Xtra Tips for Skocjan cave!

Skocjan cave is uber massive, Unesco protected and might just be one of those Green Slovenian supercaves you have even heard about and intend to visit during your limited hollibubble time here.. but how many of you will spend more than the standard 2 hour tour time there?!

We often ask guests staying a week or so at the Lodge to tell us their top 5 FAVE Green adventures and we can tell you this mighty Skocjan cave almost ALWAYS appears in the lists of both young and old!

We will go as far as to humbly say that if you haven't seen this massive cave with the bridge going over a river that flows 80 metres below the cave roof.. then you haven't visited Green Slovenia at all!!

But we say this about a lot of other spectacular Secret Green Places to Visit that you also might not know much about yet..

This is the easiest route back from the cave to the furnicular, so you must be able to do some steps..
This is the easiest route back from the cave to the furnicular, so you must be able to do some steps..

 

This mega cave, just 20 mins drive from the Lodge on the way to the coast, has a good chance of at least appearing on your pre holiday radar and planning list, so there is not much point us going into more detail about how amazing it is..

So, just go to this cave! But there are a lot of other show caves you could visit in Green Slovenia, the Capital of the KARST..so we also did a CAVE section to help you choose which ones are best for you!

But we do know a few extra secrets that we always tell our guests about to help their trip to Skocjan cave go smoothly and a few more tips to mention so you don't end up going to this wonder of Mother Nature and miss out on some easy low hanging fruit to pick and make your Skocjan visit even more special!

the river bursts down the cliffs..
the river bursts down the cliffs..

 

So this blog is a "behind the scenes" extra little list to help just one of the many highlights of your Green Slovenian holiday stick even longer in your memory.. even if the name of the cave might not stick, (sounds like "Scotland")!

And there are a few other really important, perhaps unexpected things, we think you should know about before you go visit this particular cave.. so have a look at these extra tips, choose your day to visit carefully and we hope you can get the absolute maximum out your Skocjan Cave adventure..

Now is your chance to take some photos on the way out..
Now is your chance to take some photos on the way out..

 

You should buy your tickets ahead online in the peak periods..

Especially in the peak months of July and August you should now buy your tickets for the cave online.. we suggest TWO days ahead to be sure of your visit!

The days of rocking up and buying your ticket at the office a few mins before the tour starts are now restricted to the best times to visit Green Slovenia, in April, May, September and October..

There are tours every hour depending on the month, but the most popular times are at the start or end of the day..

Wow, even Elvis couldn't make an exit like this..
Wow, even Elvis couldn't make an exit like this..

 

Most Lodge guests will go directly to the cave after breakfast as this will allow you to do some of these extra tips we will tell you about here AND combine another nearby Green Nugget into your daytrip adventure..

So to book, you will need a phone that you can make payment from and an email account that you can also access at the cave and is visible on the phone to show your QR code to get into the cave, (unless you can print the ticket with the QR code out).. here is a LINK TO THE SKOCJAN CAVES BOOKING PAGE..

When you access the tickets page you currently wierdly need to click "go to basket" to find your desired day and see which tours have availability..

Visitor centre ticket office, with tour times and availability for the day, but by now TOO LATE if everything booked up..
Visitor centre ticket office, with tour times and availability for the day, but by now TOO LATE if everything booked up..

 

 

You do need to be reasonably Fit to complete this cave tour..

This is the largest underground hole in Europe and you do need to be reasonably fit to get the most out of this Green adventure and at least be capable of walking up and down the steps and the steepish concrete paths for a minimum of one and a half hours to at least complete the basic tour..  

There are about 500 steps along the way in multiple locations and the cave path is great, but might feel a little slippy, so you need to be steady on your legs..

So for most people this will not be an issue, but we have seen really small kids being carried or pretty much dragged through the cave, also not understanding the English guide, so parents, be sensible about it if you have very young kids and take them in a few years time instead!

Equally DO NOT let the unknown fear of the bridge or massive size of the cave put you off experiencing this adventure, cos one of the Lodge team is scared of heights and was really worried about having to cross that bridge, first time, but we are pleased to report it IS perfectly safe and all you do is look straight ahead and just walk straight across to the other side.. 

