Discover the Wonders of Škocjan Caves: Your Ultimate Guide to Slovenia’s Majestic Underground Canyon

Written by Kali Todd

Budget Travel Guides & Tips

July 4, 2024

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More than 14,000 caves have been discovered in Slovenia with hundreds more each year added to the list. While the most popular cave in Slovenia is Postojna Cave, Skocjan Caves took my breath away by the sheer unimaginative beauty, and for that, it is a must-visit in my book. 

Skocjan Caves descends into an awe-inspiring underworld that contains one of the world’s largest known underground river canyons, carved by the Reka River. The river flows along a 4-kilometer-long gorge before disappearing underground and gushing through the largest chamber of Skocjan, Martle Chamber, measuring 1,011 feet long and 292 feet wide on average, with the ceiling’s highest point at 479 feet tall. This chamber sees an enormous volume of water at more than 70.6 million cubic feet. During heavy rainfall, water within the cave system dramatically increases, with levels that can rise more than 300 feet.

Much of Slovenia comprises of karst, a porous limestone shaped by rain and flowing water over millions of years, creating underground channels that formed the caves visitable today. Skocjan Caves was deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986 and with the amount of times my mouth dropped throughout the tour, it is much deserved.

Visiting Skocjan Caves

Guided tours start at the Visitors Center, with a 10-15 minute walk to the entrance of the caves. On my visit, there was a rather large amount of people who were split between 3 to 4 different guides based on preferred language before entering the cave. Slovenian, German, and English were offered to us. 

When entering, visitors walk through a long 380-foot artificial tunnel, originally built in 1933, before stepping into Silent Cave, a dry underground fossil tunnel spanning over 1,600 feet and originally discovered in 1904. Silent Cave was the last major discovery in this cave system and was found when locals climbed the nearly 200-foot-tall wall of Muller Hall.

At first, Silent Cave is extremely barren, with no stalactites or stalagmites due to earthquakes and flooding over the years. But as we walked deeper, the Great Hall, the largest area of Silent Cave, showcased some of the biggest stalactites and stalagmites in the cave system. Most notable is the grand stalagmite, Giant, standing at nearly 50 feet tall. 

SkocjanskeJame 2013jpg

Silent Cave
Lander at Slovenian Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The sound of rushing water echoing off the 300-foot-tall walls immediately hit me when moving from Silent Cave to Murmuring Cave, known as Šumeča Jama in Slovenian. Because of the recent heavy rains, the sounds of the Reka River were more than only a murmur, though. The river was full of life, violently forcing its way downstream. With the rapids also came an eerie fog, making it seem as though we stepped right into the backdrop of The Hobbit or Harry Potter. 

I don’t know how to put into words how incredible experiencing this part of the cave was. This cave was the most stunning and mesmerizing place I’ve seen.  

Skocjan Caves Borut Lozej Archives Park Skocjanske JameMurmuring Cave
Borut Lozej, Park Škocjanske Jame, Slovenija

The awe-inspiring experience continued, zigzagging down the path and looking over the railing at the 165-foot drop to the cascading river. The tour passes over the river via Cerkevnik Bridge, a 46-foot-long bridge, named after its creator, Franc Cerkvenik. The path was constructed between 1932 and 1933 after high waters washed out many of the old tourist paths located closer to the river. Without the construction of this bridge, the cave would be unreachable. 

Astonishingly, the bridge was built by hand due to the challenging conditions to arrive at this point of the cave. Steel beams were carried by Franc and his team over several days to this point in the cave. While walking across, be sure to look out to your left to see the remains of the previous bridge used by explorers and tourists. It’ll quickly make you grateful for the sturdy bride you’re currently on!

Škocjanske jame, Jost GantarEntering Murmuring Cave
Jost Gantar,

It’s at this point, you can see more remnants of the 19th-century tourist path which is quite frankly terrifying. Narrow paths follow the river, with some points being only inches across. A visit here back in the day was not for the faint of heart. Pathways only inches across in some points only had a rope connected to the cave wall, whereas to your other side was the steep drop over 100 feet to the raging water below. 

Natural rimstone damsNatural Rimstone Dams

Continuing, the path follows along the river to where it emerges in the cave, where a set of stairs brings guests through the final visitable section of the cave. Showcased are unique natural rimstone dams. It’s near this area that discoveries of a prehistoric settlement were also found. Believed to be from 3,000 – 1,700 BC, at least 10 young skeletons were discovered alongside ceremonial ceramics and animal bones. 

Interestingly enough, the Skocjan Caves are marked even on the oldest published maps of this part of the world, such as the Lazius-Ortelius map from 1561. Tourism, however, is a bit harder to pinpoint but began around 1819 with the commission of steps to the bottom of Velika Dolina and the introduction of a visitors’ book.

