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A Pearl of Nature

Dear Travellers, 

welcome back to our blog! This time, our group of friends has decided to visit a true nature’s pearl located only 10 km away from Postojna. On a sunny Sunday we made an escape into the shadowy part of nature. We chose a nearby regional park.

Rakov Škocjan is a beautiful karst valley between Lake Cerknica and the Planina Polje, shaped by the Rak River. The valley with a surface area of 110 ha has been protected since 1949. However, you can still see its sights and enjoy a peaceful break in nature.

We travelled to the park by car and parked it close to the information board where the nature begins to unveil its miracles. You can also cycle to the park, as the path is well suited for bikes. We had no trouble finding a parking spot, since you can leave your iron steeds at various parking sections along the way. Although everyone in our group had already been to Rakov Škocjan before, we decided to walk along the entire educational trail which enables you to see all the sights of the park. We began our trip at the information board and after a few metres noticed the first signs that took us to the first sights.

We noticed a lot of similar signs along the way, as you can reach the sights of the park by following various paths. It is best to assess the look and the suitability of the path beforehand, since some of the paths are a bit steeper as well as overgrown in the summer.

At first, we stopped and checked out the Church of St. Cantius which gave the valley the name “Škocjan”. Although the church is in ruins today, these ruins still provide a proof of an interesting aesthetics in architecture.

We continued our path towards the Big Natural Bridge, the remaining part of the collapsed cave ceiling. When we visited the bridge there was no water underneath, which enabled us to go under the bridge and see the part behind it. We went back down the meadow by the Rak River and returned to the gravel path to visit the Weaver Cave.

Although visitors can descend into the cave, caution is required, since the steps are steep and somewhat slippery. According to the folk legend, there was once a weaver hiding inside the cave and wowing every Sunday. And who did he bother? The witches, the gnomes and other fairy-tale creatures that lived in the cave. Because he disturbed their peace so much, they turned him into a stone statue which looks like a stalagmite today.

On a board just before the descent into the cave you can find the legend with the following inscription: “Be wary of what you are doing in the cave on Sundays!” It was precisely on a Sunday that we visited the cave, which is why we, half-jokingly, checked it out extra quietly and carefully.

After a few kilometres of walking we arrived at Hotel Rakov Škocjan, located in the heart of the park. In their accommodation we treated ourselves to a drink in the shadows. There are 13 rooms inside the hotel, a restaurant, excellent cuisine, a bar and a wellness centre. There is also a play corner for children.

Weaver Cave, photo: Aleš Petrič

After a short break we took the path past the hotel and arrived at a small wooden bridge. We took a few pictures and continued towards the Zelše Caves. The Rak River flows from the caves towards the east corner of the valley and brings water from Lake Cerknica. Above its stream, there rise high walls of the former cave, the ceiling of which had collapsed. This resulted in the wonderful Small Natural Bridge. The educational trail takes us to the top of it. We can also descend to the entrance of the caves, if the water allows us so.

Small Natural Bridge, photo: Aleš Petrič
Zelše Caves, photo: Aleš Petrič

We heard the birds singing, admired the butterflies in the sky and noticed a squirrel during our hike. Aside from the main sights you can also adore various plants, majestic trees and theintact nature of the park.

Our day in nature was complete after a walk down the gravel path towards the car. A visit of Rakov Škocjan is suitable for nature lovers of all ages, since the paths are not as challenging and can be tackled by car to a great extent. You can also take your four-legged friends along with you on a trip to this natural park. The park can be visited in all seasons. Just make sure you take cold drinks, some food, sunscreen and some tick and insect repellent along with you, in case you decide to pay it a visit in the summertime.

We enjoyed the trip, and we encourage you to take your time to visit the park yourselves. You won't regret it!

Read you later!