5 days on the road in Slovenia
The view that comes to mind when pronouncing the word Slovenia is high mountains with lush nature. Exactly, Slovenia is a real green lung. The roads climb among the majestic hills, the birds’ song gives way to the rushing flow of the rivers. All around is nature, every corner is full of life. A trip to Slovenia is an experience that enriches the eyes and the soul.
During my itinerary on the road we had the opportunity to meet many people, their culture, their traditions and to observe landscapes of overwhelming beauty. An intense itinerary between nature, sport and good food. So let’s go back over those wonderful days together.
My first stop was Štanjel, an old settlement in the Karst, perhaps the oldest. Developed around the medieval castle, Štanjel is a silent village where time seems to stand still. Its stone houses, typical of the area, have been built in harmony with the surrounding landscape as evidence of the close bond that existed and exists between man and nature.
The advice is to get lost in the alleys of the village and take a walk inside the Ferrari Garden, belonging to the homonymous villa. A quiet and well-designed place thanks to the skill of the architect Max Fabiani. Its peculiarity is given by the water supply system: due to the lack of surface water, Fabiani assured the villa and the garden of running water thanks to the construction of wells, ponds and cisterns.
Bled Cream Cake
In the evening I arrived in Bled (picture on top). Romantic, small and pretty. Walking along the perimeter of the lake is a very relaxing experience. It is a journey of about six kilometers, simple and at times suggestive. You cannot end the day on one of the terraces overlooking the lake, enjoying the typical Bled Cream Cake and waiting for the sun to set and the evening lights make everything more magical.
Start the day actively with a short trek near Bled. Immersed in a thick bush, in less than 20 minutes I am on the Ojstrica lookout. Imagine the surprise once you get to the top. Below me is Bled Lake in all its beauty, surrounded by the high peaks of the Julian Alps. I could not miss the usual picture and I went to the second destination: Bohinj.
Located in the heart of the Triglav National Park, Bohinj is a small village nestled among the highest peaks in Slovenia. Its peculiarity is that of rising on the homonymous lake of glacial origin. A phenomenal view of the valley and its surroundings is from the mountain village of Vogel, at an altitude of 1.535 meters. Thanks to the cable car I reached the Vogel Ski Center in just a few minutes. At the top the show is guaranteed: mountain ranges that extend as far as the eye can see, fine air and a gorgeous nature.
New day, new activity. I head to Tolmin along the banks of the River Soča. Oars, rafts and helmets will be my companions for the whole morning. I had a fun rafting day that will take me to sail the emerald waters of the river. I am surrounded by an almost surreal landscape: imposing rocky walls, the rushing waters of the river and the presence of a thick mist above them testify to the strength and beauty of a nature that requires broad respect and reverence. With the shoulders a bit tired due to the use of oars for most of the morning, I went towards Trenta and Kobarid.
Triglav National Park
At Trenta I enjoyed the museum, which shows the natural peculiarities of Slovenia’s national park, Triglav, together with the rich ethnological heritage of the Trenta and Soča Valley. In Kobarid, on the other hand, a visit to the War Museum is a must. A sad, bloody, almost unreal past. It is hard to believe that, at one time, those landscapes were the stage of clashes to the death, which left behind death and destruction.
A little sleepy I begin the exploration of the Brda region. Nestled between hills full of vineyards and cherry trees, halfway between the Alps and the Adriatic, Brda enjoys picturesque landscapes and glimpses that have placed their seal on the past and left images of traditional life. Emblem of this link is the village of Šmartno. Once a military fortress, it is currently one of the most important cultural monuments in Slovenia. Walking through its narrow streets is a unique sensory experience: craft shops show the passion for ancient traditions, the elderly with faces dug by so many efforts dispense smiles and greetings, the colorful flowers inebriate with their scent visitors.
Tower in Gonjače
I left behind Šmartno to head further downstream, precisely in Dobrovo, a small town of 400 inhabitants, where I enjoyed a sublime tasting at the Klet Brda winery. At the end of the morning could not miss the small climb of the tower in Gonjače. A 23-meter structure, built on the Mejnik hill, which opens up a 360-degree view of Brda, the Alps, the Friulian plain and the Karst. In the afternoon, the Postojna Cave and the Predjama Castle await me.
The Postojna Cave is the quintessence of the Slovenian Karst. With its 24 kilometers of tunnels, caves and passages, this karst system is not only the largest in Europe, but it is also famous all over the world. Large caves follow one another and alternate with narrow passages where the undisputed protagonists are the colorful rock formations. Stalactites and stalagmites testify to their ages thanks to the imposing presence, emphasized even more by particular artificial light games. The surrounding environment has something mystical. If you succeed in detaching the larger groups of visitors, you will be projected into a state of peace and quiet. To reign only the silence interrupted by the roar of the droplets of water falling from the ceiling. Water is the true protagonist of everything: it is thanks to it that the karst caves originated and it is thanks to the strength, typical of this element that, today, we can enjoy this natural spectacle.
Predjama Castle is located about ten kilometers from the Postojna Cave. Its structure is unique in its kind: its bases, in fact, rest on a vertical rock 123 meters high. The construction is perfectly integrated with the surrounding environment. In some places it is almost difficult to distinguish the boundary line between the natural rock and the castle walls. An almost romantic atmosphere envelops it. A walk through its many rooms allows you to get to know how its inhabitants lived during the Middle Ages, what were their habits and intrigues, the stories and legends that lie within its walls.
The alarm rings early in the morning, the sky is clear, a fresh wind blows and the sun enhances the colors of the brilliant nature that surrounds me. I found the entrance of Križna Jama. Started exploration I remain open-mouthed. All around is completely dark, only torches light up. The experience of underground trekking leaves the visitor stunned. At every step everything is a surprise. Stalactites and stalagmites shine in the darkness. The Križna Jama is famous for its system of underground lakes, surrounded by limestone banks, which have preserved and brought to our days precious fossil remains of the cave bear.
After the exploration, I head towards the small center of Cerknica. It is said that the territory of Cerknica has a nature made magical by enchantments made by witches. It is the feeling that one has when visiting the lake of the same name. The peculiarity of the Lake Cerknica is to be an intermittent lake and it is the largest one in whole Europe. In fact, it is formed during the first autumn rains and in spring due to the melting of the glaciers on the surrounding mountains. In all other times of the year it is dry and this allows you to walk through its wide lawns, visit the numerous swallows and practice birdwatching.