R&R in Radovljica!

It occurred to me recently that among all the hundreds of blogs I’ve written about Radovljica and the surroundings throughout the years, the large majority have been about active pursuits – my love of hiking, cycling and, of course, food!

However, somewhere along the line I’ve overlooked the fact that Radovljica and its surroundings is also a great place for some R&R – that’s rest and relaxation to you and me!

Of course, what is one person’s idea of R&R can be at polar ends of the spectrum to another, so below I’ve suggested some ways you can include R&R, wellness and well-being, into your visit to the Radovljica area.

Pampering

Massages, facials and more! There are quite a number of beauty salons in the Radovljica area, where you can relax, be pampered and/or be smothered in honey or even mud!

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Cryotherapy 

Numerous sportspeople use cryotherapy, as it is said to help promote faster healing of injuries and can also help with muscle pain and some joint and muscle disorders.

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And here in Radovljica you can try cryotherapy at the Rož’ca salon at the Radovljica Sports Park, where you can also have various massages, magnet therapy and more.

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Wellness and saunas

The small, family-run Sport Hotel Manca is the place to go for a sauna in Radovljica. It has a Turkish, Finnish and infrared sauna, as well as a whirlpool.

The Torok guest house and spa is located in nearby Hraše. Upon prior booking, the wellness area, which features a jacuzzi and Finnish sauna, is also open to non-residents.

Swimming

At the time of writing, the Radovljica Olympic-size swimming pool is undergoing renovation, but is nonetheless open to the public for recreational swimming during the week from 8pm to 10pm and at weekends from 9am to 12noon and from 4pm to 7pm.

In winter the pool is covered, while in summer it is open-air. The pool hosts a wide range of competitions, including national championships, training camps and other events.

Letni bazen Radovljica

The aforementioned Sport Hotel Manca also has an outdoor pool, where in summer you can cool off in the water then sit back and soak up the views of the surrounding mountains.

Bazen

After a day on the slopes in winter, a hike in the Karavanke mountains (whatever the season) or a mountain bike ride on the Jelovica plateau in summer, or even just because ‘you’re worth it’, we all deserve a bit of pampering from time to time, right?!

© Adele in Slovenia

An Unforgettable Festive Experience in Tržič

The premiere of a new experience took place yesterday in Tržič and I was lucky enough to be among those that took part. It certainly lived up to its promise of being an unforgettable experience, one which I recommend you experiencing for yourself, whether you live here in Slovenia or happen to visiting at the time it is run.

The concept of the experience titled Nepozabni Božič Jakoba Aljaža (Jakob Aljaž’s Unforgettable Christmas) is two-fold: to acquaint visitors with some of Tržič’s history and traditions, and to tell the story of how and when the Christmas carol Silent Night was first sung in Slovenia on Christmas Eve in 1871 by the then vicar of Tržič, Jakob Aljaž.

Although I could describe the experience in full, this time, I actually don’t want to! Why? Because it’s well worth experiencing it for yourself, so I recommend you book your place now.

I will let on that it starts at the dragon from a rooster’s egg. Click here to find out about the legend.

…and ends at the magnificent Tekec nativity scene.

And here are a few more photos to give you an insight or two.

Unfortunately I couldn’t try the local speciality Tržiška flika, as it definitely isn’t gluten-free, but I can reveal that it’s a yeast bread topped with sour cream and cumin.

You’ll have to find out the rest for yourselves! The torrential rain tried its best to dampen our spirits, but it didn’t! But do make sure you wrap up well as, trust me, old houses and churches are cold, just one look at my ridiculously red nose makes that clear!

The experience takes place in Slovenian, however it can be run in English upon prior arrangement for groups. The next experience will take place on Monday 12th December, then again on 19th December and 2nd January, each time at 4pm.

The Christmas lights were also switched on yesterday in Tržič, and, despite the aforementioned and ever-present torrential rain, after two years of no events due to COVID-19, it was lovely to see, and hear, the old town centre come alive.

Contact the Tržič Tourist Information Centre for further information about the experience and what else to see and do over the festive season.

© Adele in Slovenia

The Festive Season is Here in Radovljica!

