As you might imagine, after 12 days of on-and-off rain, I had been itching to get out on my bike and to go hiking in the mountains. So last weekend, with the long awaited reappearance of the somewhat delayed summer, I made up for lost time!
On Saturday I made the hike up to Stol, the highest peak in the Karavanke range. You can read more about Stol in this post that I wrote a short while back – https://adeleinslovenia.wordpress.com/2014/06/24/at-the-top-of-the-karavanke-kremsnita-cream-cake-in-bled/
On Sunday morning I went by bike from home, in Radovljica, up to the Pokljuka plateau, turning right at Mrzli Studenec, past the Kranjska dolina valley and the Zajavornik highland to the ski centre and the Rudno Polje biathlon centre. The Hop-On Hop-Off tourist bus (pictured below) goes from Bled to Pokljuka every Saturday and Sunday until the end of August and at just 5 euros per person for the whole day offers an excellent opportunity for exploring Pokljuka. At the moment the whole plateau is awash with forest blueberries, wild strawberries and mushrooms, and people are out foraging in their droves. However, Pokljuka is huge, so there’s enough to go round! If you’d like to explore Pokljuka by bike, but don’t fancy the long slog to get up to the plateau, the Sport Hotel on Pokljuka currently have a special offer price of 10 euros for up to 8 hours bike hire and travel on the hop-on, hop-off bus OR 16 euros for up to 8 hours bike hire, the bus and a traditional Slovene stew.
After a break for some much needed sustenance, on Sunday afternoon I first popped down to Radovljica’s old town to visit the Medieval Day festivities. This annual event is always worth a visit, especially as Radovljica boasts one of the 3 best preserved medieval town centres in Slovenia. For one day, Linhart Square, the heart of the old town, is transported back to medieval times with theatrical performances, actors in period dress, locals selling their wares on the market stalls, archery, and a new addition this year, a giant handmade catapult.
Later, I took a walk through the cool of the forest, down to the Sava river, over the Fuxova brv bridge, and onto the Lipnica Castle Natural Science Trail – http://www.radolca.si/en/lipnica-castle-natural-science-trail/
Since I’ve been writing this blog, I have been receiving an ever increasing amount of emails from far and wide; people who have found and read my blog, some of who just get in touch to say ‘thanks’, others wanting advice, particularly about hiking. In almost every case however, everyone wants to know about climbing Triglav, Slovenia’s highest mountain, or about hiking elsewhere in the Julian Alps. Whilst it is true that all but one of Slovenia’s highest mountains lie in the Julian Alps (Grintovec in the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, 2558m, being the 8th highest mountain), that doesn’t mean there aren’t other great places to hike too.
The Karavanke range, for example, offer some great peaks worthy of exploration and a choice of easier, shorter day walks or more challenging multi-day treks, with overnight accommodation in one of the many mountain huts. The Karavanke form a natural border between Slovenia and Austria, and at almost 120km in length, are one of the longest mountain ranges in Europe. Weather permitting, you are pretty much guaranteed stunning and far reaching views across both the countries. The Karavanke range makes an ideal choice for those staying in the Radovljica-Bled area and I would recommend them as an alternative, and/or additional, choice for hiking in Slovenia. Other than Stol, some of the great peaks and destinations in the Karavanke, and some of my favourite and regular haunts, include Begunščica, Kepa, Dovška Baba, Golica, Dobrča, Preval and Košuta. I have written about many of these previously and by using this blog’s search facility (top right corneer), you can search and find more information.
The Okarina Festival is Bled is now in full swing with the line up including some world-class acts, such as on Saturday, when the acclaimed Welsh harpist, Catrin Finch, performed together with Seckou Keita, in the stunning surroundings of Bled Castle. This week the Okarina Fest moves to the Spa Park in Bled where, beginning at 8.30pm concerts will be performed by Barcelona Gipsy Klezmer Orchestra (6.8), Ferus Mustafov (7.8), Debademba (8.8) and Family Atlantica (9.8). More information can be found here – http://www.festival-okarina.si/
© AdeleinSlovenia 2014
2 thoughts on “Pokljuka by bike / Hiking the Karavanke”
Hi, can you recommend some hikes at Lake Bled (or very close) int the summer? Important is, that the trails shouldn’t be crowded. I know, that Lake Bled itself is insanely busy during summer. That’s why I was looking for hikes there, where you can get away from the crowds 🙂 Not sure about the ‘standard’ Pokljuka Plateau. Do many hikers go there? (my experience is, that often the trailhead is crowded and then you won’t share your trail with many others… not sure about this area). Any help appreciated! Great blog btw!
Hi Mike, nice to hear you have found my blog! Pokljuka is far less crowded that the more frequented parts of Triglav National Park so if you are looking for less crowded trails then Pokljuka is a good bet, or otherwise consider the Karavanke range. I’ve written plenty about the Karavanke on my blog, so you can use the keyword search (on the right side) to find specific blogs. Yes, Bled lake is ‘insanely’ busy in summer. You queue to even get off the motorway. Beautiful it is, but personally it’s my idea of hell as around the lake parts of it resemble a crowded beach in Spain! Regards, Adele