Welcome to Slovenian Alps
In Slovenia, when we talk of the Gorenjska region (Upper Carniola), we think of the Alps: the two thousand-metre summits of the Julian Alps which extend from the northwest of Slovenia across the border into Italy; the peaks of the Karavanke range and the Kamnik-Savinje Alps which link the north of Slovenia with Austria, and also, the connected Subalpine region full of surprisingly varied cultural and natural peculiarities. Slovenian Alps are trully the sunny side of life.
Nowhere are the highest alpine walls so accessible, while few places are so beloved by kings, presidents and artists from the world over. Where else are such expanses of pristine nature so easily accessible? Slovenia’s Alps are an accessible luxury. In this pastoral idyll life still beats the pulse of ancient times, the dolce vita of medieval towns, with luck forged in age-old ironwork, dancing to the rhythm of the most popular folk melody in the world. …It's so simple and so close!
Places of interest in Gorenjska region:
With its green-blue lake, the little island with its church and the medieval castle on the crags above, Bled is the most famous view of Slovenia. This tourist gem of international fame located at the edge of the Triglav National Park was among the nominees for seven new wonders of the World!
You can enjoy the lake - the venue of several World Rowing Championships - on a traditional wood boat called a pletna, or drive around the perimeter by horse and carriage (the good old fijaker), or be breath taken by the views from the castle top.
Further to this, you can find here a wealth of cultural heritage and boundless possibilities for mountain recreation, you may also look after your well-being as the traditions of cosmopolitan spa tourism reaching back to 19th century are preserved by the excellent wellness centres and spa's.
Bled Castle above the lake
The island in the middle of the lake is a unique symbol of both Bled and Slovenia - it being the only island in the country - but high on the cliffs overlooking the lake is situated the picturesque Bled Castle, that holds a museum, printing works in the watch tower, irresistible temptations in the wine cellar, the Herbal Gallery and the Knight's Hall...
A venue for very special events!
Bled Days, Bled Festival and the Okarina Ethno Festival
Every fourth weekend in July there are the Bled Days; with promenade concerts, a fair, lights floating on the lake and magnificent fireworks. In early July, Bled is the venue for the International Music Festival with an authentic productions of classical music, whilst for the past two decades, the town comes alive every August with music from across the world during The Okarina Ethno Festival.
Arnold Rikli and miraculous climate
In 1854, the Swiss physician, Dr. Arnold Rikli established the foundations of spa tourism in Bled, with its special combination of air, sun and water baths. Rikli's Sports Days take place every July and are dedicated to this great man.
Souvenirs to make your wishes come true
The church of the Assumption on the island has a bell that you can ring in order to (hopefully!) make your wishes come true. According to the legend, the original bell is believed to have been lost at the bottom of the lake. The story tells that in the 16th century, a widow who was so distraught at this loss, had all her silver and gold cast in a bell, but on the way to the island the boat together with the bell and boatmen sank due to a sudden terrible storm. After the widow's death the Pope sent a consecrated bell to the Church of the Assumption, which is the one still rung to this day!
The bird of paradise is yet another of Bled's specialities. A peacock-shaped brooch was found in the area dating from the 6th century, symbolising the source of life and fortune, and you may buy a replica in Bled as a souvenir – ranging in size from a small brooch to a golden pendant or even a paperweight.
Creme de la creme!
The symbol of Bled’s cuisine is a delicious cream cake (‘Kremšnita’ or ‘Kremna Rezina’) of which, eleven million pieces are believed to have been made and sold over the last sixty years. Whoever has tasted one knows there's nothing like it!
In addition, let other traditional Carniolan dishes surprise you! Many ideas are collected together in the "Taste Bled" booklet that details the whole of Bled's culinary.
With a background of mystical mountains, Lake Bohinj is the perfect venue for those who seek tranquillity and relaxation in nature. In summer, the place comes alive with bathers and water sports enthusiasts, whereas in winter - with the mountains covered in snow and the lake frozen - skaters, cross-country skiers and people in search of a winter idyll flock here.
There are many possibilities for recreation at any time of the year!
More than a half of the Bohinj region lies within the Triglav National Park. Climb up to the popular Savica waterfall above Lake Bohinj or visit the wild Mostnica Gorge. Take a look at the unique hayracks (kozolec), visit the Iron Age site of Ajdovski Gradec or the Zois Manor - the one-time residence of the last proprietor of the Bohinj ironworks. There are plenty of other small museums within which to discover the rich cultural heritage of the area.
