Kranjska Gora is a famous Slovenian ski resort, which is as popular in the winter time as it is in the summer. It´s a place I grew up visiting regularly and a place to which we return every year on our visit to Slovenia, since we live abroad. It´s great to get away from the city heat and to enjoy the mountains and fresh air. The town is conveniently situated near Italy and Austria, in the NW part of Slovenia. Surrounded by Julian Alps on one side and Karavanke mountains on the other, it is a perfect place for hiking, skiing, cycling and much more. In this post, I´ve gathered over 20 ideas and activities that you can do in Kranjska Gora and around, also with your children.
There are many things to do also if you just stay in Kranjska Gora town. You should visit the renovated 18th Century farmhouse, LIZNJEK FARM (Liznjekova domacija), which now hosts an ETHNOGRAPHIC MUSEUM. There are occasional concerts and other EVENTS at the smaller MARKET BY THE CHURCH – you can also buy handicrafts on the market stands. Besides the SKI SLOPES, you can also find PLACES FOR GOLF, TENNIS, VOLLEYBALL, BASKETBALL, DOWNHILL BIKE TRACKS, CYCLING & HIKING PATHS, SUMMER SLIDING TRACK, KIDS PLAYGROUNDS and more. Fore extra activities you can check out the VITRANC SPORTS HALL and the WELLNESS & SWIMMING POOLS offers at the bigger hotels in the town. There is also a CASINO.
In the wintertime you can SKI, CROSS-COUNTRY SKI and ICESKATE. More seasonal offers can be discovered at the TOURIST INFO POINT in the center of the city. In DECEMBER CHRISTMAS FESTIVE SEASON there is a so-called ALPINE VILLAGE set up at the central square. You can have a cup of mulled wine and a bite to eat next to an open fire pit. It´s quite nice.
JASNA LAKE | picnic areas, swimming and other activities by the lake
The name JASNA LAKE actually stands for 2 SMALLER ARTIFICIAL LAKES by the road to Vrsic pass, which are located at the point where MALA and VELIKA PIŠNICA river come together. After quite some years this area was finally renovated and is now offering A VIEWING TOWER, a couple of CAFES, PIERS and SITTING AREAS, besides the AMAZING VIEWS of course. You can swim in the lake (although the water is really cold), or go around with a SUP or a CANOE. It´s a tradition for Slovenians to take a picture with the CAPRICORN STATUE too.
Jasna lake is gorgeous in WINTER TIME as well. If and when the lake freezes over you can ice skate, but you´ll need to bring your own ice skates as there is no rental possibility at the lake. Otherwise, there are more WAYS TO GET TO THE LAKE. You can drive and park the car at one of the 2 official parking lots. Or, you can walk on the pavement along the main road, walk on the other side of the river on a smaller unpaved path or take a turn at the Casino hotel and cross through a forest over a hill.
MALA PIŠNICA VALLEY | a hike along Pišnica river
As mentioned above, you can walk along Pišnica river from Kranjska Gora to Jasna lake (the path starts at Casino hotel Korona). Around Jasna lake you can hop the white sand islands between the river streams and it is quite usual to lay down somewhere and enjoy the sun for a while. But if you are looking for more action and adventure you can HIKE UP MALA PIŠNICA VALLEY. Now, I need to warn you that this is NOT A MARKED PATH and it can be dangerous, so do it at your own risk. You also might have to cross the water a few times and you might get lost if you don´t have great orientation. If you do manage to get to GRLO you can continue the hike to SLEMENOVA ŠPICA and VRŠIČ.
ZELENCI NATURE RESERVE | Save Dolinke river spring and wonderful views
This stunning NATURE RESERVE, which is also the SPRING OF SAVA DOLINKA RIVER is a popular spot to visit while in Kranjska Gora in the last years. It is quite close tot he main road from Kranjska Gora to Rateče – after a SHORT WALK from the parking lot you reach the lake and can walk on WOODEN PATHS to the VIEWING TOWER. Really great views from up there. If you can, come during the week to avoid the crowds.
You can visit Zelenci also in WINTER TIME, it is specifically nice when there is lots of snow, but do take care in case the path is slippery and covered in ice.
