Slovenia with Gate1 Travel – Getting There
After our Croatia Tour we headed to Slovenia with Gate1 Travel. The border crossing on the route from Opatija to Postanja Cave was easy. Croatia and Slovenia are both members of the European Union, so there shouldn’t be a border inspection. However the migrant crisis has added another layer to crossings for some countries. Once you cross the border, you immediately see that Slovenia is much better off than other countries from the former Yugoslavia. You also see a lot more forest between the picturesque villages.
Slovenia with Gate1 Travel – Postanja Cave
It didn’t take long before we arrived at our first stop at Postanja Cave Park. I didn’t know anything about Postanja Cave so I was blown away. At the cave entrance, visitors line up by language for the regularly scheduled entrance times. Once inside there were two long trams that easily absorb the large number of people.
Postanja Cave Tram Ride
The first part of the visit to Postanja Cave is about 15 minutes on the tram. The ride reminds me of a Disney attraction. The tram moves fairly quickly. You need to keep your arms inside the tram, because you are very close to the cave walls. As we twisted and turned through the magnificent formations, I often felt a need to duck my head under the overhanging limestone.
Postanja Cave Walk
After the tram ride, the walk through Postanja Cave was just as amazing. Groups moved in sections through the cave to spots where guides provided brief narration through an effective short range audio system. No need for head sets. We climbed a hill through the stalactites and stalagmites. Then we crossed a high, narrow, steel bridge. The formations captivated our attention for about 45 minutes. We did a loop that brought us out under the bridge we’d crossed earlier. We also saw the Brilliant white stalagmite and an aquarium holding blind aquatic salamanders that live in the cave. The 15 minute tram ride back out was just as exciting the second time around. I was blow away by Postanja Cave Park!
Slovenia with Gate1 Travel – Lake Bled
After Postanja Cave, our Gate1 Travel tour bus took the group to Lake Bled. The moment the view opens up to Bled Castle overlooking Lake Bled caused many expressions of awe in our tour group. We stayed at the Hotel Park – Sava right on the lakefront. All the Gate1 rooms were at the back of the hotel, so we immediately asked for an upgrade. We got the last lake view room available.
Hotel Park – Sava Hotels
The lake view room at the Hotel Park Sava made our stay one of the most memorable of our European vacation. We had unobstructed viewers over the lake to Bled Castle, St. Martin’s Parish Church and Bled Island. At night the glow of the orange colored lights of Bled Castle made me want to leave the curtains open all night long.
Slovenia with Gate1 Travel – Bled Castle
In the morning the weather was blustery with threatening rain. The Gate1 bus took us up the steep hill to visit Bled Castle. The views were fabulous even in the cold, wind and light rain. Bled Castle was interesting too, but the main attraction for me was to look down on Bled Island and the pastoral views surrounding the lake. At this point we were so thrilled with Lake Bled and our hotel upgrade that we decided to spend the full day at Lake Bled instead of traveling with the group to Lublijana.
Lake Bled on Our Own
From Bled Castle, the two of us walked down the steep trail to the lakefront. The trail came out at St. Martin’s Parish Church where people were arriving for Sunday service as the church bell rang. From there we walked the entire 4 miles around the lake. The road on the north side was protected from the wind by the steep mountain and thick forest, but the route is back from the lake a bit. The rowing boat houses and private property prevent you from enjoying a lakefront stroll here. At the west end of the lake, the Olympic rowing facility dominates the scene and you can walk out on the docks. Permanent spectator seats are set up on the lakefront here too.
Blustery winds swept over the south side of Lake Bled as we continued our walk. The views of Bled Island are excellent here. The traditional wooden row boats were delivering a constant stream of tourists to the island despite the choppy waters. On the south side, the lakefront pathway gives you great views of Bled Island and also Bled Castle.
After our lake walk, we enjoyed a wonderful lunch at the Park Restaurant and Cafe overlooking the lake. Of course we just had to try the famous Bled Cream Cake available everywhere in town. We thoroughly enjoyed briefly leaving our tour group to experience Lake Bled on our own. The next morning we headed for Italy with Gate1 Travel.