Galetovec and Slovenian hayracks

I can’t believe the summer holidays are almost over and schools will be starting again next week. The school summer holidays are really long, far longer in the UK. Though I don’t have children myself, I have significantly more free time during the summer, due to a lack of work so when the school holidays begin I always think it will seem like an eternity. However, the time really flies by – as they say ‘Time flies when you are having fun!’

Once again I have been busy enjoying all the fantastic, natural and free things Slovenia, and in particular the Gorenjska region, has to offer.

A particularly enjoyable trip I made this week was to Galetovec (1265m). Though not high, the panoramic view from this peak, which stands above the village of Bohinjska Bela, is outstanding and well worth the effort. Bohinjska Bela is located just the other side of Bled, approximately 10kms from Radovljica. So, as it wasn’t far, and to avoid the usual summer weekend traffic jams through Bled, I went from home by bike.

Though not the official start of the walk, I began my hike from the Iglica waterfall (Slap Iglica), which in the current dry season could perhaps better be described as the ‘Iglica Trickle’ – don’t expect too much! The area is a popular with local rock-climbers and there are ladders (as seen below) tucked into the crags between the rock faces. Those not keen on narrow confined spaces, would be better to begin the walk from the Mercator supermarket in Bohinjska Bela and followed the signed route. Both routes eventually join at a hayrack and lead onwards and upwards through the forest, quite steeply in places, passing the Slamniki highland, a Partisan memorial and eventually Galetovec itself, where you are more than rewarded with views across the valley, to the Jelovica plateau, the Karavanke Alps and, in the distance, the Kamnik-Savinja Alps.

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Hayracks (kozolci), used for drying hay, as seen in the picture below, are a typical feature of the landscape in Slovenia, with each region having its own unique variety. Wherever you are in the country, you will usually come across a hayrack. In fact, the worlds first open-air hayrack museum has also recently opened in the Dolenjska region –   Unfortunately, these days all too often you can see advertising hoardings, rather than hay, hung on the hayracks, something I abhor but in these times of financial hardship, I suppose a much needed source of income for struggling farmers and landowners.


If you are visiting, or thinking of visiting, Radovljica and the surrounding area this coming week, there’s plenty happening. Here are some of the highlights:

  • On Tuesday 27th August at 8pm, there’s a free concert by the Kaboodle Community Choir in Linhart Square, Radovljica .
  • On Saturday 31st August at 4.30pm it’s the annual Večno mladi (Evergreens) street parade through Radovljica. This year its a double celebration as the Radovljica Fire Brigade are celebrating their 130th year of existence.
  • After the parade, at 5.30pm, there will be a concert featuring top Slovene music acts Čuki and Tanja Žagar. The concert will be held on the lawn behind the Spar supermarket and entrance is free.
  • On Sunday 1st September a Flea Market will be held in Linhart Square, Radovljica from 9am onwards.
  • Also on Sunday 1st September, a concert will take place at the church in Kamna Gorica. The concert, by Filip Kopušar, is part of the Langus Days Festival (Langusovi dnevi) which takes place annually on the first weekend of September to celebrate the painter Matejž Langus, and includes creative,  recreational and cultural events for all the family.

Jezersko, the Sava River and more…

A perfect to visit in the height of summer, when the heat is on, is Jezersko. This tranquil and picturesque part of Slovenia can feel a little cut-off, due to its somewhat remote location at the end of a long winding road which leads to the border with Austria. However, in reality its only just over 40km from where I live in Radovljica and takes under an hour to reach by car.

Jezersko’s 700 residents are scattered across its two parts – Lower (Spodnje) and Upper (Zgornje) Jezersko. It lies at 906m and is surrounded by the high peaks of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps. There area is a nature lovers dream with an abundance of outdoor things to do; hiking, cycling and climbing in the summer and skiing, sledging and skating in the winter. Lower Jezersko is predominantly residential whilst its upper part offers accommodation, tourist farms and other (limited) tourist facilities. The lake, Planšarsko jezero, is one of its most popular draws and is a popular place for family outings as well as being the start point for the numerous walks into the surrounding high peaks of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps.


