Slovenia is a small country, but there are hundreds of places to discover. During a week in Slovenia, you will have time to see the coast, the mountains, the plains, lakes, rivers, caves, and many other things. One of the best things to visit is also cities, and after seeing the lovely capital Ljubljana, you will want to go to the other main towns in the country.
Novo Mesto is one of the most charming cities in Ljubljana. It is located in the Southeastern part of Slovenia. There are a lot of things to do in Novo mesto like visiting the old town center, the Cathedral of St. Nicholas, walking along the Krka River, or seeing the charming castle in Otocec.
I have been living in Slovenia for a while now, and I love going to Novo Mesto. It is a lovely town with plenty of things to do for a 24 hours trip and is the perfect day trip from Ljubljana. If you are a tourist in Slovenia for more than a week, I would advise you to go to this adorable town. Let’s take a look at what you can do to visit Novo mesto in 24 hours.
Walk in the City Center and Glavni trg
Novo mesto, which means “new town,” is a very small town, so you will not have any problem finding your way in the lovely streets. When you arrive in Novo mesto, you should visit the old town city center and Glavni trg.
Novo mesto has a charming square in its center, called Glavni trg. There, you will often find the market, but there are also shops, bars, and restaurants. It is where it is located the town hall, which is a beautiful building, and the Tourist Information Center.
The old town city center is almost like a little island, surrounded by the Krka River. It is lovely in summer when the temperature is warmer, but it is also very nice when the weather is a little cloudier. However, do not expect to visit Novo mesto under the snow because it rarely snows in this area of Slovenia.
When you visit the city center, which will take you between half an hour and one hour, you will encounter squares with a lot of space as well as small and narrow alleys. It is a town with beautiful buildings that are truly picturesque.
Just behind the Glavni trg and the city hall, you will also find the Franciscan Monastery of Novo mesto or Frančiškanski samostan in Slovenian. To see it, enter the alley between the town hall and the Tourist Information Center. It is effortless to spot.
This building was built in the 15th century by Franciscan monks running from the Turks in Bosnia. There, you will find the oldest library in Novo mesto. The Franciscan archives and library have 20,000 items, and a lot of them date back from the 18th century or even before.
Tourist Information Center, Novo mesto
Address: Glavni trg 11, 8000 Novo mesto, Slovenia
Franciscan Monastery of Novo mesto
Address: Frančiškanski trg 1, 8000 Novo mesto, Slovenia
Go to the Cathedral of St. Nicholas
After visiting the old town city center and the Franciscan Monastery, head to the city center’s western part. There, you will find the Cathedral of Saint Nicholas. It is a five-minute walk between the monastery and the Church, so do not worry about walking long distances.
From the Cathedral and the park next to it, you will get a beautiful view of Novo mesto and the River Krka.
The Cathedral of St. Nicholas, also called the Novo mesto Cathedral, was built in the 15th century. It is a gothic cathedral with a vaulted presbytery, a belfry, and frescoes. The Cathedral is beautiful and absolutely worth seeing if you are a tourist in Novo mesto.
The Cathedral was first mentioned in 1428. It was completely finished in 1623 because of a fire that damaged part of the structure in 1576 and slowed the construction down.
The Cathedral of St. Nicholas is quick to visit, but you should not only enter the building and leave right after. There is a beautiful view from the garden next to the Church that will make the way to the Cathedral worth doing. Take a moment to take a beautiful picture, and you will not regret it.
Cathedral of St. Nicholas
Address: Kapiteljska ulica 20, 8000 Novo mesto, Slovenia
Take a Look at the River Krka and the Kandijski Bridge
In the middle of Novo mesto passes the river Krka which is a tributary to the River Sava. After the Savinja River, the Sava is the second-longest river in Slovenia. It also passes through Croatia, Bosnia Herzegovina, and Serbia.
The Krka River crossing Novo mesto is an idyllic place. From the Kandijski Bridge, you can see houses and the Cathedral of Saint Nicholas overlooking the river. Walking along the banks of the river is the perfect way to spend time during summer and refresh.
The flow of the river is relatively strong, and Krka there is wide. You will feel almost surrounded by water. The river is also very close to the city center, which makes it a beautiful old town.
The river is also a great place to learn more about biodiversity in Slovenia. In the Krka River, you will find 32 different fish species. The river is also surrounded by many different tree species such as black alder, white willow, or black poplar.
