Kamnik Alps & Pohorje
Kamnik Alps & Pohorje Introduction
In the west of this rugged region lies Kamnik, a very pretty and well preserved medieval town with castle, just a stones throw from Ljubljana and the gateway to the wonderful Kamnisko Savinjske Alps, stretching East to as far as Slovenj Gradec. Less visited by foreigners than other mountains in Slovenia, but popular amongst Slovenians, the Kamniško Savinjske Alps have more than their fair share of attractions with picturesque towns such as Kamnik, Mozirje and Slovenj Gradec and charming alpine villages such as Šentanel, excellent hiking and cycling trails, a number of thermal spas, skiing at the small ski resorts of Golte and Velika Planina at the Western end of the region and the exceptionally beautiful Logar Valley in the far north – one of the most perfect valleys in the Eastern Alps. The Pohorje Massif is an easterly extension of the Kamniško Savinjske Alps. A little lower than its westerly neighbours the area is a lovely natural environment peppered with lakes, including the small but beautiful Lovrenc & Black lakes, criss-crossed by a multitude of hiking and cycling trails and home to 2 main ski resorts – Rogla and Mariborsko Pohorje. Rogla is accessed from the small spa town of Zreče and is a relatively small resort good for beginners and intermediates. Mariborsko Pohorje is a larger resort, with plenty for beginners and more advanced skiers. One of its major benefits is its accessibility just at the edge of Maribor, with city buses going directly to the lifts. Maribor itself is Slovenia’s second city with a very pretty Austrian influenced old centre overlooking the Drava river and surrounded by a number of attractive wine roads.
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Koroška - Carinthia
The Slovenian province of Koroška lies on the north edge of the country bordering Austria on the eastern end of the Kamniško Savinjske Alps. Koroška is Slovenian for Carinthia which is a large Austrian region of the same name of which Slovenian Koroška was a part from medieval times through the days of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Confused? then we won't even start talking about the areas of Austrian Carinthia with dual nationality & language! The main attractions of Slovenian Koroška are the attractive medieval town of Slovenj Gradec, the Drava river which wends its way through the area, wonderful unspilt mountains and forests crisscrossed with hiking routes, notable among which is Peca Mountain, the highest in the area and exceptional mountain biking including the chance to mountain bike underground in an abandoned mine!
TOP 10 MUST SEE
Medieval Kamnik town centre, with its very well preserved streeet, pretty churches and two small castles including the delightful "Mali Grad" Castle. All against the backdrop of the rugged Kamniško Savinjske Alps.
The Logar Valley (Logarska Dolina) a wonderfully unspoilt picture perfect alpine valley on the North side of the Kamniško Savinjske Alps, featuring the 100m high Rinka waterfall.
Velika Planina - a beautiful plateau at circa 1500m2 with access by gondola a few kms north of the town of Kamnik. The area is great for walking and is home to a small ski area and settlement of architecturally unique shepherds wood cabins
The Upper Savinja River Valley which runs from the Rinka waterfall in the Logar Valley through the region via Mozirje to Celje. and offers scope for both rafting and kayaking as well as beautiful scenery
The centre of Maribor, a delighful old town on the banks of the Drava River. A European Capital of Culture in 2012.
Skiing at Mariborsko Pohorje Resort (Slovenia's largest by kilometres of pistes) and taking full advantage of the superb access to the resort from the town centre: the lifts are just a few kilometres from town!
Climbing the region's highest peak: Grintovec at 2558m2, also the 24th highest peak in the Alps by prominence! Ascents can be made from the Kokra valley, Kamniška Bistrica Valley or from Krvavec mountain.
The Maribor tourist wine route: The route starts in the old town at the Old Vine which is the site of the oldest vine in the world, still producing circa 50kg of fruit a year! It moves on via the huge Vinag wine cellars to the hills of Kalvarija, Mestni Vrh and Piramida overlooking the town: all vine covered hills with lovely views over Maribor.
The Rogla - Zreče Recreation Centre: The resort of Rogla offes great family and beginner - intermediate skiing on atractive forest trails and down the road is the spa town of Zreče to ease away the aches and pains after a day on the slopes.
Summer sports in the Pohorje Hills near Maribor. With Summer sledging, an adrenaline park with high ropes course, downhill bike park, over 100km of cycling trails and horse riding school and wonderful hiking through gentle, idyllic forested and hills, the Pohorje is a fantastic place for for Summer activities.
ACTIVITIES & THINGS TO DO IN KAMNIK ALPS & POHORJE
SKIING: At the smaller resorts of Golte and Velika Planina in the West of the region and Rogla & Mariborsko Pohorje further east. The latter is Slovenia's biggest resort by overall piste length and home to the annual Golden Fox women's World Cup ski event.
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HIKING: Outstanding hiking for all levels throughout the region. The Pohorje hills in the East near Maribor provide a gentler menu of walks whilst the more rugged Kamniško Savinjske Alps provide a huge range of hiking; highlights of which include the Logar Valley, Velkia Planina & Grintovec mountain.