Path 1Path 1 returning to Visitors Center

When exiting the cave, our guide gave a few options for returning back to the Visitors Center – ranging from 15 minutes to 1.5 hours. Because I was short on time, I had to opt for the 15-minute walk, also known as Route 1, which was still amazing and included 100 stairs followed by a funicular. If you do have the time, I highly recommend taking route 2 or 3, though.

Skocjan Caves Velika Dolina Waterfall Path 2, Waterfall in the collapsed doline
Borut Lozej, Park Škocjanske Jame, Slovenija

Route 2 is a circular hike around a doline, a large sinkhole. The trail can be steep, but it offers stunning views, including a waterfall. Along the route, you’ll encounter 400 stairs.

Mahorcic Cave Opening Jost GantarPath 3, Mahorcic Cave entrance
Jost Gantar, 

Route 3 follows much of Route 2 before diverging towards the second-largest cave opening, Mahorcic Cave. Although this route includes 700 stairs, the trek is absolutely worth it.

If you didn’t get a chance before starting your tour, from the Visitors Center take the path behind the cafe to the viewpoint which overlooks the incredible Slovenian vistas.

Skocjanske Jame Park, Jost GantarSlovenian Vista, Located behind the Visitors Center
Jost Gantar,


Where are the Skocjan Caves?

The Skocjan Caves are in southwest Slovenia, only a 50-minute drive from the capital Ljubljana. Located at Matavun 12, 6215 Divača, Slovenia, Skocjan Caves are also less than a 30-minute drive from Trieste, a stunning Italian coastline city.

How to get there?

I highly recommend making your visit to Slovenia a road trip. Public transportation within Slovenia is not as readily available compared to other European countries and driving is incredibly easy and affordable. My 11-day car rental was less than $275 in early May 2024.

If you are using public transportation, take a train or bus to Divaca. From there, you will take the Skocjanske Jame shuttle bus or walk 45 minutes from the station to the Skocjan Caves Visitor Center. I highly recommend contacting Skocjan Caves to confirm the shuttle bus will be running on the day of your visit at

How long is the guided tour?

The guided tour is 1.5 hours with an additional 15-minutes to return to the Visitors Center if walking Route 1. Route 2 takes an additional 30 minutes and Route 3 an additional 1.5 hours.

Ticket Information

Tickets can be purchased in person or online for the same price. The Visitor’s Center recommends pre-purchasing tickets at least a few days before your visit.

2024 Peak Pricing:

  • Adults: €24
  • Students: €18
  • Seniors: €18
  • Children under 18: €12.50
  • Children under 6: Free

Is Skocjan Caves open year-round?

Yes, the only days the site is closed is January 1 and December 25. Please note fewer daily tours are offered during off-season. 

Is photography allowed?

Unfortunately not. Visitors are informed prior to cave entry that no photography is allowed. Artificial lights in the cave are turned on for tours only, and the longer a tour takes, the higher risk of rapid growth of lampenflora algae which ultimately destroy the natural beauty of the caves.

Postojna Cave vs Skocjan Caves

The most visited and popular cave in Slovenia is Postojna Cave. They both have such unique features that I highly recommend visiting both. Postojna Cave will give more of a Disney-feel whereas Skocjan Caves is a bit more nature-centered. Postojna Cave is located only 20 minutes from Skocjan Caves so both can be visited either in the same day or split between two days if you’re also visiting Predjama Castle (also a must-see).


Due to the terrain of the caves, those with certain physical disabilities, including wheelchairs, cannot access the caves, however, the Visitors Center does have special VR goggles to get the closest experience!

Important Notes

The cave stays a consistent temperature year-round at 50°F (10°C) so a light jacket is needed.

Wear hiking boots or sturdy tennis shoes since there is a lot of walking involved.

Children are able to join on tours but if they are noise sensistive, you may want to reconsider. Murmuring Cave was more of a roaring cave on my visit!

Be sure to bring a water bottle with. There is no water available throughout the tour or on paths 1-3. If hiking paths 2 or 3 consider bringing a snack, too.



  1. Lauren Maker

    Looks like something I would love! Thanks for sharing

  2. Mallory

    I will have to add this destination to my bucket list! Thank you for sharing!

  3. Sarah

    While caves often give me a bit of claustrophobia, I have to admit, the Skocjan caves look beautiful and I would love to visit. My husband would also love these caves for all the neat geology.

  4. Anthuwin Cupido

    These caves look stunning but also frightening at the same time! But I will take on this adventure anytime, thanks for sharing.

  5. Susan Whited JoyAmongChaos

    50 feet tall is one huge stalagmite! The stories this cave could tell!

  6. Sandi

    Wow! the Skocjan Caves are stunning! What an exciting spot to explore. Thanks for sharing your gorgeous photos.


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