Slovenia is a perfect place to enjoy natural tourism since it has many places where you can enjoy beautiful landscapes and fresh air. The most famous natural spot in the country is probably Lake Bled, but it´s advisable to visit it during the summer months. In any case, Slovenia is a country that has many natural caves that are very interesting to visit. Out of all of them, the most famous and popular ones to visit are the ones of Postojna and Škocjan, which are 33 and 48 miles from Ljubljana respectively.
The Postojna caves are karst caves of over 20,000 metres long that attract more than 500,000 visitors every year, a total of 32 millions people since they opened. The cave was discovered in the 17th century by Johan Weikhard von Valvasor and some years later another area of the caves was discovered by Luka Čeč in 1818 whilst he was preparing the caves for the visit of the Emperor Franz I of Austria. A year later, the caves were opened to the public and Čeč became the first tourist guide of the caves.
Electricity was installed in the caves in 1884, before it was in Ljubljana itself, and in the early 20th century a petrol locomotive was installed to visit the caves, later replaced by an electrical one. A visit to the caves today is done in an electric train and lasts for 90 minutes approximately, with audio guides available in different languages. The cave itself is truly amazing, with stalactites, stalagmites, speleothems and calcite formations in different shapes, colours and ages. Also, the average temperature in the caves is of 8ºC (46ºF), so you don´t need special jackets to visit it. Also, don´t miss out on the famous ´Concert hall´, a huge room famous for its acoustics where more than 10.000 people can gather and enjoy a concert from the many orchestras or music groups that perform there occasionally.
If after enjoying the most visited caves in the whole of Europe you´re left wanting for more, you can always go to the Škocjan canves, declared a Natural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986. The place is of significant importance, considered just as important as the Grand Canyon, Everest, the Great Barrier Reef and the Galapagos Islands. There are signs here that indicate human presence as far back as 10,000 years ago. There are also remains of the Bronze Age, the Iron Age, the Ancient Greek era with the treasures of Mušja Jama and of being an important pilgrimage centre ten centuries before the birth of Christ.
Not only is it a place of extreme beauty but it also has its own microclimate and ecosystem by being one of the biggest subterranean canyons in the world. Today you can visit Škocjan National Park which includes the caves and the canyon, with impressive landscapes inside and outside the cave. Inside, the first thing that you see are the Marinič and Mahorčič caves which have been open to the public since 1933. Since they were damaged by floods in the 60s, they´ve recently been renovated. In any case, tourism in these caves goes back as far as the 19th century, just like in Postojna. Whilst Postojna is entirely under ground and covered, Škocjan has open elements, so perhaps it´s a better option if you suffer from claustrophobia.
For more information: http://www.postojnska-jama.eu/en/
Don´t miss out on these places of extreme natural beauty and find apartments in Ljubljana city so you can then go on day trips to Postojna and Škocjan, as well as the many other natural beauty places in the country such as Lake Bled.