The largest Slovenian natural lake is some 4,100m long, up to 1,200m wide and up to 45m deep. Filled by the river Savica from the readily accessible 71m Savica waterfall, the lake is - among other things - the home of Lake Char (Salvelinus alpinus).
Cow's Ball and other events
On the third Sunday in September, Ukanc is the venue of the Cow Ball (Kravji Bal), a traditional event that seeks to preserve the old traditions of Bohinj pastoral farming and cheese-making that accompanied the return of cowherds and their cattle from the high mountain pastures. Every spring Bohinj hosts the International Wild Flower Festival, whilst in summer there are midsummer nights and the Bohinj Musical Summer festival, that features some of the very best classical musicians.
Church of St. John the Baptist
The church, together with the adjacent bridge and the view of the lake at Ribčev Laz, is the symbol of Bohinj. It was built before 1300a.d, and later reconstructed and decorated with Baroque altars. It is one of the most beautiful examples of medieval architecture and painting in Slovenia.
GORJE AND POKLJUKA
A small group of villages and settlements in close proximity to Bled invite you into the untamed nature of the Triglav National Park. The indigenous houses with their stables, a number of technical heritage sites that include watermills, the remains of ironworks and the tradition of bell-making all promise a genuine cultural and historical heritage experience. Artistic works include painted beehive panels, Napoleon’s rock, tombstone by famous architect Plečnik and many others.
All this beauty is complemented by the picturesque landscape of Gorje, featuring the forest-covered plateaus of Mežakla and Pokljuka with its world-renowned Biathlon Centre. On the margins of Gorje is the wonderful Vintgar Gorge that is incised into the picturesque natural landscape.
This plateau lies between 800m and 1,300m in the Julian Alps between the Radovna and Sava Dolinka rivers and is criss crossed with hiking and cycling trails. A part of Mežakla is within the Triglav National Park and one of the most interesting sights is Snežna Jama - the Snow cave.
The Vintgar gorge was made accessible with bridges and gallery walkways in the 19th century and is illustrative of the wild landscape of alpine streams. The 1.6km path has many attractions including Žumer's gallery walkway, a number of pools and rapids and the 13m Šum waterfall.
This karstic plateau in the Julian Alps is also the largest forested area in the Triglav National Park. Due to its exceptional and varied natural heritage and energy points the plateau has many trails suitable for activities all year-round such as hiking, cycling, biathlon and cross-country skiing.
The Pokljuka Gorge
The gorge is a dry, narrow and deep ravine and at 2km, is the longest in Slovenia - and full of surprises, with its natural arches, overhanging rocks, caves and gallery walkways and wooden bridges across the narrowest parts.
This medieval town has an attractive old centre that has been carefully restored and protected as well as a lovely castle park. The original medieval walls encircle the only surviving moat in Slovenia. A number of museums hold a rich cultural and ethnographic heritage whilst the rows of late medieval, renaissance and baroque civic houses are venues of many varied events.
Radovljica was the home of Anton Tomaž Linhart, the first Slovenian dramatist and is the centre of Slovenian apiculture, as well as being famous for its early music. In the surrounding area, there are many natural, cultural and historical tourist attractions. Definitely worth seeing is Kropawith Iron Forging Museum, and the pilgrimage destination of Brezje, considered to be the spiritual centre of Slovenia. Not far away, there is Lesce with its Alpine flying centre, the Šobec camping site and Begunje home to Slovenian alpine dancing songs.
The Radovljica Festival is the oldest festival of early music in Slovenia. The Path of Venus event evokes a medieval way of life, and during summer and winter, diverse events are held in Radovljica old town and Radovljica Mansion.
Lectovo Srce (Lebkuchenherz)
This beautifully decorated honey-bread confection can also be eaten! These popular sweet products are best known when shaped as a heart, and the most beautiful of them are preserved in the museum collection of the Lectar Restaurant in Radovljica, where there is also a dedicated workshop making these ‘Lectar Hearts’.
The Apiculture Museum in the old town centre is the place to learn about this important aspect of the town’s heritage. The museum holds a collection of painted beehive doors, often humorously illustrated, and which are now an indispensable and unique souvenir of the Gorenjska region.
One of the oldest and most carefully preserved medieval towns in Slovenia enraptures merely by walking through its two squares. The old town centre is composed of an upper square called Mestni Trg or Plac, and the lower, Spodnji Trg or Lontrg, both of which are dominated by Škofja Loka Castle. Rich historical heritage is on display in its museum collections.
