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 suggestions from Terry Anzur, a Slovenian-American journalist on the weblog Strangers within the Residing Room:
- Postojna Cave: one thing for everybody
- Predjama Cave Citadel: 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’ve got 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 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 just’re in a cave-themed amusement park. Don’t despair if there’s a line to board the practice; it strikes shortly.
The three.7 km practice experience makes probably the most astounding chambers and galleries accessible for all ages and skills. Don’t miss the huge Dance Corridor, lit by Murano glass chandeliers. There’s 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 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 optimum enjoyment, put down your digital camera. Within the low gentle, your telephone pictures are prone 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 dwell 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 yr. There’s an underground nativity scene through the holidays. Carry a heat jacket due to the fixed 10-degree Celsius temperature, year-round. To keep away from the summer time 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 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 be in style. There’s a parking zone for motorhomes. There’s even a free kennel the place your pet can wait whilst you tour the cave.
Predjama Citadel: Mighty Slovenia Cave Fortress
Predjama Citadel, 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 strong karst rock. However you need to plan to go inside and be taught the fascinating historical past.
The fifteenth Century knight Erazem withstood a siege for greater than a yr by smuggling in contemporary meals by means 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 must admire the view of the encompassing countryside.
Professional tip: Get the Predjama Citadel audio information for a vivid description of life within the Center Ages as you stroll by means 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 many of the tour contained in the caves. Close to the exit, there’s a image alternative that conveys the majesty of what you may 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 shouldn’t be 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 might wish 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: Enable some further time for an prolonged hike by means of the karst panorama and the charming village of Škočjan. Mountaineering trails are properly marked, ranging from the tip 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 somewhat planning forward, you possibly can guide an adrenalin tour within the huge underground of Postojna Cave Park. All the particular tools 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 means of mud and paddling by means 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 Citadel
A much less demanding journey permits you to discover the Windy Gap and different passageways beneath Predjama Citadel. Totally 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 citadel caves a hibernating spot. Excursions have to be reserved upfront from Could to September, when the bats are awake.
Professional tip: Gas up in your journey at Gostilna Požar, a pleasant mid-priced restaurant serving Slovenian specialties with a picture-postcard view of Predjama Citadel.
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 arduous lives of the mercury miners. A information sporting 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 sturdy 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 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 diseases? All of them. However you’ll be completely secure within the heat jacket and protecting helmet included with the tour. Count on 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 practice that continues immediately. The handcrafted lace offered within the native retailers makes a good looking memento to take dwelling.
Don’t neglect to attempt the normal Idrija dumplings referred to 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 instances and ticket data on the web site.
Professional tip: When you’ve got extra time, go to Gewerkenegg Citadel, 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 most important mistake you may 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 specifically. It’s a miniature model of Europe in a single clear, inexperienced, sustainable bundle.