It’s hard to believe it’s December already. Is anyone else wondering where 2022 has gone? It seems to have whizzed by and the festive season is now upon us. At least this year, unlike the past two – for obvious reasons – we can enjoy Christmas with our families and loved ones, and join in group events and celebrations, so all the more reason to get in the festive spirit and start planning what to do, where to go and, of course, what to eat and drink!

The festive season here in Radovljica kicks off tomorrow, Friday 2nd December, with the switching on of the Christmas lights in Linhart Square, the heart of the old town centre. It also marks the end of this year’s Taste Radol’ca Month of Local Menus, and as such the closing event will feature all of the participating Taste Radol’ca restaurants, whose chefs will be cooking up some delicious street food to keep visitors warm and well fed while listening to live music and enjoying the festive atmosphere.

Morda je slika naslednjega: 6 oseb in na prostem

Morda je slika naslednjega: 1 oseba, stati, hrana in znotraj

Thereafter, throughout the month of December there are a whole host of events taking place in Radovljica and the surrounding villages, too many to list here, so I have picked out a few highlights to whet your appetite and you can find the full programme here.

The very next day, Saturday 3rd December, the ever-popular monthly Radol’ca Market takes place from 10am to 1pm, this time with added entertainment for children with horses from the Sitar Ranch.

Morda je slika naslednjega: 3 osebe, ljudje stojijo, Konj in na prostem

I’m particularly looking forward to this month’s market as for the first time ever there will be a stall of gluten-free goodies, made by an acquaintance of mine who has her own gluten-free workshop, Šcepec Vanje (A Pinch of Vanja) and who I know through the Facebook group I set up and run for coeliacs. Cake pops, biscuits, honeybreads and more await!

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Even if you are lucky enough not to have to avoid gluten, it’s well worth trying Vanja’s divine profiteroles!

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On Sunday 4th December from 10am to 7pm there is a St. Nicholas market, creative workshop for children, theatre performance and a visit by St. Nicholas himself!

Miklavžev vikend v Radovljici

The annual Advent Market begins on Friday 9th December from 3pm to 7pm.

There will also be numerous street shows by Ana Snežna, as well as Čupakabra.

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So, as you can see, there’s plenty to see and do here in Radovljica throughout the month of December and, of course, since the town is close to the motorway and well connected by public transport, you can easily visit Ljubljana to see the Christmas lights and visit the Christmas market, as well as other towns and cities throughout Slovenia.

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So, this December, cherish time with your loved ones, spare a thought for those that aren’t in such a fortunate position and, above all, have a happy and healthy festive season!

© Adele in Slovenia

 

 

Taste Radol’ca Goes Beyond Borders!

During the height of the coronavirus-related lockdowns, here in Slovenia we weren’t allowed to leave the borders of our municipalities; something that we would never usually even consider in ‘normal’ times. Fortunately that’s a (fairly) distant memory now – and hopefully one never to be repeated – and now not only we (the people!) but also Taste Radol’ca can go beyond borders!

This year, in addition to the Taste Radol’ca restaurants from the Radol’ca area, there are also two others from neighbouring municipalities, one of which – Restavracija MANU – has already won numerous accolades in the short time it has been open.

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The annual highlight of the Radol’ca culinary year takes place next Friday 28th October – the opening Taste Radol’ca event and dinner prepared by all the talented chefs!

Morda je slika naslednjega: 5 oseb, ljudje stojijo in znotraj

The focus of this year’s Taste Radol’ca is sustainability and, as usual, there is an emphasis on locally produced and/or locally grown, i.e. no, or minimal, food miles and supporting local farmers and producers. The 3-course (or more) set menus remain at the same price as last year – 26 euros – which, considering the price rises all around us, remains excellent value for money.

This year’s participating restaurants are: Restavracija Tabor (Podbrezje), Restavracija Manu (Žirovnica), Gostišče Tulipan (Lesce), Gostilna Avguštin (Radovljica), Vila Podvin (Mošnje), Hiša Linhart (Radovljica), Gostišče Draga (Begunje na Gorenjskem), Šmeks-Baffi House of Pizza (Radovljica), Gostila Pr’Tavčar (Begunje na Gorenjskem).

