Slovenia was quite lucky in the caves department, with over 10.000 registered caves all over the country and adding to the count around 100 newly-discovered ones each year. While the most popular cave is Postojna Cave (which indeed is pretty amazing), I believe that visiting Skocjan Caves is one of the absolute must things to do in Slovenia.
During my recent trip to Slovenia, I kind of last-minute added Skocjan Caves to my itinerary, once I figured it’s actually possible to visit it using public transport. I always assumed that it’s a bit remote location, reachable only by car and I thought that since I’ve already visited Postojna Cave I don’t need to see another one in Slovenia. How wrong I was!
Skocjan Caves literally blew me away. I’ve seen many caves in my life but these ones play in their own league of awesomeness. I literally walked around with my jaw dropped and I can’t recommend visiting Skocjan Caves enough.
If you are planning a trip to Slovenia be sure to include Skocjan Caves in your Slovenia itinerary, you will not be disappointed. Below I put together all the information you need for planning your visit to the caves.
Why visit Skocjan Caves
Skocjan Caves are the most spectacular caves I’ve ever seen and I guarantee the place will leave you speechless too. This is the most impressive cave system in the Karst region (known for the caves) and in Slovenia in general, and it was granted the UNESCO World Heritage Site title in 1986.
That’s where you will find one of the largest underground river canyons in the world and enormous underground chambers of exceptional beauty. The area surrounding the caves is amazing too and worth exploring as well (especially since there are nice trails and educational paths created).
All in all, Skocjan Caves is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Slovenia (or in the world really) and you simply don’t want to miss it.
Where are Skocjan Caves
Skocjan Caves are located in the southwest part of Slovenia, not far from the seaside. The visitors center and the entrance to the caves are in the village of Matavun, just off the highway connecting Ljubljana and Koper.
Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, is located around 80 km away from Skocjan Caves and Koper, the main city on the Slovenian coast, is 35 km away. Another important nearby city is Trieste in Italy, located 25 km away.
How to get to Skocjan Caves
Fortunately, visiting Skocjan Caves isn’t as complicated as it might seem, no matter how you are going to get there. If you have a car you just need to go 2 km off the Ljubljana-Koper highway, the signs will guide you.
From Divaca train station there is supposed to be a shuttle bus to the caves but when I visited the place (on May 1st) it wasn’t running and there was no information that the service is suspended (hence I wasted too much time waiting for it and then almost had to run to the caves to be on time for my scheduled tour). But just in case the shuttle bus is running – click here for the picture of the schedule.
If, like me, you decide to walk from Divaca train station to Skocjan Caves, the distance is around 4 km so expect some 50 minutes walking (I did it in less than 40 minutes but I was almost running – can’t say I recommend that).
The route is well-marked and part of it goes through a nice forest. I used maps.me app on the phone and it guided me just as the signs showed the way to the caves.
You can also visit Skocjan Caves with the tour departing from Ljubljana or Slovenian seaside. Here are the recommended ones:
- Škocjan UNESCO Caves and Piran
- Skocjan Caves, Lipica & Piran: Karst & Coast Small-Group Day Trip from Ljubljana
- Lipica Stud Farm and Skocjan Caves from Koper
- Lipica Stud Farm and Skocjan Caves from Piran or Portoroz or Izola
Tickets for Skocjan Caves
You can buy tickets for visiting Skocjan Caves online at the official website here but you can also get them when you arrive at the Visitors Center.
The prices are the same for both, online purchases and those made on spot. If you are not sure about the time you visit Skocjan Caves it’s better to buy the ticket once you arrive.
Current prices in the high season are 24€ for an adult, 18€ for students and seniors, and 12,50€ for children between 6 and 18 years old (younger kids can visit the place free of charge). In the off-season the entrance fee to Skocja Caves is lower.
Visiting Skocjan Caves
The meeting point for the tour is at the Visitors Center from where you will walk some 10 minutes to the entrance to the caves. There, after a quick talk from the guide about the place and rules, you will continue your tour underground.
When I visited Skocjan Caves there were pretty many people so the tour was divided into three groups: two in Slovenian and the last one in English.
The first part of the visit to Skocjan Caves is the guided tour. It lasts around 1,5 hours and in that time you will walk around 2,5 km, including 400 stairs (the last part of the tour is a bit challenging).
During this part of the tour, you will visit the most spectacular and breathtaking parts of Skocjan Caves, with one of the largest underground canyons in the world. Along the way, you will stop a few times when the guide gives the commentary on the place or point to interesting spots, such as the old, 19th-century, tourist trail inside the cave.
The first cave you enter is the Silent Cave which is beautiful but nothing that spectacular. Once you reach the Murmuring Cave with the underground river Reka (literally “river” in Slovenian language) you will quickly understand what’s the whole hype about. No words or pictures can really praise this place, you have to see it to understand the vastness and grandness of Skocjan Caves.
This is the absolute highlight of Skocjan Caves (or even Slovenia) and leaves everyone impressed. What I enjoyed about the place is that it didn’t try to impress tourists with colorful lights or extra additions to entertain. The cave is dimly lit, you can hear the thundering river below while walking around and trying to take it all in.
Somewhere along the way you cross the bridge hung 50 meters high above the Reka river and it’s such a thrilling and unforgettable experience – this itself is a reason to visit Skocjan Caves.
It’s actually good that taking pictures inside is not allowed as you can fully focus on the experience of visiting Skocjan Caves and appreciate the site properly.
Once the part with the guide is over you have three options to choose from to independently return to the Visitors Center: the shortest one with only 300 meters and 100 steps (this one includes the elevator ride up, altogether it should take 15 minutes), the middle one with 600 meters and 400 steps up (30 minutes) and the longest one which is 2,5 km long with 700 steps (1,5 hour).
I was planning to go on the longest one but since it started to rain pretty badly I ended up doing the middle route which was really nice too. But if you have time and energy you should do the longest route as the views are supposed to be amazing too.
Before leaving Skocjan Caves’ Visitors Center go for a short walk to the viewpoint where you will be able to see the area from the upper part above the cave – the view is really incredible!
Skocjan Caves – practical information
In the summertime, the guided tours in the Skocjan Caves are available every hour between 10:00 and 15:00. Check the official website for the opening times in the offseason, if you visit then.
Tickets in the high season are 24€ per person with discounts available for seniors and students (18€ per person) and children between 6 and 18 years old (12,50€ per person). The tickets are cheaper in less popular months.
The guided tour inside Skocjan Caves takes around 1,5 hours. Add extra time for getting back to the visitors center independently, depending on the trail you choose. It’s worth spending more time in the area to explore all the beauty around.
If you travel by car, there is a parking space available at the visitors center.
There are lockers for the luggage at the visitors center, located behind the ticket desks. They are free of charge, you just need to ask for the key at the ticket desk.
In the visitors center, besides the ticket desks, you will also find the tourist information, a souvenir shop, and a restaurant (that was a life saver in the heavy rain when I visited).
Taking pictures inside the cave is forbidden (the ones you see in this article were sourced online), that’s one of the UNESCO rules and you should follow it too.
If you arrive by train or bus to Divaca there’s supposed to be a shuttle bus to Skocjan Caves but it was not running when I visited. Another option is walking the 4km well-marked route.
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