Probably the most famous and easily accessible area of Slovenia’s Triglav National Park is Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj. The two stunning lakes are just half an hour drive from each other, and most visitors usually spend a day or two exploring them. Just like us on our first road trip.
A bit of walking (or driving if you’re short on time) on the lakeshore, swimming or canoeing in the lakes, visiting Vintgar Gorge at Bled and Savica Waterfall at Lake Bohinj is what usually fits into one or two days. And it’s all nice and fine. You’ll love it just as we did. But once you’ve visited the most popular sights, you can start digging for lesser-known gems – which is the bessst! That’s what we did on our fourth visit to Slovenia some years later.
To absolutely no one’s surprise, there’s much more to do at Bled and Bohinj than what fits into one or two days. We chose Lake Bohinj as our base, because that’s our favorite of the two lakes. While Lake Bled is the icon of all the natural beauties in Slovenia, we liked it less because of the large hotels around it. But to each his own. Whichever lake you prefer, the sights we’re going to tell you about in this post will be within easy reach (if you have a car).
Enjoying Lake Bohinj in different ways
Lake Bohinj is easy to access. You drive there, you park there (and pay, a lot!) and there you have it. You can walk around the lake, go in for a swim or rent a canoe or SUP. The temperature of the lake can rise to an average of 20°C in the summer. Though we had a swim once (a very quick one), we prefer canoeing.
While we enjoyed the views from the canoe on our first visit, it was not an option with a 10 months old baby on our second one. That’s when we hiked the full loop trail around Lake Bohinj, occasionally stopping for longer rests. Not that it’s a demanding trail, but it’s a scenic one. So we enjoyed sitting on the lakeshore and taking in the views – while trying to prevent our little Tomi from putting all the small pebbles into his mouth (not an easy task, given the number of pebbles on the lakeshore).
So a quick note to fellow parents of small babies: there are beaches where pebbles are so tiny that they’re almost considered sand. Maybe choose those. Your baby will try to eat the sand, too, but at least that won’t stuck in his throat.
Anyway, the 12 kilometres long circuit trail around Lake Bohinj is mostly flat. In theory, it can be done in about 5 hours, but we did it in about 7 with several rest stops along the way. The nicer section is definitely the trail on the northern shore, because there’s no road for cars there. On the southern shore, the paved road for cars usually runs closer to the lake than the hiking trail, so it’s rather a forest walk with occasional lake views. But you can walk on the beaches from time to time if you want (not all the way though).
Mostnica Gorge & Mostnica Waterfall
Almost everyone visits Vintgar Gorge near Bled, but hardly anyone knows about fabulous Mostnica Gorge near Lake Bohinj. We’re not here to decide which one is prettier, we think both are worth a visit. But Mostnica is definitely the less busy one.
It takes about 2 hours to walk along Mostnica Gorge and reach 20 metres high Mostnica Waterfall. The entrance is a short walk from the village of Stara Fužina, and the entrance fee is a couple of euros (3 EUR per adult in 2020). A well-maintained, moderate trail runs through the gorge, and several bridges offer the best views of it. We also loved the small cascades and emerald green pools on the way.
We visited it on our second trip which means that our Tomi was with us, and yes, it’s completely safe with a baby carrier. There’s some flat(tish) space at Mostnica Waterfall where we put down a picnic blanket and let our little one roam free a bit. Crawl free, I should say. And we were close, because the terrain is uneven.
More short and lovely waterfall trails
The trail to Savica Waterfall is the most well-known when it comes to short hikes at Lake Bohinj. You can add it to your loop hike around Lake Bohinj, because it starts at the southern shore, from the small town of Ukanc. But you can also drive to Ukanc and hike from there. 78 metres high Savica is definitely the most impressive waterfall in the area, but it also gets quite busy on summer days.
On our second visit, we searched for lesser-known ones. Of course, we found some. The short, flat trail to Grmečica Waterfall starts about halfway between Bled and Bohinj, right before the village of Nomenj. There’s a dirt parking lot before a small bridge that you can cross on foot afterwards. The trail runs through farmlands, you need to open and close some gates and might meet with curious cows.
Grmečica Waterfall with its 7 meters height might be small, but the emerald green pool below and the mossy cliffs around it make it quite scenic.(The picture on our home page was taken there, by the way.) We could even walk up to the top of the waterfall on a narrow, slippery path. Grmečica Waterfall itself can’t be seen from there, but the views of the rushing stream and the small canyon are worth that extra 10 minutes. Altogether, this waterfall trail takes about 1-1.5 hour there and back.
