Due to its natural diversity Slovenia offers a great variety of SUP places. Alpine and intermittent lakes, wild and “easy-going” rivers, urban SUP, the Coast … but there is one place that takes the experience to a completely new level – the underground.
A great part of Slovenia is a karstic land. Here, due to the porous limestone ground, rivers and lakes can disappear and then resurface through sinkholes and funnels, resulting in numerous karstic phenomena, such as underground lakes, rivers and caves. It was the Slovenian Karst that lent its name to karst landscapes and phenomena across the world, for it was here that scientists first explained numerous karst features.
With new caves being discovered every year only about 20 of them are show caves. The most popular are Postojna Cave, the home of the human fish, and Škocjan Caves, a natural and cultural site inscribed on the UNESCO world heritage list. But if the conditions are right we choose to visit another one, kept off the mass-tourism map to preserve its natural uniquenes.
Cross Cave (Križna Cave)
Cross Cave is the longest cave with lakes in the world. It is particularly recognised for its chain of over 45 subterranean lakes of emerald green water, of which 22 are open for the public, but can only be visited by a limited number of visitors per year.
If the water level is not to high or too low we are lucky to take our paddleboards to the first lake, about 100 m long, to paddle in the underground darkness. On a short hike towards the first lake you can admire numerous stalagmites, stalactites and columns that have formed through millions of years by precipitation of minerals from water dripping through the cave ceiling.
However, Križna Cave is not famous only for its lakes. In the 19th century, a large quantity of cave bear bones was found and brought from the cave. Upon visiting the cave you can admire the enormous skull of the cave bear, dating back to 45,000-146,000 years ago. The beast was estimated to be four times the size and weight of the brown bear that lives today in the woods above the cave.
Križna Cave is talso the fourth largest cave ecosystem in the world when it comes to the variety of animal life. In spite of less than favourable living conditions (darkness, 100 percent humidity, air and water temperatures of 8°C) it is home to as many as forty-four species of animals. In comparison, most caves have an average of three to four animal species.
The delicate environment of the Cross Cave is taken care by a local society of dedicated speleologists and only due to our small groups and respect for natural and cultural heritage we, at Sup Slovenia Discovery, have been given a permission to take our paddleboards underground to float in the complete darkness, among the spirits of cave bears.
This exclusive experience is available on the following tours (when conditions permit): Alps to Coast Tour, Slovenia Grand Circle Tour, SUPer Weekend Tour, One Day Tour, SUP&Snow Tour and New Year’s SUP Tour.