Postojna Cave is one of Slovenia’s most famous and remarkable landmarks and deservedly so. The huge underground network of interconnecting caves full of stalagmites and stalactites completely defies imagination. It’s immense, magnificent, and like nothing you ever saw before. In this guide, I will share my experience of visiting Postojna Cave and give some useful tips.
- Why Postojna Cave Is Worth Visiting
- How to Visit Postojna Cave
- The Postojna Cave Tour
- Planning the Trip
- Photographing Postojna Cave
- Postojna of Škocjan Caves? Both!
Why Postojna Cave Is Worth Visiting
Before coming to Slovenia, I wasn’t really a big fan of caves. All the caves I ever encountered were either too small (you’re back out before you know it) or narrow and claustrophobic. Neither is a particularly enticing experience.
But what I saw in Postojna Cave is nothing like that. It’s on a whole different level, one I couldn’t even imagine was possible. Vast underground caverns with no end in sight, one astonishing chamber after another. It’s an entire kingdom that exists right under our feet without us even knowing.
With nearly 24 km of passages, tunnels, and galleries, Postojna Cave is one of the largest and most impressive in Europe. It is also the only cave in the world that features a train. Which, by the way, you will get to ride as part of your visit.
Inside, you will find endless stalactites and stalagmites of all possible shapes and sizes, mind-boggling ancient halls that look like something out of the fantasy tale, colorful passages, and narrow bridges. And the list goes on.
The official website hails Postojna as “the world’s most captivating cave”, and they probably aren’t far from the truth. As you descend deeper into the cave, the mind struggles to keep up the pace. Can something like this truly exist?
It can and it does. Postojna cave is a rare natural marvel that will surely take your breath away. It’s an exciting adventure for children and adults alike. And if you come to Slovenia, you’ll be amiss not to go see it for yourself.
How to Visit Postojna Cave
You can only enter Postojna Cave as part of a guided tour. These run throughout the year, and there are a few options to choose from.
The basic tour lasts 1.5 hours and takes place several times daily depending on the season. It starts with a train ride into Postojna cave followed by a 1-kilometer walk through its chambers. You then board the train again to have a final glimpse of the caves as it brings you back to the surface.
That’s the tour we picked, and for most people, it’s more than sufficient. It doesn’t take overly long yet introduces you to all the important highlights of the cave. The only downside is that the groups are generally quite large, and it might feel crowded.
Those who would like to take it a step further might consider the Pivka and Black Caves or the Otok Cave tours. These caves belong to the same system but aren’t accessible during the regular excursion. Note that these options don’t include the actual Postojna Cave itself.
Want the best of both worlds? A “Trek Through Three Caves” does exactly what it sounds like connecting Postojna, Pivka, and Black caves in a single outing that requires 2-3 hours to complete.
Finally, for adrenaline lovers, there are several adventure tours. In smaller groups, you will venture deep into the abyss following the footsteps of cave explorers through challenging passages and water barriers.
These are available through prior arrangement only and cost significantly more. Still, if you prefer a truly unique experience that doesn’t feel so touristy, they’re probably worth the extra investment.
The Postojna Cave Tour
In this article, I will focus on the regular Postojna Cave excursion. It’s the one we did and a perfect choice for most people due to its simplicity and affordability.
The ticket costs €25.80 and can be purchased through the official website. Postojna Cave is a popular destination, so I recommend doing so in advance, especially in summer. If you can, try to book the earliest slot (10 or 11 am) to beat the crowds.
As a pro tip, it’s a good idea to invest an additional €3.50 into an audio guide. Because of how crowded Postojna Cave often gets, it might be difficult to follow your human guide to hear the commentary. With an audio guide, you’re not as “glued” to one person.
By the way, let me in you on a little secret. The Cave administration is eager to sell as many tickets as possible, and the groups will normally move fairly quickly one after another. However, the guides don’t ever count people or check if everyone is present.
So nothing is preventing you from falling behind and exploring Postojna Cave at your own pace. There are always tourists around so you won’t ever be left alone or stand out. Listen to the audio guide, take all the pictures you want, then board the train together with a later group.
As a quick disclaimer, this is, strictly speaking, against the rules. So I’m not suggesting you do so, but merely stating it’s possible.
A Ride Into the Netherworld
I suggest arriving some 30 minutes before your designated time slot. Postojna Cave parking lot is huge, so finding a spot and locating the entrance could take a while. If you’re late, you might end up waiting an hour or more for the next opening, so better not risk it.
At the entrance, you’ll be assigned to a group depending on your preferred language (English, Slovenian, Italian, or German) and whether or not you have an audio guide. Soon after, you will enter the cave and proceed to board the train.
What follows is fun, exciting, and massively entertaining. Not quite a rollercoaster, but close, the surroundings making it equally thrilling. The carriages, slow at first, dive into a tunnel while steadily gaining speed. Suddenly, the walls widen, and you emerge into a massive underground cavern.