There is so much more you would miss in this cave if you didn't go just cos of the bridge and ten years later and ten amazing visits later it is still ok to be scared of the bridge and have the most wonderful "rest of tour"!!

A good 10 min walk from the vistor centre down to the cave entrance..
A good 10 min walk from the vistor centre down to the cave entrance..

 

There is a beautiful, but steepish downhill 10 min walk from the Visitor Centre to the cave entrance..

It doesn't matter if you have booked online or bought your ticket 30 mins before the tour starts, cos ON the hour, the guide will call everyone to follow him or her down to the tour.

You DO NOT need to be at the head of this group, but it is worth knowing that at the very start of the tour, there is an incredibly beautiful, but 10 min walk across the road and down a steep forest path to the cave entrance, where you will be given an intro talk and only then will you get to go into the cave..

So if it is raining, you WILL get wet between the Visitor Centre and the cave entrance.. The cave will be cool, about 12 degrees, so check the weather and consider taking a rain coat or an umbrella, but also consider you will need to carry these in the cave, but it is not a good idea to risk hiking through a cave soaking wet!

final stretch to the cave entrance fpr the start of the tour.. if it is raining, you will get wet between the visitor centre and here..
final stretch to the cave entrance fpr the start of the tour.. if it is raining, you will get wet between the visitor centre and here..

 

You cannot take photos INSIDE the cave during the tour..

There are good reasons for this, but most importantly safety.. as the group needs to stay together on the tour, so it does not work if annoying, selfish people are stopping all the time, hanging back and disrupting the flow of the tour for others.

Regardless of your views on this, the rules are the rules, so if you want to take photos in a cave, there are plenty of other cave tours around with much smaller group numbers where you can have a go at getting a decent piccy underground.. not so easy, by the way!

You CAN take photos at the end of this tour and ALL the photos on this blog are those you can take on ROUTE 1, but we will soon recommend below you take ROUTES 2 or 3 back to the visitor centre and trust us.. there are really lots of uberstunning photo opportunities for you on these longer paths..

By the way, in this Blog, we are ONLY using photos taken from an April visit doing the ROUTE 1 exit..

Opposite the main exit of the cave..
Opposite the main exit of the cave..

 

At the entrance, join the LAST English speaking group..

In the busier season, there will most likely be at least 2 or even 3 English speaking groups. This is a really golden tip that has worked for a lot of guests and is simple common sense!

We recommend just waiting at the back of the crowd to go in the very last group.. OK, you have already walked 10 mins from the visitor centre in a big chain gang to the cave entrance and possibly had to stand there for what seems like hours listening to the guide drone on in completely ununderstandabubble Slovenian first, but..

The last group will very probably be smaller and your guide does not have the pressure of another group behind them.. It will also not contain those pushy, noisy people with the long elbows, desperate to get into that first or second English group!

So if you are prepared to wait just a little longer to get inside this truly world class natural phenomenom then you will get exactly the same tour with far less bustle & hassle and the overall better cave experience that your patience truly deserves!

Come in April, May, Sep or Oct and you might get a group size like this..
Come in April, May, Sep or Oct and you might get a group size like this..

 

There are 3 ways to exit the cave and go back to the Visitor Centre, make sure you choose the right one for you..

We always encourage Lodge guests who like a bit of a hike to do at least the 2nd self guided tour at the cave, but of course this takes the extra time that the average visitor to Green Slovenia just doesn't have, as so many people often totally misjudge the amount and scale of things to do here, so, tragically, the Skocjan cave visit might just get 2 hours of attention before you zoom off to the next Green wonder of nature!

When you get to the end of the epic cave tour, usually from the end of April to September, (otherwise only Route 1 is available), the guide will offer you three ways to go back to the visitor centre.. Each one is like getting an extra hike for free..

this is the view from route 1 across to where you go off for routes 2 and 3..
this is the view from route 1 across to where you go off for routes 2 and 3..

 

Choose to go Right, along a stunning cliff path for Route 1, back to the electric lift thingy, that is called a furnicular in Slovenia.. OR.. Go Left for Routes 2 and 3.. please go this way!!

Well you really need to know that if you fancy a hike and love Green nature, like most people, then you are MISSING OUT BIG TIME if you just do ROUTE 1 back up to the Visitor Centre, taking the furnicular..

