You’ve been charmed by the streets of Ljubljana and awestruck by the alpine wonders of Bled. However your go to to Slovenia isn’t full till you’ve skilled no less than one of many high 5 caves in Slovenia.
Listed below are the highest ideas from Terry Anzur, a Slovenian-American journalist on the weblog Strangers within the Residing Room:
- Postojna Cave: one thing for everybody
- Predjama Cave Fort: world’s largest cave citadel
- Škočjan Caves: UNESCO heritage underground
- Pivka Cave: journey for thrill-seekers
- Idrija Mercury Mine: deep dive into historical past
Which Slovenia cave journey is best for you? In a rustic with tons of of caves in Slovenia, there’s one thing for everybody: Pure magnificence, fascinating historical past, epic journey and even a Disneyland-style practice experience.
Postojna Cave: Accessible Slovenia Cave Journey
When you have time for just one Slovenia cave journey, make it Postojna Cave. This pure marvel has been wowing guests for greater than 200 years. In 1818, a neighborhood lamplighter stumbled into the cave and declared: “Right here is paradise.”
Greater than 40 million folks have visited Postojna Cave since then. It’s the third most visited attraction in Slovenia, after Ljubljana and Bled. At occasions, you might need the sensation that you simply’re in a cave-themed amusement park. Don’t despair if there’s a line to board the practice; it strikes rapidly.
The three.7 km practice experience makes probably the most astounding chambers and galleries accessible for all ages and talents. Don’t miss the huge Dance Corridor, lit by Murano glass chandeliers. There may be an non-compulsory 1.5 km stroll to the long-lasting “Good” formation.
Be sure you keep seated on the practice because it whips previous the overhead rocks with lethal velocity. Please respect nature by not touching the formations. They fashioned over thousands and thousands of years, one drop of water at a time.
For max enjoyment, put down your digicam. Within the low mild, your cellphone photographs are more likely to be disappointing. Flash pictures shouldn’t be allowed. Skilled photographers want permission to arrange lights.
Be part of this Postojna Cave tour from Ljubljana!
Slovenia’s Child Dragons
Children will love seeing the “child dragons,” a singular species in Postojna Cave. The olms can reside for 100 years and might survive a decade with out meals. Purchase a separate ticket to the Vivarium to study extra about all of the creatures of the underground world.
When to Go to: Postojna Cave is open twelve months a 12 months. There’s an underground nativity scene throughout the holidays. Convey a heat jacket due to the fixed 10-degree Celsius temperature, year-round. To keep away from the summer season crowds in June, July and August, arrive when the cave opens at 9 am. The large tour teams arrive later within the morning.
Getting there: Postojna Cave Park is a straightforward day journey from Ljubljana or Bled, by automobile or bus. Reserve tickets on-line or purchase on the ticket workplace.
Professional tip: Keep on the Lodge Jama to skip the ticket line and get a reduction on tour packages. Tenting within the space can also be widespread. There’s a parking zone for motorhomes. There’s even a free kennel the place your pet can wait when you tour the cave.
Predjama Fort: Mighty Slovenia Cave Fortress
Predjama Fort, the world’s largest cave fortress, is barely a brief drive from Postonja Cave. You may simply go to each on the identical day with a mixed “Two Adventures” ticket or mixed tour.
Many group excursions solely cease for the insta-worthy photograph alternative of the Slovenia cave citadel rising from strong karst rock. However it is best to plan to go inside and study the fascinating historical past.
The fifteenth Century knight Erazem withstood a siege for greater than a 12 months by smuggling in recent meals by the cave tunnels. Sadly, he didn’t survive a cannonball that struck the citadel at its most weak level: the bathroom.
Make a want as you ring the citadel’s bell. It was used to warn of approaching invaders. You solely should admire the view of the encircling countryside.
Professional tip: Get the Predjama Fort audio information for a vivid description of life within the Center Ages as you stroll by the torture chamber and weapon rooms.
Škočjan Caves: UNESCO heritage Slovenia Cave
For a extra pure Slovenia cave expertise, go to the Škočjan Caves in Slovenia. UNESCO has organized a guided tour that presents the underground world heritage whereas respecting the atmosphere.
