to mention they are pricey affairs. You will pay about €150 just in entrance fees if you opt for both caves. Not worth it, IMHO.

  3. I would do 1 cave + Piran. If you wanted to include the castle, it is possible, but it would end up being a long-ish day and you should also consider your kids. If they are fine with a long day, I would try to be on the road by 8 or 9 at the latest if I was attempting all three. Piran is also interesting to include as it provides a contrast in terms of both scenery and culture to the inland parts of Slovenia you will get to experience.

  4. Dubrovnik and the rest of Dalmatia are quite different from Piran and Istria, so it's not a case of seen one coastal place, seen them all. If your trip includes the Croatian part of Istria (Rovinj, specifically) then skipping Piran is something I would consider as Rovinj and Piran are quite similar.

  5. Lines shouldn't be that much of a problem in Skocjan, just be there 30 to 45 minutes before the start of the tour. The starting times of the tours are listed on their website. In Postojna, on the other hand, it is possible to book ahead and I would advise you to do so, especially if visiting during the weekend. I am not sure whether it is necessary or even possible to book a tour of Predjama Castle ahead of time. The castle can be visited on a combined ticket with Postojna, though.