Last week someone asked me if I let our toddler pick what we are going to do on holidays and the answer is yes! I let him see pictures/catalogues from our destination and if he shows special attention for something, then I add it to our route. That was what happened with Postojna Cave, he was fascinated with a picture of a train riding in a cave. I couldn’t but promise him that we would visit that cave. So here is our experience exploring the Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle with kids.
Our tour was scheduled at 11 am, so we could get there without having to get up early. We drove 2 hours from Kobarid to Postojna (you can read our whole itinerary here) . Finding a parking for our car + caravan wasn’t an issue, and you can even stay the night in one of the parking lots for 20€ (the price includes electricity and water supply). After taking our jackets (constant cave temperature is 10C) and the carriers for the kids, we went to the entrance where the guides were waiting for the visitors. Postojna Cave offers the guided tour in different languages, just Dutch or Spanish were only as an audio guide available. The English group was quite big, therefore we joined the German group. This is the advantage of speaking four different languages 😀
Once inside, we finally took the train Liam was so looking forward to. And guess who was able to sit in the first row??
The train ride is 3,5km and ends at the Great Mountain, where we started the 1,5 km through the different halls and passages. The whole path is paved and accessible by wheelchairs and strollers.
Even though Liam doesn’t speak German, he was interested in looking at the different rock formations along the tour: an ice-cream (this one didn’t need a translation 🙂 ), an elephant, spaghettis and curtains, as well as the Rusian bridge.
The walking path is like an eight, you first go up the Calvary and then across the Russian Bridge (later you pass underneath it again). The visit continues with the Spaghetti, White and Red Halls all the way to the Brilliant Passage, where you admire the most famous and beautiful stalagmite: the Brilliant.
When you think the visit is over, you still have the other highlight of the cave: proteus anginus or the human fish. It is fully adapted to life in the darkness, eats small crabs, worms, snails and other aquatic non-vertebrates and can live up to 10 years without food!! It has two pairs of tiny legs. Its front legs have three digits and the rear ones have two. For Mika, this was the best part of the visit. He immediately saw the fishes and was upset when we had to leave 🙂
Liam was then upset when we took the train back to the entrance and he had to leave it. Luckily we found a copy outside, where he was playing (and laughing again).
After lunch, we drove the 9km to Predjama Castle. Listed among the Guinness World Records as the largest cave castle in the world, the Predjama Castle has been
perched up in the middle of a vertical 123-metre high cliff for more than 800 years. Its romantic appeal is further emphasized by the idyllic Lokva River, which disappears into the underground world deep down below the castle.
The visit of the Castle is on your own path. You get an audio guide at the entrance and then you can follow a route of numbers around the castle. During the tour, you can learn about Erazem of Predjama, the Slovenian Robin Hood, and how he was able to resist continuous attacks. As the humidity inside the castle is very high, there isn’t original furniture, but replicas.
Well, there’re a couple of things that are not replicas: the bell and the cannonball. The kids loved of course to ring the good luck bell. And Mika tried to pick up those big “round stones” that were lying on the ground. Boys will be boys 🙂
If you go in July or August, check the date of the medieval tournament. You will be able to enjoy the Predjama castle as if you were hundreds of years ago.
And to finalise some interesting facts about Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle. Did you know that:
- Postojna Cave is the largest and most known show cave in Europe
- Postojna Cave has 24 kilometres of underground passages, galleries and magnificent halls
- The caves contain the only underground office in the world, which opened in 1899
- 15 emperors and empresses, 21 kings and queens, 67 princes and princesses, 85 significant noble members of governing families, 54 presidents of states, 37 prime ministers and over 500 other eminent guests have visited Postojna Cave in 200 years of its tourist history
- There are 150 species of subterranean cave-dwelling animals in Postojna
- Lokva River disappears into the underground world deep down below the castle
- The network of cave passages in Predjama is more than 14 km in length
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