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Predjama Castle

According to Lonely Planet, Predjama Castle, 9km from Postojna, is one of Europe’s most dramatic castles. It teaches a clear lesson: if you want to build an impregnable fortification, put it in the gaping mouth of a cavern halfway up a 123m cliff. Its four storeys were built piecemeal over the years from 1202, but most of what you see today is from the 16th century. It looks simply unconquerable.

 

Taken with HuaweiP20Pro

Since it is located only a few minutes drive from the famous Postojna cave gets a lot of attention despite the remoteness of the area. In fact,  approaching it from the other side, from the direction of Planina, one drives through the parts of Slovenia which are pretty unknown even to the natives of Slovenia.

Taken with HuaweiP20Pro

The place is really fascinating and calls to be photographed. It is easy to capture with a mobile camera. However, given the castle is already framed in the rock and it is not easy to get a lot of background in the picture, there are not many options left to make a difference with the shot. In addition to that it could be pretty soon in the shadow, but when lit with the sun the light can be pretty strongly reflected off the walls. Fortunately there are enough elements available to help with the dynamics of the shot, especially off the season when it is not too crowded.

Taken with HuaweiP20Pro.

A few different angles available can be used according to the number off people around, the weather conditions and the season. Winter time is obviously off season so the surroundings can be pretty plain and dull. In the snow everything change to the better.

Taken with HuaweiP20Pro

The view from the road leading to the entrance can be combined with some plants. Stairway leading to the stream bellow – which runs into the cave underneath the castle – can be a great leading line as well as the sitting elements at the restaurant nearby.

The lower levels offer more interesting shots in other seasons than winter but always give a strong feeling of the castle’s splendour.

Taken with HuaweiP20Pro.

Behind the largest cave castle in the world, there is a network of secret tunnels, from where the knight Erazem of Predjama would set out on his plundering expeditions. The Cave under Predjama Castle is the home of a colony of bats.

Text and photos. Zoran Leban Trojar

Otočec Castle

If you ask us Otočec Castle is simply the most beautiful castle in Slovenia. Not only it rises like a jewel from the mists of the Krka River and is the only water castle in Slovenia, you have to love this castle because it is not as crowded as fBled or Predjama Castle can be and because it offers so many photo opportunities.

Leave your car on the parking space just near the river (you can’t miss it) and start taking photos. Immediately! Some of the best views of the castle can be captured from there. Most of the time you can find some boats in the river that can make a great addition to your photo (we all know boats are a must:)

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Also some birds are often on or near the water to pose in the foreground.

Taken with HuaweiP20Pro

Sitting on the island in the middle of a very slow river some fog is not unusual to find and it can make the whole place very mysterious and mystical.

Taken with HuaweiP20Pro.

Two wooden bridges which connect the castle with the river banks are very photogenic by themselves or with the castle in the composition.

Taken with HuaweiP20Pro.

When you are done with the first few photos cross the first wooden bridge & start exploring. The island on which the castle stands is really small, it is basically just a park and you can walk all around it. You can capture photos of the wooden bridges, trees, paths, river, swans, ducks, flowers … and the castle itself.

Taken with HuaweiP20Pro.

The castle is a popular wedding destinations, and a hotel with a bar and restaurant. Keep in mind that it is very expensive and –  whenever I was there – the coffee sucked and the service too.

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The views from the right bank are different and no less beautiful.

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Taken with HuaweiP20Pro.

After crossing the second bridge you can turn right to find a path going up the river through some nice woods. Follow it. You will come across some great views of the castle and the river and finally (after a half of an hour walk) you will end up on a bridge near Village Otočec. The place also offers some great photo options.

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You can return to the castle (& your car) on the other side of the river (from Otočec Village).

Taken with HuaweiP20Pro.

To see everything there is to see – 2, 3 hours should be more than enough. If you are looking for great photos you already know to be there early in the morning or late in the afternoon. There are some other nice places to visit nearby so you can spend a day or two in the area.

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If you have any questions don’t hesitate to send me an e-mail to info@igslovenia.si or leave a comment.

Sanja Leban Trojar – @sanya_lt

Novo mesto – Ragov log

A beautiful wooden bridge connects the NE end of the old town with the peaceful and mysterious woods on the right bank of the Krka river, Ragov log. A pleasant 15 minutes walk through the woods connects this bridge with Kandijski most bridge in the city centre, the main photo spot of Novo mesto.

A shot from the left bank towards the woods is definitely a better option, especially with some fog in the early morning, snow or colourful autumn would do no harm either:).

