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KAMNIŠKA BISTRICA VALLE: The lungs of the Heart of Slovenia

The heart of Slovenia is a heart lined with some incredible valleys, none more so than the Kamniška Bistrica Valley.

 

A hike, cycle or even just a stroll through the valley presents the prospective visitor with a vast array of sights and sounds. Right next to Planinski Dom Kamniška Bistrica, the source of the Kamniška Bistrica River springs to life out of moss-covered rocks, the cold water as clear as water can be. It then stops in an artificial lake, before continuing its journey to meet with the Sava and the Ljubljanica. On a bright sunny day, with the sun peeking through the trees and the lake glistening, this experience is worth a visit to the valley all in itself.

Near the lake is Plečnik’s Mansion. Formerly known as the Royal Hunting Lodge of King Alexander I, it was designed in 1932 by the architect Jože Plečnik (1872-1957) and was frequently used by Josip Tito himself during the Yugoslav years. There’s also a Memorial Park dedicated to all the lives lost in the Kamnik-Savinja Alps. The park was established in the 1970s.

At the narrowest part of the Kamniška Bistrica riverbed are the two Predaselj gorges. Imaginatively named Veliki Pesadelj (Big Presadelj) and Mali Presadelj (you guessed it, Small Presadelj), of which the larger of the two drops 30m at its deepest point. The gorge opens up, giving you a delightful view of the pure river below. Believe us, it’s stunning. Those with a sense of adventure who wish to get a closer look can arrange so, and with the local mountain rescue team’s assistance it’s possible to be lowered down into the gorge. Not for the faint hearted.

Everyone loves a waterfall, and the valley doesn’t disappoint in the shape of Orglice Waterfall. Some 30m high, it’s known to run dry if the weather’s been particularly hot, but it’s also rumoured to give a sound not dissimilar to that of someone playing a harmonica. Orglice is the Slovene word for harmonica, so maybe there’s something in the story. To reach the falls, enter from Predbela. Mills frequent the many streams hidden within, and there’s also a great selection of options for the hiking-minded, with Grintovec (2,559m) arguably the most popular. Cycling paths are also readily found throughout.

As for accommodation, two options really stick out. Kamp Alpe (www.kamp-alpe.com) has space for tents, caravans and motorhomes as well as the further option of six ‘glamping’ homes in the shape of small wooden huts without electricity or water. Lots of outdoor activities are also available here. The campsite is open from May 1 until September 30. Open from mid-April until mid-October, Planinski Dom Kamniška Bistrica offers something a little more traditional. In the upper part of the valley near the artificial lake and source of the Kamniška Bistrica, this delightful alpine retreat has everything you need to regenerate yourself after a long hike, or to prepare yourself for a forthcoming one. Tourist Information, Kamniška Bistrica 9, tel. +386 18 32 55 44.

To discover other unique places in Slovenia, check out THE SLOVENIA BOOK – AN INSIDER’S GUIDE TO THE BEST OF SLOVENIA