Slovenia’s proximity and accessibility is not the only reason we love it; it has something new to show every time. We’ve already been skiing in Slovenia’s best ski paradises, we’ve admired the always wonderful Bled, but we’ve also tasted divine vines on the south next to the shoreline, and bathed in the special thermal waters too. This year we’ve looked underground, and we would go back anytime.
On the southern side of Slovenia, in the Notranjska region you can find a karst-land that’s unique even in Europe. The limestone caves laying deep down here belong to the some 8000 caves revealed so far by cavers in the country’s territory. Every year, subsequent caves are added to the already commanding list, on which we can also find the UNESCO World Heritage Skocjan cave system, and the biggest and most visited karst-land cave of Slovenia and Europe, the Postojna limestone cave.
The Postojna limestone cave has attracted tourists from everywhere in the world for over 200 years now, and its popularity is proven by the over 36 million visitors.
The already discovered passages of the cave have a total length of 24 kilometres, but only 5 kilometres are open to the public. From this, 3,5 kilometres can be done by a small train, and 1,5 kilometres on foot. This tourable part of the cave is easy to walk thanks to its stepway-free performance, and the train which reaches the cave’s biggest chamber in 10 minutes. From there, tourists can start their way to the journey which contains approximately 1-1,5 hours of show-piece. Those who don’t forget to hire an Audio Guide at the entrance can get interesting and useful information about the formation and history of the cave’s chambers and dripstones. Audio Guide is available on 15 languages, Hungarian as well, and it can be hired for only 3 Euros, so it’s advised for those who’re not taking part in a guided tour.
In the beginning only lanterns and candles were available to ensure light in the cave, but after the installation of electricity in 1883, the cave system’s especially beautiful and huge chambers can be admired in their full parade. It’s interesting that electricity was installed in the cave earlier than in the capitol, Ljubljana. The cave has a humidity of 80-90%, and the temperature is only 8-10 degrees the entire year, so it’s particularly important in the sizzling summer weather to take warm clothes with us.
Those not interested in the dripstones anymore can pay for a real cave adventure as well, but we mainly advise it to those in a good physical condition.
The fauna of the cave is surprisingly populous. 150 species of animals live in the cave system, the most famous one is the blind newt – or manfish – which is a 30 centimetres long amphibian haunting small fish, crabs and worms in the waters of the underground karst-caves. It’s a critically endangered animal, which can live up to 100 years.
Not far away, out of the cave we can see a really high-standard interactive exhibition, the Karst-land EXPO, where the Postojna cave’s evolution and history is elaborately demonstrated. Children won’t be bored either, as several playful previews let them know about limestone caves.
The Predjamski Castle
Some 10 kilometres from the Postojna cave system, there’s a well-known fabled castle, which was chosen as one of the 10 most fascinating castles of the world by Forbes; the Predjamski Castle. What’s special about it is that it was built directly on the hillside, at the entrance of a cave somewhere in the 13th century. The Slovenian Robin Hood, Lord Erazom Lueger lived here too, who had of course some Hungarian aspect, as he was supporting King Matthias in 1485, during the siege against Wien.
The castle is now easy to approach, but back in history the Slovakians did not manage to capture it. They were planning to famish the ones in there, but they did not know about the 13 kilometres long, and 140 metres deep cave system leading to the other side of the hill, with which contiguous food maintenance was possible from the villages around.
The castle is open for visitors all year, every part of it can be visited, and functions as a museum right now. Its appliance is discrete, but they try to demonstrate the castle’s old everyday life by waxworks. The rear wall of the castle is actually the outer wall of the cave at the same time, which is humid all year, so weather here is always cool and steamy.
The 13 kilometres long cave system offers tours with 3 difficulty levels, but unfortunately it’s quite expensive (30-80 Euros), but for this price we can take part in a real adventurous trip, invoking Lord Erazom’s spirit, either we choose the 1 hour easy walking road, or the 3-6 hour rough cave tour.
Those visiting both sites can buy a combined ticket for the Predjamski Castle and the Postojna cave system for 32 Euros. And for 38 Euros we receive a full package by completing the previous two with the EXPŰO and two further interesting exhibitions.
Postojna cave: 24 €
Predjama catle: 12 €
Combined ticket: 32 €
If we travel around here, the Slovenian seashore is worth a visit, as we can try excellent vines and beaches, and it’s not all the same where to sleep after an adventurous day. If you’re heading to Koper, we have a tip; The Adria Ankaran Resort, and the 23-room 4-star Hotel Convent within, which is located in a 16th century cloister, not far from the shore. We won’t have any complaint about the rooms and service, and neither about the wellness section. Though in case we are looking for a more wallet-friendly solution, we can find apartments with different size and equipment in the resort, really close to the water.
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