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 (http://ravenska-kocna.si/en/), 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 – http://ravenska-kocna.si/wp-content/uploads/Tabla1.pdf
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.
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 – http://www.radolca.si/en/lipnica-castle-natural-science-trail/
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 – http://www.avsenik.com/festival/en.asp