Background: Located within an hour from Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana is one of the country’s most popular attractions. Postojna Cave is one of the largest karst cave networks in the world, dating back two million years. An incredible series of passages, chambers and galleries, visitors are left in awe at the sheer beauty of the natural formations.
The caves: Postojna Cave was established by the Pivka River, which through many years, hollowed out the shape it is today. A web of dry galleries await, hosting a stunning display of white stalactites and stalagmites of all shapes and sizes. The largest of which is a whopping five metres long. The Caves hold a constant temperature of 8 to 10 degrees Celsius and have a humidity of 95%, so make sure you wrap up warm and bring a waterproof jacket, although green felt capes can be hired at the entrance for a small fee.
The tour: Over 5km of the cave waiting to be explored, the tour takes you through spectacular passages, tunnels and halls. The first section is via the cave railway that navigates all the way to Velika Gora (Big Mountain). On the way you’ll experience awe-inspiring scenes of enormous stalagmites shaped like needles and spaghetti while others have taken the bizarre shape of everyday items such as pears, cauliflowers and sand castles. From the mountain, the remainder is by foot (1.7km) where a guide (in English) walks you across the 500m long Russian Bridge, aptly named, as it was built by prisoners of war in 1916, to beautiful caves such as Spaghetti Hall, the White Hall and the Red Hall.
The human fish: Lurking within the caves is a mysterious creature that have baffled the minds of zoologists for years. The Proteus Anguinus is a type of salamander, blind, has four legs, breathes through gills and has human like skin. It is the largest known vertebrate that lives permanently in Postojna Cave and can reach up to 30cm in length.
Scientists remain mystified has to how they reproduce as it has never been witnessed in its natural state. The cave is also home to another hundred species including water snails and bats. Visitors can see the Proteus Anguinus in the unique vivarium, which is open half an hour before the first tour starts and the closes half an hour after the last cave tour. There is an additional fee to visit the vivarium.
Getting there: Postojna Cave is located 55km south-west of Ljubljana and well signposted from the A1 motorway. Buses from the capital are also regular, departing hourly and arrive in Postojna centre (1 hour). From here it is a ten minute walk to the cave. Arriving by train is another option and also takes an hour from Ljubljana and depart throughout the day. The station in Postojna is slightly further from the cave however, although this allows you to explore the beautiful town.
When to visit: The cave is open all year round and during the main season (April to September), tours take place every hour up to late afternoon. Outside the main season, there are three to four tours per day, from 10am.