PLANICA | ski jumps and nordic center
The most famous SLOVENE SKI JUMPS have been massively renovated just a few years ago and together with some other new features offer a really great experience for the visitors. There is also a NORDIC CENTER with a MUSEUM, ZIPLINE, SNOW TUNNEL FOR CROSS COUNTRY SKIING, RESTAURANTS and more. It is also interesting to visit it IN THE SUMMER when you can watch the young jumpers practise. Especially if you have never seen someone jumping like this before.
The first jump took place before 1930 and in 1994 Toni Nieminen was the first one who jumped over the 200 metres, right here in Planica. Every year in March thousands of people come to see the best ski jumpers in the world competing at the FIS WORLD CUP EVENT. The whole weekend is a big celebration and really a NATIONAL EVENT. It is said every Slovene should visit it at least once in their lifetime.
TAMAR VALLEY | a hike from Planica to Tamar valley
If you PARK THE CAR AT PLANICA SKI JUMPS and continue to walk up the Tamar valley for about an hour (it´s an easy walk) you will end up at the mountain house, DOM V TAMARJU where you can have a bite to eat. From here, you can continue the walk to Vršič, Grlo and Slemenova špica (these are longer walks), or just hike up to the NADIŽA WATERFALL close by. You will see it from the big meadow in front of the mountain house. It will take you about 15 minutes to the waterfall, but the way is quite steep and you should watch your step at times. It is a very popular place so don´t expect to be alone in the nature, nevertheless, the views are stunning.
WINTER HIKE TO TAMAR is our tradition on the first day of the year, to chase away the hangover from the party. We´re not the only ones with this idea and there are always lots of people, but it´s great despite this. TAMAR IS AWESOME FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY, but it is more peaceful and enjoyable during the week days. Note that the way can be icy and you might need walking sticks.
SKI PLACES | ski slopes in the area in winter and summer time
There are around 18 SKI SLOPES in Kranjska Gora and around, stretching over the slopes of Vitranc to Podkoren and Planica, at altitudes from 800m to 1200 m. In PODKOREN there is a FIS COMPETITION held every year and this track is a bit steeper, but the rest are suitable for beginners also. If you are a great skier don´t expect to find the best ski slopes you can imagine, but it is still nice to do it for a day or two. In Kranjska Gora there is the so-called SNOW BEACH AREA at the foot of the slopes with many restaurants, bars, children playgrounds and ski schools areas. NIGHT SKIING is also possible.
SKI SLOPES are also a nice place to be at IN THE SUMER TIME. There one chair lift operating in the summer months, VITRANC 1. This one takes you up to a cottage called BEDANČEV DOM, where you can have a bite to eat with a GREAT VIEW. From here you can slide down (if you buy a ticket before you take the hair lift) the SUMMER SLIDE which is much fun actually. For more adrenaline you can use the BIKE PARK TRAIL which also starts here, or you can HIKE UP TO OTHER PEAKS such as VITRANC or CIPRNIK (1745m).
TROMEJA | a hike to Slovenia – Austria – Italy triple border
On mountain PEČ (1508m) there is the point where 3 COUNTRIES share their borders. The TRIPLE BORDER BETWEEN SLOVENIA, ITALY & AUSTRIA is also called TROMEJA on Slovenian, DREILÄNDERECK on German and MONTE FORNO on Italian. You can reach the top with a lift from the Austrian side´s ARNOLDSTEIN ski place (you need to walk for a little while after you step of the lift) or you hike up from RATEČE on Slovenian side.
The hike FROM RATEČE can take 2 to 2.5 hours, depending on which route you take. At one point the path divides into one steeper one and one that is longer but less steep. The VIEWS FROM THE TOP are amazing, you can see PLANICA VALLEY on Slovenian side and all the way to VILLACH and around on Austrian side.