Further proof of Radol’ca’s status as the ‘culinary capital of Gorenjska’ is the Michelin Star recently awarded to Uroš Štefelin, formerly from Vila Podvin, and his team at Hiša Linhart, as well as a Michelin green sustainability star.

This year’s opening event kicks off at 4pm with a farmers market, which offers visitors a chance to chat to, and buy from, the suppliers to Taste Radol’ca restaurants. Entrance is free, so come along and join in. The more the merrier!

At 5pm there is a presentation of Taste Radol’ca restaurants, with entertainment from pupils from Radovljica’s Anton Linhart primary school.

This year’s gourmet opening dinner will take place at Gostilna Avguštin in Linhart Square – the heart of the historic old town. The restaurant is hugely popular due to it’s sunny terrace with views of the Jelovica plateau, the Lipnica valley and the Julian Alps.

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Reservations for the dinner, which costs 55 euros, are mandatory and can be made by contacting the Radovljica Tourist Information Centre.

Having just translated all the menus, I know you’re in for a treat, but I won’t let the cat out of the bag just yet. After all, there has to be some element of surprise in life!

© Adele in Slovenia

Let The Train Take The Strain!

With the world becoming, or trying to become, ever ‘greener’, many of us are trying to do our bit here and there, including taking public transport, where possible.

The great news is that Radovljica is really well connected, so it’s an ideal place to base yourself for getting around Slovenia and even further afield.

In addition to Radovljica’s new railway station, Slovenian Railways also introduced some new trains late last year. The first journey took place on the new electrified KISS trains, produced by the Swiss producer Stadler, on the Ljubljana-Litija line. The trains are renowned for their improved comfort, spaciousness and functionality, as well as panoramic windows for a literal ‘seat with a view’.

Na slovenskih železnicah prvi novi dvonadstropni električni vlak - Zelena Slovenija

Within minutes of stepping off the train at Radovljica’s railway station you can reach Linhart Square – the heart of the historic old town centre.

It takes less than an hour to reach Radovljica from Ljubljana (or vice versa), or in the other direction, you can go to Jesenice and from there to Villach in Austria and onwards. In the opposite direction, i.e. from Ljubljana, you can travel to Maribor or Celje – Slovenia’s second and third largest cities respectively – or to Zagreb in Croatia and further.

Below I’ve put together a few suggestions of what to see and do by train (and bus) in the local area.

Take the train from Radovljica to Globoko, where you can visit the Barbana Stud Farm to see the famous white Lipizzaner horses.

Lipizzaner Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

From Globoko you can either return by train or walk back through the Forest Nature Trail.

Take the train from Radovljica to Otoče, then walk the Otoče to Brezje Pilgrimage Trail.

On reaching Brezje, you can see Slovenia’s national pilgrimage sanctuary – the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians – as well as the Nativity Museum, then return to Radovljica by bus.

Take the bus from Radovljica to Bled, so much easier than searching (and paying!) for somewhere to park. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you about Bled’s ‘star attraction’!

Take the bus from Radovljica to Begunje na Gorenjskem, where you can visit the Elan Alpine Skiing Museum, the Avsenik Museum, and the village is also an excellent destination for hiking in the Karavanke mountains, for example to St. Peter’s church above the village, on the Lamberg Trail past Kamen Castle to the Draga Valley, from where you can continue up to the Roblekov dom mountain hut or even higher up to Mt. Begunscica.

Photo: Miran Kambic

Of course, there are numerous other options, which, for travel in the Radol’ca area, the lovely folk at the Radovljica Tourist Information Centre can help you with, or for travel further afield take a look at the Slovenian Railways website to get some more ideas of what to see and do.

So, why not sit back and let the train take the strain?!

© Adele in Slovenia

 

 

 

Don’t Miss Cobblers’ Sunday – This Sunday in Tržič!

Cobblers’ Sunday takes place annually on the first Sunday in September , when the streets of the old town of Tržič come to life.

The event attracts large numbers of visitors, who come to browse the market stalls, enjoy the entertainment programme and take advantage of free guided tours and entrance to galleries and museums. The programme, as seen below (in Slovenian) actually begins on Saturday 3rd September, when from 10am to 1pm a Festival of Old Games will take place in the atrium of the municipal building (občina).

