Due to its geographical location, Slovenia has always been at the crossroads of the most important European routes. This may have led to its strategic role in the region, as shown by its castles and chateaux. These buildings are no longer the residences of the nobility. They do not protect the area from the enemy, but many legends' historical sights and birthplaces delight tourists.

Most of them have established regional museums, and some operate as hotels. They are located on hilltops or the heights of rocks. Many are worth visiting only because of the unparalleled view. The most valuable historical sights of the country are the castles and fortresses.

#1 Ljubljana Castle

Operates as a museum

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The castle of the Slovenian capital, consisting of several buildings, is located on a mountain. It received its current appearance in the 16th century when it was rebuilt after the earthquake of 1511. Ljubljana Castle was both a royal residence and a military fortress.

Ljubljana Castle

In its place once stood the strength of the Illyrians and Celts, but written sources also report a 9th-century fortress in this place. It was the seat of the Spannheim family, from where they managed the surrounding settlements and even minted their own money in Ljubljana.

In 1335 the castle became the inherited property of the Habsburgs and the centre of the province of Krajina. In the 15th century III. Emperor Frederick ordered the construction of a new, more spacious, circular castle.

The castle currently hosts exhibitions, weddings and events. You can get to the old town via several roads, if you start from the Puppet Theatre, you can even go up by cable car.

#2 Ptuj Castle

Operates as a museum

Traces of the Renaissance and Baroque eras can be seen throughout the Castle of Ptuj. It was bought by Theresa Herberstein in 1873 and then renovated and furnished. The Herberstein family remained in the castle until 1945, which dates back to the 2nd century. It became a museum after World War II.

Castle of Ptuj

On the ground floor, you can see the valuable instruments of the former inhabitants of Ptuj. The most beautiful rooms of the castle are on the first floor. They display typical interiors of the 19th century with contemporary furniture, objects of use, paintings and tapestries.

Traditional carnival masks are exhibited on the second floor, and the most beautiful examples of Slovenian Gothic and Baroque art can be seen in the castle gallery.

#3 Celje Castle

Operates as a museum

There is no doubt that this is the most beautiful castle in Slovenia, crowned by a stunning panorama. It was built on the top of a high cliff southeast of the city centre, first owned by the Vovbre family and then by the Counts of Cille.

It began to crumble in the 17th century, and by the end of the century, it had no roof. It belonged to Count Gaisruck in 1755, but this did not stop the castle from deteriorating, as he used its stones to build another castle. Restoration of the building, which is worth a better fortune, may have begun in 1846.

It was then that its walls were fortified, and it was slowly rebuilt. The renovation of the castle has practically been going on ever since. Originally in the Gothic style, it was enriched with Renaissance and Baroque features. In terms of territory, it is the largest castle in Slovenia.

Read more: Castle of Celje

#4 Bled Castle

Operates as a museum

It is one of the most visited castles in the country, as it stands above the special natural attraction, Lake Bled. As in the fairy tales, it rises above the countryside, sitting on a 130 m cliff. It is considered the oldest castle in Slovenia, which we know to have stood for sure in 1011.

Bled Castle

From its terrace is an unforgettable view of the lake and, in the middle of it, the small island, the Karavanke mountains and the Julian Alps.

The beauty of Bled has been admired by travellers for centuries, and it has also been a defining feature of modern history, with many official meetings being held here.

Read more: Bled Castle

#5 Rihemberk Castle - Branik

Operates as a museum

Presumably, a huge castle was built on the ruins of a former fortress on the south side of the settlement, symbolized by the high-rise circular tower. A written source first reports it in the 12th century as the residence of the counts of Rihemberg.

Rihemberk Castle, Branik

In 1649 it became the property of the Counts of Lanthieri until World War II. Its furnishings were of a luxury standard in its golden ages, blending Gothic and Baroque styles with Romanticism in the 19th century.

After World War II, the castle was burnt down for incomprehensible reasons, everything inside was destroyed. Despite all this, the Rihemberk castle has preserved features typical of the Mediterranean, such as the fortified central core or the dominant circular tower.

#6 Predjama Castle

Operates as a museum

Postojna is mainly famous for its cave, but you only have to walk 10 km from the town to see the 12th-century castle. It is worthwhile because the castle evokes tales rich in twists and history.

Predjama Castle

Predjama Castle was built on a 123 m high limestone rock at the entrance to a cave. Behind the castle runs another cave, the Lovka stream; there is also a third cave that was once used as a stable.

Through this, the tunnel system can be reached, which can be explored in small groups with special equipment that can be rented on site.

Anyone who goes here should not miss this experience! It is also worth visiting the castle, where you can see how precisely the building has adapted to the cave.

#7 Borl Castle

Under construction

Above one of the ancient crossings of the Drava, on a steep cliff, is the castle, which already stood in 1199. Over the centuries, myths have even linked the building to the Holy Grail, whose owners include the feudal lords of Ptuj, the Herberstein, Turn, and Sauer families.

Castle of Borl

During World War II, an internment camp was established in the castle, but after the war, it was restored, and a hotel was opened. Later, the building was soon evacuated and abandoned. It became state-owned a few years ago, and its restoration has begun.

