While most of the tourists who visit Slovenia decide to check out the best things to do in Bled right away, there is another place in the Slovenian Alps that is even more beautiful yet doesn’t gain as much attention from visitors.
Kranjska Gora is a popular ski resort but the place offers mind-blowing views (in my opinion even better than in Bled) all year long and it’s definitely worth putting in your Slovenia itinerary.
Kranjska Gora was the first place I visited in Slovenia, over 20 years ago. I went there for the ski flying competitions in nearby Planica and even if I had a time of my life, I didn’t really focus on Kranjska Gora attractions much. Since then I’ve been to Slovenia so many times I lost the count yet I never returned to Kranjska Gora.
This has changed recently when I’ve decided it’s about time to see what are the best things to do in Kranjska Gora (besides attending the ski flying competitions in Planica). And I enjoyed the place so much!
The breathtaking views, the holiday vibe, and my well-cherished memories from all these years ago made me fall for the place hard and now I can’t recommend visiting Kranjska Gora enough. If you plan a trip to Slovenia, don’t skip Kranjska Gora, it might be one of the most beautiful places to visit in Slovenia!
Table of contents
- 1 Where is Kranjska Gora
- 2 How to get to Kranjska Gora
- 3 Where to stay in Kranjska Gora
- 4 How to get around Kranjska Gora
- 5 How much time for visiting Kranjska Gora
- 6 Things to do in Kranjska Gora
- 7 Final thoughts on visiting Kranjska Gora
- 8 Travel Resources
Where is Kranjska Gora
Kranjska Gora is a small town of almost 1500 inhabitants, located in the very northwest of Slovenia, literally right at the border with Austria and Italy. Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia is around 80 km away from Kranjska Gora.
How to get to Kranjska Gora
Getting to Kranjska Gora is actually really easy. The best option of course is driving which would also give you to option to explore the area freely (you can check the rental car options here). But even if you use public transport you will be fine, just expect a lot of walking and sadly a few of the attractions might be out of your reach.
There are direct buses from Ljubljana to Kranjska Gora, departing hourly (with a few exceptions) between 5:30 and 18:30. The journey takes around 2 hours, the ticket costs 8,70€. Most buses go to Ratece which is around 4 km away further than Kranjska Gora but much closer to Planica so if you want to visit the center of winter sports it’s better to go to Ratece.
If you go by train from Austria you should go to Jesenice and from there catch the bus to Kranjska Gora (there are many more connections and the journey time is around half an hour).
Unfortunately, getting from Bled to Kranjska Gora is a bit complicated as there is only one direct bus between the towns and it runs only in the summertime. Outside of the season, you need to take the bus from Bled to Lesce, and there change for the bus towards Kranjska Gora.
You can also visit Kranjska Gora with the tour departing from Ljubljana – click here for details.
Where to stay in Kranjska Gora
Even if Kranjska Gora is not as popular as Lake Bled, it is still a well-known destination which results in plenty of accommodation options to choose from, including hotels, B&Bs, and apartments. You can check them all here.
Below are some recommended places to stay in Kranjska Gora:
How to get around Kranjska Gora
As much as I’m a supporter of public transport, I must admit that in Kranjska Gora and its surroundings you can’t really get everywhere on foot (or it would take way too long). Of course, the most useful would be having a car to drive around but even a bike can do, especially since there are some nice bike lanes around. But even if you walk everywhere (like I did), you are still in for a treat.
How much time for visiting Kranjska Gora
No matter how much time you have for visiting Kranjska Gora, you can still enjoy most (or all) of these amazing attractions the area has to offer.
During my last trip to Kranjska Gora, I had only one day there as I visited the place as one of the day trips from Ljubljana. I walked over 20 km in these few hours, and I did manage to see and do a lot.
But of course, the more time you have, the better you can explore the area and check all these great things to do in Kranjska Gora. I highly recommend staying there overnight to have more time to enjoy all the beauty around.
Things to do in Kranjska Gora
And now, let me tell you about all the great things to do in Kranjska Gora that you can enjoy.
Fall in love with Lake Jasna
Lake Jasna is an absolute highlight of Kranjska Gora (or, I dare to say, even Slovenia) and the place that literally took my breath away. I’ve seen many pictures of the lake (it was one of the main reasons why I wanted to visit Kranjska Gora again) yet I was still not prepared for all the beauty around.
The crystal-clear waters of the lake and the surrounding rocky Alps create a magnificent place that is so stunning it looks unreal. Lake Jasna is, in fact, two different, artificial lakes created where Velika Pišnica and Mala Pišnica streams meet.
You can wander around the lake and be amazed by the views of surrounding mountains or sit on the shore (or one in the restaurants/cafes) and enjoy all the beauty around. I spent much more time than planned at Lake Jasna, simply taking it my surroundings, it was out of this world.
The most photographed part of Lake Jasna is the statue of ibex – you will find it right after arriving at the lake from Kranjska Gora. The center of the town is located some 2 km away from the lake, you can easily walk here.
Admire the beauty of Zelenci Nature Reserve
A bit outside of Kranjska Gora, next to the road towards Ratece, you will find Zelenci Nature Reserve, yet another stunning place offering spectacular views of the emerald green water and the majestic Alps in the background. This place is known for its unique flora and fauna, especially nesting birds, but not only nature lovers will find the area beautiful.