On Sunday 4th – the main day – some of the highlights of the programme include: a live concert by the Saša Avsenik Ensemble, entertainment for children on a bouncy slide and face painting, a fashion show with a difference, a clown show, creative workshops for children and guided tours of the Germovka iron foundry.

The tradition of Cobblers’ Sunday dates back over 500 years, attesting to Tržić’s heritage as the centre of Slovenia’s shoemaking industry. It is associated with the custom called frejšpreh’nga’, when it was on this day that in the past, cobblers’ apprentices were promoted to journeymen.

 

In 1985, the old town centre of Tržič was designated the status of a cultural and historical monument. Though, as with so many town centres these days – and not only in Slovenia – the old town centre itself is not the thriving hub it once was. It is, however, still home to some interesting and unique buildings and features, particularly the portals embellished with flowers.

Cobblers Sunday is you can learn more about the town’s history by following the Traces of Industry Trail.

The trail, which is marked by metal shoe imprints, leads past the houses of former cobblers’ workshops…

…as well as the town’s last remaining firbec okno’ window. The word ‘firbec’ refers to a nosey person and ‘okno’ (meaning window) refers to the window from which nosey residents could look at the goings-on in the town by looking through the glass pane at the bottom of the protruding window, without the need to lean out of the window.

Be sure to take advantage of free entrance to Tržič Museum, which is located in Muzejska ulica (Museum Street). The museum is housed in the former Pollak dyehouse and tannery, which dates from 1811.

The museum’s numerous collections take you through Tržič’s historic industries including shoemaking, leather, crafts, trade, winter sports, local history, and art. The museum is far more interesting than one might think and has numerous interactive exhibits, so it’s definitely worth a visit.

Inside there are a range of exhibits, some of which are interactive, through which you can find about more about the town’s tradition of shoemaking as well as its other industry heritage, including skiing, leather and other crafts.

Through the day on Sunday there will also be the chance to taste traditional Tržič bržola as well as other typical stews cooked in a cauldron.

A fun day out for all the family! Now let’s just hope the weather gods are kind, but whatever the weather, come and enjoy the fun of the fair!

© Adele in Slovenia

 

 

The Sky Isn’t the Limit at Lesce Sports Airfield!

The annual open day and model aircraft competition took place at Lesce Sports Airfield on Monday this week – Assumption Day.

We went along to watch some of the amazing model aircraft, which, apart from the size, could easily be mistaken for the real thing!

One can only imagine the hours upon hours of painstaking labour, not to mention patience and precision, that go into making such models.

In addition to the model aircraft show and competition, visitors also had the chance to see aircraft up close…

…and even a chance to sit inside!

I managed to get a shot of a model aeroplane and real aeroplane almost in unison, which perfectly illustrates the likeness of the former to the latter. Can you work out which one is which?!?!

Although the event has now been and gone for this year, you can still visit the airport at anytime to just observe the comings and goings while enjoying a drink and/or meal at the excellent on-site Na Klezn’k restaurant. A great meal with a great view!

You can also treat yourself to a panoramic plane or helicopter flight above Lake Bled, the Karavanke mountains, the Julian Alps and the wider Gorenjska area. For more information send an email to: info@alc-lesce.si

Various other events and competitions are held at the airfield throughout the year, including an annual paragliding competition.

Photo: Skydiving Source

Click here to read more about gliding above the Alps.

In addition, the airport’s location on the Radovljica Plains provides excellent conditions for gliding.

So, another place to add to your ‘must visit’ list whilst in the Radol’ca area!

© Adele in Slovenia

 

 

 

A Different Side of Mt. Dobrča!

Mt. Dobrča can be reached from many directions. I’ve previously blogged about my hike to the Koča na Dobrči mountain hut, so this time I decided to approach it from a different direction, from Tržič, or to be more precise from Brezje pri Tržiču via the Lešanska planina mountain pasture.

This particular trail begins from almost opposite St. Agnes’s church (Slovene: Sveta Neža) in Brezje pri Tržiču, which is located alongside the road that leads from Begunje na Gorenjskem to Tržiška Bistrica.