The Kandijski Bridge is one of the most famous places in Novo mesto, and it is also the place where all of the pictures of Novo mesto we see have been taken. The bridge is located in the city center’s continuity, so you will have no trouble finding it.
It is the best place possible to take a look at Novo mesto’s center in globality and take the most Instagrammable picture possible.
Visit the Lower Carniola Museum
The museum of Lower Carniola, also known as Dolenjski muzej, is the best museum in Novo mesto, and it definitely is worth a visit. It was first thought of during the 500th anniversary of the city in 1865. It was founded in 1950 after years of work. Nowadays, you will find seven permanent exhibitions and various temporary ones.
There, you will learn everything there is to know about the region of Lower Carniola where is located Novo mesto. You will see ethnological exhibitions about life in Lower Carniola in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the region’s archaeological findings, and a historical exhibition focusing mainly on World War II in Lower Carniola.
After these general exhibitions about history, arts, and crafts, you will also find exhibitions about the Olympic athlete Leon Štukelj or an art exhibition about Slovenia’s national liberation movement.
The museum of Lower Carniola is also located in the historical city center of Novo mesto. You will not need to take your car to get there. It is a lovely museum, and it is fascinating to learn more about Novo mesto, the region, and the country.
Dolenjski muzej Novo mesto
Address: Muzejska ulica 7, 8000 Novo mesto, Slovenia
Phone: +386 (0) 7 373 11 11 / +386 (0) 7 373 11 30
Go Up the Grm Castle
After visiting the Lower Carniola museum, you are only 15 minutes away (by foot) from the Grm Castle. It is the next destination I would recommend.
The Grm Castle is the largest in Novo mesto, and it is a place full of history and secrets. Although it might not be the most beautiful castle ever, it is worth the visit.
It is located on top of Grm Hill, which gives you a great viewpoint of the city. The castle was built in 1586 by Krištof Mordax and rebuilt in 1636 after being demolished. It used to serve as a defense against the Turkish invaders.
The Grm Castle is protected by the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia. It will not take you a long time to see and visit it.
Visit Otocec and its Lovely Castle
Now that you visited Novo mesto’s center and seen all the main attractions of the city, it is time for you to get away from the actual town in the direction of its neighbor Otocec. It is about one hour and a half by foot and less than 15 minutes by car from Novo mesto.
Otocec itself is not particularly interesting as a city, although you can wander there if you want to go for a walk. What is truly extraordinary in Otocec is its castle located on a small island.
Otocec’s castle is right out of a fairytale. It is a charming building standing in the middle of a small island in the Krka River. It is also the only castle situated on a rivet islet in Slovenia.
The Otocec Castle, or Grad Otocec in Slovenian, was built between the 18th and 19th centuries. It is now restored to its original Gothic and Renaissance glory. You will also find a rock of love at the end of the island, which is a fun detail to look for when visiting the Otocec Castle.
Finally, you should also know that Otocec Castle is now a hotel. It is a member of the well-known Relais & Châteaux association that maps the world’s best mansions and restaurants.
When staying at this Castle Hotel, you can enjoy unique accommodation surrounded by emerald green water in the middle of Slovenia’s countryside. Sleeping in a fairytale castle truly is an unforgettable holiday memory, and the peacefulness and quiet of the countryside will offer you the best vacation ever.
Also, the hotel is quite luxurious. You will get the chance to enjoy its green park, homemade breakfast, lovely restaurant, royal bath, and modernity in a place of history. You will also find golf, a sports Center, an adrenaline park, a spa, and a wellness center in the hotel and its surroundings.
A night in the hotel is about 200 euros, so you will need to spend a bit in order to appreciate the beauty and luxury of Otocec Castle.
Otočec Castle Hotel
Address: Grajska cesta 2, 8222 Otočec, Slovenia
Phone: +386 8 20 50 310
Novo Mesto is a Novo Must-See
Novo mesto is a charming town perfect for a day trip from Ljubljana. If you are a tourist in Slovenia, you will love walking along the Krka River banks from the Kandijski Bridge to the Otocec Castle, visiting the beautiful Cathedral of Saint Nicholas and Glavni trg, and learning everything there is to know about Lower Carniola in the Doljenski muzej.
As an insider in Slovenia, I would advise visiting Novo mesto if you stay more than a week in Slovenia. It is a beautiful city, but there are even more fascinating things to see. However, if you have already visited some of the most touristic destinations, or would like to see picturesque towns, Novo mesto is the place for you!