To escape the recent autumnal thunderstorms and rain showers in the Soča Valley, I wanted to find an interesting indoor activity to do in Slovenia. It was my partner, Pete’s, birthday coming up too and I like to plan something fun and active. So I organised a trip for us to go to Postojna caves in South West Slovenia. I visited this area when I was a Cycling Ambassador for Slovenia, but I didn’t get to visit the cave itself. Instead I went to Predjama castle which is an impressive castle set back into a cliff.
Postojna cave is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Slovenia and the whole park area is run like a well oiled machine. Since opening to the public in 1818, it has had it’s 37 millionth visitor walk through it’s doors. Tourists from all over the world are drawn to this place due to is incredible karst structure. The cave system is 24km in length being the second biggest cave system in Slovenia, but we tourists only get to visit around 5km of it. The first 3.5km of the cave experience is travelled through on a little red and yellow train. You go through huge open caverns with amazing limestone columns and one ‘room’ had beautiful chandeliers hanging from the rocky ceiling. Inside the cave, the temperature stays at a constant 10°C all year round so make sure you take a warm jacket and shoes!
Upon arriving deep into the cave, you are led to the highest point of the tour called The Great Mountain. The natural limestone sculptures are spectacular and it took me a while to get my head around how old they are. It takes a stalactite 10 years to grow 1mm! So when they are 1cm long it has taken 100 years to grow… this blew my mind. Some of the biggest stalactites are over 100,00 years old.
You are left to independently follow the footpaths through the Beautiful Caves. These are named because of the differing colours and conditions of each cave. Some of the stalactite and stalagmite formations are mesmerising and they sometimes reminded me of melting chocolate on top of a cake. My favourite part of the tour was learning about the Human Fish that live in the cave. Apparently 150 different cave-dwelling species can be found living in this mysterious place, but the Olm or Human Fish are the most unique. These weird looking salamanders are blind with pink skin and darker pink gills protruding from their head. An aquarium has been set up for you to get close to them and appreciate these fascinating creatures. They are so cool to look at and they can live without eating for 10 years, whilst also living for up to 100 years! A screen has also been set up where you can watch the new Olm babies which hatched last year.
As you come to the end of the tour you get to stand in the Concert Hall where ticketed events are held two to three times a year. The weather plays an important part as to whether these concerts go ahead because, if it rains, the water will drip through onto the spectators! The acoustics in there were amazing and it made me wish I could sing opera. A zippy train ride back to the entrance ends the tour of this fantastic cave system. I cannot express how beautiful some of the rock formations are and it has been so well preserved through the generations.
I’m not usually one for really busy tourists attractions, but Postojna caves are organised in such a way that you don’t feel overwhelmed by the number of other visitors. The caves are huge and there is so much to look at with plenty of space for everyone to admire the natural limestone features. There is even a restaurant and hotel at the park sight so you can make a full day of it by experiencing some local cuisine or stay overnight in the luxury 4* hotel. If you’re travelling to Slovenia, make sure Postojna is on your ‘to do’ list.