The Ljubljana Region is much more than just its green capital city. The surrounding diverse natural landscape, where the beautiful world of Kamnik-Savinja Alps meets the astonishing lands of Karst, offers visitors countless opportunities to explore its hidden gems.
Those who love nature and hiking or cycling trips will be amazed by the scenery of hillocks and hills rising as far as the eye can see. The region is filled with interesting and well-marked trails that start from the city centre, in areas such as Rožnik, Tivoli and Golovec, and then spread outwards to more lengthy trails such as Polhograjska Grmada or Velika Planina, rich with natural alpine growth of grassy slopes and karst corners.
There are also several natural wonders waiting to be explored, such as the picturesque gorge of the Kamniška Bistrica river or the scenic Iški vintgar gorge, both testifying to the powerful mechanisms of mother nature.
North of Ljubljana lies one of Slovenia’s most visited botanic gardens, the Volčji Potok Arboretum. Located on the edge of the Kamnik Plain, the park extends over 85 hectares and is a sight worth visiting any season of the year. It offers possibilities of long walks and peaceful rest in tranquillity among tulips, rhododendrons, roses, water lilies and other flowers, and even trees and shrubs.
If you want to feel like a true local, you should embark on the Šmarna Gora trail, which will take you to the »roof of Ljubljana« where you will be rewarded with stunning views of Ljubljana, the surrounding hills and the Alps beyond. At the summit, you can indulge in a traditional Slovenian lunch at Gostilna Ledinek.
Those who prefer to learn about the region’s history will discover a land full of splendid churches, monasteries, castles, and small villages where age-old traditions still survive.
Bistra Castle near Vrhnika celebrates both the past as well as progress and modernisation as it is home to the Technical Museum of Slovenia and houses the fascinating collection of prestigious cars used by the former Yugoslav president Tito.
Considered one of the most beautiful castles in Slovenia, Bogenšperk Castle in Šmartno pri Litiji was home to the pre-eminent Slovene polyhistor and scientist Janez Vajkard Valvasor, and among others displays a remarkable collection of mineral rocks and several collections dedicated to superstition, Slovenian national costumes and hunting.
Of unique historical heritage are also the Ljubljana Marshes, a natural area of swamps and peat bogs that has preserved artefacts of the prehistoric Pile-Dwellers culture (among them, the world’s oldest wooden wheel), and is also known for rare animal and plant species. Due to its immense value as an archaeological site, the Marshes are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Embark on a cycling trip all the way to the scenic pilgrimage Church of St. Anne, a 16th-century landmark. Located on top of a small hill, it will offer a stunning view of the Ljubljana Marshes and the hills of the Ljubljana Region, backed by the looming Slovenian Alps.
Those visiting Slovenia out of love for local cuisine and ingredients, won’t be disappointed either. The countryside of the Ljubljana Region is rich with traditional village inns – the so-called “gostilne” and farms, where visitors can enjoy excellent food and wine in an authentic »homey« atmosphere.
Gostišče Grič, in the village of Šentjošt nad Horjulom, is one of Slovenia’s foremost gastronomic destinations, where chef Luka Košir thrills visitors with his modern takes on traditional Slovenian dishes from the countryside. Try the smoked duck breast, which is one of the specialities on Košir’s menu as most of the ingredients come from his family’s duck farm.
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