Having recently done some work in relation to the new Ravenska Kočna Theme Path (, and always on the look out for new and interesting places to walk, I wanted to go and see and try it for myself. The 8km path, which is fairly level throughout, passes through some stunning scenery and even having been in Slovenia for over 6 years, I was still silenced by its beauty as it traverses meadows and the Jezernica stream, before heading slightly uphill to the viewpoint at ‘Na prodih’. And what a view it is. Here is a photo I took, but it really doesn’t do it justice, so you can also read more about the path and see more photos here –


Also, along the path is the new Davo Karničar Mountain Lodge. A true Jezersko local, Davo Karničar is a climber and extreme skiier, as well as being the first man to ski from the summit of Everest in the year 2000, as well as having skiied from the 7 summits, the 7 highest mountains on each of the 7 continents. In short he’s a (Slovene) living legend. Despite all that he has achieved he has remained entirely down-to-earth and will more than happily brew you a tea or cook up some local specialities and can also offer advice on what to see and do in the area that he knows like the back of his hand. Accommodation at the lodge and guided tours can also be arranged.

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At the far end of Jezersko, you reach the Seeberg mountain pass (1218m), and former border, which leads into the town of Bad Eisenkappel (Železna Kapla) in Austria, which is just one of the many ways of reaching Austria from Slovenia.

Every August the Sheep Ball (Ovčji Bal) is held in Jezersko, which is a festival of all things ovine. The celebration of the indigenous Jezersko-Solčava breed of sheep, this year in its 55th year, include demonstrations of sheep shearing and other sheep related traditions, woollen related activities and the opportunity to purchase local handicrafts and dairy products.


Elsewhere, the Sava River is a popular place to take a dip and cool down at this time of year, though it’s way too cold for me! In total the Sava river extends to 990 kilometres and flows through  Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. In Slovenia it comprises the Sava Dolinka and Sava Bohinjka which merge at the confluence in Radovljica. From Radovljica, there are many options for taking pleasant shady walks alongside the river or, for those brave enough, having a paddle in its shallower parts. A popular walk from Radovljica is to the Fux footbridge over the Sava river. More information can be found here –

The hugely popular Avsenik Festival kicks off this week and runs from the 23rd – 25th August. The festival of popular folk music, this year celebrating its 60th year, is held at the Avsenik Restaurant in Begunje na  Gorenjskem and attracts huge audiences –

The Pokljuka Gorge

Slovenia is almost 60% covered in forest, which comes in pretty handy when its this hot because you are never far away from some cool shade in the forest. So in the past few weeks, most of my trips have been planned around being outdoors and making the most of the fantastic weather, whilst also being in the shade.

The Pokljuka Gorge (Pokljka soteska) is a hidden and refreshing gem during the summer. A lot of people bypass it on their way to the Pokljuka plateau but it is certainly worth making the short detour. The 2km gorge was formed from the waters of the Pokljuka glacier. At first the terrain is a little difficult through a ravine with fallen trees, branches and stones, but as long as you are wearing good shoes it is fine and only takes around 20 minutes from the parking area to reach the most interesting part of the gorge. The path leads first past the natural bridge, then onto a large cave, the Pokljuka Hole.

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It then continues before reaching the Gallery, a wooden boardwalk, which leads up steps before you emerge from the rock walls into an area covered with ferns and forest flowers.

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This week I also visited the Pokljuka plateau itself, this time by bike. Its quite a long ride from Radovljica (496m), via Bled and Gorje, with an almost 900m altitude gain to reach Rudno Polje  (1347m). The road climbs up gradually, via a series of sweeping bends, but its never overly steep. However, again its ideal in the heat as up there, on the forested plateau, the temperature was just perfect. The Pokljuka plateau is vast. It spans almost 20km in both length and width and part of it lies within Triglav National Park. It is a popular destination for sports lovers; in winter it is home to some of the best country-country skiing trails in the area, and also the location of the annual Biathlon World Cup. There are also 2 small ski slopes, one near Rudno Polje and the other near the Sport Hotel. In summer, and in winter too, its a hikers paradise with a wide range of walks available from shorter strolls to one of its many highlands, to longer, more challenging walks to the surrounding mountains. The highest point, and a very popular spot year-round, is the peak of Debela Peč (2014m). Pokljuka is easiest accessed by car (or by bike!) as there is no public transport to/from the plateau other than in the summer months when buses run daily from Bled.

As, more often than not, I’m walking alone, I don’t have the chance to get many pictures of me and the scenery (maybe that’s a bonus!). So here’s a picture taken by a friend who accompanied me this week for fantastic hike! Here you can see me on the peak of Srednji vrh (1796m), on the left with Vrtača in the background and on the right with Stol behind me – super!

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This weekend it’s the Sheep Ball (Ovčji Bal) in Jezersko, so I hope to be making a visit there and writing more about the Jezersko area next week. The Ball, held annually on the second Sunday in August, celebrates the indigenous Jezersko-Solčava sheep breed and revives former traditions and customs. There is, of course, also an opportunity to buy and try all things ovine; local dairy products, wool products, souvenirs etc.

