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 Residing Room:
- Postojna Cave: one thing for everybody
- Predjama Cave Fortress: world’s largest cave fort
- 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 prepare trip.
Postojna Cave: Accessible Slovenia Cave Journey
When you’ve got 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, an area lamplighter stumbled into the cave and declared: “Right here is paradise.”
Greater than 40 million individuals have visited Postojna Cave since then. It’s the third most visited attraction in Slovenia, after Ljubljana and Bled. At instances, you may 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 rapidly.
The three.7 km prepare trip 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 “Good” formation.
Make sure to keep seated on the prepare because it whips previous the overhead rocks with lethal velocity. Please respect nature by not touching the formations. They shaped over thousands and thousands of years, one drop of water at a time.
For optimum enjoyment, put down your digicam. Within the low gentle, your cellphone photographs are more likely to be disappointing. Flash images isn’t allowed. Skilled photographers want permission to arrange lights.
Be a part of this Postojna Cave tour from Ljubljana!
Slovenia’s Child Dragons
Youngsters will love seeing the “child dragons,” a singular species in Postojna Cave. The olms can reside for 100 years and may 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. Deliver 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 Resort Jama to skip the ticket line and get a reduction on tour packages. Tenting within the space can also be well-liked. 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 Fortress: Mighty Slovenia Cave Fortress
Predjama Fortress, 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 fort rising from stable 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 via the cave tunnels. Sadly, he didn’t survive a cannonball that struck the fort at its most susceptible level: the bathroom.
Make a want as you ring the fort’s bell. It was used to warn of approaching invaders. You solely should admire the view of the encompassing countryside.
Professional tip: Get the Predjama Fortress audio information for a vivid description of life within the Center Ages as you stroll via 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. Images isn’t 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 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 tons of of steps. This journey isn’t really helpful 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 might need to add a cease in close by Lipica, residence of the Lipizzaner horses you will have seen performing in Vienna. Bicycle excursions of the karst area are one other nice possibility.
Professional tip: Enable some further time for an prolonged hike via the karst panorama and the charming village of Škočjan. Mountain climbing trails are effectively marked, ranging from the tip of the cave tour.
Pivka Cave: Journey for Thrill Seekers
If you happen to got here to Slovenia for a high-octane journey, you’re in luck. With a bit planning forward, you possibly can guide 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 via mud and paddling via an underground lake.
You even have an opportunity to identify the child 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 below the Fortress
A much less demanding journey lets you discover the Windy Gap and different passageways beneath Predjama Fortress. Completely different variations of this guided tour are appropriate for older children and youths.
However watch out for bats! The constant year-round temperature makes the fort 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 Fortress.
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 wish for a secure 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 turned one of many largest mercury mines on the earth. Sadly, the wealth didn’t trickle right down to the poorly paid miners.
The miners labored with out security gear till fashionable instances. 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. Count on numerous 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 this time. The handcrafted lace offered within the native outlets makes an attractive memento to take residence.
Don’t neglect to attempt the normal Idrija dumplings known as žlikrofi. Served with hearty sauce, they have 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 lots of the native eateries.
Getting there: Idrija might be reached by automobile on a day journey from Ljubljana. Discover tour instances and ticket data on the web site.
Professional tip: When you’ve got extra time, go to Gewerkenegg Fortress, which looms over the slender streets of the small, pleasant city. It’s crammed with reveals concerning the historical past of mercury mining and lacemaking in Idrija.
Planning a visit to Slovenia? The largest mistake you may make isn’t permitting sufficient time for the entire 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.