A Scenic Day Trip From Ljubljana to Škofja Loka Slovenia

The thousand year old village of Škofja Loka is widely considered to be the best preserved medieval village in all of Slovenia. And fortunately, a day trip from Ljubljana to Škofja Loka Slovenia couldn’t be easier. You won’t find a huge number of major sites in Škofja Loka. What you’ll find instead is a quaint Old Town that begs to be wandered, and some incredibly scenic surrounding countryside. Let me show you what to expect on a scenic day trip from Ljubljana to Škofja Loka.

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First, Some Brief History

Škofja Loka was founded by a group of powerful Bishops in 975 under the direction of the Holy Roman Emperor. They built a castle and a village at the confluence of two rivers, and fortified it all with a defensive wall. Over the centuries, Škofja Loka has survived earthquakes, fires, war with the Ottomans, and the Plague. It is now one of Slovenia’s most important cultural monuments. But Škofja Loka isn’t just an old relic from the past. It is also the current educational and administrative center for the surrounding area.

Riverside houses and a church spire in the medieval village of Škofja Loka Slovenia

The Bus to Škofja Loka

Bus Not Train

If you use public transportation for your travels like we do, then I would recommend using the bus for your day trip from Ljubljana to Škofja Loka. It’s easy and only takes 40 minutes. The bus leaves Ljubljana’s main bus station near the center of town, and conveniently, the Skofja Loka bus station is located directly across the river from Old Town. So it’s pretty much a straight shot.

As an alternative, you could connect between the two cities via train, but it’s more complicated. While the train is a little faster, the Škofja Loka train station is a few miles away from the Old Town. From there you would either need to take a taxi or the local bus. Too much extra hassle if you ask me.

Purchasing Tickets

You can purchase your bus tickets one of three ways. You can visit the ticket windows inside the small Ljubljana bus station building pictured below. We did this for our ride from Ljubljana. The current cost is only 2.90 Euros each direction.

The main bus terminal in Ljubljana Slovenia

You can buy them directly from the bus driver with cash. You will need to tell them your destination as it does make other stops – and the price varies depending on where you are going. We did this on our ride back from Škofja Loka.

Or you can buy them online via the bus station’s website. However if you choose this method, you need to print the tickets yourself. There isn’t an e-ticket option as of this writing. (I didn’t find this option particularly useful since we didn’t have easy access to a printer, but the website is great for checking bus schedules.)

Riding The Bus

The bus to Skofja Loka usually leaves from bus stop 28. This isn’t hard to find. It’s directly across from the terminal’s building.

Bus stand 28 at Lubljana bus station - starting point for a day trip to Škofja Loka

Our bus pulled up shortly before departure. Buses leave for Škofja Loka between 1-3 times an hour, depending on the time of day. Other buses depart from this stop too, but they are all clearly marked with the final destination. Plus the driver will wave you off if you present the incorrect ticket.

The buses themselves are coach-style. Fairly comfortably and weakly air-conditioned. And more locals than tourists.

Bus interior while on a day trip from Ljubljana to Skofja Loka Slovenia

Once you get outside of Ljubljana, the scenery on the way to Škofja Loka is beautiful. Green hills, forests, small red roofed towns, the purple peaks of the Julian Alps in the distance.

As you arrive, you’ll find that the bus station building in small Škofja Loka is actually bigger, newer, and nicer than Ljubljana’s.

The Skofja Loka bus station in Slovenia

Note all the people in this photo. These are mostly students. Our day trip from Ljubljana to Škofja Loka ended in the mid afternoon, just as school let out. Consequently, the bus station was packed, and the kids loaded onto to various buses going to various locations. Our bus back to Ljubljana was also packed with students. There must be some really good schools in Škofja Loka.

Over the River

As I mentioned before, the bus station in Škofja Loka is located directly across the river from the picturesque Old Town. Simply cross the foot bridge on the other side of the station, and you will find yourself in the middle of all you want to see.

