2 nature day trips from Ljubljana
You have been strolling down the streets of Ljubljana for the past 2 days using your BRB Travel Blog Ljubljana itinerary. While walking and enjoying a perfect gelato, you have noticed the beautiful mountains in the background, not far from the city. These mountains, the Julian Alps, are worth visiting after spending time in the capital. The region of Kamnik, located 20 minutes away from Ljubljana, should be your next stop. From hiking or biking to simply enjoying the beautiful landscapes, this region will make you discover another aspect of beautiful Slovenia: nature at its best. Here are two nature day trips from Ljubljana.
1. Velika Planina
So, grab your hiking shoes and start your journey into the Slovenian Alps. Velika Planina, which translates by big pasture, is located in the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, just minutes away Northeast of Kamnik. To get the full experience, we booked a tour; I highly recommend you do the same.
The mountain plateau is characterized by its hut village. Even if they look empty, these huts are still home to many herdsmen and their cows. In fact, the cows can walk freely on the plateau and come back at night in the huts. In the early morning hours, the herdsmen will milk the cows that produce delicious milk. Once you get to the village, you can walk between the huts and look at their unique architecture. There is a church and also a museum explaining the history of the village. In fact, Velika Planina is the largest shepherd settlement in Europe. You can even rent a hut and spend a night or 2 in the village. After hiking around, we stopped in a herdsman’s hut where him and his wife cooked buckwheat with pork for us paired with homemade apple juice and sour milk. Delicious and obviously a must stop as it is a traditional herdsman meal. You can also try the other dairy products offered at the herdsman's hut. After eating all that food, we continued our hiking journey using the many paths the plateau allows you to follow to… another restaurant! We stopped at the Zeleni Rob house where we had a jota (bean sauerkraut stew with sausage) and Rice, a barley stew with vegetables and sausage. Our guide had the house speciality: the cheese dumpling! Unfortunately, we were too full to try it!
The weather in the mountains can be unpredictable, to say the least. I suggest you bring a raincoat with you. Also, due to the mountain air, the temperature is lower than in the Ljubljana.
Kamnik is a unique medieval old town located 20 minutes away from the capital. This sleepy town holds a hidden gem that even a few locals know about it, Kamnik Bistrica. The landscapes were absolutely stunning going from a clear blue water to a beautiful gorge. You can even jump into the river to cool you down but watch out: the water is a little cold!
I would suggest visiting the gorge on your way back from the mountains. Also, Kamnik is building its reputation to be the craft beer's hub of Slovenia, so be sure to stop for a drink or two. Unfortunately, due to our packed schedule, we did not have a chance to taste their beers.
How to get there
From Ljubljana, you can take a car or you can either take a bus to Kamnik.
To get to Velika Planina, you can either hike from Kamnik or take the car. The hike from Kamnik is 3 hours and a half long but, according to our guide, it is well worth it! You can also bike but the hills are very steep. The last way to get there is to drive from Kamnik and reach the cable car at the bottom of the mountain. We chose the latter as I always think that the views from the cable car are one of a kind. The cable car costs 18 Euros per person and will also give you access to a lift chair that will easily bring you to the top of the mountain.
On our way back to Ljubljana, we decided to stop at the Volčji Potok Arboretum located between Kamnik and Ljubljana. With its 80 hectares, the park allows you to walk through the many paths and enjoy the beautiful trees with the Julian Alps as a background. There are different gardens in the park: French, British and a rose garden. As you walk into the park, you will also notice the presence of Dinosaurs and whales! In fact, the Dinosaurs and whales are very popular with kids. After being chased by all these creatures, why not stop and have a coffee or a freshly squeezed orange juice at the park’s café in the middle of the trees. For all these reasons, we can understand now why the Arboretum is the most visited horticultural facility in Slovenia and one of the top attractions near Ljubljana. In 1950, the park was even declared cultural and natural heritage of national importance.
Where to stay
After so many food and hiking, we chose to rest and relax near Velika Planina. In a small town called Snovik, there is a beautiful eco-resort spa, perfect to continue enjoying the nature at its best. Terme Snovik, a 4 stars spa eco-resort offers different types of accommodation going from rooms to superior apartments, all located in their apartment complex. All the rooms, suites and apartments are eco-friendly. There are no elevators, and the lobby of the resort is 5 minutes away walking from the apartment complex. Everything is made for you to stay active. When walking along the road to the lobby, you can admire the beautiful trees planted next to the road. Every tree is different and they even named the apartments based on the tree planted in front of them. The resort has 2 swimming pools, one indoor and one outdoor. There is also a restaurant which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also, in order to make their guests feel good physically, the resort has a physiotherapist on site. She specializes in Kneipp therapy and offers different activities such as barefoot walking on different elements to make you feel better.
Disclaimer: We enjoyed this itinerary and the stay at Termne Snovik thanks to Ljubljana tourism board. A big thank you! All opinions are my own
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