Who has not heard of the fabulous countryside of Slovenia? It is enough, after all, to think only of Lake Bled or the Vintgar Gorge. In addition to being rich in natural resources, the landscape of this country is incredibly diverse. A great example of that is the Skocjan Cave world, the largest cave system in Europe, and the unique cave Postojna, which is now on display.
Postojna is one of the largest, and most popular publicly accessible caves in the world. The total internal volume of the cave system is 1.7 million cubic meters. The size of the interior can be also illustrated by the fact that the Concert Hall can accommodate up to 10.000 people.
The cave is the result of millions of years of work of the Pivka River. The 4 large underground chambers are connected by an underground river, thus create the full length of the cave system of 24.12 kilometers.
As water drops containing various minerals fall to the ground, minerals gradually separate, forming stalagmites. The stalagmites you will see in cave Postojna can be up to 500.000 years old.
Tip: Next to the cave you will find the Predjama Castle, about which we wrote a separate article. You can visit the castle and the cave with one ticket, so if you are walking around the area, it is worth combining the two sights. 🏰
Where is Postojna?
The cave is located close to the Slovenian coast, it takes about an hour to get there. Postojna is also less than 30 minutes away from the Skocjan Cave, so many people connect their holiday with paying a visit to these natural wonders.
- Address: Jamska cesta 30, 6230 Postojna, Slovenia
- Distance from Skocjan Cave: 31 km / 30 minutes
- Distance from Bled: 102 km / h
- Distance from Ljubljana: 57 km / 45 minutes
The most significant attraction of cave Postojna is the Brilliant, which is a 5 meter high, snow-white stalagmite in the middle of the cave. In addition to the breathtaking stalactites, you can also find Murano-glass chandeliers and baby-dragons here. The cave was referred to by many as a separate underground world, also known as the Mecca of cavers.
In the last 200 years, the cave has been visited by more than 39 million visitors from all over the world.
The number of visitors have been increasing in recent years and currently that means approximately 5-600.000 people annually. These large number of tourists are served by a double-track railway built in 1967, so that up to 14.000 visitors can get an insight into this magical world in a single day.
The deepest point of the cave can be approached from the Beautiful Caves, and it is located 20 meters below the entrance, 100 meters below the ground. From here you can see the Brilliant, the symbol of the cave. Since this is the most famous point of the cave, expect that there will be a big crowd here and if you want to take photos, you will have to fight for it!
Exploration of the cave
Johann Weikhard von Valvasor was the first person to report about the site, who studied the karstic phenomena in the 17th century, however murals from 1213 were found on the inner walls.
In 1818 the site was getting ready for the visit of Franz Joseph, the first ruler of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. It was then that the local Luka Cec discovered new parts of the cave.
Days before the arrival of the monarch, Cec and his companions were working with great enthusiasm to decorate the Great Hall in the cave, when Cec suddenly disappeared. Even after a long time, the craftsman did not return and his companions were already suspicious of the worst. Suddenly, Cec reappeared and with a flushed face, he gladly let his companions know that he had found a new world of paradise. This is how the remaining parts of cave Postojna were discovered, and it can all be visited today. 👀🦇
In the 1850s, Adolf Schmidl, an Austro-Czech descent, conducted a comprehensive study of cave Postojna and the Pivka Valley. His work is considered the bible of caving.
Tours in the cave
The cave can be reached by train and on foot. You should count 1.5 hours on this tour. You can take part in guided tours of the cave, which are held in Slovenian, Italian, English and German, but you can listen to an audio about the cave in up to 17 languages.
- Duration: 1.5 hours
- Tour: in a group with guide only
- Tours start: usually every hour
- Languages: Slovenian, Italian, English and German (audio guide in 17 languages)
A certain section of the cave can be explored by a small railway. The train passes through the Dancehall, where you can see Murano-glass chandeliers on the way.
The train tour leads through the cave for 24 kilometers and the Slovenes themselves consider it to be the best domestic program. You should not bring selfie sticks in, because sometimes the ceiling height is so low that no matter how much you pay attention, your camera or phone can be shattered.
