Learn around Škocjan Caves Park
The signs at the starting point next to the Škocjan Caves Park Information Center first point you to the museum collections in the village of Škocjan. The first stop is the Škocjan Interpretation Center, where visitors can learn about the different aspects of the Škocjan Caves area. The center focusses on contact karst.
The trail continues on through the village of Škocjan to the main square next to the Church of St. Cantianus. You can read more about the village here, including about the origin of its name and how the local inhabitants have adapted to life on the Karst over the centuries. The lack of soil and drinking water were very limiting factors to settling here. Venture behind the church for a great view of the Reka River Gorge just before it disappears underground about 100 meters from the village.
Continue on through the village of Betanja and follow the gravel road to the bottom of the Sapendol collapse doline. A short climb leads to the village of Gradišče on the edge of the regional park. Learn about hillforts and what they represented in the past at the church St. Helen. Gradišče is worth a pit stop, with a story dating back to the 15th century.
The lookout at the edge of Gradišče is an ideal place for a short rest. Its wonderful views of Škocjan Caves Park and its surrounding stunning collapse dolines really paint karst in all of its glory. You will find an introduction to contact karst here, as Škocjan Caves are a textbook example of it.
A well-maintained road from Gradišče leads back to the starting point in Matavun. On the way back, stop at the Lisična collapse doline and Štefanija lookout. You will not soon forget the breathtaking views of the Velika and Mala dolina collapse dolines with a natural bridge and the Reka River below. This section of the trail is great for learning more about surface karst landforms.
Your journey will take you through a cave, though you may not even notice. This is a cave that was formed deep under the surface, but then had its ceiling eroded over time to become a special type of surface landform: a denuded cave.
After reaching Štefanija lookout, there is about 200 m to go. You can seek refreshments in the restaurant. Anyone thirsty for more knowledge and information can visit the museum collections about the first explorations of Škocjan Caves in the cellar of the information center.