Koroška, a unique region in northern Slovenia, really is a treasury of surprises. One of them is hidden underground, at Mount Peca in Mežica. Did you know that you can take a bike ride through the tunnels of the disused mine or even row through them in a kayak? Experience a unique adventure.
The Koroška landscape is a genuine paradise for hikers and mountain bikers, and Mount Peca, the source of numerous legends, is also part of this paradise. A legened famous among Slovenians tells of King Matjaž, a mythological figure who was a great benefactor, but is now sleeping under the mountain while his beard grows around a table. However, this king is not the only mystery of Mount Peca: its underground also has almost mythological dimensions.
Between Mount Peca and Mount Uršlja Gora, people have known about the ore deposits for a long time. In over three centuries of mining, 19 million tonnes of lead and zinc ore were extracted, and over 800 kilometres of tunnels were built. This mine, which closed down just over 20 years ago, continues to operate in its own way today. Since 1997, a section of the mine complex has been open to tourists. You can reach this section by train or, if you are more adventurous, head underground by bike or kayak.
Through the tunnels by bike
Although mountain bikes are designed to be enjoyed outdoors, you can also bike through a mountain in the Koroška region. Literally. Wear warm clothing and biking gloves, a helmet and headlamp, and together with your guide cycle more than five kilometres underground, from one valley to another. Can you already sense the adventure? The route takes you through safe tunnels and the elevation difference is only 15 metres, but the holes and bumps of former railway sleepers do not make for completely comfortable biking. The entire adventure takes about two and a half hours.
Rowing 700 metres underground
After the Mežica mine was closed, water was no longer pumped from the mine, so its lower sections flooded. Water also flooded major excavation sites created by the miners. These sites now look like magical underground lakes. Do you dare explore them? Then head underground to do some rowing. In front of the Mining Museum at Glančnik in Mežica, you board a real mine train that takes you 3.5 kilometres into the tunnel. Then head down to the water level by foot, where kayaks await you, which you then row down a small underground river to small lakes nearly 700 metres below the surface. It is time to explore the underground maze, flooded tunnels and ditches.
Because you need energy for such an task, a traditional miners’ meal will be served to you in the Mount Peca underground, a meal just like the one enjoyed by the miners before they went to work. Enjoy some buckwheat žganci with crackling, bacon, rye bread, and café latte.