Descending into these awe-inspiring underground cathedrals is like visiting another planet. By sheer volume, it is said to be one of the world’s largest cavern systems. UNESCO has done a great job of creating a worthwhile experience that is both fun and educational, but respects the preservation of the site and surrounding karst region.
The park’s website has all the information you need to plan a visit. But save time by booking your ticket in advance on Trip Advisor. There’s a pleasant waiting area with drinks and snacks for sale near the ticket booth. Right on the hour, the entire group filed down a long hillside path to the cave entrance, where visitors are divided into smaller groups according to preferred language, and paired with a guide.
There are hundreds of steps on steep and sometimes slippery paths, so even the basic tour would not be an option for smaller kids, those with mobility issues or not prepared with sturdy walking gear. Photography is not allowed in the biggest caves of the must-see formations with names like “The Organ,” and “Paradise.” We clambered up and down crude steps along the gorge carved out by the Reka River, and crossed suspension bridges. But definitely bring your camera. At the very end of the guided walk, there is a photo opportunity.
Going on the extended self-guided walk (tour #2) gave us a lot more great photo ops. Amazing to see the remains of railings, steps and bridges built by the mountaineering clubs who first developed the area as a hiking destination in the 1800s. Fortunately, the rusty railings have been updated to modern safety standards without losing the natural feel of the experience.
Terry’s Travel Tips
Škocjan Caves are just outside the town of Divača, an easy drive from Ljubljana, less than one hour on the main highway E61. The park’s website has all the information you need to plan a visit. Tours in multiple languages start on the hour from 10 am to 5 pm in the summer months, less frequently in other seasons. The guided underground tour plus extension ticket was 21 Euros per person at the time of our visit, with discounts for students and seniors. Bring a sweatshirt for the underground chill. Allow about 3 hours. Serious hikers can spend more time on a longer trail. Parking is free.
And this isn’t the only underground experience in Slovenia! The Postojna Caves offer a train ride through the formations and may be a better alternative for families with small kids. It ranks as Slovenia’s most popular natural attraction, not far from scenic Predjama Castle carved into the rocks nearby. But if you are fit and up for a challenge, Škocjan Caves are a day well spent in one of the world’s greenest countries.