Rapture, delight, disbelieve, and euphoria are just some of the feelings you experience at that very moment. All around you, there are stalactites and stalagmites, columns and arcs, hallways and passages lost in the shadows ahead.
As the train carries you deeper into the cave, the realization of its true scale starts to dawn on you. It’s not just one impressive chamber, it’s an entire subterranean world, and you’re only beginning to uncover its secrets. Welcome to Postojna Cave.
Through the Amazing Underworld
Some 10 minutes later, the carriage comes to a stop, and you disembark onto a large platform. The walking part of the excursion is about to begin.
For the next 45 minutes, you will be following the path through multiple halls, each unique and distinctive in its own way. The White Room is all pristine and shiny as if covered in ice, while in the Red Room, the walls are brown and rust-colored because of the iron in the soil.
The Spaghetti Hall reveals a myriad of tiny stalactites hanging from the ceiling. At some point, you will even cross a bridge constructed here during WWI by the Russian prisoners of war. Hence its name — the Russian Bridge.
The path is well-marked, mostly flat, and easy to follow. It’s all concrete, so any shoes would do. There are occasional sloping sections, but no stairs, so most people won’t have any trouble making the journey.
The only thing I didn’t quite appreciate is that the guides move fairly quickly. If you’re the kind of person who likes to take in the beauty without a rush, you might struggle to keep up.
Still, the splendor of Postojna Cave more than makes up for this inconvenience. It’s a marvelous place, where each turn reveals a new secret, a remarkable feature, or a sight that takes your breath away.
Before you know it, you’ll reach the Concert Hall. It’s the largest of all and does indeed host musical performances sometimes. There is room for up to 10 thousand spectators, which I think is pretty astonishing.
Here, you will have a few moments to roam around, photograph, and check the souvenir shop before boarding the return train.
Back to the Surface
As you are being brought back to the surface, you get one last chance to admire the incredible work of an invisible nature architect that created Postojna Cave. It is also a perfect opportunity to reflect and try to make sense of what you just witnessed.
Once back into the sunlight, feel free to stay for a while and check the various side activities and exhibitions. Or simply have lunch in one of the cafes nearby. After all, where else in Slovenia do you get a chance to taste an authentic cave burger?
Postojna Cave Side Activities
To those who would like to make the trip even more engaging, Postojna Cave offers various exhibitions and side activities.
The Vivarium is a blend of a museum and a mini-zoo where you can meet some of the cave inhabitants and learn more about the subterranean environment. The star exhibit is of course an olm, the mascot and unofficial symbol of Postojna cave.
It’s the only vertebrate living in the cave, and is often referred to as the “human fish” or “baby dragon”. So yes, one can certainly state there are real dragons inhabiting Postojna Cave, even if only baby ones.
Expo Cave Karst is an interactive exhibition that explains events and processes that lead to the creation of Postojna Cave. You’ll learn about the origin of the Karst formations and the history of the area in a manner that’s fun and engaging for kids and adults alike.
Both Vivarium and Expo Cave Karst are optional but worth seeing if you have time. The tickets are somewhat expensive to buy separately (€9.90 each), so consider a “100% Cave Experience” package that goes for €37.90 and covers both exhibitions as well as Postojna Cave admission.
A Trip to Predjama Castle
Predjama Castle is located 10 kilometers northwest of Postojna Cave and is another popular side trip for the area guests. What makes it so extraordinary is that, unlike most other citadels, Predjama Castle isn’t built on top of a cliff. Instead, it’s carved right into the surface of one!
With an enormous four-floor cave right under it and a network of secret tunnels connecting its dungeons to various hideouts and surface exits, Predjama Castle is a must for anyone fond of medieval legends and knight stories.
A standalone tour costs €15.80, but you’ll get a discount when buying it together with a Postojna Cave admission ticket. But even if you don’t fancy going inside, be sure to come by and admire Predjama Castle from outside. It’s a fascinating sight, to say the least.
In summer, there is a shuttle bus connecting Postojna Cave with Predjama castle. It’s free for those who have tickets to both attractions. Alternatively, you could reach the castle by car or via a taxi ride (you can arrange one at the Postojna cave ticket office).
Planning the Trip
To have your trip to Postojna Cave go as smoothly and worry-free as possible, below are a few simple tips to keep in mind. Of course, be sure to also read the official list of essential rules compiled by the park administration.
When to Visit the Postojna Caves
Whenever you are in Slovenia! Postojna Cave is open year-round, and because of its underground location, the conditions are largely unaffected by the outside weather. No matter when you go, it’ll be dry and a comfortable 8-10 °C inside.
Summer tends to be the busiest season, with lots of people on vacations and traveling to Slovenia. If possible, try to avoid this period, as it gets quite crowded. Other than that, any month is as good as the other.
Naturally, Postojna Cave probably won’t be the only thing you intend to see while in Slovenia. This means that the best time to visit Postojna Cave is late spring or early autumn. It’s just outside the busy season, while the weather is perfect for exploring the rest of the country.