Following the river downstream one would find a boathouse not far from the bridge. It is not in the best shape, so be cautious trying to get a shot with the colourful boats. From there a nice view of the bridge over the river opens up as well.

The upstream part of the river bank from the bridge is located bellow the buildings and it is not easy to get close to the water. The views are nothing spectacular but with some luck one always find a nice motif.

The bridge view from this side comes with the buildings in the background but with some dramatic skies and probably autumn colours and/or mist one can always make a nice capture. Not at the time of our visit though.

From here a path leads uphill to the old town – pass the Court house and stay above the river in Šolska ulica street, than follow the first opportunity back to the river to reach a small dam if you want yet another angle of the river and the Ragov log itself.

Now the best way is to head to the old town and enjoy the rich architectural heritage of Novo Mesto!

Text and photo: Zoran Leban Trojar @zokus_gf

All photos are taken with HuaweiP20Pro courtesy of Huawei Slovenija.

Novo mesto – Kandijski most

Novo Mesto  is the city on a bend of the Krka River in the City Municipality of Novo Mesto in southeastern Slovenia, close to the border with Croatia. The town is traditionally considered the economic and cultural centre of the historical Lower Carniola region. The old town is located right at the meander made by the beautiful Krka river. Unfortunately the main square and the most interesting old street Pugljeva ulica were completely under reconstruction in the time of our visit so the only close encounter with the historical part we made was passing by Capital Church (Kapitelj) which overlooks the old town from a small hill, on the approach to our photo spot – Kandijski most bridge. (Note: all photos are taken with HuaweiP20Pro, no edit).

The Kandija Bridge (Slovene: Kandijski most) or the Old Bridge (Stari most) is an iron bridge which connects the old city on the left bankof the Krka River with Kandija, a historical suburb of Novo Mesto, on the right bank of the river. The bridge stands at the lower part of Glavni trg. Wikipedia says that it was built in 1898 to replace the old wooden bridge from 1600, located a few dozen metres upstream. The riveted structure bridging the Krka with a single 75-metre (246 ft) arch is a unique structure in Slovenia.

View from the Boter bar towards old town.

Most photos of Novo mesto which can be seen on Instagram (there are not many though) are from this bridge, the most classic view is of the old part with the Kapitelj church. With some fog on the river or at the sunset the views (and photos) are truly glorious.

But make no mistake, the views downstream are not worse at all. Calvary Chapel Church with Franciscan Convent dominate the sight on the left bank and the mysterious Ragov log forest on the right.

The bridge itself offered an interesting view when we crossed the river – we have never seen so many spider webs on any bridge, ever.

The river bank is easy accessible so one can get under the bridge as well, a change of the angle never hurts and reflections are much better when close to the water.

There is a bar with the terrace on the river just a few meters away, besides having a new angle again we were also lucky to spot local fisherman in an unusual vehicle for such an activity.

Some other spots are located upstream towards the main bridge but we decided to follow the path through the Ragov log grove which begins just behind the Kandijski bridge downstream. In the first few hundred meters some spots can be reached close to the river to get another angle at the Franciscan Convent.

After that the path follows the river but much higher on the slope, the woods are pretty thick and there is no access to the river and no photo spots either until the Ragov log bridge is reached after some 15 minutes of a pleasant hike. The photo spot there deserves a separate description, here is a photo just for the feeling.

Text and photos: Zoran Leban Trojar @zokus_gf

Photos made with HuaweiP20Pro, courtesy of Huawei Slovenija

Ptuj from the Drava River banks

There is something about Eastern Slovenia that makes me go back every time I can. It might have something to do with unbelievably  kind people, really good food or ‘just’ stunning nature. At the end … it doesn’t really matter why am I coming back, the fact is … I am. And I do enjoy each and every time.

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Also – there is one more important thing; Eastern Slovenia is not (yet) as popular & crowded as the Western Slovenia with lakes Bled and Bohinj, Piran, Postojna Cave and other touristy places is. I’m quite sure this will not last forever so I try to see & absorb as much of this part of my country as I can. I recommend you to do the same … and maybe … you can start with Ptuj.

Ptuj is one of the oldest cities in Slovenia and, for sure, one of the most beautiful. Any photographer knows red-tile roofs, white houses, bridges (there are 4 of them crossing Drava River) and river (here almost a lake) make a quite a nice photo-combination.

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One of the best places to take photos of Ptuj is the right bank of the Drava River. You can leave your car on one of the parking near Terme Ptuj or Grand Hotel Primus and find your way to the river. It shouldn’t be difficult, since the river is just there. But, if you are not sure, just look for the castle and walk towards it.

