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 a minimum of one of many high 5 caves in Slovenia.
Listed here are the highest ideas from Terry Anzur, a Slovenian-American journalist on the weblog Strangers within the Dwelling 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 a whole lot of caves in Slovenia, there’s one thing for everybody: Pure magnificence, fascinating historical past, epic journey and even a Disneyland-style practice journey.
Postojna Cave: Accessible Slovenia Cave Journey
You probably have time for just one Slovenia cave journey, make it Postojna Cave. This pure surprise 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 journey 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’s an optionally available 1.5 km stroll to the long-lasting “Sensible” formation.
You’ll want to keep seated on the practice because it whips previous the overhead rocks with lethal pace. Please respect nature by not touching the formations. They fashioned over tens of millions of years, one drop of water at a time.
For max enjoyment, put down your digital camera. Within the low mild, your cellphone images are more likely to be disappointing. Flash pictures is just not allowed. Skilled photographers want permission to arrange lights.
Be a part of this Postojna Cave tour from Ljubljana!
Slovenia’s Child Dragons
Children will love seeing the “child dragons,” a novel species in Postojna Cave. The olms can dwell for 100 years and may 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 12 months a yr. There’s an underground nativity scene through 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 simple 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 be fashionable. 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 simply a brief drive from Postonja Cave. You possibly can 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 stable 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 yr by smuggling in contemporary meals by way of 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 way of 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 surroundings.
You’ll be awestruck by the underground cathedrals, carved out over the centuries by the Reka River. Pictures is just not 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 might have simply skilled.
Sturdy mountaineering sneakers are a should, in addition to a jacket for the underground chill. Be ready for slippery pavement and a whole lot of steps. This journey is just not advisable for small children or these with mobility issues.
Getting there: You possibly can 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, house of the Lipizzaner horses you’ll have seen performing in Vienna. Bicycle excursions of the karst area are one other nice choice.
Professional tip: Permit some further time for an prolonged hike by way of the karst panorama and the charming village of Škočjan. Mountaineering trails are properly marked, ranging from the top of the cave tour.
Pivka Cave: Journey for Thrill Seekers
In the event you got here to Slovenia for a high-octane journey, you’re in luck. With a bit of 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 known as 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 way of mud and paddling by way of an underground lake.
You even have an opportunity to identify the newborn 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 means that you can discover the Windy Gap and different passageways beneath Predjama Fort. Completely 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 have to be reserved upfront from Could to September, when the bats are awake.
Professional tip: Gas up to 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 in regards to the onerous 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 “loss of life clock.” They stopped at an underground chapel to hope for a protected 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 all the way 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 diseases? All of them. However you’ll be completely protected within the heat jacket and protecting helmet included with the tour. Anticipate numerous 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 convention that continues as we speak. The handcrafted lace bought within the native outlets makes a fantastic memento to take house.
Don’t neglect to strive the normal Idrija dumplings referred to as žlikrofi. Served with hearty sauce, they have been a filling meal for the hard-working miners. The most well-liked restaurant is Gostilna Pri Škafarju, only a brief stroll from the doorway to the mine tour, however the dumplings are served in most of the native eateries.
Getting there: Idrija will be reached by automobile on a day journey from Ljubljana. Discover tour occasions and ticket info on the web site.
Professional tip: You probably have extra time, go to Gewerkenegg Fort, which looms over the slender streets of the small, pleasant city. It’s full of reveals in regards to the historical past of mercury mining and lacemaking in Idrija.
Planning a visit to Slovenia? The largest mistake you may make is just not permitting sufficient time for all the nature and historical past that’s packed into this small nation – the caves in Slovenia specifically. It’s a miniature model of Europe in a single clear, inexperienced, sustainable bundle.