Also, keep in mind that Pivka and Black Caves as well as adventure tours are only available May through September, so plan accordingly.
Getting to Postojna Caves
Postojna Cave is conveniently located and well-connected to several popular travel destinations. While it’s easiest reachable by car, you can also get there by train or bus.
With a car, the journey from the capital Ljubljana will only take 40 minutes. From lake Bled — around one hour. A trip from Zagreb or Venice will last around two hours, with further European cities — Salzburg, Budapest, Vienna, and Munich — all within a reasonable 4-5 hour distance.
As for public transport, there are bus connections with Ljubljana as well as train links with Vienna, Venice, Ljubljana, Zagreb, and Salzburg among other places. You can learn more about these options on the Postojna Cave website.
With all of the above, it’s easy to incorporate Postojna Cave into pretty much any itinerary. Whether you’re flying to Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, or Austria, it’s never too far away.
How to Dress
Inside the caves, the temperature is at a constant 8-10°C throughout the year, so dress wisely. In summer, it might be steaming hot outside, but you won’t be doing yourself any favors by venturing in wearing just shorts and flip-flops.
I recommend jeans or long pants, a light jacket and a pair of thin gloves to keep your hands warm. As for shoes, sports shoes are a safe bet, but anything you’re comfortable walking two kilometers in should work.
What to Take With You
Postojna Cave excursions are reasonably short and well-organized, so you don’t need much. I pretty much went in with just a camera on a strap. So if you use your phone for photos, make sure you have it and be at the entrance in time.
Other than that, a small bag or a backpack for valuables and some extra clothes could also be handy.
Photographing Postojna Cave
Photography is allowed in Postojna Cave, albeit without a flash or a tripod. The rules aren’t exactly clear on the usage of monopods, but this TripAdvisor thread seems to suggest those are also banned.
This means you’ll have to pay extra attention to getting the exposure right. It’s very dark in the caves despite the artificial light. Modern smartphones work wonders even in these conditions, but if you bring a dedicated camera, think about the settings and lenses beforehand.
Ideally, you want to pick your fastest lens. With an f2.8 lens on a full-frame camera, I still had to crank ISO to between 1250 and 2000 for most of my photos. And even then, some shots turned out too dark. With a slower lens, it’ll be even worse.
As for focal length, choose something that can go wide but also zoom in when needed, such as 16-35 mm. The extra reach is important. Postojna Cave is huge, and you’ll often want to zoom in on the subject. In that regard, I found a 17-28 mm Tamron quite limiting on the longer end.
Bringing multiple lenses is mostly pointless. The group moves quickly, and you won’t have much time to swap them around. I’d say, pick one and stick with it.
Also, be sure to check the pictures for sharpness. It’s easy to make mistakes when you’re in a hurry. The last thing you want is to come home and discover that half of your shots are blurry.
Lastly, always think of the composition. In a place so marvelous as Postojna Cave, it is tempting to point your camera at everything. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to convey that sense of astonishment and beauty through photos. Finding strong compositions can help with that.
Postojna of Škocjan Caves? Both!
Postojna may be the most famous cave complex in Slovenia, but it’s not the only one. Another strong contender is Škocjan Caves, just 30 kilometers west. And so you might be wondering — which one is the best and which one should you pick?
My answer to this is — both. Despite the obvious similarities, the two caves are very different. Postojna is larger and more touristy. While its stalactites and stalagmites are second to none, it feels more like a theme park with the focus largely on entertainment.
Škocjan Caves isn’t as popular but there is a good reason why it is a Unesco Heritage Site while Postojna isn’t. It’s more secluded and less commercialized with the administration trying to protect and preserve it. And while it does have stalactites and stalagmites, its main feature is a gorgeous underground canyon.
With a car, you can see both in a single day, and there’s no reason not to. But if I had to pick just one… it’d be Škocjan. Postojna Cave is fantastic and I had immense fun in there, but it’s Škocjan caves that truly stole my heart. You can read this article of mine to learn why.
Postojna Cave is without a doubt one of Slovenia’s most impressive landmarks. Its incredible caverns spanning many kilometers below the surface of the ground are astonishing beyond belief and are well worth a visit.
I had great fun exploring Postojna Cave and would fully recommend it to anyone going to Slovenia. It’s an adventure not to be missed.
I wholeheartedly hope you enjoyed this guide to Postojna Cave and got something useful out of it. If so, share it with your friends and on social media, and let me know what you think in the comments below.
I’ll be more than happy to answer any questions you may have. In the meantime, have a look at the other articles on the blog. I’m sure you will find some of them worth your while:
- Into the Glorious Abyss: Why You Must Visit the Škocjan Caves
- A Land of Wonders: 10 Great Reasons to Travel to Slovenia
- Hiking the Julian Alps: 7 Best Trails Near Lake Bled and Bohinj
- Sunrise on Top of the World: Photography Guide to Mt. Pilatus
- A Perfect Holiday: Top Things to Do and See in the Mosel Valley
- Best Landscape Photography Locations in Patagonia
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