While the train is rushing with you in the cave, you should be careful not to hit your head into the walls, as it passes pretty close to them. Do not forget about the fact that you went into a cave, so a couple water drops may land on you. That is why you should bring a waterproof raincoat for such cases. 💧
The internal railway started working in 1872 as the first railway in the world, going through an underground cave. It currently runs 3.7 kilometers on a road studded with stalactites and stalagmites. They say even in fairy tales, the hero does not go to more fascinating lands! 😂🤴
Although the train from the entrance of the cave runs through narrow passages, there are still parts in which even a well-built cathedral could be pulled up. This can perhaps be best illustrated with the tallest column (16 meters) named the “skyscraper”.
The cave has transformed over time, with rocks falling in the way. The train will glide with you under a 4.5 meter diameter cliff. The limestone layers visible along the way are not less than 90 million years old!
You have to get off the train after a while and then you can walk on a relatively even sidewalk. During designing the path, young and old were both taken into consideration to make the cave accessible to anyone wanting to explore cave Postojna with a calm heart. The interior sidewalks are so wide that even a car could fit on them. This is no coincidence, as hundreds of thousands of tourists visit the site every year and the designers wanted to increase the throughput of the hiking trails.
It is also interesting that the winding road in the cave is not interrupted by stairs. Level differences were eliminated by Slovenian designers, with changing the slope of the roads.
The beginning and ending of the walking tour, exploring the cave, is accompanied by a train ride. The walking part itself takes approximately 1 hour. There are several ways to benefit from a walk. The first and most important is that you move. The second is, that you can see a creature that forms the basis of dragons appearing so often in European legends, the olm, a blind cave salamander. You can also admire the stalactite columns that look like sticky cotton candy in the White Hall, Spaghetti Hall and Red Hall.
The hike leads through the Russian bridge and from here you can get to the Beautiful Caves. The bridge got its name from Russian prisoners of war, who built it during World War I.
Curiosities about the cave
As it would be expected from a cave, quite little light enters from the outside. Animals that live between rocks therefore do not need an eye. The olm, a blind cave salamander (Proteus anguinus) bears this characteristic in its name.
Although this animal does not see the world in the classical sense, it enjoys its life for quite some time, up to 100 years nonetheless. Olms can live without nutrients for up to 12 years. Cave Postojna is therefore an excellent terrain for them.
On January 30, 2016, one of the female olms started laying 50 eggs, and this special event made a splash in the Slovenian media. A few months after laying the eggs, 22 baby olms hatched from them.
It is also interesting, that beside olms, bats prefer to use certain parts of the cave as their home as well.
For the months when the bats are asleep in winter, these parts of the cave are closed and visitors can only see the animals during the summer months. A recent study revealed that the cave is inhabited by 14 bat species. The rarest of these is the horseshoe bat, which weighs approximately the weight of a sheet of paper.
Is it possible to take pictures in the cave?
Taking pictures were forbidden in the cave for a long time, but now the rules have been changed and, although strictly without flash, it is possible to take photos.
The tour guide will keep you alerted to this, and no matter how tempting it may be to take a picture of stalactites under lighting, unfortunately it is not allowed.
Weather in cave Postojna
The internal temperature of the cave is around 10 degrees, regardless of the season and the external weather, so it is worth coming in warm clothing.
Of course, warm clothing is good if it does not consist of only one layer, because the walk around the cave is not short. Many people sweat and it is good to be able to get the top layer off of yourself in such situations.
Opening hours of the cave
Cave Postojna is officially opened every day, and Slovenian national holidays are no exception to this. The departure time of guided tours vary each month, so you should be careful when to arrive.
Groups almost always depart at 10, 12 and 15, with the exception of June and October.
Group tours usually start every hour at 9 a.m. and the last one starts at about 6 p.m.
Admission and prices
You can buy several types of tickets to the cave. In addition to the "plain cave" tour, you can also see the Vivarium, where the olms live, as well as you can explore the exhibition.
- Adult ticket - cave only: 25.80 euros
- Adult ticket + Vivarium, Exhibition: 37.28 euros
They give discounts to students and children. The Cave tour is only 21 euros for students and 15.50 euros for children. Under the age of 5 you only have to pay 1 euro entrance fee.
Of course, tickets can be redeemed at the entrance, but the online system of their website is also excellent. If you wish to avoid a queue, you may want to buy a ticket online in advance.
If you love caves and love to go underground to discover the depths, head to one of the most beautiful caves in the world, cave Postojna! 👀
Do not hesitate, it’s a fantastic program regardless the season, and it is enjoyable with children as well! ❤️
Have a nice trip!