My trusty companion(s) for this trip were my friend Bernarda and her trusty companion Charlie – the dog. Since she lives in Tržič, Bernarda knows almost every inch of Mt. Dobrča like the back of her hand!

After a short walk up the road, you reach a junction, where either trail leads to the Koča na Dobrči mountain hut. We took the one to the right, as seen below.

You soon reach an old water trough with the sign Razgledna točka, which you can follow for a few minutes to reach a viewpoint.

Return to the main trail and continue on the well-marked path that leads up through the forest before emerging onto a clearing, from where there are great views across the Radovljica Plains towards the Jelovica plateau and further.

Here you can take a seat and soak up the views from the special bench dedicated to the stage and screen actor and author Polde Bibič, best known for his role in the film Cvetje v jeseni (Blossoms in Autumn), and the recipient of numerous awards and accolades.

Continue upwards on the marked path towards Dobrča…

…and you soon get your first glimpse of the Lešanska planina mountain pasture (1,450m).

There is a herdsmens’ hut on the pasture where, in the summer grazing season, you can try sour milk, curd cheese and stews, as well as traditional Slovenian žganci and masovnik.

From the pasture you can continue up to the Koča na Dobrči mountain hut or, for a shorter hike, and if you want to do a circular route – you know how much I love a good circular route! – head back the same way, but only for a few minutes, past the Lešanska planina sign (as shown above) to the bend in the road then follow the road down until you reach a junction.

Here you can either continue down the road to return to the start or take the path to the left towards Tržička Bistrica, as shown on the stone below.

After just a few metres, keep a close eye out for a path to the right that leads into the forest, which you follow straight ahead then diagonally across a pasture.

Keep following the marked path until you emerge onto the road close to a trough with drinking water, which both I and Charlie  took advantage of, particularly as Bernarda tells me that Tržič’s water is among the best in the whole of Slovenia.

So, this rounds off another great hike in the Tržič area. Click here to find out more about this and other hikes in the area.

© Adele in Slovenia

 

 

Be Cool and Keep Cool in Radol’ca!

With the current heatwave here and in much of Europe, no doubt many people’s thoughts are turning to how and where to keep cool. Well, in Slovenia it’s not that difficult really, since the country has so many forests and water sources.

Did you know that Slovenia has more than 60 rivers and streams, 300 artificial and natural lakes and 7,500 freshwater springs?

The confluence of the country’s longest river – the Sava – is in Radol’ca, more specifically in Lancovo, and in the country as a whole, you are never far away from a source of free, clean drinking water.

Photo: SDZV

In the Radol’ca area there are fountains with drinking water in various places, so all you need is a water bottle and you can fill up (free of charge!) along the way, whether on foot or by bike.

There are also several new rest areas, which are situated at road intersections and are the ideal for cyclists to stop for a drink, rest…

…and even a bit of (additional) exercise!

Perhaps you are wondering where to hike in this heat? Well, again, it’s not a problem, you just need to choose the right trails, i.e. ones that lead through the shade of the forest, and also make sure you set out early and have plenty of water with you.

My favourite ‘cool’ hike at this time of year, in fact I went there this morning, is the Shepherds’ Trail, which leads from the Draga valley up to the Preval mountain hut.

You can either return the same way on continue via the ‘čez Roza‘ trail towards the Roblekov dom mountain hut.

Photo: J Gantar

If you want a shorter, easier walk, then the Sava River Trail runs partly through the cool of the forest, as do the Grabnarca Waterside Trail in the Lipnica valley, and the Lamberg Trail in Begunje na Gorenjskem.

If you’d prefer to be in, or on, the water in this heat, then there are plenty of opportunities to do that, too, in the Radol’ca area.

Although currently undergoing a complete renovation, work at the Radovljica swimming pool has temporarily stopped over the summer and the pool is open to visitors, and guests of the Šobec Camp have free access to the natural outdoor pool.

If you’d rather be on the water rather than in it, then rafting, canyoning, kayaking and other river-based activities are available on the Sava river and other nearby watercourses.

I, for one, am not moaning about the heat. Enjoy the heat while you can, I say, since winter is never far around the corner here in Gorenjska!

