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Skocjanske Jame Caves - Slovenia

Skocjanske Jame caves Skocjanske Jame caves

Slovenia's only UNESCO World Heritage site, the Skocjanske Jame caves are located a short drive from the more popular Postojnska Jama and are an incredible sight.

The walking tour takes you deep down through forboding man-made tunnels, before entering the first section of the caves. The slow walk form here down through the first set of tunnels is fantastic, all filled with wonderful stalactites and stalagmites. The lighting here is more ambient and the ground slippery rock, which gives a much better atmosphere to the place and makes you feel that you are descending right into the middle of the earth.

The first'silent' part of the caves is a set of massive caverns, with enormous stalagmites, and the roof tens of meters above. The trip through is less crowded, there's more time to appreciate the caves and it's possible to get closer to the fabulous structures created here over millions of years.

Most impressive is the second part of the journey - the huge underground gorge that cuts through the caves. It's almost 100m down from the walkway to the river, swollen from the recent rain and raging through the gorge. This fills the air with a huge noise and gives the cavern an otherworldly feel. The gorge rises as high again above the slender bridge that spans it, narrowing to a point at the top. At times the caves have flooded completely, swamping the bridge and flooding many of the other tunnels.

From the bridge there's a fantastic view of the moodily lit waters disappearing into the darkness. This gorge seems completely out of place underground, with the incredible noise just emphasising this.

On the other side of the gorge are some really strange stalactites. These were formed in the wind near the cave's entrance, so are twisted and spiralling all over the place, and very strange to look at.

The huge cave opens up into the lush green of a wooded valley, where a furnicular takes you back up to the start point. There's a lovely viewpoint just along from here, overlooking part of the massive limestone outcrop and the small village perched on the top.

These caves are much more impressive in sheer size and scale than the popular Postojnska Jama and are highly recommended.

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