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 at the least one of many high 5 caves in Slovenia.
Listed here are the highest suggestions from Terry Anzur, a Slovenian-American journalist on the weblog Strangers in the Living Room:
- Postojna Cave: one thing for everybody
- Predjama Cave Fort: world’s largest cave fortress
- 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 prepare experience.
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 instances, 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 prepare; it strikes shortly.
The three.7 km prepare experience makes essentially 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-obligatory 1.5 km stroll to the enduring “Good” formation.
Be sure you keep seated on the prepare because it whips previous the overhead rocks with lethal pace. Please respect nature by not touching the formations. They shaped over tens of millions of years, one drop of water at a time.
For optimum enjoyment, put down your digital camera. Within the low mild, your cellphone pictures 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
Youngsters will love seeing the “child dragons,” a novel species in Postojna Cave. The olms can stay for 100 years and might survive a decade with out meals. Purchase a separate ticket to the Vivarium to be taught extra about all of the creatures of the underground world.
When to Go to: Postojna Cave is open three hundred and sixty five days 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 massive 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 online or purchase on the ticket workplace.
Professional tip: Keep on the Hotel Jama to skip the ticket line and get a reduction on tour packages. Tenting within the space can be fashionable. There’s a car 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’ll be able to simply go to each on the identical day with a mixed “Two Adventures” ticket or combined tour.
Many group excursions solely cease for the insta-worthy picture alternative of the Slovenia cave fortress rising from strong karst rock. However it is best to plan to go inside and be taught the fascinating historical past.
The fifteenth Century knight Erazem withstood a siege for greater than a 12 months by smuggling in contemporary meals by way of the cave tunnels. Sadly, he didn’t survive a cannonball that struck the fortress at its most susceptible level: the bathroom.
Make a want as you ring the fortress’s bell. It was used to warn of approaching invaders. You solely need to admire the view of the encompassing 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 setting.
You’ll be awestruck by the underground cathedrals, carved out over the centuries by the Reka River. Pictures shouldn’t be allowed for a lot of the tour contained in the caves. Close to the exit, there’s a image alternative that conveys the majesty of what you will have simply skilled.
Sturdy climbing footwear 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 shouldn’t be advisable for small youngsters or these with mobility considerations.
Getting there: You’ll be able to go to Škočjan Caves on a day trip from Ljubljana by automobile. Buy tickets online or on the ticket workplace. Horse lovers could need to add a cease in close by Lipica, dwelling of the Lipizzaner horses you’ll have seen performing in Vienna. Bicycle excursions of the karst area are one other nice possibility.
Professional tip: Permit some additional time for an prolonged hike by way of the karst panorama and the charming village of Škočjan. Mountain climbing trails are effectively marked, ranging from the top of the cave tour.
Pivka Cave: Journey for Thrill Seekers
In case 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 book an adrenalin tour within the huge underground of Postojna Cave Park. All the particular tools you’ll need 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 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 lets you discover the Windy Gap and different passageways beneath Predjama Fort. Completely different variations of this guided tour are appropriate for older youngsters and teenagers.
However watch out for bats! The constant year-round temperature makes the fortress caves a hibernating spot. Tours must be reserved in advance from Might to September, when the bats are awake.
Professional tip: Gasoline up on 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 laborious 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 “demise clock.” They stopped at an underground chapel to hope for a protected return.
Miners stored up their spirits with robust drink. They believed the mine was haunted by a mischievous elf who would cause them to the quicksilver — or nugatory rocks. Idrija prospered because it grew to become 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 tools till trendy instances. What number of died from mercury poisoning and associated sicknesses? All of them. However you’ll be completely protected 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 stored busy with lacemaking, a convention that continues at the moment. The handcrafted lace offered within the native retailers makes a phenomenal memento to take dwelling.
Don’t neglect to strive the normal Idrija dumplings known as žlikrofi. Served with hearty sauce, they had been a filling meal for the hard-working miners. The preferred 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 will be reached by automobile on a day journey from Ljubljana. Discover tour times and ticket information 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 displays concerning the historical past of mercury mining and lacemaking in Idrija.
Planning a visit to Slovenia? The most important 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.