With its towering mountain peaks, deep clear lakes and tumbling waterfalls, hiking trails and ski slopes, Bohinj is one of Slovenia’s top destinations for adventure travel. Set in the breathtaking Julian Alps and partially within Triglav National Park, the valley of Bohinj is flanked by the Lower Bohinj Mountains and the Triglav Mountain Range, which includes Mount Triglav, Slovenia’s tallest mountain.
The valley is technically divided into two separate valleys—the Upper and Lower Bohinj Valleys—and encompasses no fewer than 24 villages. It’s unquestionably one of the prettiest places in the Julian Alps. This is a place of mountain pastures, alpine meadows, dense forests, shimmering lakes and imposing mountains. Especially in a misty morning it’s an almost magical place.
The beauty of Bohinj lies not only in its sheer natural spectacle and outdoor opportunities, but also in the fact that it’s much less visited than its neighbor of Bled . Lake Bled draws in the majority of visitors to this part of Slovenia and, while also a stunning place, definitely gets overcrowded sometimes. Lake Bohinj, on the other hand, is always relatively quiet—or at least quieter—and much more laidback.
In summer and fall, Bohinj is an outdoor lover’s paradise. Adventure sports that can be practiced range from hiking and rock climbing to cycling, fishing and whitewater rafting. In winter, the entire area becomes a winter sports heaven, with the Vogel Ski Center as its epicenter. When a thick blanket of snow covers the mountains and the valleys, this is Slovenia’s hotspot for snowboarding, skiing, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Let’s focus on the warmer seasons in this article and take a closer look at the main highlights in Bohinj.
The Beauties of Bohinj
Providing a large part of the water for Lake Bohinj, the Savica Waterfall is among the most popular natural highlights in Bohinj. It receives its water from the Seven Triglav Lakes Valley high above on the ridge of the Triglav Mountain Range. This is Slovenia’s most well-known waterfall and an absolutely must-see destination in Bohinj. After plummeting 255 feet into a deep pool, the water flows into Lake Bohinj via the Savica Brook.
Without question, the most typical and authentic feature of Bohinj is the double hayracks that dot the Upper Bohinj Valley. Of partular note is the rural town of Studor, famous for its many double hayracks. Even though wooden hayracks are common everywhere in Europe, the unique double ones that you can see in Bohinj are found only in Slovenia. They fill the fields in Studor, a sight not found anywhere else in the world.
Located at a height of 3,900 to 4,900 feet above sea level, Pokljuka is a karst plateau dotted with farmsteads and covered with pastures. This is where cattle come to graze in summer. Home only to farmers, wildlife, and cows and goats, this is an incredibly peaceful location in Triglav National Park. It’s a magnificent place to go for a mountain hike and you can refuel at the couple of farms that serve food and drinks.
Arguably the star attraction in Bohinj is the Triglav Mountain Range, topped by Mount Triglav itself. This Slovenian icon is nothing less than a symbol of the country. It’s so important to the Slovenian nation that it’s said that every Slovene has to climb the mountain at least one time in their lifetime. You don’t have to summit Mount Triglav, though—it’s quite a challenging trek—and there are many other (easier) hikes in the mountains, too.
Counterpart of Lake Bled, Lake Bohinj is one of the crown jewels of the Julian Alps. With its clear mountain water and surrounding mountain ranges, it is one of the most spectacular natural attractions in Slovenia. Consider traversing the lake with the ferry or powered by your own muscles in a canoe or kayak.
Church of St. John the Baptist
The most photogenic and photographed man-made feature in Bohinj is the Church of St. John the Baptist on the shore of Lake Bohinj. Located in the town of Ribcev Laz, this heartbreakingly pretty church is topped with a typical Baroque tower, while its interior is covered with medieval frescoes.
Vogel Cable Car
A super-fast cable car—one of the world’s fastest, in fact—takes visitors from the shore of Lake Bohinj (4,900 feet) up to the Vogel Ski Center. It travels upward adjacent to a sheer mountain cliff, while offering downright astonishing views of the Bohinj Valley below. The views only improve as you get higher and higher. The cable car is by far the most convenient, quick ways of getting to the ski center, but is not the only way. Another way of reaching it is along hiking trails, which is obviously much more demanding. In any case, a trip on the Vogel Cable Car is highly recommended.
Flanked by steep hills carpeted with trees and moss and cut by a narrow mountain stream, occasionally sped up by a waterfall, Mostnica Gorge is one of Bohinj’s most enchanting places. Its 1.2 miles long. Hiking trails follow the stream on both sides.
Set aside at least a week to really experience and enjoy everything this magnificent region has to offer. Make sure to stop by one of the visitor centers for maps and more information about activities, attractions and local events.
Written by and photos by Bram Reusen for EuropeUpClose.com