A Quick ‘Emergency’ Radol’ca Blog…With (Good) Reason!

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.

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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!

Radovljica – the historic old town centre of Radovljica, which will soon turn into a festive wonderland, museums and galleries, Taste Radol’ca restaurants (including one with a Michelin Star), a wealth of theme trails, hiking trails, cycle routes and more!

Begunje na Gorenjksem – the music and history of Avsenik Slovenian national folk music, the Elan Alpine Ski Museum, the Drava valley, Kamen Castle, Taste Radol’ca restaurants, and great hiking in the Karavanke mountains.

The Šobec camp – camping alongside the Sava river in the cool of pine trees in this multi-award-winning camp with its own natural lake.

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So, I’ve fulfilled my promise, now it’s up to you to come and see why Radol’ca has achieved such exceptional results!

© 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

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

 

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

 

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 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

Winter Hikes and Spikes in Radol’ca!

At last, I’ve found time to sit down and write my first blog of the year 2022! It’s been a funny old winter so far. First a lot of early snow in December, followed by a very cold spell, then an unseasonably mild spell, followed by rain, a bit more snow and now another really cold spell, albeit now at least with beautiful blue skies and sunshine.

Although I’ve never been a fan of the cold and snow, I’m also not one to sit indoors, regardless of the weather (and my ongoing health woes). So, here are a few ideas for winter hikes in the Radol’ca, oh, and read on to find out about the ‘spikes’ (as mentioned in the title) too!

One of our favourite hikes at this time of the year is to Smokuški vrh above the village of Begunje na Gorenjskem. Since we like doing circular routes and prefer to leave the car in the garage, when we have time we often set off on foot from Radovljica to Begunje (cca. 50 minutes), where we take the path that begins near the post office and leads steeply up to St. Peter’s church (cca. 30mins).

From the church, we carry on up to Smokuški vrh on the ridge, which is a great vantage point.

We then walk along the ridge, with stunning views of the Julian Alps and Slovenia’s highest mountain – Triglav – before descending towards the village of Rodine and back through Hraše and Lesce to Radovljica.

Now onto the ‘spikes’ I mentioned above…As also mentioned above, it’s been a mixed bag this winter, which means that although some places at lower altitudes are now almost snow-free (up to around 800metres above sea-level), in the forest, particularly in areas that don’t get any/much sun and paths that are well used, the paths are really icy in places, hence ‘spikes’ i.e. mini crampons, are a ‘must’ in my rucksack wherever I go.

So, if you are planning any hikes in winter, I’d advise you bring (or buy while you are here) a pair of these mini crampons – you can pick them up for around €30, they are very lightweight and quick and easy to put on. Note, however, that these crampons are NOT suitable for more strenuous and higher mountain tours, for which semi-automatic crampons are a must at this time of the year.

And what’s more, the ones I’m ‘modelling’ below, are even made here in the municipality of Radovljica – at the Veriga factory in Lesce, where you can buy them direct of pick them up in sports shops.

My other favourite places to hike in the Radovljica area in winter include the Goška ravan mountain pasture and hut on the Jelovica plateau

The Roblekov dom mountain hut, above the Draga valley on the slopes of Mt. Begunščica

And the Vodiška planina mountain pasture and Partisanski dom mountain hut above Kropa.

You can find out about all these hikes and more about winter in Radovljica, visit the Visit Radol’ca website. Happy and, of course, safe hiking!

© Adele in Slovenia

 

A Fairly Festive Festive Season in Radol’ca!

Yes, it’s that time of year again – for some it’s a joyful time to be spent with families, for young children it’s the highlight of the year waiting for Santa to come down the chimney, for others religion is at the forefront, while there are those that are (already) sick of hearing Christmas music blaring out in shops, endless Christmas adverts on TV and seeing Christmas food and presents in the shops since September!

Wherever you fall among the aforementioned, no doubt after last year’s very muted festive season, you have been looking forward to this year’s celebrations more than usual.

I am, thus, the bearer of both good and bad news. The good news is that Radovljica is looking as fairytale-like as ever, and, unlike last year, there will be some festive events taking place here and elsewhere in Slovenia, while the bad news is that celebrations will still be somewhat muted as there are still some restrictions in place. Nevertheless, after what we’ve all been through, let’s try to just focus on the positives, i.e. on what we CAN see, do and experience rather than what we can’t!