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Of course you can also start just across the city centre. The pedestrian bridge is an object for itself to be captured in a few different ways. It can be an additional element in the photo:

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the standing point to take a photo of the old town with the river:

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or the main object of the photo:

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which works in both directions. In the summer you can catch the sunset just in the line of the bridge.

Taken with HuaweiP20Pro

There are many great spots to take a capture of Ptuj along the right river bank between Terme and the second bridge. Sunrise can be very rewarding time to go for a photo walk.

Taken with HuaweiP20Pro

Some morning mist can make the whole scene very mystical.

Taken with HuaweiP20Pro

When you’re done, you can – (1) walk up to the castle

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sunset over the rooftops can be amazing

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(2) get lost in the streets of the old town

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Taken with HuaweiP20Pro

or (3) just sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee or a nice meal.

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If you’d decide to take a nice meal … there is a great restaurant garden by the river just at the pedestrians bridge. Unfortunately we can not recommend the food at the Ribič restaurant anymore since the ownership chamged hands a while ago.

For Igslovenia, @sanya_lt.

PS: Since sharing is caring … be sure to leave your experiences with Ptuj in the comment section. Let us know where to go and what to see & where to go to take best photos. Thank you!

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Lake Bohinj

Lake Bohinj is maybe, just maybe not that famous as the nearby Lake Bled, but this does not help a lot; Most of the year and specially during the summer, the place is crowded! That’s probably the reason why you will have to pay when (and wherever) you will park your car. So, our first #tip would be; Park your car only on the marked parking places and pay for the time there. Otherwise – you will pay a lot. Later:) (#beentheredonethat:)

OK, now to the good part;

If you ask us, Lake Bohinj is the most beautifil lake in Slovenia. Or at least … one of  them. Tucked under some amaznig mountains, hidden away from main roads and traffic, with mostly some crazy weather (rain, sun, fog, snow, wind … you name it … Bohinj has it:) the place is amazing!

 

Morning magic (HuaweiP20Pro)

Even if it is crowded you can find a place to swim, you can rent a boat or just to enjoy walking around the lake. Keep in mind; It is not that small & it will take you a few hours to get around. (The lake is 4.2 kilometers long, one kilometer wide, and forty-five meters deep … now do the math:)

Morning magic II (HuaweiP20Pro)

Try to visit the lake in spring or autumn, if possible – early in the morning. You will avoid the crowds and if you are lucky there will be some amazing fog on the lake that will make your photos – simply magic.

Church of St. John the Baptist (HuaweiP20Pro)

If you are like us, trying to get as many photos as you can as fast as you can, first stop at Ribčev Laz, Church of St. John the Baptist, the Gothic church with a Baroque bell tower and a covered entryway.

First signs of Fall (HuaweiP20Pro)

Specially in the morning (nothing opens before 8 in the morning) when nobody is around, you can get some nice photos of the church and the nearby stone bridge. Go down by the lake, the view there is the best.

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After that follow the signs for Ukanc. The road will take you just by the lake and the scenery there is amazing. Stop at the one (and only) church on the left side of the road and check the wodden pier that is situated across the street. Perfect place for some Instagram magic.

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The next stop must be near Zlatorog Camp in Ukanc. Park there and then follow the signs to Savica Waterfall. As soon as you cross the wooden bridge – follow the path left, back to the lake.

Ukanc from the camp (HuaweiP20Pro)

Crystal clear water & wooden bridge at the begining and the views on the lakefront latter will make you take looooots of photos.

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When you are done, you have to decide, where to next. You have lots of options, but probably you will pick – Vogel Mountain or Savica Waterfall. 

We will discous your other options some other day, today we ask you; Where did you take your best photos od Lake Bohinj?

The Fleet (HuaweiP20Pro)

 

 

Polhov Gradec

Polhov Gradec is picturesque village in the Polhograjsko hribovje hills in Central Slovenia – in the link you can check out the terms of the actual contest of Visit Ljubljana, you can win a nice prize just posting nice photos!

The main landmark and photo spot of the village is the new castle (remains of the old one can be seen on the Kalvarija hill), designed in 17th century.

The mansion is surrounded by a beautiful park.

Here is also a local museum’s permanent collection with objects related to the history of Polhov Gradec and the Technical Museum of Slovenia – Museum of Post and Telecommunications. A well with the statue of Neptun and four nymphs stands by the castle.

There is a creek behind the mansion and a nice view of the building from the back.

The best view of the village itself is from the small hill just a few steps from the main road.

