Theme Trails in Radol’ca – Take Your Pick!

Following a themed hiking trail is a great way to discover more of a place, whether its history, culture, and/or natural features.  In the Radol’ca area you are spoilt for choice with a total of 11 such trails. Some are relatively flat, short trails, while others involve a bit more effort; all of them, however, are unique in their own way.

The Begunje Shepherds’ Trail is a 10km circular trail and is by far my favourite of the bunch! It leads from the Draga valley up to the Preval mountain pasture, then along the ‘ćez Roza‘ path to reach the Roblekov dom mountain hut. The start of the trail involves a short section of climbing, followed by a steep section through the forest.

On emerging from the forest the path levels out somewhat, and you can start enjoying the views. You can read more in a previous blog post here.

The Brezje Path of Peace starts close to the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians, Slovenia’s main pilgrimage site, in Brezje. It leads via forest paths and country roads to the Peračica waterfalls.

The Sava River Trail, as the name suggests, runs along the banks of the Sava river from the Fux footbridge to the Šobec camp. It is a linear walk that can be walked in either direction.

St. Peter’s Trail is a short trail that leads up to St. Peter’s church above Begunje na Gorenjskem. From the church there are fantastic views of the Radovljica plains, the Jelovica plateau and, on a clear day, all the way to Triglav, Slovenia’s highest mountain.

The Lipnica Castle Trail leads across the Fux footbridge over the Sava river to the ruins of Lipnica Castle above the Lipnica valley.

The Lamberg Trail leads to the ruins of Kamen Castle in the Draga valley. It begins at the Krpin recreation area in Begunje na Gorenjskem and leads through the forest past the ruins of Kamen Castle, passing two small archeological sites, ending in the  Draga valley at the Gostišče Draga restaurant, where you can enjoy a drink, snack or slap-up meal to gather your strength for the return journey, or you could even continue further on one of the trails that lead into the Karavanke mountains.

The Grabnarca Waterside Nature Trail is pleasant, shady trail over wooden footbridges. It begins at the source of the Lipnica stream, crosses the Grabnarca stream and ends at a small lake. The walk can easily be extended further by walking on country roads to return to the start.

The Otoče-Brezje Pilgrimage Trail begins at the railway station in Otoče, runs through the village of Ljubno, known for its numerous frescoes, and on to Brezje, home to the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians.

The Mošnje Archeological Trail explores the village of Mošnje, home to the Villa Rustica archaeological site and the Mošnje Ethnological Museum. 

The Rosary Bead Trail is a circular trail that leads along ancient pilgrimage routes. It gets its name due to the rosary bead-like shape of the trail. The trail is rated as easy, though it covers a total of 12.2km, across fields and meadows, through forests and along country lanes, with wonderful views of the surrounding countryside.

The Begunje Village Trail takes you on a tour of the village of Begunje na Gorenjskem, the birthplace of Slavko Avsenik, the founder of Slovenian folk music. You can also visit Katzenstein Mansion, which today houses a psychiatric hospital and, at the rear, the Museum of Hostages.

Now all you have to do is choose which one, or ones, to walk – a tough choice indeed!

© Adele in Slovenia

By Bike to Begunje and Bees!

Not only is cycling good for you and for the environment, it’s also a wonderful way to explore an area, and the Radol’ca area is no exception. In fact, I find it the best way to get around and much prefer two wheels to four! There’s no need to worry about where to park, you are out in the fresh air, and you can see so much more than you do in a car and can stop at your leisure.

So, join me on a bike ride to, and through, Begunje na Gorenjskem to discover some of the sights of the Radol’ca countryside!

I have listed the places below in order so as to suggest a circular ride, however, you can of course pick and choose what to see and do, and the list is by no means exhaustive. Starting from Radovljica head past the Spar supermarket, pass under the motorway then continue to the village of Nova vas.

On reaching the t-junction in Zapuže, turn left then shortly afterwards turn right (there is a bar on the corner) towards Zgoša. On reaching the junction, as seen below, turn left towards Begunje.

After a few minutes you will reach the Elan factory, shop and Alpine Skiing Museum, more here – https://adeleinslovenia.com/2019/01/27/test-your-skiing-skills-at-the-elan-alpine-skiing-museum/

Continue towards the village of Begunje, the birthplace of Slavko Avsenik, who, together with his brother Vilko Avsenik, were the founders of Slovenian folk music. You can also visit the Avsenik Museum.

