Exploring the underground world of Škocjan Caves in Slovenia

19 Apr

Any trip to Slovenia is incomplete without a visit to one of the most impressive underground cave systems in the world – the Postojna Caves and the Škocjan Caves. While planning for our trip we read a lot about these caves and were quite intrigued by it. But since we had limited time we could only cover one of these two, and after some research, we decided on the Škocjan Caves.

Škocjan Caves, Slovenia

Škocjan Caves, Slovenia

 

The Škocjan Caves remain the only monument in Slovenia and the classical Karst region on UNESCO’s list of natural and cultural world heritage sites. They hold a significant position among the world’s natural monuments because of a unique natural phenomenon – the creation of the underground Reka River. The Reka River springs from below the Snežnik plateau and flows some 55 kilometres on the surface but after reaching the Karst, that is the limestone surface, the river not only deepens its riverbed through erosion, but also by means of corrosion – it dissolves the limestone. In the first part of its course on the limestone, the Reka still flows on the surface, along an approximately four-kilometre-long gorge that ends with a magnificent wall under which it disappears underground. The Reka River blind valley is the largest in Slovenia.

Map of the Škocjan Caves, Slovenia

Map of the Škocjan Caves, Slovenia

We decided to visit these caves as a day trip from Ljubljana and first took a train and then the shuttle bus for the caves. For a tour of the caves you have to buy a ticket for a specific time slot and then accompany a guide in a tour group. As we were traveling during the off-season and the number of tours were fewer, we had quite a bit of time on our hands till our tour. So we walked around a bit on a trail around the park and explored the beautiful landscape around and had a quick meal in the local restaurant.

The Reka River above ground, near Škocjan Caves, Slovenia

The Reka River above ground, near Škocjan Caves, Slovenia

When it was time for our tour, a guide gathered us and took us down a quick trail to the entrance of the cave. Here he gave us a quick introduction to the history of the caves, what to expect and the rules to follow inside. And one of the most important rules was – no photography.

Exit of the Škocjan Caves, Slovenia

Exit of the Škocjan Caves, Slovenia

Walking through these caves is like entering another world altogether with one stunning sight after another. We initially walked through a man-made tunnel – Globočak Collapse Doline and continued through the Silent Cave – a cave of jaw dropping proportions and one of the largest underground chambers in the world. We were then greeted by an amazing sight of gorgeous ceiling to floor covered stalagmites and stalactites in these giant chambers. We then saw some roaring rapids, a waterfall and beautifully sculpted limestone formations. Natural light penetrates the shaft through numerous openings, and the path runs just above the water. The path inside was slippery but we noted that there were small man made steps which were probably used in ancient times to fetch water and the different formations were one of its kind. As we walked further through the dimly lit cave system, we came across the rapidly flowing Reka River and one of the most famous views of the Skocjan Caves, the Cerkvenik Bridge, suspended nearly fifty meters above the riverbed below. Both the sights are stunning that one cannot help but stand there for a while, spell bound and just marvel at God’s beautiful creations.

Picture of the bridge and underground Reka River. Taken of a poster, Slovenia

Picture of the Cerkvenik bridge and underground Reka River. Taken of a poster, Slovenia

Since photography is not allowed inside the caves I don’t have pictures of my visit but needless to say the Skocjan Caves are beautiful and a definite must visit while in Slovenia. I won’t say anything further, and you have to experience the rest for yourself!

Tips for the trip: Despite being such a visited sight the actual logistics of visiting these caves by public transport is somewhat complicated.

Poster inside the shuttle bus with the bus timings

Poster inside the shuttle bus with the bus timings

The Škocjan Caves are located near the town of Divaca, just over an hour from Piran and two hours from Ljubljana by train. You need to take a train to Divaca and then from Divaca, you can take a short shuttle bus ride or walk for about 30-40 minutes to reach the park entrance. You then need to buy a ticket for the next possible slot for a visit to the caves. Sometimes the next slot can be after an hour too.

There is a cafe at the caves, but you can also bring your own lunch. For additional information you can visit the website for the caves here.

It gets slights chilly inside the caves, so don’t forget to carry a light jacket.

Advertisements

23 Responses to “Exploring the underground world of Škocjan Caves in Slovenia”

  1. Snapshotsincursive April 20, 2015 at 02:50 #

    Intriguing. Such a curiosity as well as a mystery. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

  2. Juliana Lightle April 20, 2015 at 07:10 #

    I remain uncertain as to whether I could actually walk across that bridge.

    Like

    • getsetandgo April 20, 2015 at 11:25 #

      It actually quite safe and you are too entralled to be scared 🙂

      Like

  3. Holly Beddome April 20, 2015 at 09:33 #

    Very cool! Too bad visitors couldn’t take photos, but then again, I know from personal experience that it’s pretty darn hard to do caves justice. 🙂

    Like

    • getsetandgo April 20, 2015 at 11:25 #

      It was actually quite dark and one would need a really good camera to capture some good shots…. But as you said such pictures never do justice 🙂

      Like

  4. Aparajita April 20, 2015 at 12:07 #

    pity that photography is not allowed , however it does cause damage to preserved spaces so the restrictions are understandable. Your descriptions are wonderful

    Like

    • getsetandgo June 5, 2015 at 22:16 #

      Thanks and I totally agree with these rules… Additionally its so dark inside that taking pics is quite difficult…

      Like

  5. Free Spirit- Abhishek April 20, 2015 at 13:06 #

    Really nice and very interesting narration of entire trip. i like the way describe. and appreciate you pictures and hard work.
    i visited to puerto princesa underground river and by my experience i could tell how hard it is to take pictures. too low light and uncomfortable positions to take pictures.
    your pictures are stunning . i like it .
    could you tell me which camera do you use..?

    Like

    • getsetandgo June 5, 2015 at 22:17 #

      Thanks for the kind words and I use a Nikon P510 🙂

      Like

  6. Sammy Brough April 20, 2015 at 18:09 #

    Reblogged this on Sammy's Wonderland and commented:
    ON the travel checklist!!

    Like

  7. Niranjan April 21, 2015 at 17:52 #

    Nice to read about these caves.

    Like

  8. AnaLuciaSilva April 24, 2015 at 13:32 #

    Beautiful!

    Like

  9. Urska April 25, 2015 at 15:22 #

    Škocjan Caves are amazing! Thanks for sharing your experience!

    Like

  10. Marie Rogers May 7, 2015 at 08:35 #

    I’ll add this to my bucket list. Thanks.

    Like

  11. Pradeep May 18, 2015 at 17:34 #

    Awesome pictures and you have very beautifully described each one. thanks for sharing such a detailed post. looking forward to more such interesting post.

    Like

  12. Amarjit Singh July 7, 2015 at 09:26 #

    Hi Snigdha
    You must be really brave to visit the place, because the caves look so dark and chilling. Initially I was unwilling myself, but after reading your blog, I changed my mind and decided to try my hand at it. Thank you so much for inspiring me to do so.

    Like

    • getsetandgo July 25, 2015 at 14:26 #

      There is nothing scary about the caves as you are in a group and the guides keep a look out for any mischief 🙂

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: