A MIRACULOUS UNDERWORLD. TOP 10 CAVES IN SLOVAKIA!

Slovakia is home not only to countless castles, copious historical sites, places of folk architecture and breathtaking natural scenery but also caves: many caves. To be exact: 7,000 caves (and counting). Perhaps even while you read this article one of the 900 speleologists in Slovakia will discover the next one. Eighteen of them have been opened to the public and today we show you the top 10 (some of them world-renowned). If you love this mysterious underworld where darkness and silence prevail and you lose the sense of time, then you will unearth your paradise here. Enjoy 🙂


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10. 6000 YEAR-OLD BAT BONES

The Cave of Dead Bats (Jaskyňa mŕtvych netopierov) is quite distinct. Accessing it requires undertaking a hike up challenging mountainous terrain of the Low Tatras and to enter you must plunge into a world of eternal darkness equipped with speleological gear and tools. If you chose the toughest of the three routes, then don´t forget a dose of courage as well. The reward is a mysterious world whose archaic silence has been guarded by the ancient bones of its inhabitants (bats) for thousands of years.


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Cave not suitable for visit with children – Be sure to book the tour (A,B,C) day before your visit

9. A GIANT IN THE ADVENTURE CAVE

Equipped only with a light and bravery, you will make your way through narrow corridors of the Krasnohorská (“beautiful mountain”) Cave; ascending and descending on ladders, transcending water via wooden boards and ropes to discover a giant: The Dripstone of Rožnava’s cavers. It is one of the largest stalagmites in the world, standing at an unbelievable height of 34 meters and weight of 2,000 tons.


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Cave not suitable for visit with children under 5 years – Be sure to book the tour day before your visit

UNESCO WORLD heritage site

8. UNDERGROUND SANATORIUM

Until recently, it was the only cave open to public in the Tatras National Park. Occupying an edge of the imposing Belianske Tatras at a considerable height, this underworld is full of beautiful decor and lucent lakes. These; however, are not its most important characteristics. This cave also has healing powers; the pure aerosol found here is used for speleotherapy and has proven healing effects. Belianska Cave: an underground sanatorium.


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7.  KINGDOM OF ROCKS AND ICE

After a challenging hike up to the cave entrance full of breathtaking views of the Demänovská Valley and the ridge of the Low Tatras, you will discover the Demänovská Ice Cave with enormous underground spaces and rich decor. The highlight is the “freezer” in the lower-most part of the cave, where the walls are decorated by ice. It is most overt in the spring or late fall.


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6. A WITNESS OF ANCIENT HISTORY

Located just a few kilometers from Košice is the oldest cave open to public in Slovakia. Extremely interesting is not only its mesmerizing canopy decor or archeological sites, but also its noticeable elevation which each guest has to overcome. Those who do; however, will find themselves standing in front of a piece of the middle ages at the top: an inscription written in 1452 by Ján Jiskra of Brandys. The Jasov cave is a discreet witness of the times of Hussites.


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A UNESCO WORLD heritage site 

5. STONE STRANDS AND MYSTERIOUS JEWELERY

The Gombasecká Cave is not impressive only because of its stunning garnish but, above all, because it contains a European rarity – stone strands (called quills) up to 3 meters long. Thanks to them, it is one of the most important caves of its kind in Europe. But that is not all; a recent discovery found in its inaccessible corridors has brought to light priceless speleological jewels.


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A UNESCO WORLD heritage site 

4. ICE IN THE HEART OF SLOVAK PARADISE

An eternal kingdom of ice and winter with an ice canvas which is thousands of years old and covers an area of over 100 000 m³. It is one of the first caves to be electrically lit in the world and a former training facility of figure-skaters. These are just some of the superlatives of the most paramount ice cave in the world: the Dobšinská Ice Cave.


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A UNESCO WORLD heritage site 

3. A VOYAGE TO THE UNKNOWN

There are only two places in the world which the river Styx runs through. One of them is somewhere in mythological Greece via which Charon transported the dead to the underworld, and the second one is in Slovakia. In this mystic cave, you will flow with this river through a natural Gothic cathedral, discover underground roman baths and peek at the spiritual bossom of Mother Earth where prehistoric men left their works of art thousands of years ago. All this is offered by the divine Domica Cave, (connected to the Hungarian Baradla underground).


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During very dry seasons the river Styx might not be suitable for floating

A UNESCO WORLD heritage site 

2. JEWEL OF THE LOW TATRAS

The largest cave open to public in Slovakia, where the 2 km trail lets you admire its underground beauty in the form of countless dripstones, an interior design of omnipotent shapes and a variety of small lakes. The flow of the Demänovská River completes this fantastic underground scenery. This is the Demänovská Cave of Liberty: rightfully placed on the list of Top 10 Caves in Europe.


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1. STONE STARS OF AN UNDERGROUND MILKYWAY

First place belongs to something even better than the Demänovská Cave of Liberty. There are many miracles in the world and one of them is located in Slovakia. This unique natural phenomenon is hard to describe. In the small, only-300 meter, aragonite Ochtinská Aragonit Cave (the name Cave of Stone Stars would be more fitting) the aragonite created wonders which you will find in only three places in the world, and no other is found in Europe. On the list of top surreal places in the world, this cave definitely holds a spot.

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A UNESCO WORLD heritage site


GET DIRECTIONS (click on the map) =UNESCO

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Caves

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Jaskyňa mŕtvych netopierov: 48.925216, 19.639090
Ochtinská aragonitová jaskyňa: 48.664511, 20.309171
Krásnohorská jaskyňa - UNESCO: 48.617770, 20.587235
Belianska jaskyňa: 49.228725, 20.311374
Demänovská ľadová jaskyňa: 49.016664, 19.582992
Jasovská jaskyňa - UNESCO: 48.677012, 20.977204
Gombasecká jaskyňa - UNESCO: 48.562792, 20.466585
Dobšinská ľadová jaskyňa - UNESCO: 48.873953, 20.302561
Domica - UNESCO: 48.477663, 20.468730
Demänovská jaskyňa Slobody: 48.998104, 19.585676

© Expedition Slovakia 2016 with english version by Mimi Fabian


IN THE NEXT POST: WE WILL SHOW TAKE YOU TO THE ULTIMATE HIKING CHALLENGE OF SLOVAKIA IN ROHÁČE

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Links to the authors of the photos used in this article:

Majority of the photos were taken by Michal Rengevič from the Slovak Caves Administration

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