Opposite the Avsenik Museum is the Begunje Tourist Information Centre, where you can pick up more information about the area.

Continue through the village towards the Draga Valley, stopping first to admire and explore the ruins of Kamen Castle (grad Kamen).

Shortly after leaving the castle, there is a small cemetery that contains graves of hostages from the time when Begunje fell under German rule during World War II. You can also make a side trip to visit the Museum of Hostages, housed in Katzenstein Manor.

Now its just a few minutes more to reach the head of the Draga valley and the Gostišče Draga restaurant, which situated next to a stream and makes an ideal place to cool down, rest and/or enjoy some sustenance in the form of a drink, ice-cream, something sweet or some hearty traditional Slovenian food.

You can even stay overnight in one of the newly-renovated rooms and continue your cycling trip the next day! Or stay longer and enjoy the tranquility of the valley, which is also a great place for hiking in the Karavanke mountains.

On the way back, instead of returning the same way, after leaving the valley, you can turn left at the junction just after passing a sawmill. You could also make a detour to visit the Robačnekov mill. It is officially open on Tuesdays and Fridays from 9am-12noon, however, outside of these times if the owner is home, ask nicely and she will be happy to show you round!

Those interested in beekeeping, and even those who think they might not be interested but will likely discover that actually they are(!), can visit Luznar Beekeeping (Čebelarstvo Luznar).

Upon prior arrangement, you can call in to visit Erik at home, where you can purchase his award-winning honey and other honey products, and/or you could arrange to meet him in the Draga valley, where you can get up close to one of his many hives and his amazing new ‘book’ hive, which allows a fascinating, close up, and unique view of Slovenia’s indigenous Carniolan grey bees hard at work. Email cebelarstvo.luznar@gmail.com or call 040 321 556.

Photo: Erik Luznar

Photo: Erik Luznar

You can also visit Begunje and the Draga valley – as well as Erik and his bees(!) – on the Hop-On Hop-On tourist bus, which runs every summer throughout July and August. It’s a great way to discover the villages and countryside of the Radol’ca area. In addition to the ride, there are guided tours and walks as well as other attractions to see and visit at each destination.

Click here for more information about cycling in the Radol’ca area.

© Adele in Slovenia

 

The Begunje Village Trail – Along the Paths of Slavko Avsenik

The village of Begunje na Gorenjskem is the birthplace of the founder of Slovenian folk music, Slavko Avsenik, and a gateway to numerous hikes in the Karavanke mountains.

Get to know more about the village, its history, famous residents, and village life by taking a stroll along the Begunje Village Trail.

The trail begins opposite the Avsenik guest house and restaurant, where you can visit the Avsenik Museum to find out more about the legendary Slavko Avsenik and the music of the Avsenik Brothers Ensemble, as well as about the history of the village.

You can also see some hints and tips from the Avsenik Ensemble about how and where to see and enjoy the best of the area!

Continue past the cemetery through the narrow village lanes, passing the stream in places, heading towards St. Ulrich’s church.

Prior to reaching the church you will see an information board and to the right you can visit Robačnekov mill. It is officially open on Tuesdays and Fridays from 9am-12noon, however, outside of these times if the owner is home, as she was when I visited, just smile nicely and she will be happy to show you round!

After passing the church you can continue through the park past Katzenstein Mansion which today houses a psychiatric hospital and, at the rear, the Museum of Hostages. It is worth visiting the museum for a sobering, somewhat chilling, but interesting experience.

1n 1875 the mansion was sold to Austro-Hungarian judicial authorities and a prison, holding 300 female prisoners, was established. During the German occupation, it became a Gestapo prison and political prisoners were incarcerated in the mansion; after the war it again reprised its role as an all-female prison. Inside, on the walls of the former prison cells, you can see written records left by the prisoners and announcements by the occupiers concerning executions.

 The park is particularly known for its pavilion and the Chapel of St. Joseph, designed by the most famous Slovenian architect, Jože Plečnik, and is also home to a small cemetery where 457 hostages and 18 World War II combatants are laid to rest.
So, as you can see, Begunje na Gorenjskem may be a relatively small village, but it’s crammed with natural and cultural sights, so be sure to stop-off to wander the village trail to find out more! More information about this and other walking and hiking paths in the Radol’ca area can be found here – http://www.radolca.si/en/hiking/

© Adele in Slovenia