Sometimes it seems that we Slovenians really do not appreciate enough of the beauty of our homeland. We can boast to foreigners about our vast forests, spacious grasslands, many castles, glacial lakes, karst features, the small but nice beach and a capital, full of life. However, how many times do we go and actually spend some time in nature? I myself have missed the green hills and flowery meadows every time I visit the desert regions of the world and only then I realise what treasures are hidden in a small area of our little homeland.
At a young age my parents ‘dragged’ me to Gorenjska as holidays in Croatian were too dangerous because of the Croatian War of Independence (1991-1995). Therefore, my family and some friends spent hot summer days near the cold pools of river Soča, swimming in Lake Bohinj and Bled and in the early morning hours we were winning the Slovenian peaks. With its charm, Lake Bled has fascinated many travellers (among them Janez Vajkard Valvasor). It is surrounded by mountains whose peaks are decorated with white snow from last spring, the green trees and neatly mowed grass. It is the island in the middle of the lake that makes Bled so special. On the island stands a baroque church and in the background on the mighty rock flourishes, according to written sources, the oldest Slovenian city. In Bled, love is in the air all the time, romantic souls will not recover from beautiful walks and coach rides around the lake, traditional boats. Of course it is also catered for overnight stays; you can relax in Youth Hostel Bledec.
Only a few kilometers away from Bled lies no less romantic, but a little less touristy is siege Lake Bohinj, which lies within the Triglav National Park. The best place on the lake is certainly Ukanc in the early morning hours, when the mist is developing around the trees and rising slowly above the calm surface of the lake. Even on hot summer days, mornings are fresh, so the walk to the waterfall Savica (about half an hour) is a good morning exercise. If you’re ready for a little more adventure, I recommend a hike to the Mountain Lake, then to the Mountain Laz. From Lake Bohinj you can drive through the Old Fužina to the parking lot. The circular route takes a little more than three hours, but it is really worth the effort. Through forests, over clearings, between boulders it leads to a small lake, surrounded by dark green pine trees, where you will be welcomed by friendly cows. From here leads a fairly flat trail to one (at least in my opinion) of Slovenia’s most beautiful mountain, Mountain in Laz. Among the scattered house lambs are quietly grazing and their bells here and there override the birds’ singing. There you can still find people who spend summers in the mountains. Of course they take care for the hungry hikers. Sour milk and homemade bread is served and you can also buy cheese and cottage cheese. After such arduous hikes it is nice to rest at Hostel pod Voglom that lies near the lake. I should mention that they will also kindly greet your pets.
An excellent base for many hiking tours in Julian Alps and Karavanke is also Kranjska Gora. Biking, hiking or just lounging on the grass in the Zgornjesavska Valley will relax your body and soul; the youngest will definitely be excited on fairy Kekec Land. Overnight stays will be supplied in the hostel Nika on the outskirts of Kranjska Gora near the Sava River. While in Kranjska Gora, you simply must visit the Trenta Valley. Magic glacial valley Trenta is reachable through Vršič pass and enchants with traditional houses and numerous bridges over the crystal clear Soča River. Driving through the valley, there are so many beautiful picnic areas. If you want a little recreation, you can climb to the source of the river Soča and if you’re brave enough, you can take a bath in the ice cold of Soča in Lepena. Winding roads on rocky slopes along the river leads to Bovec and Kobarid where the Kobarid museum of World War I resides. The museum recalls the suffering of soldiers in the mountains, and describes the human distress brought on by war. There is also located Kobarid Youth Hostel, slightly lower in Tolmin, and you can also find accommodation at the Youth Hostel Paradiso.
Gorenjska never leaves anybody indifferent, since its green forests, vast pastures, clean rivers, white peaks of the mighty mountains and many lakes and waterfalls can’t fail to catch your attention. There are so many places for a picnic in nature, it is a paradise for mushroom picking, hiking and biking, and it is a great place if you love water sports and an adrenalin rush. In short, let the way lead you towards fantastic adventures in Gorenjska.
For more information on this beautiful country please visit our Hostel in Slovenia page.