If you’ve visited Britain’s Lake District and have explored the Italian lakes and you’re dreaming of finding an area of equal natural beauty that is unscarred by the pressures of tourism, then Bohinj in Slovenia may be just what you’re looking for.
Nestled in the Julian Alps and set in the stunning Triglav National Park, Lake Bohinj is the country of Slovenia’s largest permanent lake. Fed by the glacial melt waters of the surrounding mountains, the water is as clear as glass, and in summer it is warm enough to entice bathers, kayakers and sailors to its pristine beaches.
But, despite the natural beauty of the lake, I found one of the most appealing aspects of a holiday here was the sensation that I’d stepped off the tourist trail and into an authentic Alpine way of life that has been consistent here for hundreds of years.
From the unspoilt natural beauty (with some of the most beautiful displays of Alpine flowers I’ve ever seen) to the traditional food, this was a holiday in which I felt enriched by discovering a country I’d hardly known anything about before I arrived.
Sights to See
There is so much to take in here, from the area’s deep cultural heritage to its beautiful natural sights, that I thought I’d pass on my recommendations for things to see and do at Lake Bohinj.
The stunning A-shaped waterfall, down which water plummets into the Bohinj from the lakes in the Valley of Triglav and Pršivec above, is a famous attraction in Slovenia. Once you’ve witnessed the awe-inspiring power of the tumult of icy water pouring down the steep mountain rock, it’s easy to understand why.
Visitors who make the 20-minute walk from the waterfall car park can stop off for a cold drink and some delicious local food at the Restaurant Voje, located just under the waterfall, overlooking the lake.
Close to the Savica falls is the impressive Mostnice Gorge, formed by the progress of the Mostnica river through the rocky landscape.
Open from April through to October, there’s a footpath along both sides of the gorge so that visitors can walk the entire way around, taking in the stunning flora and fauna which live amongst the rock pools and cliff faces of the gorge.
Church of Saint John The Baptist
The Church of Saint John offers a fascinating insight into the rich cultural history of Slovenia. Archaeological finds at the site suggest there has been a settlement here dating back to the 1st century, while the church itself dates back to around 1300, with additions made in the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries.
Outside you can see the remains of some of Slovenia’s oldest surviving frescos, the paintings of St Christopher – the earliest of which is believed to have been painted in the 14thcentury. Wander around the hushed interior with its beautiful 17th-century wooden altars and bulb-shaped roof adorned by a lantern dating back to 1738, and it’s like stepping back into a bygone age.
Vogel Cable Car
Get to the heart of the Julian Alps with a trip up the Vogel Cable Car, which will take you to the stunning 1,535 metre peak of Mount Vogel. From here you can take the Vogel Trail and discover the rare fauna of the primeval forest of Lopata.
For me, visiting Slovenia was about more than just the stunning scenery and vibrant natural environment, it was about learning more about the people and culture of this relatively unknown corner of Europe. From wandering around the local markets to eating out in the many fantastic local restaurants, it was wonderfully easy to immerse myself in the way of life here.
For a real insight into the way people live here, make sure you make time during your stay to visit the local food market at Bohinjska Bistrica. Held every Saturday morning (8am to 1pm), the market sells a range of fresh local produce from cheeses and salamis to pastries and craft work – much of which is homemade or sold by small local producers.
The Local Flora
If you visit during the spring or early summer you’ll discover how very proud the local population are of the beautiful array of Alpine flowers which grow here. From the International Wild Flower Festival held in June to the regular guided botanical walks (including one which encourages visitors to try the local edible flowers), there are plenty of opportunities to find out more about these fascinating local plants.
How to Get to Bohinj
Whether you choose to fly to Ljubljana Airport – which receives regular flights from the UK by a range of airlines including Austrian Airlines, Adria, Lufthansa, Swiss or easyJet – or Venice Marco Polo, with its regular international flights, getting to Bohinj is far from difficult.
The best way to ensure a comfortable, easy voyage from the airport is to book an airport transfer with Shuttle Direct before you set off. Book a private car online and your English-speaking driver will be waiting for you in the arrivals lounge when you land, ready to sweep you off on your Slovenian adventure.
The transfer time from Venice or Ljubljana airport is around three hours.
Where to Stay
Bohinj Eco Hotel – The four-star Bohinj Eco Hotel, on the edge of the Triglav National Park, matches contemporary elegance with Slovenian relaxation and calm. With views of the Julian Alps through the massive floor-to-ceiling windows in the rooms and a modern spa and wellness centre, this is a great place to come to relax and take in the scenery.
Vila Park B&B – Adults Only – For a tranquil, rustic setting matched with modern style, try the Vila Park B&B. Set in an idyllic location beside the Savica Stream and just a six-minute walk from the lake, the Vila has a beautiful garden perfect for relaxing in after a day’s exploration.
Hotel Bohinj – On the shores of the lake itself is the Hotel Bohinj, with its beautiful mountain views. The restaurant here serves only breakfast but there is a restaurant nearby that offers both lunch and dinner.
About Shuttle Direct:
As a leading provider of private and shuttle transfers in Europe and North Africa, booking with Shuttle Direct is the most comfortable and convenient way to get from the airport to your destination – no matter how remote that might be. Simply book a private executive car online before you set off and your own personal driver will be waiting to meet you when you land and take you on to your accommodation so that your holiday can begin as quickly and stress-free as possible.