In fact, the first thing we saw while crossing the river is Škofja Loka’s most famous site. It’s the Capuchin Bridge. It runs parallel to the bus station foot bridge – to your left as you cross the river into town.

The Capuchin bridge is the oldest bridge in all of Slovenia. It was built in the mid-1300s to connect the Capuchin monastery, on one side of the river, to town on the other side.

And not only is it the oldest bridge in Slovenia, it’s also the only bridge in Central Europe made of carved stone with a semi-circular shape. Seeing it within minutes of arrival was the perfect introduction to the medieval charms of Škofja Loka.

Capuchin Bridge in Skofja Loka Slovenia

After crossing the footbridge, be sure to stop at the Škofja Loka tourist information center. It sits immediately on the other side. This is where I picked up a very useful map which helped make our day trip from Ljubljana to Škofja Loka even easier.

It shows the most important buildings in Old Town, along with a historical description of each.

Skofja Loka tourist map which is very useful too on a day trip to Skofja Loka

I Always Gotta Eat

We arrived in Škofja Loka in the very late morning. I needed to fuel up before exploring the town’s wonders. Plus for me, hanging out on a local restuarant’s patio, eating local food, is a huge part of any day trip.

We strolled along Old Town’s Main Street, passing one historic building after another, until we arrived at my restaurant of choice called Pr’ Pepet. It’s located near the top of Old Town, and our outdoor patio seat offered a peek of the town’s hilltop castle on one side and the town’s surrounding green hills on the other.

The outside dining patio at Pr' Pepet in Skofja Loka Slovenia

At Pr’ Pepet, I was introduced to a dish called Szegedin. This a type of goulash, popular in several Central European countries, consisting of tender pork, sauerkraut, paprika, and sour cream. It was served with their own homemade bread.

A plate of Szegedin goulash at Pr' Pepet restaurant in Slovenia

Mrs. TT loves sauerkraut. But Mrs. TT has a severe onion sensitivity. Because this dish had onions, she could only look at it longingly while I ate it. Before we’d even left Pr’ Pepet, I started searching for Szegedin recipes online. And I found one. I made Szegedin shortly after we returned home. It was quite easy and I now make an onion-free version for her often.

(I do love trying to recreate trip food favorites after our travels. Our all time favorite is Salmorejo – a cold tomato soup from Andalucia Spain which we learned to make while taking a cooking class in Seville. It is now a summertime staple for us.)

Loka Castle

Škofja Loka’s second biggest attraction – after the Capuchin bridge – is Loka Castle. And one of the Castle’s main access points is just across the street from Pr’ Pepet. As we headed up the hill to the castle, we passed the old stone building in the photo below. As our handy map pointed out, this is Martin’s House. It is the last remaining house of its style in Škofja Loka, and was originally built as an extension of the 14th century town walls (which were destroyed long ago).

Martin's House with Loka Castle in the background in Skofja Loka Slovenia

A Castle has stood on the hill directly above Old Town since 1202. That original castle was destroyed by an earthquake in the 1500s, but it has been rebuilt, restored, and renovated several times over the centuries. It now is home to a museum and we also found a pleasant-looking cafe outside its walls.

A closeup view of Loka Castle

We didn’t take the time to visit the museum, but we did wander around the grounds a bit.

We discovered its drawbridge. Every good castle needs some sort of drawbridge….

A woman approaches the drawbridge at Loka Castle in Slovenia

And we took in all the amazing views from around the castle grounds – the town’s highest point.

Views down and across Old Town…

A view out across Skofja Loka from Loka Castle

And views out across the forested hills and scenic valley towards the south of Old Town…

A beautiful green valley just south of Skofja Loka Slovenia as viewed from Loka castle

Škofa Loka really is a beautiful place.

Wandering the Old Town

From the castle, we then descended directly into the heart of Old Town, where we spent a chunk of time wandering through its narrow maze of scenic streets and medieval buildings….

