Located only one hour from Ljubljana (you will be hearing a lot of that from me!), Jezersko (literally meaning “Lake Region”) is a magical place filled with dozens of hiking trails, including a set which conveniently convert to cross-country ski treks in the snowy winter months.
Jezersko offers stunning vistas of majestic mountains nestled in a vast voluptuous valley. I would recommend using the restaurant Gostisce On Plansarskem Jezeru as your home base and treating yourself to a delicious traditional Slovene meal complete with the joyful clatter of locals laughing and clinking glasses either before or after venturing out on your journey.
Heading out from this restaurant, you could do an easy two-hour loop in the Ravenska Kočna Valley past the still lake of Plansarskem Jezeru, along Jezernica stream, and through cow pastures, while enjoying views of both sumptuously green mountainscapes and the stunningly stark north face of the Kamnik-Savinka Alps and their glaciers jutting out into the sky. You will also see the highest peak of Mt. Grintovec.
If you want to venture further, the clearly marked loop around the meadow lands leads to a central hub of harder hiking through forested trails and up the mountains for fantastic views. You can even hike up to the glaciers. These hikes are not for the faint of heart and require some serious physical fitness. If you want to cut straight to the serious stuff there is ample parking right at the trail heads for the harder hikes.
Aside from the spectacular beauty, one of the greatest parts about hiking in this area, in my opinion, is the fact that it does not feel touristy in the least (ironic coming from me, I know). Unlike visits to Bled or Bohinj and the surrounding areas, you do not encounter crowds or tourists. This area is filled with mostly local nature lovers out to enjoy some of Slovenia’s finest.
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Lake Bled is probably one of the most visited destinations in Slovenia, and there is not much mystery as to why. With its pristine glacier carved lake surrounded by the Julien Alps, Lake Bled is home to a culturally rich town peppering a portion of the waterfront with charming little restaurants, a 17th century hilltop castle, and a beautiful baroque church situated on its very own island in the middle of the lake. I must say I have never seen such a picturesque lake and I had to blink twice to make sure I wasn’t looking at a painting!
This lake is only a half an hour drive from Ljubljana without traffic and we have already visited it several times. If you are looking to swim without too many bells and whistles you can just find a free spot on the shore and jump in. If you prefer a few more amenities, there are a couple of club houses where you can pay a small entrance fee and get a simple lakeside lunch or refreshments, camp out on lounge chairs or hang up your own hammock under a tree, take a dip in dedicated swimming areas surrounded by docks, go down a slide, or play in a sandbox in the shade (I didn’t see any age restrictions!).
The town of Bled also hosts great events including an annual international music and local food & crafts festival in the summer where visitors stroll along the shores waiting to see 10,000 candles that are released into the water at 10 pm followed by fireworks cascading down from the hilltop castle at 11 pm. Everyone (including little tikes…it is Europe after all!) stay up to make sure not to miss out on the action.
Don’t worry if you are not in town for this specific festival, since Bled hosts many great events throughout the year including many athletic (triathlons, etc.) and cultural events. Here is a good link to help plan a visit if you want to take advantage of the goings on.
Bled is a great destination if you are looking for cultural excitement mixed with natural beauty. You should keep in mind that it does get touristy, particularly in August. If you are looking to avoid the crowds (although Slovenia doesn’t get that crowded compared to other places I have been), you could consider visiting at a different time of year. Each season is beautiful here. Lake Bled is also a great jumping off destination to visit Triglav National Park and experience gorgeous gorges, waterfalls, camping, hiking, and other beautiful lakes in the wilderness.
Stay tuned for future articles to learn more about the region!
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