The mansion is visible from this spot as well.

Somehow limited photo options of the village are greatly enhanced by the number of fantastic views in the vicinity of the Polhov Gradec. Many churches are located on the slopes and peaks of the surrounding hills which provides for great photo motifs. Reaching St. Ursula can be a pleasant short hike from the nearby touristic farm reached by car or a longer one from the valley.

A trip to the village of Črni vrh takes some more time but ii is worth the effort.

Enjoy!

 

Črni vrh above Polhov Gradec

Črni Vrh (Black Peak) is a dispersed settlement in the hills northwest of Polhov Gradec in Central Slovenia which includes many isolated farms scattered throughout the hills so the settlement itself is not a micro location in a sense we are looking for. We have picked it out because again there is one of the many small churches on the slopes and peaks of the hills around Polhov Gradec in Central Slovenia which provide for some fabulous photo motifs.

The parish church in the settlement is dedicated to Saint Leonard and t stands west of the settlement on Church Hill (Cerkovni grič). There is a point on the slope across the Church Hill where the best view of the hills and the church can be observed and photographed.

The photo point in located at the crossroads to Poljanska dolina and Pasja ravan – the exact location you can find on the map Where to in Slovenia. We visited it at the sunrise.

A few days later we passed by there in the late afternoon as well.

It was a pretty magical morning there; the settlement is pretty high in the hills, farms are far apart from each other, no traffic at all.

The sights on the other side of the street were also pretty nice but one should wait a bit longer for haze to clear and get a better photo of the mighty Mt. Triglav in Julian Alps and Škofja Loka Hills in the foreground. We are not proud of the following two photos photo but added them it for you to get the idea.

This is how the crossroad looks like.

A closer look at the foot of the Church Hill to the church is also not bad at all – there is a chapel dedicated to Virgin Mary which provides for a nice composition.

At this point the sun was high enough to reveal all beauty of the slopes around the Polhov Gradec, photo taken in front of the chapel.

And finally the view from the church itself onto the farm at the foot of the Church Hill.

As we mentioned already, there are many churches on the peaks and slopes around Polhov Gradec, St. Ursula is one of them some 15 minutes drive from Črni vrh.

Planina Summit above Vrhnika

Where to in Slovenia features micro locations for mobile photographers. Planina Hill near Vrhnika in Central Slovenia is very popular hiking destinations of the city of Vrhnika and also of  the Ljubljana area. Many different starting points and alternative routes are available for hikers and bikers and the summit is also accessible by car. There is a wooden lookout tower near the lodge…

it is 22m high and offers magnificent views over the Ljubljana Marshes…

… settlements around Vrhnika…

…surrounding hills…

… and in good weather conditions even the Julian Alps with the mighty Mt. Triglav.

 

However, without conquering the tower the views are limited and from the tower a phone camera alone won’t be enough to capture a good shot. Taking the Kuren trail or driving from Vrhnika brings you to the Kmetija odprtih vrat (Agrotourism) where a similar views are available from much lower height though.

Text and photos: Zoran Leban Trojar @zokus_gf.

 

Snakes’s Head Fritillary Meadow

Where to in Slovenia feature micro locations for mobile photographers. And we mean micro since this one in Ljubljana Marshes, full of fragile Fritillaria Meleagris, has no name. In fact, we’ve just made it up because we needed one for a location in the marshes where it is not easy to orientate at all. A vast plain which no landmarks, wet meadows full of drainage canals with occasional gravel road which easily ends in the middle of nowhere – and some of those meadows are in the season full of Fritillaria meleagris. 

Therefore in this case we are talking about a seasonal photo location  but the marshes are beautiful in all seasons and opportunities for a great photo are always awaiting even without these fragile lilies.

Entering the village of IG from the direction of Ljubljana find a left turn just opposite to the gas station at the beginning of the settlement. After a few hundred meters the road crosses a small river Ižica (there is another special place along this short river) and after that comes to a crossroads. The meadow we are looking for is between the bridge and the crossroads. Around the bridge is also one of the better views of the village.

The best time to capture the fritillaries is at sunset or sunrise.

Sunsets in the marshes are always beautiful but for the fritillaries the sunrise is even better timing.

These meadows are really wet, especially in the early spring when around the sunrise time could be even a bit frozen. However the flora is full of water drops which add to the photo so better prepare everything needed for the situation like this:

Totally worth getting out of bed early!

Enjoy and don’t forget to check out other Ljubljana Marshes locations like St. Anna, Lake Podpeč and Ižica.

Text and photo: Zoran Leban Trojar @zokus_gf.