We are just finishing our 2-weeks long vacation time. In this time Slovenian government enforced firstly a ban on movement between the statistical regions then a ban of movement between municipalities. All due to rising numbers of people infected with COVID-19. As we live in Central Slovenian Region, I started planning all the trips we could make in this area in the beginning of our holidays. While complying with all the rules about social distancing and wearing a mask in public spaces. This meant I was mostly looking at visiting some natural wonders. However, while thinking of possible destinations, I found out we have already visited quite some of interesting places in the past. So I prepared a list of best half and full day trips in the Central Slovenia Region, if you will need some ideas for fun activities once it is safe to make trips again.
Lake Podpeč, St. Anne Church and Iški vintgar
Lake Podpeč is small but one of the deepest natural lakes in Slovenia. In summer time you can swim in the lake, in all times, except corona times, you can also enjoy a nice meal with a lake-view in the nearby restaurant. But before swimming, you can hike to the St. Anne hill, which takes approximately 30 minutes from the lake. On the peak there is a picturesque Church of St. Anne and you are also rewarded with amazing views of Ljubljana Marshes and the whole Central Slovenian region, including the Alps in the distance. For more natural beauties and refreshing sites you can continue the trip and visit nearby Iški vintgar. This interesting gorge, in which Iška river floats, offers a nice walk among scenic river pools.
Polhograjska Grmada and Polhov Gradec Mansion
For a bit longer hike you can go to Polhograjska Grmada. To reach its peak on 898 meters above sea level it takes approximately 1 hour and a half one way from the town of Polhov Gradec. The path offers firstly the view of the town and then of green meadows and nearby hills. On the top you can see all the way to Ljubljana. After the hike do stop also at the Polhov Gradec Mansion and walk around its nice park. Inside the mansion, which dates back to the 13th and 14th century but got most of its present look in the baroque period, today is home of the Museum of Post and Telecommunications. Outside on the courtyard do not miss the beautiful Neptune well from the 17th century.
Rašica and Russian Dacha
Rašica hill, also known as Vrh Staneta Kosca, is situated in the center of Central Slovenia Region. If you start your walk from the village Rašica, it is a little less than an hour long hike one way to reach the peak, which is 647 meters above sea level. On the top you can also climb 17 meters high viewing tower. From the top you get nice views of neighboring Šmarna gora, also a popular hiking destination for the locals, and all the Ljubljana basin – if the weather is nice. After the hike you can visit newly renovated Russian Dacha house in nearby Zgornje Gameljne. Inside this beautiful villa you can step back in year 1908 and see the history of its owners and their life. They also have delicious coffee and cakes in the dacha’s cafe.
Spring of Kamniška Bistrica, Predaselj Gorge, Orglice Waterfall and Kamnik
At the most northern corner of Central Slovenia Region you can find beautiful spring of Kamniška Bistrica river. The water comes out of the ground from moss-grown rocks and firstly stops in a small lake. It is considered one of the cleanest river in Slovenia and after 33 kilometers it flows into Sava river. At its spring you can get breathtaking views of surrounding high peaks of Kamnik-Savinja Alps. Nearby it is also the Royal Hunting lodge of the King Alexander, which was designed by famous Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik in 1933. There you can also start an approximately hour long round walk to visit beautiful Predaselj Gorge. In the gorges Veliki and Mali Predaselj it is the narrowest part of Kamniška Bistrica’s riverbed. At the deepest point it is 30 meters deep. The walk around the gorges offers a beautiful view of the river and its pure blue colour.
Not far away is also the starting point for a hike to Orglice Waterfall. It takes approximately one hour one way and in the wet season the waterfall is 30-meters high. But already the path that leads along Kamniška Bela river is nice, with views of surrounding mountains and in the autumn time of beautiful fall trees.
After all the hiking you can also stop in Kamnik, one of the most beautiful medieval towns in Slovenia. There you can visit the Main Square and walk along the most beautiful street Šutna. There you can find colourful houses, one of them is the birthplace of Rudolf Maister, Slovene military officer, poet and political activist, and the parish church of Mary Immaculate. You can also visit castles Mali grad and Stari grad for some views of the city. For some insight on the history of the region visit Zaprice Manor, which today houses Kamnik Regional Museum.
Technical Museum of Slovenia, Vrhnika and springs of Ljubljanica river
The largest museum in Slovenia, the Technical Museum of Slovenia, is located in beautiful building of the former Carthusian monastery called Bistra Castle. The museum includes many permanent and occasional collections from agriculture to electricity, wood working, water driving machinery, textiles and printing. For us the most interesting collection was about mobility. In the museum you can see for example the oldest preserved car in Slovenia, prestigious cars used by the former president of Yugoslavia Tito and interesting collection of bicycles.
Bistra Castle is also one of many springs of Ljubljanica river. The river that flows through the capital of Slovenia Ljubljana has three main groups of springs: Močilnik, Retovje and Bistra. You can visit all of them and we especially liked Retovje and its nice walking path. Ljubljanica is also known as The River of Seven Names, as it combines a few rivers with different names that come together as Ljubljanica near Vrhnika. So when you are exploring its sources you can also stop in Vrhnika. Take a walk the city center, visit Cankar Memorial House with exhibition about one of the greatest Slovenian writers Ivan Cankar, and admire bourgeois Villa Kunstelj.
Velika planina is another natural wonder of Central Slovenia Region. It is a karstified mountain plateau situated on the average elevation of 1.500 meters above sea and includes a few settlement areas. Its highest point is Mount Gradišče with 1.665 meters of elevation. You can reach Velika planina by foot, car or by cable car. On the top you can admire green alpine pastures with more than 200 huts, which belong to shepherds or are accommodation for tourists. You also get magnificent views of the highest peaks of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps and Ljubljana basin. In the summer pastures are full of cattle and in the winter time you can ski. There is also a charming Snow Mary chapel on the top.
The whole plateau is also perfect for hiking. We decided to try out the round hiking trail named the Footsteps of the Shepherds. This educational trail takes approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes and includes eleven teaching tables that each describe one feature of Velika planina. This way you learn about the customs of the area, architecture, how shepherds once live and all about the natural sights.
When visiting Velika planina do have in mind that it is a mountain area with very changeable weather. So be prepared for cold, wind, strong sun, fog, rain and early snow. 🙂