Slovenia is slightly smaller than of my home state of New Jersey, which can be navigated top to bottom in less than three hours. In a past blog, I recommended staying in Ljubljana and taking day trips out of the city which is well connected by bus and train. The following is part one of a two-part series featuring tourist sites within reach of Ljubljana.
It’s difficult to imagine a trip to Slovenia without visiting one of the country’s 10,000 caves. Postojna Cave is 24km (15 miles) long making it the second largest in the country. It’s also very easy to reach by bus from the capital city, Ljubljana.
During our visit, we had also hoped to visit Predjama Castle which is a 13th-century castle built into a cliff. The castle is just 6 miles (9 kilometers) away from the cave but to our dismay, we found there was no easy way to get from the cave to the castle. A taxi, we were told by multiple sources, would run about 30 Euros and shuttles only ran during the summer high season. An expensive taxi plus the admission ticket was out of our budget, so we focused solely on the two-million-year-old Postojna Cave which cost 23.90 EUR per ticket.
We reserved our spot on the next English speaking tour at noon and poked in and out of some of the souvenir shops while we waited.
The tour starts with a ride on an electric train which runs for 3.2km of the total 5 km circuit that is open to visitors. The train zoomed past chamber upon chamber of jaw-dropping formations. My amateur photography skills had no chance of triumphing over the dim lighting and blur of movement while the train was in motion. Deeper and deeper we proceed into this underworld that felt like entering into Fraggle Rock.
Inside the cave, no flash photography or tripods were allowed as the light discolors the formations. This proved challenging for me to get sharp photos even while standing still. I could not pause for long however, our group was very large and the guide kept us moving. I would have much preferred a self-guided tour where I could take in the splendor of the natural formations and proceed at my own pace instead of being rushed.
Each chamber held many different types of formations and columns from spaghetti thin stalactites to massive columns and cauliflower crustaceans. The most impressive column is snow white and called Brilliant.
The tour ends in a chamber known as the Concert Hall. Here, 10,000 people can pack in to attend a concert like the Nativity scene performances they have at Christmas. If the acoustics aren’t enough to give you goosebumps you might get them from natural causes as the cave is a chilly 45-50 degrees.
The most unique display is the aquarium inside the cave that is home to a population of Proteus or Olm which are salamander-like creatures sometimes called human fish because of their flesh toned color. These creatures are only found in caves and are aquatic, living their entire life underwater. They can survive without food for a remarkable ten years and longevity is estimated to be almost 60 years.
Over thirty-six million people have witnessed the underground splendor of Postojana Cave. If you are in Slovenia make sure it’s on your list of sights to visit.
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