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MOUNTAIN BIKING: There is outstanding biking for all levels throughout the region, including an MTB park at Mariborsko Pohorje and an MTB centre at Črna na Koroškem which offers a huge network of trails and underground mountain biking adventures in a disused mine!
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KAYAKING: There is good beginner - intermediate level kakying on the Upper Savinja River with some of the major centres around Luče and Ljubno.
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RAFTING: There is good rafting possible on the Upper Savinja River with some of the major centres around Luče and Ljubno.
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PARAGLIDING: There are several paragliding points in the region namely at Muta, Maribor, Mozirje and Vojnik.
FLY FISHING: There is excellent fly fishing on the Upper Savinja river and its tributary the Dreta. There is also a fishing lake the "Ribnik Gaj" just outside Mozirje run by the Mozirje fishing association.
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HORSE RIDING: There are a variety of Horse riding centres in the Pohorje region which can be contacted via the Maribor Tourist Offfice. There is also an excellent riding centre in the village of Zgornje Grušovlje just north of the Ljubljana - Maribor motorway a few kms west of Celje.
GOLF: This area of Slovenia plays host to two contrasting courses, one is amongst vineyards and the other amidst a pine forest. Golf Club Arboretum as the name suggests provides not only forest views, but also a view of the Kamniške Alps, while the Zlati Grič Golf Course steers you through and alongside vineyards.
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ADRENALIN PARKS: Betnava Adventure Park on the edge of Maribor offers seven adventure routes over different elevations; suitable for all ages from 3 years up. Whilst closer to Rogla the Alpine Coaster Zlodejevo toboggan is bound to thrill with its 1.36km's of winding downhill track. The Rogla Bike Park also has thrills aplenty on its forested trails, complete with numerous obstacles.
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ARCHITECTURE & HISTORICAL SITES: The key historical sites of the region are the town centres of Maribor and Kamnik. Amongst Maribor's most interesting sites are, the oldest grape vine in the world, various medieval towers and old town walls, the Castle Square and Castle itself & Glavni Trg square. Kamnik offers a charming old town with cobbled streets and lots of original buildings as well as the pint sized "Mali Grad" or little castle, whose chapel is one of the most important Romanesque monuments in the country and the beautiful Zaprice Castle baroque manor house just outside the town. Of interest in the region is also the town of Slovenj Gradec which has a charming old town centre which was first recorded in the 11th century.
MUSEUMS & GALLERIES: For wine lovers the Old Vine House in Maribor, site of the world's oldest vine and exhibition about viticulture in the area is well worth a visit. Zaprice Castle just outside Kamnik also hosts a variety of temporary and permanent art and cultural exhibitions in a beautiful baroque manor house.
FESTIVALS: The biggest festival in the region is undoubtedly the excllent Lent Festival in Maribor in late June / early July. Lent is the name of the old town core and during the festival the whole old town but in particular the area running along the Drava river comes alive with an array of music, dance, theatre, comedy and other cultural events. In total there are over 1500 events on 15 stages over the festival period.
In August it is the turn of Kamnik to take centre stage hosting its annual Kamfest - a music festival with live acts performing on stages in the centre of town most evenings.
NATURAL ATTRACTIONS: The region is packed with natural attractions and offers any number of possibilities for enjoying beautiful unspoilt alpine scenery and nature. Amongst the highlights are the Kamniška Bistrica valley just North of Kamnik, from where there is a cable car up to Velika Planina mountain plateau, the Logar Valley (Logarska Dolina) in the far north of the region on the border with Austria, the Arboretum Botanical gardens just outside Kamnik and the rolling hills of the Pohorje near Maribor.
FOOD & DRINK: The cuisine of the region is characterised by hearty alpine based dishes. Like most of the country it is pretty easy to find good well priced restaurants in most towns, often serving local specialities as classic Slovenian dishes. The East of the region is wine growing country and there are ample opportunities for trying the local produce in local wine cellars.
WINE TASTING: The Maribor area is an excellent place for wine tasting and there are abundant opportunties for tasting local wines at wineries on the hills just outside the city. A must for any visitor interested in wine is a visit to the oldest vine in the world in the centre of Maribor and to the house that the vine grows on which has a wine / viticulture exhibition and wine shop. The Vinag Wine cellars in Maribor old town are also well worth visiting - amongst the largest and oldest wine cellars in Europe with over 20,000m2 of floor space, 2.5km of tunnels and 250,000 bottles in storage and the opportunity to taste and buy after your tour.
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SPA & WELLNESS: There are a number of excellent spa and wellness centres in the region. Perhaps best known is the Zreče - Rogla Health Resort which is one of Slovenia's 15 natural spas with thermal waters and a huge range of leisure, health, beauty and medical treatments available. Close to Zreče are the Topološica and Dobrna spa centres - both also members of Slovenia's 15 certified natural spas. Worth mentioning is also the Snovik spa complex and water park 15 minutes drive from the centre of Kamnik. Last but not least the Plesnik Hotel in the Logar Valley offers excellent hotel pool and spa facilities.
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