KRNICA VALLEY | a hike from Jasna lake to Krnica valley
KRNICA VALLEY is a 6 kilometre long valley in TRIGLAV NP which starts above Jasna lake and goes along Velika Pisnica river in the direction of Razor mountain. West of this valley there is the road going up VRŠIČ PASS. The hike in the valley is pretty easy and it takes a good hour to come to the mountain house called KOČA V VKRNICI (1113m) at the end. All the way there are magnificent views on the mountains surrounding the valley, KRIŽ (2410m), ŠKRLATICA (2470m), ŠPIK (2472m) and PRISOJNIK (2547m). You can reach those mountains hiking from Koča v Krnici.
IN WINTER TIME the hike to Krnica valley might be even more scenic and for us it´s a perfect way to spent a day out, topping it with a mountain-food lunch at the cottage. Awesome hike for kids too.
PERIČNIK WATERFALL | a hike from Mojstrane to Peričnik waterfall
On the way to VRATA VALLEY FROM MOJSTRANA, you can hike up to this magnificent WATERFALL just above the KOČA PRI PERIČNIKU cottage. There are actually 2 WATERFALLS, the UPPER (16 metres high) and LOWER (52 metres high). The larger, lower one is more known, therefore the word Peričnik usually reffers to this one. There can be a lot of water in the summer, but you should definitely try and walk behind the dropping water even if you do get wet.
You can usually hike up also IN WINTER TIME – the ICE SICKLES are amazing! Since a while ago it is not possible to park the car close to the Koča pri Peričniku cottage, so you will need to WALK FROM MOJSTRANA, either on the MAIN ROAD or on the other side of the river through a FOREST. In any case, wear good shoes and watch your step as it can be slippery in winter time. If visiting with kids take extra care.
VRATA VALLEY | a hike to Vrata valley from Mojstrana
This GLACIAL VALLEY is stretching from MOJSTRANA town all the way to the foot of TRIGLAV´S MIGHTY NORTHERN WALL. Through the valley runs a stream TRIGLAVSKA BISTRICA, which eventually runs into SAVA DOLINKA river. There is a mountain COTTAGE in Vrata valley, but if you continue to walk further you will reach also the famous memorial – a PITON that stands as a MEMORIAL TO ALL WHO LOST THEIR LIVES IN THE MOUNTAINS. The valley is a perfect starting point for conquering Slovenia´s highest mountain, TRIGLAV, or some other mountains like KRIŠKI PODI (2050m), STENAR (2501m), ŠKRLATICA (2740m) or BIVAK II (2118m).
SLOVENE ALPINE MUSEUM | Mojstrana
The museum itself is still pretty much new and the collection and exhibitions inside are really rich and interesting also FOR CHILDREN with lots of INTERACTIVE FEATURES. There is a PERMANENT EXHIBITION upstairs, TEMPORARY EXHIBITIONS are held in the basement and on the ground floor there is a beautiful little SHOP with souvenirs, Slovenian products and books about hiking, climbing, mountaineering and Slovenia in general. It is a great way to spend a few hours in case of bad weather but it is well worth a stop even if the sun is shining outside.
VRŠIČ MOUNTAIN PASS | a drive over Vršič pass from Gorenjska to Trenta with stops
The ROAD OVER VRŠIČ PASS (1611 metres) was built for military purposes in the WWI and is now called Ruska cesta (RUSSIAN ROAD) to honour the Russian prisoners who built it. In the winter, the pass might be closed due to heavy snow, but in the summer it is a popular way to reach TRENTA from KRANJSKA GORA or vice versa. On both sides of the pass there are 50 serpentines, don´t miss stopping at the famous RUSSIAN CHAPEL, ALPINE BOTANICAL GARDEN JULIJANA, KUGY MEMORIAL and others.
There are also many CYCLISTS going over it, but this is advisable only for those who have much endurance. if you want to hike to some other mountains from here you can do so – MALA MOJSTROVKA (2332m) and VELIKA MOJSTROVKA (2366m), PLANJA (2453m), PRISOJNIK (2547m), RAZOR (2601m), SITNA GLAVA (2087m), SLEMENOVA ŠPICA (1911m), SOVNA GLAVA (1750m), SUHI VRH (2109m) or visit some of the mountain houses in the near – ERJAVČEVA KOČA (1515m), TIČARJEV DOM (1620m), KOČA NA GOZDU (1226m) or POŠTARSKI DOM (1725m).
