Underground kayaking in the Koroška region of Slovenia

Kayaking underground

Deep within Slovenia’s mountainous Koroška region, we ventured into the heart of Mt Peca: a man-made cave carved by miners for centuries. Koroška, one of Slovenia’s smaller regions, boasts stunning mountainous landscapes with 90% of its land covered in gradients.

About Mežica and its mine

Our adventure began in Mežica with a testament to this region’s mining history. Mt Peca’s cave is entirely carved to extract lead and zinc. The first written proof of this mining activity dates back to 1665, and for centuries, it was a crucial source of income for the surrounding area.

Info center and miners train at museum © Nejc Fon

The harsh reality of minework is evident in the history. Men, women, and even children as young as seven toiled in the mines. Boys assisted their fathers, pushing carts laden with minerals weighing up to 200kg. Women separated minerals from stones, and some managed the household. By 1960, the mine employed a staggering 1,000 people.

The vast network of tunnels we explored during the kayaking activity were primarily research tunnels. Due to the unpredictable nature of mineral veins, miners dug extensively, hoping to strike luck. This resulted in a labyrinthine network stretching over 1,000 kilometers. Today, the mine has transitioned from its industrial past to a fascinating tourist destination, sharing the story of the area’s mining heritage and the people who labored there.

Following the miners’ footsteps

Our adventure commenced with a unique 3.5km train ride on an original mining train, venturing deep into the Glančnik tunnel. After disembarking, we descended over 400 steps to reach the 8th floor. These lower levels were once kept dry by massive pumps, but after mining ceased, the water flooded these areas, creating the perfect setting for our kayaking experience.

Miners’ train
In the tiny miners’ train

For one unforgettable hour, we paddled through the dark tunnels, an eerie yet strangely beautiful experience.

Bringing the kayaks to the departure point
Navigating through the tunnels

Following our spelunking adventure, we were treated to a traditional miners’ lunch. An informative walk back to the miners’ train concluded this unforgettable experience, offering a glimpse into the challenging past and thrilling adventure in equal measure.

Practical information

📍 The location of the activity: Podzemlje Pece
💰 In low season: 55.00 EUR/person, in high season (from 1.6. to 31.8): 75.00 EUR/person
🚣 Other activities: mine tour by train, museum tour, mine tour by bike, and black hole trail by mountain bike

Kayaking in the Peca underworld © Tomo Jeseničnik, Podzemlje Pece, d.o.o.
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