Zelenci Nature Reserve is fairly large, 1,200 meters long, and 150 meters wide on average, but the most visited part, the one you don’t want to miss, is Lake Zelenci. To get a better impression of the place there is a viewing platform that offers the best view of Lake Zelenci and beyond.
Besides its visual appeal, it’s worth visiting the place since this is the source of the Sava Dolinka river which, after connecting with the Sava Bohinjka, becomes the Sava river, one of the most important rivers in this part of Europe that goes through Slovenia, Croatia, and Serbia.
The interesting fact is that Lake Zelenci never freezes.
To get to Lake Zelenci and Zelenci Nature Park you can drive from Kranjska Gora, the parking lot is between Podkoren and Ratece. From there it’s some 5 minutes walk to the lake.
You can also walk from Kranjska Gora, there is a nice walking/bike path parallel to the road. Walking should take you around one hour.
Hike in the Julian Alps
Since Kranjska Gora is located at the edge of the Julian Alps and Triglav National Park, the town can be a good base for hiking around. There are numerous walking trails with different levels of difficulty so everyone should find something suitable for their abilities and needs.
And if you are not much into hiking the mountains, there are a few picturesque valleys that shouldn’t be too tiring yet offer amazing views. Some of the most beautiful valleys around Kranjska Gora include the Krnica valley, the Planica valley, the Krma Valley, and the Vrata Valley.
See beautiful waterfalls
Another highlights of Kranjska Gora and its surroundings are a few impressive waterfalls that you can hike to. The most magnificent is Peričnik waterfall which is among the highest waterfalls in Slovenia (at 52 meters) and Martuljek Waterfalls which in fact are three waterfalls with a total height of 110 meters.
Drive to the Vrsic Pass
Vršič Pass, located at an elevation of 1,611 meters, is one of the most stunning locations you can find near Kranjska Gora which is reachable by car. The pass, the highest one in Slovenia, connects Kranjska Gora with Trenta Valley, and due to the high altitude and 50 serpentines, it is not open all year long (so better check the current state before going).
The road was originally built in the early 19th century for military purposes, between World Wars it was the border between Italy and Yugoslavia and now it’s one of the best tourist attractions in Slovenia.
On the way to the Vrsic Pass, you should stop at the Russian Chapel, a beautiful Orthodox church built by the Russian prisoners in 1916. From the pass you can enjoy a beautiful panorama of the Julian Alps, it is also a good starting point to go hiking in the mountains.
Even if you don’t intend to continue your journey further to the other side, it’s still worth driving to Vrsic Pass for the views around.
Enjoy the laid-back vibe of Kranjska Gora
Kranjska Gora is a small town and doesn’t offer many tourist attractions, but it has a nice, laid-back vibe, perfect for relaxing in the beautiful surroundings. The center of the town is where you will find most cafes and restaurants as well as souvenirs shops and more.
The most important monument of Kranjska Gora is the church dedicated to the Assumption of Mary, dating back to the early 16th century and built in the late Gothic style.
If you like architecture you can still find many old houses built in the Carinthian style, typical for the region.
In the wintertime, the center of Kranjska Gora turns into an Alpine village, with colorful decorations and the market on the square in front of the church.
Visit nearby villages
While Kranjska Gora is the center of the area, the nearby villages are also pleasant to visit and enjoy the Alpine vibe.
The best options are Podkoren, Ratece or Gozd Martuljek. You can take a walk along the walking/bike path that runs from Kranjska Gora towards Planica/Ratece and do a little detour along the way to stop in Podkoren.
In the wintertime Kranjska Gora and the surrounding area turn into the main skiing destination in Slovenia. If you enjoy this winter activity, this is your place to be.
There are 18 slopes with different difficulty levels and numerous ski lifts (both chair and drag) that can take you to the start of your skiing way down. Most of the slopes are located in the center of Kranjska Gora which makes skiing so much easier as you can simply walk to the slope from your accommodation.
The ski slopes in Kranjska Gora were appreciated by the International Ski Federation FIS who held their alpine skiing competitions there every year.
Join winter sports madness in Planica
Every year, at the end of March, there is a ski flying World Cup competition taking place at the Planica Nordic Center (this was the reason why I visited Kranjska Gora for the first time over 20 years ago). It’s a tradition to end the ski jumping winter season at the largest ski flying hill in the world, with the current record jump of 252 meters.
Even if you are not a fan of this sports competition you still should join the event as it’s something magical and out of this world how the brave athletes fly with their skis, this view surely stays with you for a long time. Since the Planica event is the last one in the long winter season, there is an unforgettable and cheerful atmosphere during and after the competitions, and everyone is more than ready to celebrate.
But even if you happen to visit Kranjska Gora outside of the winter season and the competition time, you should still visit the Planica Nordic Center, to see the impressive ski jumping hills complex, and visit the Planica Museum where you can learn more about ski jumping. From there you can continue a hike to the Tamar Valley.
Final thoughts on visiting Kranjska Gora
As you can see, Kranjska Gora and its surroundings really offer a lot, especially if you are looking for active holidays in Slovenia. The place is still not overcrowded (as it sometimes happens at Lake Bled) and lets you easily enjoy all the beauty around.
If you still haven’t decided where to go in Slovenian Alps, give Kranjska Gora a chance, you won’t be disappointed. I know I will be back there again, and this time sooner than after twenty years.
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