A hike of similar length but with about ~150 meters elevation gain is the one to Ribnica Falls. It starts from a dead-end road in the village of Srednja Vas v Bohinju (close to Stara Fužina), but there’s no space to park your car there. Not even in the small village where all the dedicated parking lots belong to restaurants and guest houses, and streets are too narrow for street parking. So you better park at a pullout before the village, and walk an extra 15-20 minutes.
Once we reached the trailhead, we continued along Ribnica stream, and walked past two waterfalls to end our short hike at a third one. We found the first waterfall a bit disappointing, but luckily, we didn’t turn back. The second and third ones were much prettier, and the trail between them runs in a lush green part of the forest with large, mossy rocks. We liked its mystic vibe very much.
Easy access to the higher areas of Triglav: Planina Blato
But Lake Bohinj doesn’t only offer easy trails, it also has plenty of long and demanding ones. Getting close to the wild, untouched heart of Triglav National Park tempted us. Triglav Lakes Valley with its magical alpine lakes tempted us even more. But we knew we were not capable of hiking trails with 1000+ meters of elevation gain with our 10 months old boy. And guess what, we found a solution to still see some of the higher areas of Triglav!
The solution is called Planina Blato which is a bit above 1000 meters and can be accessed by car. We drove past Stara Fužina and then ended up at a toll gate. The last section of the road is a toll road and costs 12 EUR per day (per car and at the time of our visit – June 2020). Since it’s a dead-end road, only helping hikers to gain some elevation while driving up to Planina Blato, it’s quite reasonable to collect some maintenance fee for it. At least, we think it’s maintenance fee, because the road is in good condition.
Anyway, we headed to Koča na Planini pri Jezeru from Planina Blato. It means Lake Pasture Lodge, and you’re right to think there’s a nice lake there, too. With blooming flowers on the lakeshore in June, I might add. It’s only roughly 2 kilometres from the trailhead, so we reached it quite early. That’s why we decided to continue to the next lake, Dvojno Jezero (Double Lake in English) which is one (actually, two 🙂 ) of the lakes in the Triglav Lakes Valley.
It’s a longer, 6 kilometres hike from Lake Pasture Lodge, but it’s a scenic, wonderful high mountain trail all the way. And then Double Lake is a satisfying reward. I called the first lake at Lake Pasture Lodge “nice”, well, I call Double Lake breathtaking! All those majestic white granite peaks towered above us, and they even reflected in the lakes from time to time as the wind stopped.
We knew we only got a taste of Triglav Lakes Valley that day, but we were happy with it. We turned back from Double Lake to get back to Planina Blato by the end of the day. You can, of course, continue and make it a multi-day hike. This is the easiest access to Triglav Lakes Valley and Triglav peak. Talking of which…
Wanna conquer the highest peak of the Julian Alps? Here, here!
2863 metres Triglav peak is the highest mountain in Slovenia – and the highest peak of the Julian Alps. And the trail to conquer it starts at Lake Bohinj. The trails, I should say. We did our research because we wanted to conquer this mighty peak on our first visit. But then thunderstorms changed our plan. Conclusion: plan several days in the area if you want a good chance for clear weather to hike to Triglav peak.
The trail we planned to do starts at Savica Waterfall and ascends dramatically. Other than that, we’re not the ones to tell you much details about conquering Triglav peak. On our second visit to Bohinj with our little boy, we didn’t even think of it.
Where to stay?
On our first visit, we stayed in Bohinjska Bistrica. On our second one we knew better what we needed: free parking at Lake Bohinj. Because parking anywhere by the lakeshore is expensive. It’s about 2-3 EUR per hour. If you want to spend several days there, it adds up. So we were looking for accommodation that’s walking distance to Lake Bohinj and offers free parking.
There are three small towns that are located right by the lake: Ribčev Laz, Stara Fužina and Ukanc. We chose Rooms Pekovec Bohinj in Stara Fužina and loved it. It’s about 30 minutes walk from the lakeshore, we had a room with a nice balcony and the owners were very kind. (They also found our little boy adorable which made us like them even more. Biased parents, haha.) The entrance of Mostnica Gorge was also walking distance from the place.
So parking is expensive at Lake Bohinj. You can’t play smart and find a free spot. Not even a pullout. (There are some pullouts. And they’re all charged.) Our best tip is to find accommodation close to the lake that offers free parking. In case you rent a canoe, you can leave your car in the rental’s parking lot.
But we kept the best parking tip for last: the cheapest parking spot is at a campground in Ukanc. They usually let you leave your car there for a daily fee (~5 EUR). No other lot charges daily, they all charge 2-3 EUR hourly! And this campground is very close to the trailhead of Savica Waterfall. You can also ask them to leave your car there for several days in case you attempt hiking to Triglav peak. Your welcome.
Have you ever been to Lake Bohinj? What did you like the best?
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