GORENJSKA: The Slovenian Alps

0
2277
Slovenia Alps - Gorenjska

Gorenjska, or the Slovenian Alps as it is most commonly called in English, is comprised of several municipalities, all of which are bound together by culture, history and of course geography, but at the same time also have their own unique stories to tell.

Embraced on nearly all sides by the Julian Alps, Western Karavanke and Kamnik-Savinja Alps ranges, the so-called Slovenian Alps was formed as a unified tourist destination in order to combine all the amazing things that the municipalities of Slovenia’s Gorenjska region have to offer in one easily manageable package. Tourists need not pay attention to municipal boundaries, and can instead focus on experiencing the sights, activities and events that will surely make their visit an unforgettable one.

Some of Slovenia’s most famous sights, towns and attractions, such as Bled and Bohinj lakes, the ski resorts of Kranjska Gora and Krvavec, Brdo Castle, Triglav National Park and even the country’s only major airport are found in the region. Two of these, Bohinj and Kranjska Gora, are also among the largest municipalities in the country. However, even some of the smaller and/or lesser known municipalities in the region have much to offer, such as Jezersko, with its picture perfect Ravenska Kočna valley, or Žirovnica, which may only be a shade over 40 square kilometers, but is the birthplace of more than half a dozen notable Slovenes, including one of the most revered of them all, France Prešeren. www.slovenian-alps.com.

Natural Attractions and Outdoor Activities in Gorenjska

The Gorenjska region, also known as Upper Carniola, is one of the most picturesque and diverse regions in Slovenia. It offers a wide range of activities and attractions for visitors of all ages. Here are some highlights of what you can do in the Gorenjska region:

1. Lake Bled

  • Activities: Boating to Bled Island, visiting Bled Castle, walking around the lake, swimming, and tasting the famous Bled cream cake (“kremšnita”).
  • Description: One of Slovenia’s most iconic and romantic destinations, known for its emerald-green lake, a church on the island, and a medieval castle perched on a cliff.

2. Lake Bohinj

  • Activities: Hiking, swimming, kayaking, paddleboarding, and visiting Savica Waterfall.
  • Description: A serene and less crowded alternative to Lake Bled, located in Triglav National Park, offering pristine nature and various outdoor activities.

3. Triglav National Park

  • Activities: Hiking, mountaineering, cycling, and wildlife watching.
  • Description: Slovenia’s only national park, home to Mount Triglav, the highest peak in the country, and numerous natural attractions like waterfalls, gorges, and alpine meadows.

4. Vintgar Gorge

  • Activities: Walking along the wooden pathways and bridges through the gorge, photography.
  • Description: A stunning 1.6 km long gorge carved by the Radovna River, featuring crystal-clear waters, rapids, and waterfalls.

5. Velika Planina

  • Activities: Hiking, exploring traditional herdsmen’s huts, and tasting local dairy products.
  • Description: A high alpine pasture known for its unique wooden huts and breathtaking panoramic views.

6. Kranjska Gora

  • Activities: Hiking, cycling, visiting Lake Jasna, and exploring the Planica Nordic Center.
  • Description: A popular resort town for both winter and summer activities, located near the borders of Austria and Italy.

Cultural and Historical Sites

7. Radovljica

  • Activities: Visiting the Beekeeping Museum, exploring the medieval old town, and enjoying local cuisine.
  • Description: A charming town known for its well-preserved old town and rich beekeeping tradition.

8. Škofja Loka

  • Activities: Exploring the old town, visiting the Škofja Loka Castle and Museum, and hiking in the surrounding hills.
  • Description: One of Slovenia’s oldest towns, featuring medieval architecture and a picturesque setting.

9. Kropa

  • Activities: Visiting the Iron Forging Museum, exploring the historic center.
  • Description: Known for its ironworking history, Kropa offers insights into traditional blacksmithing.

Adventure and Sports

10. Soča River Valley

  • Activities: Rafting, kayaking, canyoning, and fishing.
  • Description: A paradise for water sports enthusiasts, known for its emerald-green river and stunning natural scenery.

