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Jewels of the Upper Savinja Valley: Hidden Tourist Gem in North Slovenia

In the heart of Slovenia lies a unique destination that captivates every traveler with its wealth of natural beauty and adventurous activities.
Jewels of the Upper Savinja Valley: Hidden Tourist Gem in North Slovenia

 

The Upper Savinja Valley, where picturesque landscapes blend with history and adrenaline, is a true treasure for those seeking an authentic experience in north Slovenia. In this travel guide, we will delve into some of the most beautiful destinations in this area, guaranteed to enrich your travel experiences.

Mozirski Gaj: Gardens of Joy and vivid Colors

At the beginning of our journey stands Mozirski Gaj, a paradise for flower lovers, greenery enthusiasts, and art enthusiasts. Gaj is impressive in every season. In spring, nature blooms in full splendor with tulip beds. In summer, it boasts various flower beds and an exhibition of exotic animals. In autumn, adorned in shades of orange and red, it hosts a competition for the largest pumpkin in Slovenia. In winter, it transforms into a Christmas fairy tale.

Stroll through beautifully manicured gardens featuring exotic plants and fragrant flowers. Visitors can also enjoy various events such as flower festivals and exhibitions that add a creative touch to this already magnificent place.

Unfortunately, Mozirski Gaj suffered extensive damage in August 2023 due to widespread floods affecting the north and east of Slovenia. Many flower beds and the permanent exhibition of gnome houses, the Japanese garden, and the old mill were damaged. Restoring Gaj to its original state will take several months, possibly even years. Regardless of how long it takes, every visitor who decides to come during these hard times will contribute to the future restoration of this place.

 

Golte: Active Experience at Heavenly Heights

For winter sports enthusiasts or those who enjoy outdoor activities, the Golte ski resort is an ideal destination. Explore groomed slopes, tobogganing, and other winter delights. In summer, take scenic hikes and enjoy the fresh mountain air, stunning views, and the tranquillity of this undiscovered tourist spot.

Also Read: Slovenia - 14 Easy Mountain Hikes You Can Do in Winter

 

Velenjsko Jezero: Oasis of Peace and Relaxation

For those seeking an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, Velenjsko Jezero is an ideal place to unwind. Swimming, paddleboarding, pedal boating, and an inflatable fun park ensure active moments during the day. In the evening, the grassy beach, lakeside promenade, and wooden piers invite to relax and watch the sunset.

In summer, numerous music and cultural festivals take place. Additionally, there is a landscaped park by the lake, offering shade under the trees for picnics with family and friends, a large children's playground with interesting climbing structures, Vista cafe with a great view of the entire lake, a campsite with quick beach access, and the Jezero restaurant to satisfy your hunger. During colder or rainy days, you can head to the nearby thermal pools of Terme Topolšica.

 

Ljubno ob Savinji: A Glimpse into History and Culture

The historical town of Ljubno ob Savinji charms with its ancient architecture and cultural heritage. Immerse yourself in history and discover how the people of Ljubno, known as "flosarji," used to float wood from the Savinja Valley to the Black Sea. Stroll through narrow streets, feel the pulse of bygone eras, explore educational nature trails, and indulge in local flavors at traditional taverns. I highly recommend trying the trout from the Savinja River at Ribiški dom. At this time, Ribiški dom (the fishermans' house) is still under restoration after the heavy floods in August 2023, I'm sure that when they open again for the next summer season, they vill value every visitor that will find their way there.

Ljubno ob Savinji provides an authentic view of life and culture in this enchanting area and serves as an excellent starting point for excursions with accommodation options in all price ranges. The town hosts the European Women's Ski Jumping Championships annually, attracting many visitors. The ski jump itself is a year-round attraction, offering a magnificent view of the town and surrounding hills from its top level.

 

Gornji Grad: City with Mysterious Energy

Gornji Grad, an impressive city with historical landmarks, is a destination that pulls you into the past. Visit the city center to discover charming squares, castle ruins, and the largest Slovenian cathedral. Every corner of the city radiates historical significance and offers a unique glimpse into the rich past of the region.

During your visit, don't forget to stop by the local herbal shop Babave. Whether you decide to enjoy a cup of tea in their beautiful tearoom or take advantage of their wide range of experiences and workshops, you will undoubtedly leave enchanted and filled with the magical energy of herbs. This beautiful tearoom was filled with mud and water during the 2023 floods, throwing this small business back to the beginning of its entrepreneurship journey. Show your support during your visit, you will not only get great value for your money, amazing memories but also a good feeling in your heart after you leave. 

Gornji Grad is a suitable starting point for hiking to Lepenatka, Veliki Rogatec, and Planina Menina. Read more about this hike: Forest Bees and a Storm on the Trail in the Savinja Valley

 

Velika Planina: Paradise for Hikers

Famous Velika Planina is a great place for hiking enthusiasts to stretch their legs. The slopes are crisscrossed with well-maintained trails leading to beautiful viewpoints and shepherd's huts. You can reach the plateau from Kamniška Bistrica by cable car or with an approximately one-hour hike starting from the parking lot in Kranjski Rak.

