The Slovenia Trip Tip
Top Nine Lakes In Slovenia
Many visitors coming to Slovenia will already have plans to visit the most famous lake, Bled, but very few will know that there are actually over 300 more lakes and reservoirs that are well worth a visit. Here are our top three suggestions for families, cyclists and hikers.
Top three lakes for families:
Despite Bloško first being mentioned in documents dating as far back as 1260, the lake itself is still relatively new and was man-made around 1970. Comparatively small, this pretty lake still has a lot to offer, with activities such as hiking, cycling, horse riding and swimming. Ice-skating is sometimes possible when the lake freezes in winter. Less than one hour by car from Ljubljana, you’ll be welcomed onto the site by two large forest men, carved from the forest wood by local craftsmen. Many other sculptures are displayed around the park, including the bears with their fishing rods and the beautifully creative picnic tables.
Just 7 km north of Celje, Šmartinsko jezero boasts 113 hectares of water, on which many activities can be enjoyed, such as kayaking, canoeing and paddle-boats. Fishing licenses are available for purchase; Šmartinsko jezero holds the current record for the heaviest carp ever caught in Slovenia. It was caught (and released) in 2013 and weighed in at an incredible 34.60kg. A path surrounds the entire winding shoreline of the lake, perfect for walkers and joggers. Visitors can enjoy the numerous rest stops and picnic areas as they take in the views and the wildlife.
The lake was originally made as a wet retarder to protect the Ljubljana - Maribor highway from flooding. A 4.2 km trail now surrounds the lake and the relatively easy path is suitable for buggies, making it a popular choice for families with young children. Walkers and joggers enjoy the trails which also makes up part of the 60 km long Rokovnjaška path. This path has 13 checkpoints along the way and its highest peak is at Špilk where it measures 957 metres above sea level. Gradiško lake is a popular location for fishing and licences are readily available for purchase.
Top three lakes for cyclists:
This pretty little lake was created in place of a larger glacial lake that had drained away. Local inhabitants made the heart-shaped memorial; it is now a popular area for both tourists and locals who wish to enjoy outdoor pursuits such as walking and cycling. The lake itself is small enough to walk around in about 20 minutes, but its surrounding area has well maintained bike trails. Bicycles can be rented from the Tourist Information Centre or from Hotel Planinka, both mountain bikes and electric bikes are available. For the more adventurous cyclists, the route directly from Ljubljana to Planšarsko Lake is approximately 60 km and takes in some stunning scenery and picturesque villages along the way.
Zbiljsko and Trbojsko Lakes
These two lakes are actually reservoirs and make up part of the Sava River. They’re just 5 km apart which makes them both easily accessible for bike rides. Zbiljsko, in the municipality of Medvode, was created in 1953, and Trbojsko, belonging to Šenčur, in 1986. As well as being a popular place for locals and tourists to enjoy recreational time, the area is also home to around 140 species of birds and other wildlife, many of which can be spotted from the riverbanks. Both lakes have choices of cafes and eateries with sunny terrace seating, making them perfect stop-off points to recharge one’s batteries before getting back in the saddle.
Ptuj Lake (another reservoir), was created in 1978 and covers an area of 420 hectares, making it the largest reservoir in Slovenia. It makes up part of the Drava River and is most popular for its seaside activities and watersports. Annually, it hosts the National Kayak Championship as well as Slovenia’s biggest international beach volleyball tournament and the Jadro Rance sailing regatta. Within the lake there are two small islands on which rare and protected species of birds come to nest. The 12 km path that circles the lake is flat and well maintained and from which you can enjoy the stunning distant scenery. After a few hours of cycling we highly recommend taking a seat on the sand where you can relax and enjoy watching the sunset from across the water.
Top three lakes for hikers:
Conveniently located just 15 km south of Ljubljana, Podpeško Lake is a favourite with the locals who enjoy summer swimming without having to travel further afield. The lake has an underground, funnel-shaped drainage within it which houses a deep, narrow abyss. This has so far been explored to a depth of 51 metres, making it one of Slovenia’s deepest lakes. Throughout the rest of the lake the depth averages 10 metres. Podpeško Lake makes the perfect starting point for a walk to the Church of St Anne, a Gothic style church that is thought to date back to the 11th century. The church is just over 2 km hike from the lake, but the 480 metre ascent should be enough to get the circulation going. Once you’ve done the return journey you can relax and enjoy refreshments at the Gostilnica Jezero.
Krnsko and Dupelj Lake
These two small lakes, 18 km from Bovec, are just 1 km apart and linked by a rocky but well maintained trail. The mountains either side are coloured by some beautiful mountain flowers, some species of which are endangered. Follow the trail a further 5 km and it will lead you to the house of Klement Jug where you can take refreshments. Jug was a young philosopher and mountaineer who died while climbing Mount Triglav in 1924. Slovene students and the younger generations considered him to be the ideological leader. The hike offers magnificent views of Krn and other nearby summits, and in order to protect the lake’s ecosystem, swimming is prohibited in both lakes.
Just a stone’s throw from the centre is the city park. Follow the path from the City Aquarium and you’ll soon come to the Maribor Ponds. This pretty area is popular with both locals and tourists and are worth a visit at any time of the year. Beyond the ponds you’ll find ample choice of walking trails and there’s also the option of climbing Calvary Hill or Pyramid Hill. The Church of St Barbara stands atop Calvary Hill and you’ll pass numerous vineyards. Another way to get to the top is by climbing the 455 stone steps. Once there, you can enjoy a wonderful view of the town some 375 metres below. Pyramid Hill also offers superb views and has a cafe where you can stop for refreshments.
Text by Justine Dunn with special thanks to Manca Korelc mojajezera.si/ for the information and photos.