11. Paragliding in Bohinj

  • Activities: Tandem paragliding flights.
  • Description: Experience the thrill of paragliding over the stunning landscape of Lake Bohinj and the Julian Alps.

12. Cycling and Mountain Biking

  • Activities: Exploring various cycling routes, from easy trails to challenging mountain paths.
  • Description: Gorenjska offers numerous cycling routes suitable for all levels, with spectacular views.

Festivals and Events

13. Bled Days and Bled Night

  • Activities: Light shows, music, and cultural performances.
  • Description: A summer festival in Bled featuring illuminated boats on the lake and various entertainment.

14. Cow Ball in Bohinj

  • Activities: Traditional celebrations, music, dancing, and local food.
  • Description: A festival marking the return of cattle from the high pastures, celebrated with traditional festivities.

Wellness and Relaxation

15. Wellness Centers

  • Activities: Spa treatments, saunas, and relaxation therapies.
  • Description: Various wellness centers in the region, particularly in Bled and Bohinj, offer a range of relaxation and wellness services.

The Gorenjska region is a destination that truly offers something for everyone, from stunning natural landscapes and outdoor adventures to rich cultural heritage and relaxation opportunities.

With a total size of 880 square kilometres, the park accounts for some four per cent of Slovenia’s total area, and in addition to the stunning natural beauty that is waiting to be discovered around seemingly every turn, it also has a great wealth of diverse plant and animal life.

ACTIVE GORENJSKA: The entire Gorenjska region is a paradise for lovers of sports and outdoor activities no matter if it’s winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, snowshoeing or ice climbing, or those more suited to warmer weather like hiking, cycling, fishing, golf or numerous water-based activities. If you’re feeling especially adventurous you can hike to Slovenia’s highest point (the 2864m Mt Triglav) or even literally take flight on a paraglider, ultralite aircraft or regular panoramic tour, all of which provide unforgettable vantage points of the region. In all there are said to be more than 60 different sports that can be easily participated in or organized with the help of local agencies, and that number is only surprising to us because it seems a little low!

FAMILY FUN: Gorenjska not only provides countless ways for families to enjoy themselves together, but it also offers great value when doing so – one of the positive benefits of visiting a region that is known throughout Slovenia for being home to the country’s thriftiest people. From the various discounts bestowed by the freely available Gorenjska Guest Green Card to the hearty portions and large family apartments found at many guesthouses, you’ll find that your euros tend to go quite far here.

In addition to the sports and outdoor activities mentioned above, younger family members will be enchanted by the local fairytales that come to life during special events or at attractions such as Kekec Land. For older kids there are no less than five adrenaline parks in the region, where they can quite literally run across treetops and swing through the air like Tarzan (all with the utmost safety of course). In recent years, even many museums and exhibitions have become more child-friendly, with the development of interactive presentations and special guided tours.

TRADITIONAL EVENTS: From top international sporting events attracting tens of thousands of spectators, such as the Ski Flying World Championships in Planica or the Pokljuka World Cup Biathlon, to some truly unique local festivals like the annual Potato Feast in Šenčur or the celebration of one of Slovenia’s most beloved folk heroes during Kekec Days in Kranjska Gora, hardly a week passes during the year without some worthwhile event taking place in the region. The calendar is at its fullest during the late spring and summer months with an especially wide variety of music festivals taking place, but the winter is also a joyous time of year, and one of the Slovenia’s largest cultural events, Prešeren Fair, is held in Kranj each February.

TRIGLAV NATIONAL PARK: Slovenia has a well-deserved reputation for possessing a nearly unimaginable amount of natural beauty within a relatively small package, with nearly two-thirds of its territory covered by forests and some 35 per cent protected as Natura 2000 designated sites, while there are three regional parks, dozens of landscape parks and hundreds of individual natural monuments also given official protected status. However, there is only one national park in the country, and that is of course Triglav National Park, the majority of which is found in Gorenjska.