Route one direct to the Furnicular..
Route one direct to the Furnicular..

 

It is totally up to you to plan, allocate and book your time in Green Slovenia and there is not a lot we can do about it if you have too little time, BUT we can explain to you there are THREE ways to exit the Skocjan cave at the end of the approx one and a half hour tour..

ROUTE ONE is a short hike across a stunning cliff path to the furnicular (like a forest lift) to be whisked up to near the visitor centre, but we refer you back to our point that you need to be reasonably fit to even manage this shorter "basic" tour, cos there are A LOT of steps even back to this furnicular and then another short steep walk from the furnicular up to the cafe..

We strongly recommend you go for Route 2 and better still Route 3 back, if you can do a load more steps and possibly on a hot day.. Once completed you might be knackered, but will have the feeling of having gotten an extra world class green hike into the already amazingly priced cave ticket for free!

the official end of the tour..
the official end of the tour..

 

But it's gonna take time.. a commodity we hope to have explained you need to make sure you have plenty of..

Time is so much more valuable in Green Slovenia than money, cos the more time you have to do and see stuff, the richer you will feel!

Most people will not need a bottle of water to complete the main cave tour, but if you plan to do tours 2 or 3, then bring some water too..

You can see a map of the 3 routes on the Skocjan Cave website, where you buy the tickets..

You still need to get up these steps to reach the furnicular..
You still need to get up these steps to reach the furnicular..

 

ROUTE 2 is a circular hike around the other side of the doline (which is a Karst word for massive collapsed cave hole).. 

It doesn't look so long on the map, but after leaving the main cave there is a lot of up.. But if you can do it, do it, cos you will get to see a stunning waterfall if enough water in the system and the views change with step after step as you spiral up to the top of the Doline and then end up back at the same spot about 40m below the cafe where the Route 1 Furnicular group are released from the lift!

Avid readers of this website will know we do not have a lot of interest in those people who want to whizz around Slovenia as quick as poss, taking selfies and and NOT taking in the incredible beauty of this Green and wonderful land..

So we urge you to enjoy every step of Route 2 and estimate it will add around an hour to your day, but reluctantly tell you, maybe you could whizz it in around 30 mins! The Skocjan website also says it takes 30 mins extra, but do not forget that Slovenes are ridiculously fit and fast!

This is the Karst, Green Slovenia, baby..
This is the Karst, Green Slovenia, baby..

 

ROUTE 3.. But Ladies and Gents, Boys and Girls, we urge you to have a crack at Route 3 and it goes the same way up out from the main cave as Route 2 for a bit, then does an even bigger EPIC rock circle towards the lip of the second biggest open hole in Europe.. FOR FREE!!

Route 3 has 700 extra steps to do and is billed as an extra one and a half hour hike by the website, but let's say two!

There will be more a of hike with Route 3 and the surrounding area here in Green paradise around the cave is best described as a Slovenian Rock jungle, so you will be richly rewarded with an easy to follow MARKED path, which also brings you back to the Visitor Centre, but around the lside in a longer loop!

To conclude.. bring some water and make the decision beforehand together to do ROUTE 3 back!!

If you haven't been through a passage like this then you haven't seen Green Slovenia..
If you haven't been through a passage like this then you haven't seen Green Slovenia..

 

Do NOT miss one of the most spectacular vistas in Green Slovenia..

SO many people miss out on this extra little treasure that takes just 10 mins from the visitor centre to go see that we ALWAYS show and remind our guests NOT to miss out!

It is actually totally understandabubble that the last thing you want to do after completing the last steep stretch of Routes 1 or 2 back is to do a sharp right turn just before the salvation of an ice cream and cup of coffee at the cafe.. 

But if you don't.. You will miss one of the best vistas in Green Slovenia!

short but steep walk up to the epic viewpoint..
short but steep walk up to the epic viewpoint..

 

Imagine the view, just a 5-10 min walk from the ticket office where you can look across a massive hole big enough to swallow the largest pyramid, with a stunning church sitting opposite on top of a sheer green cliff and deep down below the mouth of the cave with the river gushing out?

This is one of the very best views in Green Slovenia and this is saying something! Now how could you miss out on that!

