After a random guy on the train, our host in Ljubljana and a friend from Melbourne all raved about Škocjan Caves we decided we’d have to go there. Since the caves are situated roughly between Ljubljana and Piran, and Piran was our next destination after Ljubljana, they seemed like the perfect stop over on the way.
The actual logistics of achieving this by public transport turned out to be surprisingly complicated. In case you want to replicate our journey, here is the only combination of public transport I could work out where it was possible to make all the necessary connections:
08:12 - 09:49 train from Ljubljana to Divača 10:00 - 10:07 free shuttle bus from Divača station to the caves 11:00 ~ 12:30 guided tour through the underground canyon 12:30 ~ 14:00 self-guided walk following the Reka River through two more caves 14:00 - 15:15 kill some time at the info centre 15:23 - 15:30 last free shuttle bus back to Divača station 15:30 - 17:15 kill some time at Divača 17:19 - 18:08 train from Divača to Koper 18:30 - 19:16 bus from Koper to Piran
Some things to bear in mind
- Buy both train tickets in Ljubljana – the ticket window at Divača was closed when we got back to the station after the caves and I didn’t notice if it was open when we first arrived.
- A train ticket for Ljubljana to Koper “via Divača” doesn’t seem to mean you can stop off at Divača and resume your journey later, you have to buy two separate tickets.
- You don’t need to buy the bus ticket in advance.
- The whole journey (2 trains and 1 bus) will cost you a bit less than €15 in total.
We looked at taking a bus direct from Divača to Piran, or taking a train back to Ljubljana then a direct bus to Piran, all to avoid the 2 hour wait at Divača station but the timing just didn’t work out. If you want to investigate it yourself or see if the timetables have changed here are the links you’ll need:
Once you arrive at Divača there’s just enough time to grab one of the only 3 luggage lockers on the station platform before you hop on the shuttle bus. (Only 2 of the lockers were functioning when we were there.) It costs €3 for the day but it only accepts €1 and €0.50 coins and there isn’t anywhere to get change. The lockers are not very tall but they are deep: we were able to fit 2 large travel packs and 2 normal backpacks inside without difficultly.
If you can’t get one of the lockers at the station, lockers are available at Škocjan Caves – they’re not mentioned on their website but they confirmed it by email when I asked and I saw the lockers when we were there.
At the caves
When you get the info centre buy your tickets for the 11am tour (you’ll just miss the 10am). You might as well buy a 1 + 2 combined ticket because it’s only €5 more, you get to see more more cool sights, and you’ll need to kill the extra time anyway. (You can’t get to Piran any earlier than shown above!) To pass the time before your tour starts there’s a fantastic view of the collapsed doline a few minutes walk from the info centre (follow the signs).
The info centre has lots of tables and chairs, toilets, a cafe, a souvenir shop and free wifi. The food at the cafe is not cheap but it’s not overly expensive either. The food’s pretty good but the beer is very good. ;)
The canyon tour and additional walk afterwards are AMAZING… you can’t take any photos until the very end of the canyon tour (with or without flash) but here is a little teaser…
I won’t say anything else, you have to experience it for yourself!