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

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

All Trails Lead to Talež!

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.

Iz Radovljice na Bled

If you’d like to do a longer, circular walk then you continue onwards from the hut to the highest point of the Talež ridgeTolsti 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).

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Click to find out more about the numerous theme trails and hiking trails in the Radol’ca area.

Happy hiking!

© Adele in Slovenia

The Radovljica Chocolate Festival is Back!

After a 2-year COVID-enforced hiatus, next weekend Radovljica will again rightly live up to its destination slogan – Honestly Sweet – with the return of the hugely popular Radovjlica Chocolate Festival!

While Radovljica itself hasn’t changed much in the past couple of years – in a positive way, I mean – there are some changes to the forthcoming festival, so I went along to the press preview this Wednesday to find out all the juicy, or rather chocolatey, details!

The opening event of the festival – the gourmet Three Chefs’ Dinner – takes place on Friday 22nd April at Hiša Linhart in Linhart Square. This year the stars of the show will be three young chefs, mentored by three masterchefs.

The festival itself then kicks off on Saturday 23rd April from 9am to 8pm and continues on Sunday 24th April from 9am to 6pm.

The ‘chocolate’ part of the festival will take place this year in Radovljica’s town park, which is just minutes from the main bus station, so ideal if you plan to visit by public transport (unfortunately, maintenance work will be taking place on the railway line, so this year it won’t be possible to come by train).

Chocolatiers from Slovenia, Croatia and Italy will feature at the festival. Among the chocolates available to try (through the purchase of tasting coupons) and buy will be the winning chocolates from the annual festival ‘Best Praline’ competition, which this year was judged by the owners of the prestigious Zotter chocolate factory in Austria.

And Radovljica has even more reason to be proud, since first place was awarded to the chocolate and buckwheat praline made by the new Radol’ca Chocolate chocolatier!

The new Radovljica chocolate hearts made by the Molinet chocolatier in Kropa will also make their debut at the festival.

Meanwhile, in Linhart Square – the heart of the medieval old town – there will be a jam-packed entertainment programme with something for all the family.

The main highlights of this year’s entertainment programme include cookery workshops (chocolate, of course!), live music and dance performances, a chocolate roulette wheel, a 100kg ‘bar’ of Gorenjka chocolate to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Gorenjska chocolate, stand-up comedy, face-painting, discount entry to the Museum of Apiculture, non-chocolate food from Taste Radol’ca (Hiša Linhart and Gostišče Draga) and more.

Click here to find the full programme for both days.

Hope to see you here in ‘Honestly Sweet’ Radovljica!

© Adele in Slovenia

A Perfect Radol’ca Party!

If you’re looking for the perfect place to hold a celebration or party, or just seeking some posh nosh and a unique experience, look no further than Radovljica!

I had spent quite some time trying to decide where to throw a surprise get-together for Aleš’s (the other half!) 50th birthday, when in the end the choice was staring me in the face – Radovljica!

Thanks to the new Radol’ca Chocolate chocolatier and the excellent Hiša Linhart restaurant and bistro, headed up by the Michelin star-recipient Uroš Štefelin, I managed to put together a perfect evening and everything went to plan, too! The restaurant, in Radovljica’s historic old town centre, is also part of Taste Radol’ca.

I started by sitting down and going through the menu to ensure that all the food would be gluten-free, which isn’t a problem when it comes to this level of food, where flour isn’t used as a thickener, everything is made from scratch and the chef(s) know(s) exactly what is, and isn’t, in the dishes they create.

I took a bit of a detour towards the old town – just a 10-min walk from home – to ensure that Aleš still didn’t have a clue what was in store! I’d arranged it all in advance with the team at Hiša Linhart and bought all the balloons and other decor. On arrival we were whisked upstairs where the others were waiting and then… SURPRISE!!! And I let out a sigh of relief that I’d pulled it off!

We raised a toast with tepka juice made from a traditional Gorenjska variety of pear, one of Hiša Linhart’s specialities. We then sat down to start our feast, which began with a cold starter of warm gluten-free bread with various flavours of butter, a mini salmon and caviar blini-cum-wrap, potato choux pastry, and the most amazing creation in an egg containing pork crackling.

The latter was ‘delivered’ to us by none other than the chef himself – Uroš Štefelin!

I had specifically requested parsnip soup as it’s my favourite, and also because I knew no one else would have ever tasted it, as parsnips are a bit of a novelty here!

We then had a hot starter followed by the main course…

…and then came the next part of the surprise. A visit to the new Radol’ca Chocolate chocolatier, where Iza – the daughter of the owners – took us through a guided tasting session, during which we learnt all about the history of chocolate, the different types of chocolate and how it is made.

First we had a chance to try different kinds of pure chocolate, as well as cocoa butter  – the latter, surprisingly, doesn’t resemble chocolate in any way.

After having learnt a lot about my favourite food, we were then given the chance to try some of the amazing and creatively flavoured chocolates…

….and got some to take home too!

But that wasn’t quite the end of the evening! We went back to Hiša Linhart (all of a 90 second walk away!) where we made sure we really were bursting full by indulging in a gluten-free birthday cake, which I had ordered from Lincer in Lesce, which offers all kinds of gluten-free (as well as egg-free, dairy-free, etc.) food.

So, as you can see, a great time was had by all, and with full stomachs, the birthday boy and I waddled our way home, both in agreement that Radovljica really is the perfect place for a party!

© Adele in Slovenia

The Best Views in Radovljica – You Don’t Need to Go Far!

As the title of this blog elicits, you are never far from a stunning view in Radovljica, and you don’t even need to don your hiking boots or work up a sweat to savour the views either!

There are numerous great vantage points in and around Radovljica, all of which are within a 10-15 minute walk of the old town. Let’s start with the closest and work our way backwards, i.e. away from Linhart Square – the heart of the historic old town centre.

The viewing platform at the end of the old town is a great way to get a ‘feel for the land’. You can see the Sava river, the Jelovica plateau, and the Julian Alps – with Slovenia’s highest mountain, Mt. Triglav.

From the old town walk to the car park that it just a few metres ahead and you will see another viewpoint with a bench and similar views to those from the old town.

Now ahead away from the old town towards the Radovljica swimming pool, which is currently under reconstruction. Behind the pool there is a small hill called Obla gorica. Walk up and along its length, where you can also try out the brand new trim trail. The views are somewhat obscured by trees, but where there is a gap in the trees, there are great views to be had.

There is a second, smaller and lower rise to the east, from where views open up of the Baroque St. Peter’s church in the old town.

The final stop is the small hill called Voljči hrib, from where there are magnificent panoramic views of the Karavanke mountains, the Radovljica Plains, over Radovljica itself, and the Julian Alps in the distance. There’s a bench at the top, too, where you can soak up the views.

By the way, I took these photos a couple of weeks ago (yes, it’s taken me that long to find time to get round to putting this blog together!) and as I write, it’s raining here in Radovljica. However, I can see the snow getting lower and lower, so the mountains are, yet again, snow-capped, and we might even wake up to snow on the ground in the morning, too – boo hoo!

The best and easiest way to navigate Radovljica is to first pay a visit to the Tourist Information Centre, which is located at the entrance to Linhart Square, where you can pick up a map and the staff will be happy to point you in the direction of the viewpoints mentioned in this blog, and, of course, provide any other information you need about the area.

Almost all the COVID-related measures have been dropped now (masks are still mandatory indoors), so this year you really can start planning your trip to Slovenia, which, of course, must include a visit to Radovljica!

© Adele in Slovenia