Postojna: the caves and castle
The queen of all caves is what Postojna likes to be called. Although it is not the world's largest cave, her immense richness of dripstones makes her an exceptionally beautiful one and the greatest tourist attraction in Slovenia. Combine this trip with a visit to Predjama Castle: from Postojna it is only a 20 minute drive through the Karst and the castle is a unique composite of cave and castle, built into the middle of a 123 m high, vertical limestone cliff.
The caves of Postojna, also known under their German name ''Adelsberger Grotte", commemorate in 2013 the 800th anniversary of the oldest preserved visitor-inscription, written in 1213 from a certain "C.M." into a wall in the entrance area of the caves. They were already a much sought travel destination, when in 1818 Lukacec discovered the inner caves with their thousands upon thousands of stalactites, stalagmites and stalagnates and thus laid the foundation for a beginning of mass tourism.
Since then almost 35 million visitors have come to see the caves. To avoid disappointment, please bear in mind that the caves of Postojna are an outstanding natural monument, and yet this a well-oiled tourism-machinery and as a visitor you are a part of it: starting with the huge paying parking area, continuing with the restaurants, hotels and souvenir shops on the way to the cave entrance, up to the cave tours themselves, where you'll find yourself in a crowd of visitors that dissolves only gradually.
The cave system is a 21 km long in total, out of which 3.5 km can be seen on a regular tour. An electric train takes the visitors on a 2 km long track into the underground: First through an artificial tunnel, then through a gallery whose walls and dripstones are black - remains of a flared off fuel depot from WW II - to the inner caves. Right from the start, the impressions gained are stunning. At the so-called Great Mountain the train comes to a stop, this is where the visitors are received by the cave guides.
Then one continues by foot on a 1,5 km long trail into a wonderworld of its own: From the Great Mountain over the Russian Bridge to the Beautiful Caves (where 'nomen' really means 'omen'), then via an artificial tunnel to the Brilliant Passage and further on to the Concert Hall with the world's oldest underground post office. Moreover, there is an aquarium and with a little bit of luck one can glimpse a specimen of the proteus - blind, timid caudates that populate the cave's river Pivka by the thousands.
Again, the electric train transports the visitors 2 km back to the daylight. The exit from the train is inside an outer cave where the river Pivka disappears into the underground. The Pivka and its intakes have wrought the Postojna cave system from the limestone over a period of several hundreds of thousands of years. At the same time water, sintering from the Karst's surface, has created this fairy-like landscape of dripstones: 1 cm in 100 years!
Drive from Villach via Ljubljana about 1 hour 30 minutes.
Postojnska jama d.d.
Jamska cesta 30, 6230 Postojna, Slovenia
Phone: +386 5 7000 100
Open year-round, please check the website - click here - for the monthly schedule of the tours. The temperature in the cave is at a constant 10 degrees celcius. Warm clothing and good shoes highly recommended.
Predjama 1, 6230 Postojna
Phone: +386 5 7000 100