Vilenica cave

Vilenica cave

Page Type Page Type: Custom Object
Location Lat/Lon: 45.65000°N / 13.91667°E
Additional Information Object Type: cave
Additional Information County: Primorska


Hiking trail down toward Vilenica cave
Vilenica (slovenian Jama Vilenica,  german  Feenhöhle,  italian  Grotta di Corgnale)
is a karst show cave.
It is considered to be the oldest show cave in Europe,
as the local landowner conferred the cave upon the local parish which managed it as a resource
and opened it up to visitors in  1633.

Entrance to Vilenica is down into the collapsed roof of the entrance hall.
The cave is well decorated with a series of nice speleothems
and  is noted for large chambers.
The first one,  the so-called Ballroom,  is entered by steps.
The second chamber is another long stair down and back up on the other side.
Middle part  of the cave is decorated  with dripstones,
followed by the chamber with enormous curtains and red coloured speleothems.

In the final chamber,  the path is cut out of massive flowstone.
Visitor are  standing on a balcony, gazing into the huge stalagmites,
the largest of them  having 10m / 33ft  diameter in its lower part, and being about  20m / 66ft high.
The biggest stalagmite here is 20m high and has a circumference of 10m at the base.

  • cave length: 1300m / 4265ft  (450m open for public access)
  • cave depth: 179m / 587ft
  • tour length: 900 m  / 2953ft
  • duration: 1 hour
  • height difference 90m / 295ft
  • light:   electric 
  • temperature: 10 °C / 50 ºF
Gear required:
clothing adequate for one hour inside the cave at  10 °C,
rubber sole (its slippery inside), headtorch is an useful asset.


18th century underground graffiti
Alberto Fortis

Vilenica cave has a long history.
The first guided tour was recorded in 1633.,
In 18th century, cave was   visited by Baltazar Hacquet,  pioneer  karst geomorphologist
remembered as the first scientist to perform extensive exploration of the Julian Alps
(in 1777 he was the first to try to ascend to the top of Triglav) and  few  years later of the northwestern Dinaric Alps

At about the same time,  cave was visited  by Alberto Fortis,
Italian  priest, physician and naturalist with a special interest in geology.
His extensive travels in Dalmatia and its karst between 1770 and 1774 resulted in the books for which he is best known.
His travelogs  from  1771 describe his visit to the Mramorica cave near Brtonigla (Croatian Istria) in 1770,
and a journey over the karst from Pula to Rovinj in 1771.

Fortis visited Vilenica cave in  1777,  with his companion, mineralogist Frantisek Dembsher.
They left their signature at one of the stalagmites, which is still clearly visible.

Vilenica cave remained the most visited cave of the classic karst through mid 19th century.
When Postojna cave was developed for mass visits, the popularity of Vilenica sank and the cave visits almost stopped.

Cave was revived  again in mid 1960's.

Getting There

Road and satellite map
 Cave is located near the Italian/Slovenian border,  10km West of Trieste,
on the road from Sezana to Lokev, 7km from Sezana.
  • by car:
    Ljubljana-Postojna-Sezana-Trieste motorway, exit Divaca,
    drive toward village of Lokev,  another 1km from Lokev direction Sezana,
    follow the (signposted) road  for cave forking due right.
    Parking lot not far from the cave entrance.

  • by train:
    nerest train stop is Divaca
    ,  Sezana train station also not too far away
    Slovenian Railways query

  • by air:
    Nearest internaional airport is Ronchi dei Legionari, Trieste.
    Low cost airlines operate mainly international flights from this airport.
    Only Ryanair offers low cost flights to this airport.

    Cave can be reached by foot as well:
    follow any of the marked hiking  trails to Lokev,
    there's one from the  Škocjan Caves
    another one from the Lipica Stud farm,
    as well as marked hiking trail from the Mt. Kokos hut.
    Approximate walking distance:
     Vilenica cave -  Lipica - Škibini -  Kokoš  hut, about 2 hours

Miscellaneous info

Topo map
Opening hours:

 On Sunday and holidays.

April, 1st- October, 31st
at 13pm  and 5pm

November, 1st -  March, 31st
only organized groups  by prior arrangement.


Sezana caving club (Jamarsko drustvo Sezana)
Partizanska 61,
SI-6210 Sežana

phone: +386 5 7344 259