So, having read the title of this blog, you’re intrigued, right?
Well, let me fill you in!
The reason for this quick ’emergency’ blog is that just a short while ago I spoke to the mayor of Radovljica, who was over the moon as yesterday Radol’ca won three (yes, three!) first places at the prestigious annual Moja dezela – lepo in gostoljubna (My Land – beautiful and hospitable) competition, which is run by the Tourist Association of Slovenia.
The town of Radovljica itself was awarded 1st place among all the tourist destinations in Slovenia, followed by Izola in second place and Bled in third place.
The village of Begunje na Gorenjskem was awarded 1st place among all the excursion destinations in Slovenia, followed by Štanjel and Marizege.
And finally the Šobec Camp was award first place among all of Slovenia’s campsites, followed by Camp Danica and Camp Koren.
I told the mayor that I’d share this news with you – dear readers – as soon as possible and he asked me to convey how proud he is of this achievement.
Here’s just a teaser of what to expect when you visit, whether for the first time or for repeat visitors, of which there are many!
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?
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.
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 activitiesare 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!
I could probably almost write an entire book about the various paths that lead to Talež – a vantage point on the Jelovica plateau with magnificent views over the Radovljica plains, Bled, the Karavanke mountains and towards the Kamnik-Savinja Alps. However, as I’m writing a blog rather than a book, below I’ve provided a brief overview of just some of the trails that lead up to Talež, so you can pick the one that suits you, depending on where you are starting/staying.
From Radovljica the most direct route leads down from the old town over the bridge above the railway line, down Cesta svobode road to reach the bridge across the Sava river at Lancovo. Cross the bridge then turn immediately right and after just cca. 100 metres take the left fork. Continue for cca. 150 metres to another fork, where you should continue straight ahead (not up to the left).
After passing a few houses on your left, you will enter the forest. Continue to the first green waymarker to Talež, where you should turn left, then at the next waymarker turn right. Thereafter, there aren’t any other visible waymarkers but the path is well trodden, and even if you lose your way, just keep heading in a roughly westerly direction until you reach the forest road, which you then follow, again in a westerly direction, towards the Koča na Taležu (Hunters’ Hut on Talež) mountain hut.
If you are staying at the Šobec campsite, you can cross the bridge over the Sava river from the rear of the camp then continue across the meadows to reach the bridge over the Sava river at Bodešče, from where you can follow the trail up to the Koča na Taležu mountain hut. Note: this trail is somewhat easier to follow and has a couple of waymarkers.
If you’d like to do a longer, circular walk then you continue onwards from the hut to the highest point of the Talež ridge – Tolsti vrh. There are several options, but my preferred one is to continue past the hut following the green signs for Tolsti vrh.
Alternatively, for an even longer, circular walk, you can first walk (or cycle/drive) alongside the Sava river all the way to Selo, where you cross the Sava river.
Then walk up through the forest to the village of Kupljenik, passing a couple of shrines on the way.
On reaching the village you are rewarded with the first of many great views!
From the village, initially follow the marked path to the Babji zob cave before branching off towards Talež.
As this walk is at lower altitudes, it’s also ideal for late-spring (or winter if there’s not much snow). These photos were taken in April, hence you can still see snow on the mountains in the distance.
You might meet a friend or two along the way!
Whichever route you choose, you will eventually end up at the Lovska koča na Taležu hut, where you can enjoy a refreshing drink, a cake and/or something more hearty, while soaking up the views over the Radovljica Plains and the Karavanke mountains (note: out of season the hut is usually only open at weekends, during summer it is open daily).
Hooray, I am finally the bearer of some good news…it feels like a while since I’ve been able to say that!
Writing this feels a bit like groundhog day, as it was around this time last year that Slovenia began to exit its first lockdown and I published a similar blog on the subject. And here we are today, almost a year later and only now Radovljica, as well as the rest of Slovenia, is slowly beginning to re-open after three, seemingly endless, lockdowns.