        
There isn't a sign that says "one of the best views in Slovenia", but all you need to do upon exiting the furnicular and hiking back up, almost to the back of the cafe at the visitor centre is to turn right at the sign for nature walk and walk steeply up on the path for a little more than 5 mins and a little less than 10 mins.. shall we agree on 7.5 mins and see how you get on?!

TURN RIGHT here just before you get back to the visitor cafe for the short hike to the viewpoint..
TURN RIGHT here just before you get back to the visitor cafe for the short hike to the viewpoint..

 

We totally get that the last thing you might want to do at the end of your hike is do another 10 mins, but trust us, the view is really worth it..

If you have done Route 3, then you have actually hiked across part of this incredible view, so if you want to see it from above then you will arrive back at the start of the visitor centre again, so just go through the cafe to the back of the visitor centre and you will now see the nature path leading LEFT to the view..

Follow this path steeply up for 6 mins to get to the fantastic viewpoint..
Follow this path steeply up for 6 mins to get to the fantastic viewpoint..

 

And how about this for an idea.. If you really are too tired to face the extra little walk to the view, why not go have your choice of reward in the cafe AND THEN go see the viewpoint after that when you have some energy back in your legs?!

In this case, ALSO leave the cafe from the back and GO LEFT at the sign..

A final idea for seeing this view is if you arrive early for the tour either deliberately or by chance.. We already told you that if you are booked on the 11am tour it goes at 11am on the dot, so no prizes for arriving early, but let's say you are there for 10.30 with half an hour to spare..

Well this is enough time to walk to the viewpoint and back ready for the tour to start and get the vista in before you even do the cave tour, so AGAIN go out the back of the cafe, TURN LEFT and follow the path!

It doesn't matter how or when you do it, but DO NOT MISS THIS VISTA..

You can see some of the bridges and paths for the extra hikes you can do around here..
You can see some of the bridges and paths for the extra hikes you can do around here..

 

 

Consider hiking across to Skocjan Village or other hiking possibilities for a full day out..

There is also a little village just down the main road from the cave car park with several little micro museums and a great little walk up to that beautiful church we mentioned that you can see from the other side of the second largest hole in Europe. 

There are drop dead gorgeous views from up here too, so do not miss them!

You could easily fit the largest pyramid down there..
You could easily fit the largest pyramid down there..

 

The history of the village, particularly the gruesome truth of how the cave was first explored, the amazing views and history on offer here in the village of Skocjan make this place an unmissable addition to your time in Skocjan.

So if you do Route 3 you will walk past Skocjan village on the way back and if you do Routes 1 or 2, then just before the final steps up to the cafe and visitor centre, you will see a sign to go off LEFT (looking up hill to the visitor centre) to Skocjan village..

short hop over to Skocjan village and some REALLY good micro museums AND views from the churchyard..
short hop over to Skocjan village and some REALLY good micro museums AND views from the churchyard..

 

There is also a cute little museum worth seeing at the visitor Centre..

Yet another little tipette not to miss is the tiny micro museum accessed down the steps from the visitor INFO office..

Your breath is taken away by the scale of the cave, the river, the bridge and the hike in general, but one of the other most powerful human experiences you will get down the cave is to see the routes the first cave explorers took and carved into the side of the sheer cave walls with fire torches in one hand!

Well, this little museum has models of the cave and geologies to help you understand more about it all, but also some little exhibits showing the terrifyingly basic equipment the first brave explorers had to use!

For the sake of a few more minutes, do not miss this little museum!

Beyond scary to see how the first cave explorers mapped and discovered this giant cave..
Beyond scary to see how the first cave explorers mapped and discovered this giant cave..

 

 

If you only knew about the other fantastic eating options just around the corner in the Brkini Restaurant Cluster..

The most honest we can be about the souvenir and eating facilities at this cave is to be positive and say they have got a lot better over the years..

But if you only knew there was a cluster of sensationally good local restaurants a little more than 5 mins from the cave car park in a little mini region with a comedy name called the Brkini, then you might consider you had done enough walking for the day and book up to go have a really exceptional and unexpectedly fantastic local meal..

