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The caves of Slovenia

Aside from the country's famed lakes and fairytale castles, Slovenia is home to an impressive network of caves, including the world's largest subterranean canyon. Learn about species unique to Slovenian caves and marvel in awe under enormous stalactites as you discover a magical new world full of underground halls and mysterious tunnels.

Postojna Cave

Less than an hour's drive from the coastal resort of Portoroz, Slovenia's most visited cave serves up a remarkable five kilometres of underground trails.

You'll start your subterranean journey on board the unique cave railway and head through a web of tunnels and passages, admiring the natural rock formations.

Visitors are invited to explore the cave's impressive halls on foot, which all enjoy different colour and shape stalagmites and stalactites. Within the Concert Hall you'll find another extraordinary feature to this bizarre under world – the odd-looking and eyeless Human Fish, which can live for 100 years.

Vilenica Cave

This fully illuminated cave system located in the far west of Slovenia has been welcoming visitors since as early as 1633, making it one of the world's oldest show caves. Named after the Slovene word for fairies, locals believe Vilenica is home to good fairies, and the international literary award under the same name is presented annually in the cavernous Dance Hall.

Make your way through the Alley of Dripstones adorned with cave formations and into the Red Room featuring overwhelming, red coloured rocks and you can admire historic graffiti on the cave walls from as early as 1777. In the Hall of the Fairies, huge stalagmites reach 20 metres tall with 10-metre circumferences and the path is cut out of massive flowstone.

Skocjan Caves

Acknowledged by UNESCO as one of the earth's natural treasures, the Skocjan Caves are among the most significant caves in the world. This exceptional network comprises of collapsed dolines and underground passages. It's also home to one of the largest known underground chambers in the world.

The no-photo policy may feel as prehistoric as the caves, but you'll have no time to worry about taking snaps as you follow the exceptional trail through one of the deepest underground canyons in the world. Natural light filtering through the limestone rocks guides as you walk alongside the Reka River towards its cumulation in the form of a high waterfall.

Kostanjevica Cave

Open from April through to October, this small cave is around an hour's drive southeast of Ljubljana and offers informative guided tours five times a day. Discovered in 1937 when a flood opened a natural entrance to the dwelling, local villagers began to explore the magnificent hidden world and opened the current viewing platforms in the early 1970s for tourists.

Offering several illuminated galleries full of impressive stalactites and stalagmites, around 300 metres of the cave is currently open to the public. As one of the most important shelters for horseshoe bats in the region, stick around as the sun goes down and watch them exit the cave to feed. The underground footpaths are suitable for all ages and guided tours typically last around 40 minutes.

Krizna Cave

The exquisite Krizna cave – world-renowned for its series of underground lakes – is the only naturally preserved tourist cave in Slovenia free of artificial lighting and concrete pathways, offering a totally natural experience. Armed with a flashlight and rubber boots, observe archaeological remains of extinct cave bears and a large amount of ancient pottery discovered during excavation. You can also enjoy phenomenal boat rides across 22 of the active lakes.

Visitors of all ages and abilities can revel in the beauty of Krizna cave with tours ranging from short, one-hour trips underground to longer journeys limited to one group of up to four people per day. For the more hardcore caver, 100 visitors a year are invited deep into the centre of the cave system to Crystal Mountain on a full day excursion.

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