Lower Gorenjska Introduction
In the heart of this region is Škofja Loka, one of Slovenia’s most appealing historic towns with lovely medieval streets, squares and castle.
West of Škofja Loka is a delightful alpine and sub-alpine area dissected by peaceful, picturesque and often remote feeling valleys, rivers and mountains and featuring skiing at Stari Vrh (Slovenia’s longest night skiing piste) and Cerkno (which features Slovenia’s most modern lift infrastructure).
East of Škofja Loka is the Lower Gorenjska region - a charming and more developed area focused around the wide valley which stretches North West from Ljubljana up to the Lakes Region and is dotted with pretty alpine style villages and some larger towns.
The high mountains of the Karavanke range on the east side of the Valley are never far away and are one of the highlights of the area, offering outstanding mountain walking and mountain biking and featuring the ski resort at Krvavec just 25km from Ljubljana and one of Slovenia’s highest and considered to be one of the country’s best.
Accessibility is one of the other strong points area with easy access to Ljubljana and its airport and the attractions of the Julian Alps and Lakes regions further north.
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Krvavec is the first proper mountain you pass on the way from Ljubljana to the Gorenjska region. As the first mountain in the range (not to mention one of the most south easterly mountains in the whole alps!) it enjoys commanding views not just of the alps to the north and west but of the beautiful Ljubljana basin and hill country stretching south almost as far as the Croatian border. Home to one of the country's best ski areas, it is a particularly interesting proposition for foreign visitors due to its proximity to Ljubljana airport - just 15 minutes away making it one of the closest ski resorts to an international airport in the world. In Summer there is an excellent adventure park as well as a weatlh of mountain and road biking and excellent paragliding. Summer access is easy via either the gondola or a road leaving right to the top of the mountain.
At the confluence of the two Sora Rivers (Poljane Sora & Selca Sora) half an hour's drive North West of Ljubljana is the charming historic town of Škofja Loka, which was founded in 973. A castle has stood in the current position since the 12th century and the town walls date back as far as the 13th century. The Loka Castle can be visited today and is also home to a small museum. The old town is a charming and atmospheric jumble of medieval streets and historic buildings with some excellent places to eat and drink. All in all it makes an excellent day trip or a great base from which to explore the area - in proximity to Ljubljana, Ljubljana Airport, the foothills of the Julian Alps and in easy reach of all the ski resorts in the area (including Krvavec and Cerkno but especially Stari Vrh which is just a short drive form the town).
TOP 10 MUST SEE
Wandering the medieval streets of Škofja Loka and visiting the imposing castle and museum.
Skiing at one of Slovenia's premier resorts - Krvavec, just 15 minutes from Ljubljana airport.
The spectacular Kosuta Mountain Ridge - a razor sharp 10km ridge which is the border between Austria and Slovenia and offers breathtaking walking in a truely wild surroundings
Jezersko - a stunning untouched mountain area at the end of the the Kokra Valley on the border with Austria
The pretty lake on the River Sava at the town of Zbilje
Family skiing at the excellent smaller resorts of Cerkno & Stari Vrh
Climbing Storžič Mountain - one of the region's most characteristic: a perfect pyramid shaped peak
Summer sports in the Krvavec area - including a Summer Adventure Park with high ropes course, outstanding mountain and road biking and some of Slovenia's best paragliding
ACTIVITIES & THINGS TO DO IN LOWER GORENJSKA
HIKING: Outstanding hiking for all levels throughout the region. Highlights include the Košuta ridge which forms the Austrian - Slovenian border and Stožič - a perfect pyramid peak in the heart of the region. The highest mountain in the region Grintovec can be reached via a fantastic walk from Krvavec mountain and a variety of other routes.
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MOUNTAIN BIKING: Outstanding biking for all levels throughout the region. Krvavec is probably the highlight due to the gondola which runs in the Summer and a long downhill trail down the mountain as well as a couple of trails in the ski area which can be accessed with chairlifts.
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RAFTING: There is not any rafting in the region. Taking a mini raft down the Sava River near Radovljica is possible for a very gentle introduction to rafting!
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PARAGLIDING: Krvavec mountain is one of the most popular paragliding points in Slovenia with a variety of operators offering tandem flights for beginners and stunning views of all Slovenia's main mountain ranges.
SWIMMING: Swimming is possible at various points on the Sava River South of Radovljica. There is a lake at Zbilje north of Ljubljana but watch out as not suitable for swimming.
HORSE RIDING: There are a huge number of possibilities for beautiful riding trips in the region. The riding club in Cerklje na Gorenjskem is a good place to go offering a variety of riding tours up and around Krvavec mountain. The Norik riding club in Hraše also offers tours of the Smlednik region between Ljubljana and Škofja Loka. The Criollo ranch in Križe near Šenčur offers tours in the beautiful Jeledol Valley & Košuta region near Tržič.
GOLF: Diners Golf Club in the village of Smlednik is a nicely arranged and well maintained course with 18 holes and an emphasis on large and well kempt greens and tees.
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ADRENALINE PARKS: The Krvavec Summer Park offers a treetop climbing adventure, several mountain biking courses, downhill karting and scootering, a climbing tower, trampoline, archery field, mobility skills field, frisbee golf and a tubing course. Meanwhile, closer to the Austrian border is the Ljubelj Adrenaline Park; with its collection of based ropes courses and challenges.
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FESTIVALS: The town of Cerkno plays host to a popular jazz festival usually in May every year.
FOOD & DRINK: The cuisine of the region is alpine based and like most of Slovenia, most small towns have excellent value and quality independent restaurants often serving locally sourced produce. For a fine dining experience with a modern take on Slovenian classics and excellent wines try the Jezeršek Hotel in the village of Zgornji Brnik close to Ljubljana airport.
MUSEUMS & GALLERIES: The Loka Museum in Škofja Loka castle is probably the region's best known. The Khislstein Manor house in the heart of Kranj's old town is home to the Gorenjska museum.
ARCHITECTURE & HISTORICAL SITES: The key site in the region is the medieval town of Škofja Loka, but the old centre of Kranj largely designed by Slovenia's most famous architect Plečnik is also worth a visit. There are a number of charming alpine villages around Preddvor and the attractive Strmol Castle just outside Cerklje.
NATURAL ATTRACTIONS: The stunning Karavanke mountains, highlights of which include Storžic mountain, the Košuta ridge and Krvavec mountain. The Dovžan Gorge near Tržič is well worth visiting as is the Sava Valley leading to the lake at Zbilje near Medvode and the remote Jezersko area at the end of the pristine Kokra Valley.