Few weekends ago we sat in the car and drove north to Gorenjska region with Kranjska Gora as our main destination. It was moody and cloudy, with few rays of sunshine in between, which only made the scenery around us even more incredible. Another great thing about not so perfect weather is that there was a lot less people on popular tourist spots (at this time it was probably still because of corona virus and no foreign tourists).
Our first stop was Kranjska Gora, where we took a little walk around the charming town and already started planning our vacations here. It is really lovely town and I would love to visit again, especially during winter time or merry December. Kranjska Gora is an amazing starting point to exploring the rest of the region and also its surrounding, because there is just so much to see and do.
We went on a short, 20 minutes walk along the Pišnica creek to insta famous Lake Jasna (name Jasna comes from Slovenian word for clear and its also a female name). If you think Lake Bled is beautiful, then this one will take your breath away with its green and turquoise shades and clearity. I would love to come back in the summer and jump into the lake and swim. You can actually stay in a chalet by the lake, and wake up with the most amazing view of the lake and mountains, or just sit down for a drink (in spring and summer go for “šabesa” – elderflower syrup drink or “malinovec” – raspberry syrup drink).
The Lake is guarded by the legendary Goldhorn, white chamois buck from Mount Triglav which makes the perfect photo op by the Lake. Take a walk around, dip in your toes, go barefoot and if you are up to it continue your hike all the way up to the Russian Chapel at around 1100 meters above sea level. We didn’t have the time for it and after getting up there with the car we knew we made the right decision. It would be quite a hike up there but definitely worth it once you reach the little wooden chapel hidden in the forest, looking like it has been there since forever and its just a part of it all. The beauty of it is, as usually is with things like this, also in the tragic story behind it. It was build by Russian war prisoners, who were building military road across Vršič Pass in 1916. March 1916 was snowy and since the military needed the road, Russian prisoners were clearing it of heavy snowfall day and night, when avalanche killed around 110 prisoners and approximately 10 guards. Later that year the remaining prisoners build little wooden chapel at the camp site that was destroyed in the avalanche and it now serves as a war memorial and a symbolic link between Russia and Slovenia. It’s a typical Russian design, surrounded by prisoner’s graves and pyramid memorial with Cyrillic inscription “To the sons of Russia”.
After an adventurous drive down the hill (it does feel a bit scary) we headed to Planica, an Alpine Valley, known for ski-jumping and the highest jumping hill in the world. You can even walk the 1191 stairs up the Gorišek brothers flying hill and try to imagine what ski jumpers feel before taking off and there is thousands people down cheering.
On your way to or back from Planica to Kranjska Gora you need to make a short stop by the side of the road and go see another little Slovenian natural gem called Zelenci (name comes from Slovenian word for green). Crystal clear greenish-turquoise water, mountains all around, you will certainly feel like you stepped into another world. Zelenci natural reserve is a wetland, source of the Sava Dolinka River and home to very diverse flora and fauna. The lakes in this reserve are filled with numerous tiny water volcanoes, that keep the temperature of the water constant through the year at around 5 to 6°C degrees. We were so lucky to have this gem all to ourselves during our time there, because it is usually packed with people and you need to wait your turn to even be able to walk on the path.
There are at least two parking places on the side of the road, where you can park your car and after few minutes of walking through the forest you will reach Zelenci Lake.
Our last stop of the day was lower Martuljek Waterfall, one more beautiful sight and prove that we don’t need to go far to see outstanding natural beauty. We parked the car just before the bridge over Sava River and walked by the Martuljek River, through the Martuljek Gorge to reach the lower Martuljek Waterfall that falls over 50 m high wall and it was just spectacular. There is also upper Martuljek Waterfall, but since the weather was not the best, it was already getting a bit late and we don’t yet have the proper hiking boots, we left that one (that is supposed to be even more spectacular) for the next time.
So this was our day exploring Kranjska Gora and the surrounding area. I haven’t seen much of this region before, but now I will definitely be back, because there is still so much more to see and the places there are unbelievably beautiful. Luckily Kranjska Gora is only around an hour from Ljubljana by car.
Are you currently exploring your home country? What are your favorite places you discovered on these trips? I am getting more and more amazed by natural an cultural beauty of Slovenia each time I visit some new place here.
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