Baby Dragon cave tour
We think the future of Green tourism in Slovenia is bigger than a dragon's sneeze and there is nothing better for us at the Lodge, when our Guests return buzzing from discovering a completely unexpected Green Secret place!
Green tourism is NOT about bus loads of disinterested people turning up en masse to take selfies and tick their little boxes..
It is ALL about people who respect nature, maybe travelling in family groups, in 2's, 3's, small groups or groups of friends who love to hike, bike and explore secret Green locations as well as the better known ones here.. they enjoy meeting locals and support the local economy by spending cash on locally made products, gifts or in local restaurants.. oh yes and they pick up their rubbish after them..
This is pretty much the exact profile of a Lipizzaner Lodge guest!!
The Planina cave is EXACTLY one of these exceptional secret Green places and is just 15 mins from the Lodge!
It is one of the many fabulous "other" caves we love to tell guests about, (if you ask), as alternatives to the better known tourist caves.
Many of our guests have now visited and added the Planina cave to their list of happy green adventure memories and we want to tell you now, how to organise a trip there and get on a tour in a completely unique and monstrous cave full of baby dragons!
So get your torch out and please read on.. This is what you need to know..
The Planina cave can only be toured inside with a guide, there is a locked gate about 100m into the cave mouth.. (so as a very minimum, you can go inside and explore this huge cave mouth with the river gushing out)..
In the spring, summer and autumn months, tours go at 5pm on a Sat or Sun and also 3pm on a Sunday.
In July and August there should be a tour every day at 5pm. In the winter it's closed for safety and environmental reasons.
YOU MUST WAIT FOR THE GUIDE AT THE CAVER'S WOODEN HUT in the little car park at 5pm.. DO NOT WANDER DOWN TO THE CAVE AND WAIT THERE and don't panic if the guide is not there on time, Slovenians are lovely people, but sometimes their timekeeping here can be a little questionable!
The wait is worth it, the tour is a total breathe of fresh air, especially on a hot summer day and takes a little less than an hour along pretty much flat paths..
You don't need a helmet and the guide will give you a torch. It is always dampish in the cave, so you should have decent shoes.. It is not one for the flip flop brigade.. The ticket costs about a tenner, which is jolly good value indeed.
So even if your criteria is to just beat crowds and save money you are a "winner winner, chicken dinner!" (But we very much hope you have other more sincere reasons to visit this amazing cave)!
Why is the Planina Cave SO Special?
- it is the ONLY cave in Europe where you can see 2 rivers crash into each other
- the river that comes out is just ONE of the "River of 7 Names"
- this same river Unica also forms the massive Planina Disappearing Lake in autumn
- the Italian army tried after WW1 to tame this cave.. and lost
- oh yes.. it is also full of Baby Dragons!
- there is no other cave like this one in Green Slovenia
So Let's Go Inside..
Inside the cave you will walk along the newly formed Unica river to see where the river Rak collides and meets up with the Pivka river underground.. the noise can be incredibly powerful and refreshing.
You will cross little bridges built by the Italian army as they tried to break through to the Postojna cave.. but nature won and they didn't make it through!
And you might well see a baby dragon!
Newsflash: You can now do a longer 3-4 kayaking tour of the amazing Planina cave following the river upstream.. It is a little tough and requires endurance, but we have had several guests do it now and they absolutely loved it!
One family had 3 kids.. we would describe these kids as tough, but they did it!
To do the longer water tour you must contact the local guides directly before, but we can help you with that of course.
On this particular trip the water is full of baby dragons, just doing their thing..
One lovely summers day we turned up at the car park 15 minutes before 5pm and waited and waited.. We walked down the stunning green path, through the old rusty gate and down to the cave and back a few times, but nobody was around.. we came back to the car park and an Italian family were sat there waiting, just about to give up and leave, also looking at the notice board a little confused.
We established they also wanted to do the cave tour and so now it was about 5.15pm, so we called the 2 numbers on the notice board.. no answer.. no answer. Luckily we have lived in Slovenia long enough to know to phone again and one of the numbers was finally answered by a very nice lady who announced she was previously in the shower!
"No, the guide isn't there, yes it's now 5.30pm, yes we are standing by the wooden hut, OK we will wait here and see you in 10 minutes!"
And then.. you guessed it.. the guide turned up without a care in the world, "oh yes, I'm a little late"!
We tell you this story, which is quite typical, to give you the inside tip that you must persevere a little bit here to see these amazing secret places in Slovenia.
The time keeping doesn't really matter in the end anyway, as the cave was spell binding and guide was a lovely local girl, bubbling with enthusiasm for the cave, intelligent, friendly and another one of the many reasons why you will absolutely love Green Slovenia!
Don't forget that caves are constantly about 8-12 degrees so, in summer particularly, you will need to bring at least a jacket with you to put on.
So the river Rak that flows through the cave is an important section of the "River of 7 names" (a geological wonder of the world), whenever this long river pops back out over ground it gets another of it's 7 names, in this case the Unica river..
This new river is also one of the most expensive fishing rivers in Europe, as you can catch marble trout here!
That's not all, the river is so powerful that it can flood the entire valley to make the huge Planina disappearing lake every year, which can be seen from as far away as the A1 motorway.
You will enter the cave under a massive, thick 50 metre high cliff face, so don't forget to look up.
You then walk alongside and above the river with a tiny torch for company. You follow the river and see how the Italian army built paths and bridges in their failed attempt before WW2 to break though to the Postojna cave.
There are little stories, an alter and about 1,000 baby dragons in the cave and you might get to see one swimming around in a tank.
Don't worry the little fella is changed for another specimen every week or so and you can see the love the guides have for these little creatures, which can live for about 100 years and are totally blind.
One of our more clued up cave expert guests came back from a visit here raving about the other wildlife and "stuff" she had spotted in the cave, but most people will be more excited to see the mother dragon drip stone that looms over you and suddenly appears to guard her offspring when the guide shines her light on it!
You walk into the cave until the point where the river Rak smashes into the raging river Pivka, (which has come from the Postojna cave) and they join forces.
The noise is absolutely incredible and this unique confluence is worth double the entry fee on it's own.
The basic tour is a wonderful and unique cave experience and there are longer tours available too.. (we can help you book one if you like) and it's possible to walk miles, following the route of the Italian army back along the Pivka river.
And even if you just wander down to see the cave mouth and the river on their own then you will be sucked into a mass of different greens and leaky limestone rock walls that you will probably not get to see in your own country..
The location of this cave is both secret and stunning, the water gushing, the greenness outside and the darkness inside will just blow you away..
Try to be there for 5pm to do the cave tour and the whole experience will take up just a small part of your day, but will fill your mind with lots of lovely memories to last a lifetime!