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Veternica cave



Veternica cave is open for visitors with expert guidance (between 45 and 60 minutes).

Saturdays and Sundays - for individual visitors cave is open from the beginning of April until the end of October with expert guidance from 10 a .m. to 4 p.m.
Notice; during summer period in July and August the cave is open for individual visitors only on Sundays and holidays.

During work days - for organized groups, by appointment with the Institution (phone numbers listed below). The minimum number of visitors is 20.

Entry ticket prices
- children 20 kn
- students and seniors 25 kn
- adults 30 kn
- family (family with children) 60 kn

The cave cannot be visited without a guide authorized by the Public Institution “Nature Park Medvednica”. Expert guidance is included in the ticket price.

IMPORTANT NOTICE!!! In case of bad weather, regular duty on weekends will be cancelled. Information is available by calling + 385 1 4586 317 (hole year from Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.).

Advice for the visitors: The whole year round, the temperature in the cave is about 10°C/50°F, for which reason during the warmer part of the year it is important to remember to bring warmer clothes. Also, sports shoes are recommended because the approach trail to the cave is possible only along hiking trails through the woods, and in some parts of the cave there is mud.

Located by the cave is the souvenir shop of the Park in which it is possible to buy souvenirs and a tourist map of the Park.

The mountain house Glavica is located near the cave:
Telephone number: +385 1 7875024
Mobile phone number: +385 91 598-6110
Working hours: Saturday, Sunday and holidays from 9 a .m. – 10 p.m.
Night accommodation: 36 beds



From Zagreb
Take the ZET bus No. 124 from Črnomerec to Gornji Stenjevac. The ride takes about 15 minutes. Follow the footpath No. 3 along the Dubravica stream for 15 – 20 minutes.

Follow Aleja Bologna towards the west, after Gajnice (just after the gas station) turn right into Dubravica Street . Continue driving along Zelena magistrala to the end of the asphalt road. From the parking lot take footpath No. 8 or 1M from the Ponikve meadow to Glavica mountain house. Continue downhill along footpath No. 3 for 5 minutes.

From Zagorje
Follow Aleja Bologna towards the west, after Gajnice (just after the gas station) turn right into Dubravica Street . Continue driving along Zelena magistrala to the end of the asphalt road. From the parking lot take footpath No. 8 or 1M from the Ponikve meadow to Glavica mountain house. Continue downhill along footpath No. 3 for 5 minutes.

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how to reach Veternica caveVeternica cave map



Since 1979 Veternica cave is protected by law as a geomorphologic monument of nature.

The elevation of the cave entrance is 320 m . Total length of explored canals is 7128 m , and the length of the main canal is 2622 m . The first 380 m of the cave are adapted for visitors.

Veternica is the fourth longest cave in Croatia in length, and the longest in northern Croatia . It is an important archeological and paleontological site, and an enlightening example of karst phenomenon. In 1889 Dragutin Gorjanović-Kramberger attracted public attention to this cave.

The part of Veternica adapted for tourists shows geomorphologic phenomena rarely seen in typical tourist-adapted caves: oval erosion forms made by water vortexes (which tell us about a former water stream), sand dunes left after the last underground stream which used to spring from Veternica, an extinct cave bear's ( Ursus speleus ) lower jaw, fossil mud, the Well of wishes in the Concert hall, the fossil of a shell from the genus Pecten , the sea urchin Clypeaster on the ceiling, the stone waterfall (a beautiful dripstone formation) etc. Fourteen species of bats hibernate in the whole cave.

Veternica cave is located in the southwest part of Medvednica, above the village Gornji Stenjevec. Its distance from the center of Zagreb is less than 9 km.

It was named after the wind flow that appears at the entrance as a result of the temperature difference (cave adiabatic is about 10° C). The entrance to the cave is at an elevation of 320 m.

Since the 1950's, Zagreb 's cavers have continuously been exploring the cave and drawing maps of its underground corridors.


Why was Veternica cave formed exactly in this part of Medvednica?

The southwestern part of Medvednica is a karst area, and in that way it resembles the southern Dinaric region of Croatia . Like other karst regions this area is built of limestone and limestone similar rock called dolomites. Water easily dissolves these rocks and causes the formation of different surface and underground karst shapes.

Veternica cave was formed during the Pleistocene era, which began 1.8 million years ago, and ended about 10.000 years ago. In the Pleistocene era, glacial and interglacial periods interchanged. Veternica cave was formed by water sinking in the Ponikve area along rock fissures in the northwest – southeast direction. Water found the easiest path through the underground, and flowed at the point of contact between two types of rocks: lithothamnium limestone and dolomites underneath it.

Porous lithothamnium limestone can be seen on the ceiling of the cave. In its formation during the geological period called Miocene (about 16 million years ago), the red algae Lithothamnium had an important role. In it we can notice fossilized tubers of algae, shells, and residues of sea urchins (for example genus Clypeaster - *SOUVENIR) , as well as shark teeth. Grey dolomite, which is placed underneath it, settled in shallow seas during the Triassic period (about 225 to 195 million years ago).