You’ll be awestruck by the underground cathedrals, carved out over the centuries by the Reka River. Pictures shouldn’t be allowed for many of the tour contained in the caves. Close to the exit, there’s a image alternative that conveys the majesty of what you’ve simply skilled.
Sturdy mountain climbing sneakers are a should, in addition to a jacket for the underground chill. Be ready for slippery pavement and tons of of steps. This journey shouldn’t be really useful for small children or these with mobility considerations.
Getting there: You may go to Škočjan Caves on a day journey from Ljubljana by automobile. Purchase tickets on-line or on the ticket workplace. Horse lovers could need to add a cease in close by Lipica, dwelling of the Lipizzaner horses you might have seen performing in Vienna. Bicycle excursions of the karst area are one other nice possibility.
Professional tip: Permit some further time for an prolonged hike by the karst panorama and the charming village of Škočjan. Climbing trails are effectively marked, ranging from the top of the cave tour.
Pivka Cave: Journey for Thrill Seekers
Should you got here to Slovenia for a high-octane journey, you’re in luck. With a little bit planning forward, you’ll be able to e book an adrenalin tour within the huge underground of Postojna Cave Park. The entire particular gear you have to is included within the value of the guided tour.
The Luka Čeč tour in Pivka Cave is called for the lamplighter who found the cave system in 1818, however toiled in poverty for many years earlier than getting the credit score he deserved. Be ready for rappelling down rock faces, slogging by mud and paddling by an underground lake.
You even have an opportunity to identify the infant dragons and different distinctive cave species of their pure habitat. This journey was so epic for my household of three that it deserves its personal film, as you’ll see on this video:
The Bat Cave beneath the Fort
A much less demanding journey permits you to discover the Windy Gap and different passageways beneath Predjama Fort. Totally different variations of this guided tour are appropriate for older children and teenagers.
However watch out for bats! The constant year-round temperature makes the citadel caves a hibernating spot. Excursions should be reserved upfront from Could to September, when the bats are awake.
Professional tip: Gasoline up in your journey at Gostilna Požar, a pleasant mid-priced restaurant serving Slovenian specialties with a picture-postcard view of Predjama Fort.
Idrija Mercury Mine: Underground Historical past
Historical past paired with caves in Slovenia! This tour covers 500 years of UNESCO world heritage within the 700 km of mercury mine tunnels beneath the city of Idrija. Anthony’s Shaft is the oldest preserved mine entrance in Europe.
The tour begins with a film concerning the exhausting lives of the mercury miners. A information carrying a mine foreman’s uniform takes you into the tunnels. You’ll see the numbered medallions miners wore throughout their shifts on the “dying clock.” They stopped at an underground chapel to hope for a secure return.
Miners saved up their spirits with sturdy drink. They believed the mine was haunted by a mischievous elf who would make them the quicksilver — or nugatory rocks. Idrija prospered because it turned one of many largest mercury mines on this planet. Sadly, the wealth didn’t trickle right down to the poorly paid miners.
The miners labored with out security gear till fashionable occasions. What number of died from mercury poisoning and associated sicknesses? All of them. However you’ll be completely secure within the heat jacket and protecting helmet included with the tour. Anticipate a number of strolling on slippery surfaces and stairs.
Discover out extra on this video:
Idrija Dumplings and Lace
Above floor, the miners’ wives saved busy with lacemaking, a practice that continues at present. The handcrafted lace bought within the native retailers makes a stupendous memento to take dwelling.
Don’t neglect to attempt the standard Idrija dumplings known as žlikrofi. Served with hearty sauce, they had been a filling meal for the hard-working miners. The most well-liked restaurant is Gostilna Pri Škafarju, only a quick stroll from the doorway to the mine tour, however the dumplings are served in most of the native eateries.
Getting there: Idrija could be reached by automobile on a day journey from Ljubljana. Discover tour occasions and ticket data on the web site.
Professional tip: When you have extra time, go to Gewerkenegg Fort, which looms over the slim streets of the small, pleasant city. It’s stuffed with reveals concerning the historical past of mercury mining and lacemaking in Idrija.
Planning a visit to Slovenia? The largest mistake you can also make shouldn’t be permitting sufficient time for all the nature and historical past that’s packed into this small nation – the caves in Slovenia particularly. It’s a miniature model of Europe in a single clear, inexperienced, sustainable package deal.