Unfortunately, the vaccination programme is still going slowly – to date around one-fifth of the country’s 2 million residents has received at least one shot of a vaccine – but, notwithstanding, things are steadily moving in the right direction and finally, after 6 long months, the terraces of restaurants/bars etc. were able to re-open last week and as of yesterday (Monday 26 April) hotels and other accommodation facilities are able to open up to 30 rooms (regardless of the size of the property). Note, however, that a negative test or proof of vaccination is required to stay in an type of accommodation (camps included).
So, now you, well we if I include myself, can actually begin to start thinking about planning holidays, something that has seemed unthinkable for a long time now. And since most of us will no doubt – sensibly – prefer to avoid places overrun by mass tourism, it is destinations such as Radol’ca that come into their own with its boutique accommodation and numerous hiking trails and other off the beaten track attractions. So, here are a few ideas to help you in planning your visit to Radovljica – whether for a few hours, a few days, or even longer!
After record snowfall in some places, it’s still very much winter in Slovenia’s high mountains, fortunately here in Radol’ca there are plenty of hiking trails at lower altitudes. I’ve written about such trails on numerous occasions, so a quick search back through previous blog posts using key words will turn up plenty of info on hikes to, for example, Suharna, the Vodiška planina mountain hut, the Roblekov dom mountain hut, St. Peter’s church above Begunje na Gorenjskem, and more.
Of course, after all that fresh air and activity you will be in need of some sustenance, and you certainly won’t go hungry at Taste Radol’ca restaurants, the ethos of which is using seasonal, locally sourced, ingredients. At the time of writing, some of the restaurants have yet to re-open, since they are currently only allowed to serve customers outside on the terrace and for those with smaller terraces it is not worth their while re-opening. However, it is to be hoped that it won’t be too long until they are able to fully re-open. Radol’ca even has a Michelin-starred restaurant – Vila Podvin – as well as several other fine dining restaurants and numerous rural inns.
In terms of accommodation, there’s plenty to choose, from river-side camps to apartments, guest houses and other boutique accommodation.
In terms of events, it’s still a bit early to say what will and won’t take place this year. The Radovljica Chocolate Festival, which was cancelled last year and postponed this year, is provisionally scheduled to take place on 11th and 12th September this year, while the organisers are hoping that others events, such as the Craft Beer Festival and live music and food on Thursdays evenings in the square, will be able to go ahead in summer, in some form or another. But at the moment it’s a case of watch this space to see how things pan out.
Of course, all the above-mentioned are in the Radol’ca area itself, meaning there’s still a whole host of other places waiting to be explored in the surrounding areas; the Julian Alps and Triglav National Park are on the doorstep, Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj are close, Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana is just a cca. 40 minute drive, and even places such as the Postojna caves, the Soča valley, and Slovenia’s coast are all within a 1-2 hour drive – nothing is that far away in Slovenia!
So, I hope I have provided you with some food for thought and ideas to help your holiday planning and, as and when there is (even) more news about more things opening up, I’ll be in touch with more up-to-date info, or, in the meantime, do feel free to drop me a line if you need more info. Always happy to help, well, within reason that is!
The Juliana long-distance hiking trail covers a total of 270 kilometres in 16 stages, one of which runs through the Radol’ca area.
Though marketed as ‘new’, no new paths or infrastructure were actually built in putting together the trail, rather what it does it nicely link together existing trails and paths whilst taking in picturesque valleys, meadows, plateaus, towns and villages in and around the Julian Alps and provides information on where to stay and what to see and do along the way.
The trail hasn’t been designed for those seeking to bag summits, rather for those wishing to see and experience the beauty and diversity of Slovenia’s alpine landscape without having to be an experienced mountaineer. That doesn’t, however, mean that its to be taken lightly, as some sections of the trail involve some significant altitude gains (the highest point reaches 1,819 metres above sea-level), but it is not technically demanding.
You can choose to walk the entire trail, or just select the sections that are most appealing. Each section of the trail is numbered and is shown by yellow (occasionally also white) signs showing JA and a number – 4 in the case of the Begunje – Bled section of the trail.
The trail begins and ends in Kranjska Gora from where it leads to Mojstrana and Jesenice before reaching Begunje na Gorenjskem, which is the stage described here.
