"Mongolia is kind of close, right?" Story about an attempt to ski everywhere in the world where there's snow. And in some places where there isn't. On and off-piste skiing on all continents, skiing into craters of live volcanoes, caving, climbing, photography, and travel.
Saturday, January 21, 2023
Cave inside the Tatra Mountains: Belianska Jaskyňa
Wow, another cave country! Slovakia is I think my 28th country where I've been underground. Belianska Jaskyňa is the largest cave open to the public in the Tatra Mountain region in northern Slovakia. At the length of 3681 meters it is quite big. And, remarkably the tour actually is quite long, rising over a hundred meters in vertical as well inside the cave. And almost two kilometers long! One of the best walking cave tours I've been on.
This was our bad weather day excursion on our Poland - Slovakia trip. Although it turned out that we chose the wrong road to cross the mountains from Zakopane to Slovakia, and it felt a bit .. slippery with the not-so-great winter tires in the rental car. But we made it ok, taking it slow in a line of cars passing through.
But back to the cave. Belianska is roughly at coordinates N 49.22886 E 20.31144 on a side of a steep valley hill. It is not directly accessible by car and needs a half an hour hike from the parking lots in the village. We parked here, but there are many options nearby. Expect to pay a bit for the parking.
Like the inside tour in the cave, the hiking path also rises 128 meters, and may not be easy if you have any health issues.
At the cave site itself there's a ticket booth (bring cash), restrooms, tables and cover from the rain. And they sell some souvenirs. Entrance is just 12€ for adults, and that's well worth it given the long tour. A permit for photograph costs some extra, which I obviously took.
The entrance to the cave is at the bottom of the cave, and the tour keeps climbing up on stairs through this massive cave. You'll see lit pools of water, stalactites, stalagmites, dripstone, colorful stone, smaller corridors and massively big halls.
The cave was discovered in the 1700s, and opened as a show cave in the 1800s. So an old, and well-known place.
All in all a wonderful place to visit. Much recommended.
More information about the cave can be found from the Slovakian caving association's page, and from Wikipedia. The cave is 3641 meters long.
Here's a video:
And some more pictures:
You can reach the cave by 25-minute hike up the hill. At the end of the walk you will enter a gate and ticket sales building, and eventually the cave itself.
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