Every country has some spectacular sights, must visit places that every tourist need to include in the itinerary. And for Slovenia, the tiny country that has it all, the list of the highlights is pretty long. Some say that Slovenian Alps are a must, other choose the Adriatic coast or the charming capital – Ljubljana.
But everyone always concordantly pick two places, located close to each other – Postojna Cave and Predjama castle – a truly unique spots not only for Slovenia but for the whole Europe! It took me 5 visits to Slovenia to finally get to both Postojna Cave and Predjama castle but it was so worth waiting!
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Amazing caves in Slovenia
For such a small country Slovenia has an impressive number of caves – over 11 thousands, located mostly in the Karst region in south-east of the country! Only 20 of them are open to public, the most famous ones being Skocjan Caves (I still need to get there) and of course Postojna Cave. With almost 25 kms of passages underground it is the biggest and most visited cave in Europe and second biggest in the world (after Mammoth Cave in the US).
All these facts and enthusiastic opinions I’ve heard about Postojna made me really excited but also a little bit reluctant to visit the cave. I was slightly afraid it might not live up to the hype I’ve been hearing all around me. Of course my fears turned out to be irrational and as soon as I stepped inside the cave my breath was taken away!
Postojna Cave – the background
Postojna Cave, created by the Pivka River, was first mentioned in the 17th century. At the beginning of the 19th century, together with the visit of Archduke Ferdinand, the cave has officially become the tourist destination. With the growth of popularity much needed improvements had to be done and so in 1872 cave rails were introduced (first they were pushed by the guides), 12 years later the electric lightning was added (even before the capital of Slovenia – Ljubljana). Up to now there were over 35 millions of tourists visiting Postojna Cave and I believe no one was disappointed!
Visiting Postojna Cave
When visiting Postojna Cave you will spend around 1.5 hours underground, with the temperature of +8-10°C so better prepare yourself for that with warmer clothes. But even if you feel cold at first you will quickly forget about it as the scenery around you will be among the most incredible ones you will ever see!
Tourists can admire the route of around 5kms inside Postojna Cave, part of which is rode by small train. The walking path is about 1.7kms long, with ups and downs (the beginning is the hardest part) but you won’t notice it as you will be solemnly focused on the cave itself.
As soon as we stepped out of the train I didn’t know where to look, every single detail was so incredible and I wanted to remember as much as possible. I didn’t expect to see such a enormous space inside, I just assumed there’ll be narrow corridors, kind of like in the mine, with stalactites and stalagmites on both sides. Yet Postojna Cave looked like the another world, something so extraordinary that I can easily say it was one of the most spectacular views I’ve seen in my life!
After the first wow moment things were getting better and better! Some halls varied between each other with colors and shapes, the bridges connected completely different parts of the cave – it was hard to believe how varied look Postojna Cave has! The last place to visit underground, before taking the train back, is the Concert Hall. It is so enormous that even concerts or basketball games took place there!
Postojna Cave in pictures
Since the picture is worth a thousand words and I really can’t describe properly how incredible place it is, here is a small collection of Postojna Cave pictures I took during my visit there!
Predjama Castle and the legend of Erazem
When visiting Postojna Cave don’t miss another incredible place, located only 9kms away – Predjama Castle. It was built in the 13th century, partly inside the cave and attached to the 123meters cliff it is a true masterpiece, even now.
The castle is most known for Erazem who owned it in the 15th century. He got into the conflict with the Habsburgs who besieged him in the castle, assuming he has no way out and would surrender soon. The siege lasted one year and one day.
Erazem had a fresh supply of food through the secret way out via the top of the cliff, he was constantly teasing occupants by throwing fresh fruits at them. Eventually one of the servants was bribed to give a sign when Erazem will go to the toilet – located at the edge of the castle and easily targeted. That’s where Erazem died, in the most vulnerable moment.
Visiting Predjama Castle
These days it is possible to visit the castle inside, just prepare yourself for a chilly air (like in Postojna Cave). There’s an exhibition about the life in the castle and how the interior used to look like as well as the armoury but undeniably the most interesting part is the once inside the cave.
It’s incredible how so many years ago they’ve managed to incorporate the building into the force of nature, how everything harmonize together. I don’t think there’s a similar structure anywhere else in the world!
Slovenia will never stop impressing me! I just can’t believe how such a small country has everything you might wish for: incredible mountains, beautiful seaside, interesting cities – you name it!
But when planning a visit to Slovenia don’t wait as long as I did and include both Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle in your itinerary. There’re the highlights of Slovenia for a reason and now I can assure you that they both definitely live up to their opinion!
Have you been to Slovenia? Would you like to visit Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle? What was the most spectacular nature place you’ve visited?
Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle – practical information
Both Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle are open all year round but the times vary depending on the season (i.e. Postojna Cave in July and August has the first tour at 9am and the last one at 6pm). The ticket to Postojna Cave costs 23,90€, to Predjama Castle 11,90€ but the combined ticket to both attractions and Proteus Vivarium + EXPO Postojna Cave Karst can be bought for 37,90€ when bought online. In July and August there’s a free shuttle bus between Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle available for those who bought the combo ticket. All the information, including opening hours and prices, can be found at Postojna Cave website.
In Postojna I’ve stayed in Hotel Epicenter with really big and warm rooms (that day was very rainy so it was definitely important for me!). The hotel is located some 2 kms away from the Postojna Cave, in the quiet part of the town. Here you can book your stay in Hotel Epicenter.
If you’re looking for something more unusual I can recommend Smrekarjeva Domačija, also not far from Postojna. I’ve only had dinner there, in the former barn turned into the restaurant (the food was amazing!) but they offer also couple of rooms and I bet it must be pretty amazing! It’s in the countryside so if you need some relax this might be a place for you! Here you can book your stay in Smrekarjeva Domačija.
If you think of visiting Slovenia or just want to read more about the country take a look what else I wrote about it:
- Charming Ljubljana, Slovenia in pictures
- Slovenian Alps – a paradise on Earth!
- Ptuj, Slovenia – a charming little gem
- and more!
Disclaimer: My trip was in partnership with Best Press Story but as always all opinions are 100% mine.
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