TONKINA KOČA – VRŠIČ | long but easy hike to Vršič pass from Gorenjska side
This might be a LESSER-KNOWN HIKE, but despite the lenght it+s an easy one. Even Lu did it when he was still very young. You cna start the hike at MIHOV DOM or KOČA NA GOZDU cottages on the road to VRŠIČ. The hike ends either at POŠTARSKI DOM or TIČARJEVA KOČA on the top of VRŠIČ PASS. This hike is doable also in WINTERTIME when there is not much snow, just make sure you have proper shoes and clothes. We love this path because it is never full of people.
JURE ROBIČ CYCLING PATH | cycling from Mojstrana to Italy
The way leads us on the same track where the old railway tracks were, from MOJSTRANA in Slovenia across the border to Italy to TRVISIO from where you can continue to cycle even further on the Italian bicycle trails. It is a beautiful way, because it runs directly besides the main road only on few points, but otherwise it takes us through forests, away from the road. You can also reach the nice lakes at LAGHI DI FUSINE, just after you cross the border. It´s a nice way to spend a few hours, although it does get crowded at weekends, so you have to be early. The way was recently named after a famous Slovenian cyclist, JURE ROBIČ, who won the Race across America 5 times. He died unfortunately at the age of 45 in the year 2010. In KRANJSKA GORA there are many shops RENTING BICYCLES, also E-BIKES.
Cycling path might be covered in snow in WINTER TIME but they usually clean it good and it´s perfect for longer WALKS. From Kranjska Gora towards MOJSTRANA there are great VIEWS on the mountains, but you can also walk in the other direction, to ZELENCI and even to RATEČE & PLANICA.
CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING | cross-country skiing trails in the area
There are plenty of smaller round trails in KRANJSKA GORA, RATEČE and GOZD MARTULJEK for those who are not keen on taking the longer ones. For all the others, you can start in the centre of Kranjska Gora and continue to Planica ski jumps where you start to ascend TAMAR VALLEY. Cross-country skiing in Tamar valley is not for everyone, as you do about 260m altitude difference.
INGOTOVA KOČA COTTAGE | easier hike from Gozd Martuljek
The best way is to leave the car on a smaller PARKING at GOZD MARTULJEK, when you cross the bridge over Sava Dolinka river. You continue on the main road to Kranjska Gora to the point where you see the marked bicycle path, you follow it until you reach a gravel road which eventually takes you to Ingotova koča cottage.
From here you can also reach the MARTULJKOVI SLAPOVI WATERFALLS and PLANINA JESENJE. It will take you about an hour to get to the mountain house and the walk is suitable for everyone. There might be less people here as in Tamar and Krnica, so it´s a nice alternative.
POHOD S KRPLJAMI | poti za pohode s krpljami v okolici
This is great if there is much FRESH NEW SNOW, so it would have been very hard to walk in it with normal shoes. You can RENT SNOWSHOES in one of the shops back in Kranjska Gora, or like in our case, have your own. There are NO SPECIFIC TRAILS to do this, you just need to find your own, where ever the snow is high. You cna try the hill behind Casiono hotel and WALK TO JASNA THROUGH THE FOREST. It is a great feeling to be the first one to walk in the deep snow, leaving only your footprints behind.
SLEDDING | fun for the kids and the whole family
Basically you can take the sledge on every walking path if there is enough snow. One good option is to go to TAMAR OR KRNICA VALLEY, if you wish for something more adventurous head to GOZD MARTULJEK TRAIL – its is 2500m long and you do a 280m altitude difference. This is only possible in an organised tour, they will take you to the starting point with their cars. There is also night sledding possible, the trail is marked with torches.
VIEWPOINT IN PODKOREN | info and viewpoint from Korensko sedlo road to Austria
If you drive from PODKOREN to AUSTRIA (direction Villach) over the KORENSKO SEDLO mountain pass, you will pass by a recently established VIEWPOINT with info boards. It+s a nice spot to catch the last views on the valley, or the firt ones if coming from Austria of course.
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