Borli Castle bears the peculiarities of different architectural eras. Its Gothic tower and residential parts date from the 13th century, its arcaded hall and outer walls were rebuilt several times, and its Baroque chapel was given in the 17th century. Its interior layout and decoration retain their original shape only in traces.

There was a tiny garden under the castle, which is only a ruin. It had a small pavilion in the middle, surrounded by a wall.

The castle was once connected to the garden by a dense row of trees, some of which still stand today, but the original Baroque composition is a memory of the past. The building is not yet open to the public, only on a special occasions.

#8 Gewerkenegg Castle - Idrija

Operates as a museum

In 2011, Idrija’s pride, a 16th-century mansion, was one of Europe’s top destinations. From here, they managed the surrounding mines, which were the second largest in the world in the extraction of mercury.

Castle of Idrija, Gewerkenegg

The exemplary Renaissance castle complex was rebuilt in Baroque style in the 18th century. It was then that it received one of its most distinctive parts, the arcaded colonnade, the ceiling of which is decorated with frescoes.

Today, the castle is home to the city’s award-winning museum, whose central theme is the 500-year history of mercury mining in Idrija and the traditional lace-making process.

Gewerkenegg Castle hosts various events every week. Classical music concerts and exhibitions are held here.

#9 Maribor Castle

Operates as a museum

At first glance, it looks more like an administrative office than a real castle. This is mainly because it has undergone many changes since it was built in 1555 in the Gothic style. It became a Renaissance fortress in the 17th century, and a staircase was added in the 18th century.

Maribor Castle

It houses the Maribor Regional Museum, which presents a beautiful collection of artefacts unearthed in the area.

Maribor Castle is located in the city's heart, surrounded by busy squares. From an architectural point of view, it is one of the most valuable buildings in the city, the most striking part of which is the Festival Hall with its luxurious furnishings.

Its furniture and paintings were the property of the Quadri family, who supported the arts, and Lorenzo Laurigo. The painting depicts the battle between Christians and Turks on its oval-shaped ceiling. It was made by Graz Johann Gebler in 1763. In 1874, the Hungarian Ferenc Liszt gave a concert within its walls.

#10 Pisece Castle

Under construction

In the western part of the village, in the middle of a park, stands the castle, which was built by the archbishop of Salzburg. A few years ago, the roof was replaced and its tower rebuilt. Inscriptions engraved in the stones by carvers show that the time of construction of the castle was 1200-1220.

According to a document, the castle was protected by the Knights of Pisa in 1266, and they took care of its safety for a long time. It became the property of the Moskon family in 1595 when it was enriched with several new wings, which are now connected to the tower by a covered gallery.

It was last rebuilt in the Neo-Gothic style in the 19th century. The castle remained the property of the Moskon family until World War I, and then its condition began to deteriorate as it did not really own it.

Inside, the building was robbed. What could be moved was taken away? Very little furniture and little decoration remained from the original furnishings. Renovation is still underway.

Video of Pisece Castle

#11 Kromberk Castle

The renovated Renaissance fortress is located on the outskirts of Nova Gorica. It was built in the 16th century on the site of Henrick Dornberg’s 13th-century castle. The castle owner was named after Ivan Mrija Coronini, who won the title of “von Cronberg” and with it the right of control over the countryside until 1609.

Castle of Kromberk

The castle is a typical Renaissance building with corner towers and a square base. It was severely damaged during the two world wars but was restored. The Gorica Museum has been operating within its walls since 1954, where you can see paintings and the cultural and historical heritage of the area.

Some of the terraced gardens have been retained in their original form, while some have been rebuilt. In the 19th century, trees were planted in the garden in a landscape style, and the walkway was designed with benches, an artificial waterfall and a small stream.

According to documents, its renovation was carried out by the state in the 18th century. A small cave, a statue of Kronos and a conservatory remain in the south wing.

#12 Strmol Castle in Brdo

Operates as a hotel

Strmol Castle is located in Brdo, on the hill of Dvorjanski hrib. Built-in the 13th century, the castle is now a hotel and a popular wedding venue. The special feature of the castle is that it is one of those two castles in Slovenia which has remained in its original state.

Strmol Castle | Source: Strmol kastély honlapja
  • Website
  • Slovenian name: Grad Brdo
  • Address: Grad Brdo, Predoslje 38, 4000 Kranj, Slovenia

#13 Otocec Castle Hotel

Operates as a hotel

Otočec is a municipality on the left bank of the river Krka, in the municipality of Novo Mesto, in the south-east of Slovenia. The area is part of the traditional region of Lower Carniola and now belongs to the statistical region of south-eastern Slovenia.

Otocec Castle, Slovenia

Here you will find the unique and perhaps the most beautiful castle in Slovenia, the Otocec Castle. The castle is a hotel with a large garden. The special feature of the castle is that it was built on an island in the river Krka. So you couldn't find a more fabulous place.

  • Website
  • Address: Grajska cesta 2, 8222 Otočec, Slovenia
If you are looking for a castle that operates as a hotel, read our next article: Castle hotels in Slovenia