Kranjska Gora is an alpine resort in Slovenia’s Upper Sava Valley, close to the triple border point of Slovenia, Italy and Austria. Tucked between the Karavanke mountains and the Julian Alps. Its location makes it one of the most scenic settlements in Slovenia, but it also tempts with various outdoor activities.
While it’s a ski center in winter, summer is the time for hiking, biking and enjoying the colorful alpine landscapes. On our second road trip in Slovenia we spent three full days in Kranjska Gora, and here we are to tell you why it’s worth a stop on your road trip, as well. Oh, and it will surely be part of your road trip if you drive through the Vršič mountain pass in Triglav National Park, because that road goes through Kranjska Gora, anyway.
Walk around Lake Jasna
If you can only stop at one sight in Kranjska Gora, let it be Lake Jasna. It wouldn’t be possible not to notice it, anyway, as this magical lake is right by the road. Two connected lakes, actually. They’re artificial lakes and are located where the crystal clear mountain streams of Velika Pišnica and Mala Pišnica meet.
There are several smaller parking lots by Lake Jasna, and parking is free. We walked around the lakes in the morning, and enjoyed the peak views and reflections. Oh, and we met Zlatorog (Goldhorn in English), a legendary chamois buck whose realm was in Mount Triglav, and who has a statue on the lakeshore.
Hike the Srednji Vrh loop trail
This trail starts in Kranjska Gora and takes you through a real alpine idyll. We started by a pretty mountain stream, then crossed alpine meadows full of wildflowers, and we got astonishing peak views (without climbing any peaks).
It took us about 4.5 hours to complete the loop, and it’s quite an easy, family-friendly (no steep, slippery sections, wide and comfortable footpath for the most part), yet very scenic alpine trail.
Visit Planica & Nadiža waterfall
Nadiža is a 10 meters high waterfall on a rushing mountain river that can be reached in 2 hours from the Planica Nordic Center. The parking lot for the trail is after the ski center, and the first section in Planica Valley is relatively easy. However, the path that ascends to the waterfall at the end is quite steep and slippery. Nadiža river is rushing down on a bare rockface, and the waterfall is immediately after its spring.
Get impressed by Martuljek Gorge and the waterfalls
Our favorite waterfalls in Slovenia are the Martuljek Falls, and this hike in Martuljek Gorge became one of our favorites in Triglav. Yet we only discovered it on our second Triglav road trip, possibly because we rushed to Vršič Pass too fast for the first time. It’s worth taking your time, explore the area around Kranjska Gora.
The Martuljek Gorge trail starts from the small village of Gozd Martuljek, just 8 minutes drive from Kranjska Gora on the main road. Watch out for a dirt parking lot.
And why is this gorge so spectacular? The Julian Alps has lots of clear mountain streams. But few created such a fairy tale landscape on their short journey as Martuljek stream. It descends over steep slopes, with rapids, cascades and waterfalls. Two very impressive waterfalls!
Lower Martuljek Fall is 29 metres high and can be reached in 30 minutes. The gorge trail there is very impressive! We walked over small bridges, trying to look up and down at the same time, so that we didn’t miss the sight of the majestic canyon walls, nor the rushing stream and its countless cascades.
From Lower Martuljek Fall it took us about an hour to reach the upper falls. Upper Martuljek Fall has four tiered waterfalls, the highest being 48 metres. Yet it doesn’t look as spectacular as Lower Martuljek Fall, because only the lower area of the waterfall is visible from the trail – and even that’s not so easy to access. The last, very short section up to the pool of Upper Martuljek Falls requires rock climbing, supported by chains. You don’t need special equipment, but it’s better to leave your heavy backpack on the rocky plateau before the climb. Only Bea did it, while Csaba stayed on that rocky plateau with Tomi in the carrier backpack. (Until then, the trail was safe to do with a baby carrier, too.)
Have a day trip to the Fusine Lakes in the Italian Alps
So Kranjska Gora is close to the Slovene-Italian border, and there’s a pair of incredible lakes that’s worth the 20 minutes drive to Italy’s Julian Alps. They’re the Fusine Lakes.
Both Upper and Lower Fusine Lakes offer easy, very picturesque loop trails that you can connect. If you’re lucky to have calm weather, you can enjoy the reflection of the giant white granite peaks on the surface of the lakes.
Check out our virtual hike to the Fusine Lakes for more details!
Drive to Vršič Pass
The highest mountain pass in Slovenia is only about 20 minutes drive from Kranjska Gora. Vršič Pass at 1611 meters offers amazing views, but the drive there is just as memorable. It’s a narrow road with one hairpin curve after the other, and with some great viewpoints. Like the Russian Chapel hidden in the lush green forest, the viewpoint at the trailhead of the hike to Slemenova špica (or the hike itself which can be done in 3 hours there and back) or the Vršič Pass viewpoint.
We did this drive on our last day in Kranjska Gora, so we didn’t return, but headed to our next accommodation in the Soča Valley. However, if you plan to do a long hike, you might want to return to Kranjska Gora for another night. Because the drive from Kranjska Gora to Soča Valley is the most beautiful section of the road through Triglav, and you don’t want to drive it in a hurry. Give it a full day so that you can stop (and take dozens of pictures) at every viewpoint, and maybe add some short scenic walks, too.
Where to stay
In Kranjska Gora, of course. We chose an apartment at Apartmaji Kranjska Gora, and we loved it. It was spacious, we had our own well-equipped kitchen and a dedicated free parking space. We paid quite a reasonable price. And several trails start just a few steps away from the building! We don’t usually share the names of the hotels or apartments where we stay, but if we highlight it, it’s because we’d go back there without any hesitation. To that town, to that accommodation. Apartmaji Kranjska Gora was one of these.
Disclosure: We paid for this trip ourselves and our hotel stays were not sponsored either. However, affiliate links are used in this post, and at no additional cost to you, we earn a commission if you make a purchase. If you are ready to book your trip and would like to support this website in some way, here’s your chance. Thank you! 🙂
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