© Adele in Slovenia

 

What’s New and What to Do This Summer in Radol’ca

It’s hot! Hooray!!! While those that aren’t lovers of the heat are already complaining, I’m in my element at this time of year when I get get out on my bike and in the hills and mountains, and when one doesn’t need to go out dress in multiple layers of clothing!

The tourist season seems to have started much earlier this year here in Radol’ca and elsewhere in Slovenia, no doubt such is the yearning among many for holidays after the long COVID-19 pandemic.

So, with that in mind, this blog contains a rundown of new features and events in Radol’ca this summer, as well as some of the great, existing, traditional events too! As you will see, there’s certainly plenty to choose from and something to suit all the family.

Thursdays in the Square

Thursdays in the Square are back this year with a series of concerts featuring a variety of music. The concerts take place every Thursday evening in July in the old town centre of Radovljica. The first concert will feature Slovenian hit songs performed by young musicians from the surroundings of Radovljica, followed on 14th July by the Argentian-Italian group SuRrealistas. The third Thursday in July Čedahuci will perform followed by Masharik on the last Thursday in the month. Taste Radol’ca street food will be available at all the Thursday evening concerts and, prior to that, visitors will have a chance to purchase arts and crafts from stalls of the ARTish festival.

Guided independent cycling and cycling-culinary tours

Why not set off on a culinary-cycling tour of the Radol’ca area? Guided e-Bike tours are available or just hire a bike (or bring your own), pick up a map from the Radovljica Tourist Information Centre, and set off on your way.

Cycling is an ideal way to get some outdoor exercise, enjoy the fresh air and see and taste the countryside. Along the way you can stop off at the Pr’Šlibar farm, where you can buy fresh strawberries, strawberry jam, juice and cordial as well as dried meats, and the Dolenc Farm where you can taste and buy some of the home-produced dairy products.

You can then cycle on to the lush Draga Valley, home to the Gostišče Draga restaurant. At the entrance to the valley you can stop and take a look at the magnificent ruins of Kamen Castle.

This year Gostišče Draga, which is part of Taste Radol’ca, was once again visited by Slovenia’s top food critics, who awarded it two hearts, thus confirming its place as one of the best in the Radol’ca area. The restaurant with rooms is also the holder of the Green Key in Green Cuisine sign as a result of its efforts to operate sustainably.

The Draga Valley is also home to the parkour archery course, which I can highly recommend.

Free guided tours

Special free guided tours of Radovljica, Kropa, Mošnje, Kamna Gorica and Kamen Castle will be held throughout July and August.

In addition to guided tours, from Mondays to Saturdays throughout July and August, half day Hop On and Discover bus tours, run in cooperation with the neighbouring destinations of Tržič, Jesenice and Bled, offer the opportunity to explore more of Radol’ca and the surroundings. The bus trips are free of charge for holders of a Julian Alps: Radovljica benefits card (see below).

Julian Alps: Radovljica benefits card

Discount cards are available free of charge for those staying in partner accommodation in the Radol’ca area for a minimum of three nights. The card is issued by accommodation providers and can be used to take advantage of numerous discounts and other special offers for activities in Radol’ca and the neighbouring destinations.

Iron Forging Festival

The village of Kropa sits nested into the far eastern edge of the Jelovica plateau and is crammed with interesting architecture and preserved technical heritage, which is showcased during the annual Iron Forging Festival. This year’s festival takes place on Saturday 2nd July.

The festival features demonstrations of hand forging of nails in the vigenjc Vice forge, a small local market, open days at the Iron Forging Museum and the Fovšaritnica Museum House, as well as at the headquarters of the company UKO Kropa, which specialises in all manner of wrought iron furnishings and fittings and is keeping the village’s iron-forging tradition alive.

Avsenik Festival

The hugely popular Avsenik Festival attracts lovers of Slovenian folk music from far and wide. This year’s festival takes place over three days from 26th to 28th August.

In addition to the above, there are also other events, such as the annual Radovljica Early Music Festival, Medieval Day and open-air cinema, as well as plentiful water sports, theme and hiking trails and more! Click here to get the full list of summer events.

As you can see, whether your a culture vulture or an adrenalin junkie, there’s something for everyone this summer in Radol’ca!

© Adele in Slovenia