Here in Radovljica one can take delight in simple things such as a evening stroll through Radovljica’s old town centre, where you can marvel at the lights and soak up the atmosphere, stop off for a drink and/or a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants/bars throughout the town.

Kids – big and small – will like visiting the fairy’s grotto, complete with a carriage.

You can also visit one of the Christmas markets and watch street performances – all run, of course, in accordance with the COVID-related restrictions. Providing no additional measures are imposed in the next week or so, below is the timetable of  festive events in the old town centre of Radovljica, note – at present food and drink cannot be sold at Christmas markets due the current restrictions:

  • 19th December: Christmas ARTish fair from 11am to 7pm in Radovljica Manor
  • 22nd December: Christmas market and children’s creative workshop from 4pm to 7pm in Radovljica Manor
  • 23rd December: Christmas market and children’s creative workshop from 4pm to 7pm in Linhart Square and the square in front of the church
  • 25th December: Ana Snežna street performance with Jakob Bergant at 5pm in Linhart Square and the square in front of the church
  • 26th December: Street performance with Čupakabra and Sodrga at 5pm, Linhart Square and the square in front of the church
  • 27th December: Christmas market from 4pm to 7pm, Linhart Square and the square in front of the church
  • 2th December: Christmas market from 4pm to 7pm, Linhart Square and the square in front of the church, and Ana Snežna street performance with Matteo Galbusera (Italy) at 5pm in Linhart Square and the square in front of the church
  • 29th December: Christmas market from 4pm to 7pm, Reindeers’ Circus with the Cizamo Theatre at 5pm, Linhart Square and the square in front of the church

Click here to read more about December in Radovljica.

And as Radovljica, like much of Slovenia, isn’t that far from anywhere, you can also make day trips to see the festive lights in other towns and cities such as Ljubljana, Kranj, Koper, Celje and Maribor.

Oh and by the way, most of the pictures above were taken prior to last week’s heavy snowfall, Radovljica now looks more like this!

And the Vodiška planina mountain pasture on the Jelovica plateau looks like this (taken yesterday!).

So, if you are a fan of the white stuff – snow that is – (which regular readers know I certainly am not!) there’s certainly no shortage of it here. In the high mountains there is already 2 metres in places and 1 metre at altitudes of around 1,000m, while her in the valley we had, or rather still have, around 30-40 centimetres, though I do have to admit it does help to add to the festive feeling, but I just wish we could wake up after Christmas to find it has all gone!!!

Here’s hoping 2022 will finally see the back of coronavirus and I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a very Happy and Healthy New Year.

© Adele in Slovenia

 

Radol’ca Chocolate – Radovljica Just Got Even ‘Sweeter’!

Radovljica is even richer, and sweeter, thanks to a great new addition – the new Radol’ca Chocolate boutique chocolate shop!

But calling it just a ‘shop’ is doing it an injustice, since it’s so much more.

All the chocolates are handmade on site at this new family-run venture, which is the brainchild of the former director of the Radovljica Tourist Board, Nataša Mikelj, who, together with her husband and eldest daughter, have set up and opened a new chapter in their lives and that of Radovljica.

Since having introduced the very popular and successful Radovljica Chocolate Festival to the town’s annual events calendar several years ago, Nataša’s interest was sparked in where chocolate comes from, how it’s made, flavour combinations, etc.

For several years she had tried to find someone who would be interested in opening a chocolate shop in Radovljica, but there was little interest. It was during lockdown that Nataša had time to think long and hard about her life, career and future and had a lightbulb moment when she realised what her new calling could be in life – chocolate!

And the result of many months of research, hard graft and learning the tools and tricks of the trade is certainly paying off, since passing trade is brisk and orders are already pouring in for Christmas gifts, business gifts, etc.

The shop is located at the entrance to Radovljica’s old town centre. Inside you can get up close to watch the chocolates being made…

…learn about the ingredients…

… talk to the family…

…and try a sample before you buy!

It’s a tough place to be for a chocoholic like me!

In future, workshops, tasting sessions and other events are planned too.

A chocolate weekend is due to be held (providing further COVID restrictions aren’t introduced by then) on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th December. Click here to read more.

So, now you can take a piece of Radovljica (chocolate!) home as a treat for yourself or your loved ones – or both!

© Adele in Slovenia