But how would you know this! We had been living here for almost 10 years before we found the little back door access into the top of the Brkini via Rodik and quickly started discovering restaurant after restaurant equalling the imagination, creation, quality and feeling of the nearby Vipava Restaurant cluster.. and this is saying something, cos in our humble view, the Vipava cluster and Brkini Cluster are two of the VERY BEST areas to eat out in the whole of Green Slovenia!

sensational cold starter at the Michelin restaurant in Rodik, so close to Skocjan cave and 23 mins from the Lodge..
sensational cold starter at the Michelin restaurant in Rodik, so close to Skocjan cave and 23 mins from the Lodge..

 

We found 5 or 6 stunnigly good and varied local Brkini restaurants that you absolutely need to know about.. a Michelin, two, yes two top Fish restaurants and some other very very good local eateries and we are gonna write the article about the BRKINI Restaurant Custer real soon for you to click on..

These restaurants are so good, they are mainly open over the weekend days, so double check when your choice is open and best to book ahead!

And if you just fancy a pizza after the cave then we also need to tell you that there is a Michelin starred pizzeria ETNA in the nearby town of Divaca, just down the road from Skocjan too..

ever tried a Michelin standard pizza.. well you can get one just a stones throw from Skocjan cave..
ever tried a Michelin standard pizza.. well you can get one just a stones throw from Skocjan cave..

 

Do not get us started on how good the Slovenian Cuisine is here.. that is another blog!

 

Other Stuff to Combine into a Full Day out..

OK, so now at least you know to prepare to spend a much bigger chunk of you dayout exploring the wonders of Skocjan Cave and environs, but even after eating, you have a whole host of other Green possiblities to do and see really close to these caves and so close to the Lodge.

A perfect partner to a Skocjan cave trip is a visit to Lipica, the home of the Lipizzaner horse and just over 20 mins from the Lodge..

On the way from the Skocjan cave there is a little village called Lokev in between Divaca and Lipica with EVEN MORE very, very good restaurants.

This could be the greenest furnicular ride you will ever do..
This could be the greenest furnicular ride you will ever do..

 

If you don't believe us, then believe the numerous Italians who come over the border to eat in these restaurants and Italians know about food. Lokev is a long thin village, in fact the largest village in Slovenia. Do be patient in finding a parking space and you will be rewarded with a fab Slovenian eating experience!

If you fancy doing another completely secret, local hike based from LOKEV, then have a look at our Hike to Chicken Hill and Hike the Hills of Lokev blogs..

Less of a hike and just outside Divaca is yet another massive secret Doline, a huge crater, we call Dragon's Crater that you can walk around in less than 30 mins for more spectacular and unique views..

short hop up into Green paradise for the Furnicular ride..
short hop up into Green paradise for the Furnicular ride..

 

For Dragon's crater, be prepared to stop at the tiny car park on the way out of Divaca, on the left side just a bit after the main roundabout. Look for a little explanation sign at the car park, park up and behind the green bushes and trees you wil discover yet another massive hole!

This is a prehistoric cave that collapsed millions of years ago and left a crater a bit like a volcano or a meteor strike! You can walk all around here and peer over the edge and just listen to all those other cars driving past with absolutely no idea what they are missing!

But really, there are TOO MANY other fantastic options to go with your Skocjan Cave adventure.. For example, you could end the day at the Slovenian coast with a swim and a meal there watching the sun set over the Mediterranean sea.. 

But if you want some more ideas about what to combine with the Skocjan cave, how about checking out our Secret Places Treasure Map to find your perfect combo for yet another fantastic, unexpected Green day out in Slovenia! 

Quite an exit from a cave..
Quite an exit from a cave..

 

The last little thing to mention here is that over time restaurants will close and open, the tour times may change too and the three Skocjan exit routes are currently open to visitors from the end of April through the summer to September.. but this can change too!

We endeavour to keep you posted about any major changes, but it is always a good idea to check ahead for ANY of the special trips or restaurants or castles and caves that you want to visit, to make sure they are open and you do get the perfect day!

One thing is permanent and for sure.. most of our guests return from a trip to Skocjan cave completely overwhelmed by the size & power of nature.. we wish you a fab day out there and hope these Xtra tips come in handy!

Email: info@lipizzanerlodge.com

Address: Landol 17, Postojna 6230, Slovenia

Phone: +386 5620 3443
Mobile: +386 40 47 0239 or +386 40 37 8037

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