The town surroundings include such treasures as the old farmhouses at Suha, Stara Loka and Puštal. Behind the town walls, but not far from the town centre, you may visit a number of natural attractions including the Lubniška Jama cave system and Mary's Chasm.
Škofja Loka Castle
The castle hosts a museum with rich collections that range across archaeology, cultural history, art history and ethnology to the natural sciences. The castle has been extended and altered over the years and so it is an interesting mosaic of various architectural styles. A trail leads to the castle gate.
The Škofja Loka Passion play (Processio Locopolitana), is the first dramatic text in the Slovenian language, and was written by Capuchin Romuald Marušič. What used to be just a procession has now become a true spectacle, with over 600 participants. The next performance will take place in 2015!
Škofja Loka is famous for its little honey breads (Loški Medenjaki), made by pressing fresh dough into hand-carved wooden moulds of various shapes and motifs. Rye or white flour is mixed with honey, pepper, cinnamon, cloves and potash.
The Crowned Blackamoor
Škofja Loka coat-of-arms depicts a blackamoor, and the legend tells that this black servant of Bishop Abraham of Freising saved the petrified bishop from a huge bear.
What was once a centre of iron smelting is today a town of technical heritage. The city holds a great number of preserved ironworker’s houses and the only example of a blast furnace to be preserved in Europe - a special source of pride for local inhabitants. This rich cultural heritage echoes in the collections of the Železniki Museum within the Plavec House and in the churches.
The Parish Church of St. Anton located in the town centre is worthy of special attention. The renowned Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik also left his mark in nearby Dolenja Vas and Selca.
Železniki also boast a wealth of natural heritage. There is plenty to enjoy in the surroundings, including the Biškova Skala in Dražgoše and the Davča waterfalls.
Lace and flax
When the last blast furnace was shut down, the making and selling of lace bloomed in this former ironworking town. Every July this tradition is revived during the Lacemaking Days. Another important cultural and ethnographic event is the Day of Flax Dressers in Davča that features demonstrations of flax production.
The most known cottage industry in Dražgoše is the baking of honey pastries called Dražgoše ‘little bread’. They are handmade from honey dough and each is uniquely decorated with typical ornaments. The making of these ‘little breads’ is a tradition that dates back over 200 years.
Plnada, the oldest house in Železniki, was built in the 16th century. It is also the most important ironworker’s house within the town. The design follows the pattern of the famous Homan house inŠkofja Loka, and the architectural importance and integrity is enhanced by the survival of the associated mill, Venetian wood saw and a hayrack.
TRIGLAV NATIONAL PARK
The only national park in Slovenia protects the last area of original alpine nature. Its international significance is confirmed by the European Diploma of the Council of Europe, listing as a Natura 2000 site and in particular, UNESCO’s decision to include the park in the international network of biosphere reserves, MAB in 2003.
Natural features: More than a thousand valuable natural features
Situated in an area of glacial lakes and valleys, karst springs and waterfalls and the remains of the once magnificent Triglav glacier - also called the Zeleni Sneg (Green snow) by the locals - the highest peaks take your breath away. Hidden between are typical high-mountain karstic phenomena and a subterranean world with over 600 caves discovered to date. Here's also the north face of Triglav, the second highest in the Julian Alps, and a number of natural windows, the largest being in Prisank (2,547 m) together with the famous Ajdovska Deklica rock formation that resembles the face of a young woman.
The park has a wealth of plant species: indigenous alpine flowers, the remains of virgin forests, larches over a millennium old, the most southern swamplands in Europe, a number of wetlands… It is also the habitat of numerous animal species, such as chamois, mountain goat, golden eagle, wildcat, western capercaillie, hazel grouse, Tengmalm's owl...
Cultural features: The architecture of rock and timber
In the park area, the architecture of rock and timer join together, with over 300 units of real estate cultural heritage. It has 25 settlements, each with distinctive characteristics and herdsmen's settlements. Special mention should be made of the Pocar homestead in Zgornja Radovna, whilst the sacred architecture includes the Church of St. John and the Church of the Holy Spirit at Lake Bohinj, the small Memorial Church of the Holy Spirit at Javorca and the Russian chapel under the Vršič pass. A very special reminder of the past is the metal Aljaž Tower on the peak of Triglav, the highest Slovenian mountain (2,864 m), which gave the park its name.
Ljubljana is the political and cultural heart of the Slovenian nation. It is an important European commercial, business, exhibition and congressional centre as well as the transport, science and education centre of Slovenia.
