Devils Barbeque Cave & Plum Village
A lot of people come to Slovenia having maybe heard of just one large cave and join the crowds to visit what is a most spectacular world attraction..
But if you knew there were over 15,000 more discovered caves in Slovenia.. and particularly another one that is, probably, the most complete cave in the world, Dimnice, where winter smoke rises from the 40 m spiral entrance in what locals describe as "the Devil's barbeque".. well you might want to visit that one?
What if we also told you that the cave runs 8km under Plum village where there is a pretty church, hiding a massive secret.. you need to look carefully at the numerous frescoes hiding secret messages and then step back in history to when these paintings were created to fully understand the bravery and resistance of these villagers. In Slovenia, just like the caves, you often don't see it, but history is also all around you!
And not too far away from Dimnice is yet another hidden cave with Slovenia's only underground cave church, a wine cellar and close by a most fantastic vista over the Gulf of Trieste with 3 different countries in view! You could visit all of this in combination with a trip down Devil's Barbeque cave.. Oh yes, there's also a really nice castle and restaurant up there as well!
You won't immediately see the Dimnice cave.. it's hidden in the countryside. Local people called it "Devil's barbeque" as in winter, natural smoke condenses up from it's depths and villagers thought this was the bad man downstairs cooking some lunch!
As you approach the cave, you can only imagine how the first explorers felt when they found this marvellous place. They used wooden flaming torches and were lowered down on ropes by locals, who were very nervous about the Devil inside the cave! Legend has it the firs explorer was dropped and left by the locals as the further down the hole he was lowered, the deeper and scarier his voice got with the echo and the villagers thought the Devil had got him, so they legged it!
We wanted to see for ourselves, so we went with a fantastic local guide and the "wows" start right from when you first set eyes upon the hidden entrance! Fortunately ropes are not required nowadays and you can walk down the 40m deep entrance hole inside a very large stone spiral staircase cut into the rock. Look down and you can see other cavers lights on helmets well below you on this amazing staircase.
The reason this cave is so special is it has a little bit of everything you get at the other amazing Slovenian caves, but all in one big rocky package here! Once inside the cave you go from cavern to cavern, marvelling at the different types of rock formations you can see here.
This cave even has a river, 100 metres underground, which was disgracefully used by the Nazis as a water source and so there is still an underground pumping station here!
You can do longer 4-8 hour tours here all year round along the river or another 4 hour adventure, deeper into the caves, with 10 different bat species and really incredible drip stone formations.
Your guide can also take you to see that secret church and drop you off at the other cave with underground church by the castle with the incredible vista at Socerb. Here you can get a coffee or arrange a meal in the amazing restaurant here. American visitors can only drool and dream about being married here at this castle with the view over 3 ancient countries.
And finally, don't forget you are very close to the Slovenian Riviera here, so maybe complete you day with some time by the seaside, maybe you prefer to follow our little tip about Muggia and have a taste of the Italian seaside?!.. but whatever you do, don't miss out on the uberamazing Hrastovlje church, just round the corner, where you can find the medieval fresco of "the Dance of Death".. unmissabubble!