Meanwhile, the Radovljica Festival is now into its second week, with still plenty  happening –

Medieval Radovljica

Radovljica, Škofja Loka and Ptuj are home to the three best-preserved medieval old town centres in Slovenia – and I am fortunate enough to live in one of them! Every year, on the first Sunday in August, Radovljica hosts a Medieval Day which celebrates its history and recreates some of its medieval crafts and traditions. When I visited at around 2pm I thought it seemed unusually quiet, no doubt due to the searing heat, but then I realised everyone was sitting in the shade with an ice-cream and/or cold beer in hand whilst the bulk of the visitors choose the early morning or evening hours to visit. The event attracts both visitors from Slovenia and tourists who come to watch the displays, browse the market stalls and buy handicrafts, taste the local food and enjoy the medieval atmosphere.

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Apart from one short but destructive storm this week, the weather has been absolutely perfect again all week – no complaints here! But it was one hell of a storm. It was on Monday afternoon and only lasted about 30 minutes but in the short time it took to sweep through the country, it wreaked havoc and caused millions of euros worth of damage. On my balcony, 3 large plants pots and their contents were smashed to pieces but that’s insignificant compared to the damage others suffered with roofs being blown off, falling trees etc. Then followed the eerie calm after the storm and the next morning it was as if nothing had ever happened and back to the heatwave.

Needless to say I have once again been taking full advantage of the weather and have been busy hiking and cycling, interspersed with just a little work here and there! I try to always remember, though not always successfully, to take my camera with me these days so I can show where I’ve been and give readers of my blog some ideas and inspiration for those thinking of visiting Slovenia. This week however, I had a hard time choosing from all the pictures I’d taken!

Temperature records were being broken all over the country this past weekend including temperatures of 38.3 degrees in the capital Ljubljana and 39.4 in Novo Mesto. However, the overall highest ever recorded temperature of 40.6 degrees, recorded in 1950 in Črnomelj in the Bela Krajina region of Slovenia, hasn’t yet been exceeded. So with these high temperatures, I’ve been planning my hiking trips carefully, leaving early and where possible staying in the forest and the shade as much as possible.

On Monday I hiked up to Babji Zob (1128m). Babji zob, which means Hag’s Tooth, is an unusual tooth shaped rock formation at the far northwestern edge of the forested Jelovica plateau. There is also a cave under the rock, thought to be the second oldest cave in  Slovenia which can, upon prior arrangement, be explored with a guide – more information can be found here –  However, the walk up to the rock  can be done at any time but it is rather steep in places so good footwear is a must and I’d also suggest using walking poles.


On Tuesdsay I visited the Martuljek waterfalls and was also fortunate to stumble across the Charcoal Makers  Day being held there where a charcoal pit, as seen below, was being recreated.


There are two waterfalls, the lower and upper falls. The first waterfall can be reached in about 30 minutes from the parking area whilst the upper falls requires a further 1 hour walking from there. The falls are a very popular attraction and are reasonably easily accessed. However, good footwear is a must as the path rises steeply in places through the forest and then descends on a somewhat rocky and in places treacherous path – do not attempt it in sandals. The source of the Martuljek stream, which cascades in three stages down a 110 metre high cliff forms the Upper Martuljek waterfall. The stream follows its path through a 500 metre long ravine dropping again over the 50 metres high rock face as the Lower Martuljek waterfall.

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On Wednesday I made another long trip, this time starting a little further on from the reservoir in Završnica and hiking up to the mountain hut Koča pri Izviru Završnice, onwards to the Zelenica Ski Centre, then towards Vrtača. I had been on a similar route during the winter but had somehow failed to notice how stunning the views across to Lake Bled were – perhaps because during the winter I am constantly worrying about falling through the snow covered scrub hence I’m unable to appreciate the views!


Incidentally, a new trim trail has recently been created which begins at the Završnica reservoir and leads pleasantly beside the Završnica stream, at all times in the shade so perfect for these hot days. There is also a new children’s play area and a  new bar, making a trip to Završnica now a worthwhile destination in itself.


The hugely popular Radovljica Music Festival begins this week and runs from the 10th – 25th August. The annual festival of old music, now in its 31st year, attracts musicians and audiences from far and wide and is notable for the high standard of music on offer performed by top-notch musicians from around the world and in the magnicient setting of the Radovljica Mansion. More information can be found here