As its inhabitants and numerous visitors will tell you, Ljubljana is, indeed, a people-friendly city. Categorised as a medium-sized European city, it offers everything a metropolis does yet preserves its small-town friendliness.
Its geographical position in the centre of Europe has determined Ljubljana as a natural meeting place for merchants and soldiers as well as - and more than once - peacemakers. The victors of the Napoleonic wars selected this peaceful city as the site of the Holy Alliance congress, which in 1821 sealed the European political geography for years to come.
In Ljubljana the old meets the new; and it seems that history has spent all of the settlement's five millennia preparing it to become the nation's capital. It has managed to retain traces from all periods of its rich history; from the legacy of Roman Emona; through to the Renaissance, Baroque and Art Nouveau periods characterised in the house fronts and ornate doorways of the city centre, the romantic bridges adorning the Ljubljanica river, the lopsided rooftops and a park reaching deep into the city centre. Here eastern and western cultures met; and the Italian concept of art combined with the sculptural aesthetics of Central European cathedrals.
The city owes its present appearance partly to Italian baroque and partly to Art Nouveau, which is the style of the numerous buildings erected immediately after the earthquake of 1895. In the first half of the 20th century, modern Ljubljana was shaped by the strong personal style of Jože Plečnik, a great European architect and a local of Ljubljana. The cityscape was complemented by his modernist followers as well as by creations of the "New Wave" of acknowledged young architects. All the different facets of Ljubljana blend harmoniously into a single image.
Ljubljana is a city of culture. It is home to numerous theatres, museums and galleries, and boasts one of the oldest philharmonic orchestras in the world. The first music society in Slovenia, the Academia philharmonicorum, was founded in 1701. It was a vehicle for baroque music and also facilitated the development of musical production in this region. Its honorary members included such renowned composers as Joseph Haydn, Ludwig van Beethoven and Johannes Brahms, and distinguished musicians such as the violinist Nicolo Paganini. Between 1881 and 1882, at the very start of his career, Gustav Mahler was its resident conductor.
For the people of Ljubljana culture is a way of living and thinking and is very much a part of everyday life. Over 10,000 cultural events take place in the city every year, among which there are 10 international festivals. The inhabitants of Ljubljana and its visitors can admire artists from all the different fields - from music, theatre and fine arts to the alternative and avant-garde. In warmer months, the tables and chairs of the numerous cafés fill the banks of the Ljubljanica and the old city markets. It is here, after an almost obligatory Saturday visit to the Ljubljana market or the Sunday flea market, that the locals meet for a morning coffee or for an evening chat with friends.
The first impression a visitor gets of Ljubljana is that it is an exceptionally young city. It is home to over 50,000 students, who give it a special vibe. As four Slovene regions meet in Ljubljana, the city's numerous restaurants and inns offer a wide range of local delicacies, not to mention superb wines. Ljubljana did not earn the label of "the city of wine and vine" for nothing. In the past it was the wine-trading centre of the region and grapevines were planted on the slopes leading up to the present-day castle by the inhabitants of the Roman settlement of Emona. Today scientists are drawn to the city because of its high-calibre institutes and university, as are artists due to its world-famous graphic biennial, art academy and countless art galleries. International businessmen, economists and experts from all fields frequently attend the city's many business and congressional meetings, exhibitions and trade fairs.
In short: Ljubljana is a city that people often return to, be it because of work or because of pleasant memories of previous visits. It is similar to a number of other pleasant European cities - yet it is different - and if you want to be fully assured that Ljubljana is an interesting, pretty and friendly place then just ask the locals - they love it. And with a name that, according to one theory, means beloved, how could they do otherwise?
Postojna Cave is a network of 20 kilometres of passages, galleries and chambers into which experienced guides have accompanied more than 35 million visitors in the last 188 years. It is the largest cave in the “classic karst” and the most visited show cave in Europe. In 1872 railway lines were laid in the cave; electricity arrived in 1884. Today you begin your visit aboard the cave train; the electric lighting allows you to admire the size and splendour of the underground world, where the geological past is recorded in a unique manner. Visitors to the cave are dazzled by a wealth of speleothems: calcite formations, stalactites and stalagmites abounding in a variety of shapes, colours and age. The constant temperatureinthe caves ranges from 8 to 10° C. A guided visit lasts an hour and a half.
Take the train through the underground world of the largest cave in the Classic Karst and the most visited tourist cave in Europe to see magnificent caverns and glistening stalactite formations. View the largest collection of cave animals in one place.