Lake Bohinj, Slovenia
Tyler Curtis’ heart has been well and truly captivated by the beauty of Lake Bohinj, Slovenia. She is already planning her return trip, and encourages you to consider this Eastern European gem too…
Tucked away between the ever popular, and significantly larger, Italy, Austria and Croatia, Slovenia hasn’t always stood out to me as an obvious holiday destination. Nevertheless, its popularity as a tourist spot is growing – and rightly so. Bordered by the expansive Julian Alps and the home to its highest peak, Mount Triglav, Slovenia is perhaps best known for its skiing opportunities. In the midst of summer however, my friends and I were more interested by what lies beneath. We spent a week camping next to Slovenia’s largest glacial lake, Lake Bohinj, and found ourselves captivated by the country’s effortless beauty.
Photo courtesy of Nir Dremer
Lake Bohinj is almost like the Cinderella of Slovenia’s lakes, except in this family there are no ugly sisters. Despite being the largest in Slovenia, its location next door to the country’s most famous lake, the undeniably enchanting Bled, means that it could be overlooked. A visit to Lake Bohinj, just an hour’s taxi ride from Ljubljana airport, is however not one to be missed. With its crystal water, white pebble beaches, and spectacular views of the surrounding mountains, it is every bit as mesmerising as Bled, yet slightly more off the beaten path. This only adds to its charm, and it somehow evades the typical ‘touristy’ feel that landmarks often do.
Step outside your comfort zone
Having spent the last three years inhabiting a university library, eating enough biscuits to feed a small country and only moving for coffee refills, the thought of an action-packed holiday was slightly daunting to say the least. I spent each day trying something completely new, and tiring myself out so much that even forgetting a roll mat couldn’t stop me from sleeping soundly every night!
Dotted around the lake are vendors from where you can rent bikes, kayaks and more, so of course I jumped right in with something I’d wanted to try for a long time: paddle-boarding. This was a challenge for someone as clumsy as me, but exploring Lake Bohinj’s miniature ‘beaches’ via paddleboard should be added to everyone’s travel bucket list. Next up was canoeing, which required the three of us working as a team to manoeuvre the boat, making sure that we didn’t move too suddenly in case we capsized. We succeeded (miraculously!), but I don’t think we’ll be snapped up by a canoe teams any time soon…
A view from the top
For those wanting to take it higher, why not paraglide and ride cable cars to the mountain peaks? Whilst we didn’t get around to these, we did embark upon a small hike to Slovenia’s most visited waterfall, Slap Savica. Not only is Savica truly beautiful, but the walk through the forested Triglav National Park also took our breath away. We were told that it would take roughly an hour from Ukanc, the local village, however we decided to take our time and soak in the sights along the way. Various places to stop for food are dotted en route, so afterwards we sat in the sun and enjoyed a well-deserved beer on the mountainside.
Although Lake Bohinj offered more than enough to keep us entertained, we decided that visiting Slovenia wouldn’t be quite complete without a dip in Lake Bled. Stepping off the bus felt like wandering straight into a picture postcard, and it was easy to see why the town heaved with tourists. With the temperature reaching near 30ºC, we were quick to hire a rowing boat and make our way over to Bled Island, the part which really gives the lake its magical feel – making it seem more like a fairy tale village than a place where real life actually exists.
After a few minor collisions, a tiny panic that we would be stranded on the lake forever, and a consolatory sandwich break, we finally reached the island. It’s particularly well-known for its 17th century church, where some lucky couples can even get married. The views from its walls are phenomenal! This is one place I feel has truly earned its status as a tourist flytrap!
All in all, Slovenia is what I’d describe as a ‘holiday all-rounder’. Full of outdoor activity, anyone could enjoy it for any length of time. The constant stunning landscapes mean that even a bus journey seems like an adventure. It’s also a relatively cheap place to holiday, perfect for when you need an idyllic escape without breaking the bank! I’m confident that I’ll return to Lake Bohinj, and not just because I’m already craving another slice of Bled’s famous cream cake, Kremna Rezina…