In addition to being home to one of the most beautiful and popular campsites in the whole country, Camping Šobec in Lesce, there is a wide range of camping and glamping facilities in the Radol’ca area, with more springing up by the year – just as well considering that these days, camping, and particularly glamping, is all the rage!
The forested Camping Šobec is situated next to the Sava river – Slovenia’s longest river – and features a naturallake, ideal for a refreshing dip on a hot summer’s day. During summer, day visitors to the camp can also use the facilities and swim in the lake (entrance fee payable during the peak tourist season).
If I didn’t live so close, I’d stay there myself as I love the place!
There are 400 camping spots available, as well as 10 timber chalets.
The newly-opened building combining a restaurant and supermarket is a great addition.
The camp also features mini-golf, tennis, Thai massage, children’s play areas, water games and more. Even when full, which it usually always is during summer, Camping Šobec offers a tranquil break in nature. There are also numerous walking and hiking trails accessible directly from the camp, including to Talež and along the Sava River Trail.
Fans of glamping are catered for at Pr’Matic in Kamna Gorica, where wooden cabins are situated on a peaceful, green meadow, and there is an outbuilding containing a shared bathroom, kitchen and dining area. There are currently three cabins, but I noticed earlier this week when I went for a stroll, a further two are being constructed and look near ready.
Camping Radovljica is located next to Radovljica’s olympic-size swimming pool and offers 80 camping spots. A big added bonus is free entrance to the swimming pool for those staying at the camp.
The Hribar Tourist Farm on the outskirts of Brezje features apartments, shared dormitories and a small camp site for those looking for a more ’boutique’, albeit basic, camping experience away from the crowds.
Click here for more information about the above and the full range of other accommodation – hotels, guest houses, tourist farms, private rooms, bed and breakfasts – available in the Radol’ca area.
But, as they say, ‘Don’t delay, book today!’ because, believe me, last year during the height of summer there was barely a room, a bed or a camping spot to be had in the area!
The Radol’ca Hop-On Hop-Off tourist bus will begin operating on Tuesday 4th July and will run every Tuesday and Thursday during July and August. This year there is an even wider range of places to visit and more things to see and do.
As in previous years a day ticket is great value at just 5 euros. You can get on and off the bus to visit sights of interest along the way, or just enjoy the ride!
On Tuesdays the route is Bled – Radovljica – Kropa, with additional stops at the Šobec Camp, Lesce, Lancovo and Kamna Gorica.
On Thursdays the route is Bled – Vrba – Žirovnica – Begunje – Brezje, with additional stops at Breznica, Spodnji Otok and Podvin.
To whet your appetite here’s a preview of just some of the things you can see and do along the way.
For the first time, this year the bus route includes Žirovnica, where you can visit the new Ajdna Museum Room to find out more about the Ajdna archeological site beneath Mt. Stol where remains were found from a Late Antiquity village dating back over 1400 years.
On especially hot days, a trip to the Završnica valley is an ideal way to seek some tranquillity and shade.
The valley is also a start point for great hikes and bike trips in the Karavanke range, including to the highest peak, Mt. Stol.
In Brezje you can see the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians, and the Nativity Museum, or take a walk on the Path of Peace to the Peračica waterfall.
In Kamna Gorica you can walk through the village to see its many waterways, and walk up to the Sextons’ House Museum, which contains an original black kitchen. Its position offers great views over the village and towards the Karavanke mountains.
In Kropa you can visit the Iron Forging Museum, take a stroll through the village to see the former ironworkers houses, or visit the Vigenc ViceBlacksmith to watch a demonstration of manual nail forging.
In Radovljica itself there are numerous things to see and do including a visit to the Lectar Gingerbread Museum and Workshop, the Museum ofApiculture, the Šivec House Gallery, or simply enjoy a stroll through the well-preserved medieval old town and sit at the viewpoint and enjoy the views of the Sava river, the Jelovica plateau and the Julian Alps.
Or why not take the chance to find out more about Slovenian food and wine by enjoying a meal at one of the Taste Radol’ca restaurants or take a Taste Radol’ca Food Tour. More information here – https://adeleinslovenia.com/taste-radolca-tours/