Cave ornaments

Underground water on karst locations is “hard” because of the dissolved limestone. By extracting the dissolved limestone through evaporation, and other processes, “cave ornaments” - dripstones (curtains, etc.) form. Dripstones differ from each other by their form and origin. In Veternica cave we find stalagmites, stalactites, curtains, helictites, spaghetti (numerous thin stalactites which represent the beginning stage of stalactites) and many others. Average growth rate is 1 to 2 mm annually.


The surrounding inhabitants have always known the entrance to the Veternica cave. Our geologist D. Gorjanović-Kramberger mentions it for the first time in 1899 in his paper.

Paleontology research in Veternica cave was conducted on a couple of occasions since the 1950's. Academic Mirko Malez led the diggings. Numerous findings that were dug from the sediment, analyzed and scientifically processed, resounded in the scientific world and placed Veternica cave as one of important paleontological sites in this part of Europe .

Layers are divided into two parts:

The upper layer settled during the Holocene era, a geological period that began about 10 thousand years ago and lasts until today. The findings from this layer belong to a period of early Stone, Bronze and Iron Age and the Roman period. Money belonging to Roman emperors Valentine II, Gracian, and Theodosius I, dating back to the 4th century B.C., an oil-lamp and bronze clasp for buttoning clothes – fibula, were found here. A tomb from the early Stone Age that consisted of uneven stone blocks laid in the shape of a half circle was discovered here as well. Human bones ( Homo sapiens sapiens sculls) , a spear made of deer horn, various ceramics and ornaments were found, too.

Beneath these are older layers that were formed during the last glacial period during the younger Pleistocene, a geological period which began 150 thousand years ago and finished about 10 thousand years ago. In these layers, the most abundant findings are those of cave bears, and they constitute nine tenths of all findings in Veternica. Some findings of bear skulls, found in the front part of the cave, were “immured” in rock niches and pointed in the same direction. These findings indicate that the people who used to live in Veternica probably worshipped the cult of the bear. In the entrance of the cave we can see “bear grindings”, rocks that were polished by cave bear scratching. Besides cave bear findings there are numerous residual findings of other animals which lived in these parts at that time: cave lions, wolves, various deer, rhinoceroses, rodents, and many other animals.

Besides animal bones, different tools of Neanderthals (Homo sapiens neanderthalensiss) were found as well, which prove the cave was used by many hunters as a shelter and home. In Neanderthal culture (Mousterian culture) the most typical handicrafts were quartz spires, scrapers, daggers and other stone and bone tools. They were used for wood or leather treatment, cutting meat, or for hunting .

Traces of burning fire and burned animal bones were found as well. It is assumed that early man often settled Veternica cave. However, at one point in time the entrance caved in, and it was almost completely covered up. Since then, people stopped living in it and just dwelled occasionally while bear hunting.

Most findings from Veternica cave are currently held at the Institute for Quarter geology and paleontology of the Croatian Academy of Science and Art:

Life in Veternica

At first glance most visitors to Veternica might think life in these conditions is not possible – darkness, bare sharp rocks, little nutrients … However, observing through the eyes of bio-cavers, besides bats we can find many different organisms adapted to underground life. Which are the adaptations? Loss of pigment, wings, eyes, decreased metabolism and need for food, and development of touch and smell are just a few adaptations of these animals.

Where do they live?

Cave organisms have two basic habitats: aquatic and terrestrial. Water is one of the most important factors in underground habitats. In Veternica, in channels behind the area adapted for tourists, there are 15 water streams that originate from a wider catchment area of the southwestern part of Medvednica. Although rich with streams, it does not abound with water fauna to the same degree. Until now determined aquatic fauna are crayfish Niphargus stygius likanus , and leech from genus Trocheta.

Terrestrial fauna dominates in species and abundance, as well as an exceptional number of endemic species. Some species never exit the cave, they are born, live and die here (Troglobiontes). One example is Coleoptera Anophtalmus kaufmanni weingärtneri , an endemic subspecies in Medvednica's underground.

Other species occasionally exit to the surface (Troglophiles) – for example bats, and some butterflies. On remains of timber, myceliums of fungi genus Coprinus occur .

The ones that accidentally wander into the underground are called Trogloxenes.

Bats species recorded in Veternica cave
How does a food chain in Veternica cave looks like?




Every year in August, European countries which are signatory countries of the Agreement on the conservation of populations of European bats (UNEP/EUROBATS) mark „European bat night“ – an annual event to draw public awareness to menaced bat populations in Europe. The year 2010 is the 14th anniversary of European bat night.

For several years, the Public Institution “Nature Park Medvednica” has celebrated this day.

There are many prejudices and negative stories about bats. European Bat Night is focused primarily on educating the general public about these flying mammals, their life space, factors that are most hazardous etc. If you don't know the story about the bat Florijan, certainly you may have prejudice about bats. Don't worry; we will help you to painlessly solve the prejudice step by step during European bat night in Nature Park Medvednica. Therefore come into Veternica cave every year, every last Saturday in August and meet Florijan. Bring your child and have fun with us!

>> European bat night in Medvednica Nature Park 2010. Flash 9 (480x360, 27.37 MB)




















>> Veternica cave Flash 9 (448x352, 33.49 MB)

Brochure - Veternica cave ( pdf, 1.78 MB)

design: eko-info studio
Medvednica Nature Park, Bliznec b.b., Zagreb 10000, Croatia
Phone: 01/4586-317, Fax: 01/4586-318,