when visiting slovenia, you will certainly find out that visiting one of the huge karst caves in the western region of the country is the most popular attraction near ljubljana. i’m sure there’s more than two, but the two biggies are postojna (post-oy-na) cave and škocjan (skoe-tsian) cave.
they’re both huge, as in, some of the largest caves in europe. they’re both firmly on the tourist trail. but upon duly doing my research as i am want to do, i discovered that postojna is definitely the most popular choice and therefore, much more crowded. it’s a bit larger than škocjan, more well-lit, and you tour by riding in a train through the cave pathways. škocjan is a bit smaller, less visited, further from ljubljana, more dimly lit… but it’s also a UNESCO world heritage site as well as a site of international importance according to the ramsar wetlands organization.
it was hard to choose, but in the end, škocjan it was to be. it seemed like the most authentically “cavey” experience of the two. we took a bus about an hour and twenty minutes to divača, a small village closest to the entrance to the caves. there is a shuttle bus from škocjan that is timed to meet up with visitors coming from the train and bus station. although i had read that on trip advisor, the official website says nothing about this shuttle. so i nervously waited with the four other equally nervous people until it showed up.
the large group split into slovene and english speakers, and we went with our cute little slovenian guide girl through a lit path through the cave. it was so dimly lit that it was definitely spooky. (i’m surprised the three year-old boy on the tour never cried, i probably would have!)
škocjan is split into two parts: the quiet cave near the beginning and the louder cave in the second part of the tour, all sounds provided by the rushing reka river. i thought the first part was fascinating enough because of all of the formations, stalagmites and stalactites, but the second part of the cave was incredible. it opens up to this massive watery area: think indiana jones’ temple of doom meets the last part of the goonies with the pirate ship in the cave. breathtaking!
you can say i’m a cave fan. ever since scotland, i’ve been particularly inspired by caves, so i simply had to visit one of them while in slovenia. if visiting a massive cave with a river running through it doesn’t already sound awesome, i would recommend skipping it in favor of something else. but it definitely was my cup of tea. unfortunately no photography is allowed during most of the tour (so most of these photos are from their official website) but i took a few snaps near the end and during the hike back. a great way to experience such a unique natural setting!
waiting for the bus: i made a joke. humor before all else, i say!
have you ever visited a famous cave before? i went to the cave of the winds near colorado springs when i was ten but i can’t quite remember it all.
škocjan caves, divača. €16, 10:00-17:00 in the summer, only 3-4 tours/day in the off season.