A church tower rises above the rooftops of medieval Skofja Loka Slovenia

A quiet street and buildings in Skofja Loka Slovenia

The colorful narrow streets of Skofja Loka Slovenia

An archway with rooms on top in Skofja Loka Slovenia

Have I mentioned how beautiful Škofja Loka is yet?

Churches Aplenty

In my experience, medieval Old Town’s are often packed with churches, and Škofja Loka is no exception. You’ll see a handful of onion-domed steeples rising up along its skyline.

One of these is Nun’s Church. It’s been situated directly underneath Loka Castle since 1358, though its current version was build in 1669, after a fire destroyed the first. Unfortunately for us, the church wasn’t open on the day we visited. But we were able to at least check out the small grotto underneath the church which displays a statue of the Virgin Mary.

Nun's church with a grotto underneath in Skofja Loka Slovenia

Another important church in Škofja Loka is St. Jacob’s Church. It sits on the town’s main square and was built in 1471. Like Nun’s Church, it wasn’t open on the day we visited either.

St Jacob's Church in Skofja Loka Slovenia

In fact, we had zero luck entering any church on our day trip from Ljubljana to Škofja Loka. But we entered plenty of churches on this extended trip throughout other parts of Central Europe, so we didn’t feel too bad about missing out on the historic interiors of these.

In fact, our day trip from Ljubljana to Škofja Loka was reminiscent of our day trip from Budapest to Szentendre Hungary. Quaint old riverside town with narrow maze-like streets and a skyline of church towers.

A Trip to the Suburbs

If you want to snap the photo I led this blog post with – the distant photo of the entire town and castle – then you’ll need to walk over to a little town called Puštal.

A sign announcing the entrance to the small town of Postal in Slovenia with the Church of the Holy Cross in the background

It’s not far though – less than 500 meters. And along the way, you’ll cross a bridge over Škofja Loka’s other river. Here, you can take in this serene view. In fact, we lingered on the bridge for several additional minutes just to take in all the beauty.

A river flows through a valley near Skofja Loka Slovenia

Once on the other side, we came across what we both agreed was our favorite building in all of Škofja Loka. It’s called the Puštal Castle and was built in 1220. It has a unique round shape that we didn’t see anywhere else in town. We really wanted to enter and check out the inside, but the building is still in use today. We could hear music lessons taking place from somewhere inside

Puštal Castle - a 13th century building in Slovenia

Notice the church in the photo above. This is the Church of the Holy Cross and it sits on the hillside high above Puštal – all alone surrounded by greenery. We’d been admiring it from the Old Town viewpoints all day.

We followed the road to the church, and about halfway up we were able to look over and take in the entirety of Old Town and Loka Castle.

A view of Skofja Loka Slovenia from nearby Puštal

Final Thoughts

You should certainly understand now why I called this post a Scenic Day Trip from Ljubljana to Škofja Loka. We think that Slovenia is one of the most beautiful countries we’ve ever visited. And this picturesque medieval village is a perfect example why. Be sure to visit Škofja Loka and see for yourself.

Speaking of beautiful Slovenia, the country will always have extra special meaning to us. We married at Lake Bled Slovenia in 2018, and returned to Lake Bled on this trip as well. Bled is another can’t-miss Slovenia destination as you’ll see in my post all about our wedding anniversary quest to ring the wishing bell on Lake Bled Island.

And Slovenia’s capital city Ljubljana is a favorite place of ours too. Learn more about it in my post on the Best Things To Do in Ljubljana.

6 Comments

  1. This place is picturesque indeed. Excellent photos my friend. The bus sounds like the easiest – and best – option for the reasons you listed. I like those comfy seats too; plush works. Interesting how one needs to print out e-tickets purchased online; one of the oddities of international travel, I suppose. Fabulous breakdown here.

    Ryan

  2. I really loved those houses by the river. And that round house- very cool!:) After checking out your pictures, I’m pretty sure I’ll enjoy a week there… or 2:) Tatiana

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