In summer, let yourself be carried away by the scent of blooming mountain flowers, while in winter, experience the true magic of a winter wonderland. Don't forget to explore the traditional mountain pasture huts, adding a unique charm to this mountainous environment.

 

Planina Menina: True Shepherd's Idyll

For those seeking a less crowded place compared to Velika Planina with a similar pastoral atmosphere, visit Planina Menina. Taste local dairy products such as cheeses and cottage cheese, stroll among mountain cottages and tall trees, and enjoy a splendid view of the peaks of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps. Planina Menina is an excellent place to relax and savor the tranquility of the mountain landscape.

 

Logarska Dolina: In the Heart of the Alps and Green Nature

Logarska Dolina, a gem of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, will awe you with its impressive panorama of high mountains, crystal-clear streams, and green meadows. It is among the more popular destinations, especially on weekends, so it's better to plan your visit on weekdays.

Take a stroll along a picturesque forest path leading to the Rinka and Palenk waterfalls. Climb up to the Eagle's Nest or further to the Okrešelj or Klemenča Jama mountain huts. Logarska Dolina is also an excellent starting point for several more challenging peaks like Mrzla Gora, Ojstrica, or Grintovec, the king of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps.

The valley is accessible by motor vehicles from April to October starting at 8:00. The price list can be found here.

Also Read: Kamnik-Savinja Alps - Česka koča and Beyond

 

Robanov Kot: Hidden Treasure of Untouched Nature

For a truly unique experience, head to the Robanov Kot valley, where untouched nature and silence await, interrupted only by the whisper of the wind and the murmur of rivers. The entrance to Robanov Kot is about 10 minutes before Logarska Dolina, and the path will lead you to a small parking lot. From there, take an easy walk into the valley.

Resembling Logarska Dolina, Robanov Kot is a haven for photographers and those seeking a peaceful escape from everyday hustle. At the end of the valley, you'll find a small mountain hut where you can eat and drink, or continue to a small waterfall (often dry in summer). Watch out for cows, which also enjoy strolling through the valley.

 

Matkov Kot and Matkov Škaf: Hidden Corners in Deep Forests

Matkov Kot and Matkov Škaf are lesser-known but beautiful destinations in the Upper Savinja Valley. Hidden valleys and quiet corners offer an ideal environment for relaxation and escape from daily stress, as well as a unique view of Matkov Škaf (Matk's bucket).

To reach Matkov Kot, start from the viewpoint near the tourist farm (Turistična kmetija Matk) at an altitude of 1165 m. A forest path and trails lead you through the valley, while a more challenging mountain trail leads to Matkov Škaf – a natural phenomenon formed by melting snow in spring, resembling a crater (necessary equipment even in summer: helmet, crampons, and ice axe). Matkov Škaf is created annually from April to June.

 

Solčavska Panoramic Road: Breathtaking Views by Bike or Car

For an unforgettable experience, take a ride on the panoramic road with breathtaking views of the Upper Savinja Valley. The trail is marked with dragon sculptures, and at many viewpoints, you can admire the beautiful landscape and distant mountains. Don't forget your camera, as the views on this road are truly unique.

The Solčava Panoramic Road has four entry points: Solčava, Logarska Dolina, Zgornje Sleme from the Carinthian side, and the international border crossing Pavličevo Sedlo from Austria, spanning 37 km. Along the way, you'll find several starting points for full-day hikes into the mountains, such as Mount Olševa or the Potočka Zijalka cave.

You'll also find the most famous Slovenian farm, Klemenškova domačija, a favorite photo spot for professional landscape photographers. The mountains of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps provide a stunning backdrop behind the farm.

 

Rafting, Fishing, and Climbing: Adrenaline Activities for Every Adventurer

For those craving an adrenaline rush, the Upper Savinja Valley offers various sports activities. Raft down the Savinja River during an exciting rafting adventure, try your luck fishing in crystal-clear waters, go mountain biking in the local hills, or embark on climbing walls to test your skills and endurance.

For adrenaline junkies, I recommend accommodation at Camp Menina, popular among tourists as it offers various accommodation possibilities as well as outdoor activities and even a small adventure park. Camp Menina is one of the many unfortunate businesses that lost a lot during the 2023 floods. They will value and cherish every individual and family who finds their way here in the upcoming seasons.

To rent biking equipment or a guided bike tour, head to Beli Zajec (White Rabbit sports center) who just like many others in this area found their shop full of mud and water in the morning of 4th August 2023. As if it wasn't enough, in the first hours after the flood, when they went to help families and friends, their shop was also a target of looters who took whatever they could before the police came. With amazing strength, this family business is rising as a phoenix from the ashes of their misfortunes.

 

The Upper Savinja Valley truly offers an unforgettable combination of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and diverse activities. Whether you're a hiking enthusiast, adventurer, or simply a lover of peace and quiet, you'll find something for yourself in this hidden corner of Slovenia. Exploring these destinations will undoubtedly leave you with unforgettable memories and inspiration for new adventures. We are fortunate to call this valley home, so don't hesitate to reach out when you're in our area.

 

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