Trip to Bielańska cave
EXCURSION TO BELANSKA CAVE
EXCURSION TO BELANSKA CAVE AND ŠTRBSKÉ LAKE
8.00 Departure from Zakopane
9.30 walking ascent to Belanska Cave (c. 20 minutes)
10.00 guided visit to the cave (duration c. 70 minutes)
12.00 Transfer to Štrbské Pleso – free time (2 hrs)
15.00 Departure for Zakopane
16.30 Scheduled return to Zakopoane
adult ticket – 65 zlotys
discount ticket – 60 zlotys (children under 12, students under 26 and senior citizens 65+)
- transfer from/ to Zakopane
tickets to Belanska Cave (duration: 70 minutes):
adults - 8€
children 6 – 15 - 4€
students and seniors 60+ - 7€
The Belanska Cave is the only cave open to visitors in the Slovak Tatras. It was the first cave in Europe to be illuminated with electric light.
The entrance to the cave is located at of 890 m.a.s.l. and can be reached after a 1370 metres walk and 122 metres difference in elevation. A visit to the cave takes about 70 minutes.
Gold prospectors knew the entrance to the cave as early as in the first half of the 18th c., but it was kept secret, only to be found again by gold seekers L. Gulden and Fabry in 1826.
In 1896 a power plant on the Bela River supplied electricity to the which was open to visitors 3 times a day, and a guide opened the cave even for a single tourist. The interiors of the cave display numerous infiltrative waterfalls, pagoda-like stalagmites and lakes.
Then we continue by bus along the foothills of the Tatra Mountains to Štrbské Pleso – a lake in the Slovak Tatras just a 5 minutes’ walk from the car park which will be your meeting point with the driver. Driving through Stary Smokovec and Tatranska Lomnica (a large ski station) we will witness the beauty and power of nature that devastated the area in a powerful hurricane in 2004 that felled 14 thousand hectares of forests.
Štrbské Pleso –300 years ago there were still 3 reservoirs in the place of the present lake. The basin of the lake was shaped by a receding glacier and its 80 metres thick melting ice. Geological studies carried out in 1998 confirm the hypothesis that the lake came into being as a result of a huge earthquake that sealed the moraine and caused a sudden rise in water level. It was also confirmed by a Levoca chronicler Gašpar Hain who mentioned a new big lake that came into being following an earthquake in the Tatras in 1662.
Štrbské Lake – the area of the lake is 19.76 hectares and its max. depth 20 metres holding 1 284 000 m³ of water. The lake remains frozen 155 days in a year. It has no incoming or outgoing streams.
Stary Smokovec – a tourist centre popular among walkers and skiers. It is an important stop on the route of the narrow-gauge electric train linking Poprad, Tatranska Lomnica and Strbske Pleso. There is a funicular railway to Hrebienok pass.
The Grand Hotel, built in 1904, is a very well known building in Stary Smokovec.
The site of the Mountain Rescue Headquarters (HZS) is located in Smokovec. The forests that used to surround Smokovec were devastated and raised down to the ground in a hurricane on 19 November 2004. The wind felled at least 14 thousand hectares forest. About 60% of the spruce population in the Slovak Tatras was destroyed. There were 3 million m³ of timber on the southern slopes of the mountains and it took over 2 years to remove the wood. Over 100 years will be required for regeneration. There is a monument commemorating the hurricane in Stary Smokovec that has opened panoramic views of the Tatras and Poprad. As if that were not enough, 22 hectares of new forest were consumed by fire in 2013.
Tatranska Lomnica – a village that goes back to 1881. From the very beginning it was a tourist Centre with the first hotel – Lomnica built already in 1893. In the late 1930s the resort gained considerable popularity when a very modern cable car to the top of Lomnicky Stit had been built. The final section of the cable car trip from Lomnicke Pleso to the top covers the last 850 metres in elevation about 300 metres above the ground. The lower section has been closed for economic reason since 2001, perhaps never to be re-opened, but there are plans to create a museum in the bottom station building designed by the famous Slovak architect Dušan Jurkovič.