Hey there, fellow wanderers! Today, I’m taking you on a journey to one of Europe’s best-kept secrets – the breathtaking Lake Bohinj in Slovenia. Nestled in the heart of the Julian Alps, this pristine alpine wonderland is a true gem waiting to be explored. I can’t believe that it took me almost 27 years to discover this amazing place! So, now you are probably asking yourself “is Lake Bohinj worth visiting?” and I will help you with the answer.
Lake Bohinj is often overshadowed by its more famous neighbor, Lake Bled, but that’s precisely what makes it so special. It’s a tranquil haven where you can escape the crowds and immerse yourself in the beauty of unspoiled nature. The lake stretches over 4.2 kilometers in length, surrounded by lush forests and towering peaks – a sight that will leave you in awe. One of the first things you’ll notice about Lake Bohinj is its crystal-clear waters. The lake is fed by pristine mountain streams, making it a paradise for swimmers and water enthusiasts. If you’re feeling adventurous, rent a kayak or paddleboard to explore the lake at your own pace. Don’t forget your swimsuit; the water is refreshingly cool, even on the warmest summer days.
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What to do in Lake Bohinj
Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or someone seeking a peaceful retreat, Lake Bohinj has something to offer for everyone. There are many fun things to do – you can swim, walk around the lake, rent a kayak, SUP, take the cable car up to Vogel, bike around the lake or do some hiking. Remember to check the weather conditions and seasonal activities, as Lake Bohinj offers different experiences throughout the year. One of the most magical experiences you can have at Lake Bohinj is gazing at the night sky. Due to its remote location, the area boasts minimal light pollution, making it a prime spot for stargazing. On clear nights, you’ll be treated to a mesmerizing display of stars, and if you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the Milky Way.
Here are some of my favorite activities besides swimming (which was super refreshing, but I loved taking a dip in the lake).
Explore the surrounding trails
For the hiking enthusiasts, Lake Bohinj offers a network of well-marked trails that wind their way through the Julian Alps. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced trekker, there’s a trail for you. A must-visit is the Savica Waterfall, a short drive from the lake, where you can witness the incredible power of nature.
Lake Bohinj and the surrounding Julian Alps offer many hiking trails for nature enthusiasts of all levels. Whether you’re seeking a leisurely lakeside stroll or a challenging mountain ascent, there’s a hiking trail for you. Here are some popular hiking trails around Lake Bohinj:
- Lake Bohinj Trail: This easy, well-marked trail circles the entire lake, offering picturesque views along the way. It’s approximately 12 kilometers long and takes about 3-4 hours to complete at a leisurely pace. You can start the trail in Ribčev Laz and enjoy the changing scenery as you make your way around the lake.
- Mostnica Gorge Trail: Located near Stara Fužina, this trail takes you through the stunning Mostnica Gorge. The hike is relatively easy and includes wooden walkways and footbridges that allow you to explore this narrow, rocky gorge. The entire loop takes about 2-3 hours.
- Vogar Plateau: For a moderate hike with fantastic views of Lake Bohinj and the surrounding mountains, consider hiking to the Vogar Plateau. The trail starts near Stara Fužina and takes you through the forested slopes. It’s approximately a 2-3 hour round trip.
- Pršivec Hike: This moderately challenging trail offers breathtaking panoramic views of Lake Bohinj and the Julian Alps. The hike starts at Stara Fužina and ascends to the summit of Pršivec. It’s a half-day hike, taking around 4-5 hours to complete.
- Vodnikov Razglednik: This relatively short but steep trail starts near the Savica Waterfall parking area and leads to a viewpoint with stunning vistas of Lake Bohinj and the surrounding peaks. It’s a great choice for a shorter hike with a rewarding view.
- Komna Plateau: For a more challenging and longer trek, consider hiking to the Komna Plateau. Once you reach the plateau, you can explore the beautiful alpine terrain and spend the night in a mountain hut.
- Mount Triglav: If you’re an experienced hiker and mountaineer, you can embark on the ultimate Slovenian hiking adventure and climb Mount Triglav, Slovenia’s highest peak. This is a challenging trek that requires proper equipment and preparation.
- Valley of the Seven Triglav Lakes: Located in Triglav National Park, this trail takes you to a series of picturesque alpine lakes beneath the towering peaks of the Julian Alps. It’s a demanding hike, and you can choose different routes based on your fitness level and time available.
Before embarking on any hiking trail, it’s essential to check the trail conditions, weather forecast, and your own fitness level. Ensure you have appropriate clothing, footwear, and supplies, especially for longer hikes.
Visit Savica Waterfall / Slap Savica
Visiting Savica Waterfall is a delightful experience when exploring the Lake Bohinj area. Savica Waterfall is one of the most famous natural attractions in the region, and it’s known for its impressive cascades and serene natural surroundings.
There is a parking area near the entrance to Savica Waterfall. Depending on the time of year and the time of day, the parking area can get crowded, especially during the peak tourist season. Be prepared for a short walk to the entrance from the parking area. You can also take a bus that will take you to the entrance, but I prefer walking so this is what I did. You can start at the camping Ukanc or at the Ukanc bus station, cross the bridge and than you just have to follow the road. It will take you about one hour to get there. Once you will reach the parking and Koča pri Savici you will need another 20 minutes to reach the waterfall.
There is an entrance fee to visit Savica Waterfall. In the summer season (from 1.7. to 30.9.) the entrance fee is 4 EUR. If you visit out of this period the ticket is 3 EUR. After purchasing your tickets, you’ll start the hike to the waterfall. The path takes you through a beautiful forested area. The hike is well-maintained and includes a series of wooden walkways and stairs to make the ascent easier. There are 553 stairs but you don’t have to worry even if you are not in the best shape. There are benches along the way so you can take a rest if you want to.
The Savica waterfall is unique among waterfalls in the world, as the water flow splits into two streams in the hidden underground. The famous A-shaped waterfall is 78 m high at an altitude of 836 m at normal water level. It is fed by water flowing from the Triglav Lakes Valley and from under Pršivec, which reaches the waterfall through a horizontal cave tunnel.
Take a cable car to Vogel ski resort
If you want to gain height to enjoy the views of the mountains and the starting points of the tours in an easy and comfortable way, taking the cable car ride to Vogel is an excellent choice. At the lower cable car station, you can purchase your cable car tickets. Be sure to check the operating hours and ticket prices in advance, as they may vary depending on the season. Once you have your tickets, board the cable car. The ride up to Vogel Ski Resort is a scenic journey that offers breathtaking views of Lake Bohinj and the surrounding Julian Alps. It takes about 4-5 minutes to reach the top station.
The return ticket for adult person is 29,50 EUR.
Explore local charming villages
There are three villages within walking distance of the lake (Bohinj is the name used for the area around the lake itself, and is not in fact a town). The three villages are Ribčev Laz, Stara Fužina & Ukanc. Ribčev Laz is the gateway to Bohinj Lake, and is the first village on your way. Here you will see the picture-postcard view of the stone built bridge with the Church of St. John the Baptist. In this village you will find a supermarket, restaurants, post office, ATM & a tourist office.
The next village is Stara Fužina which is a traditional working village. It is a starting point for a number of local hikes, including the Mostnica Gorge, Vogar, Studor and Peč viewpoints.
The last village is Ukanc, located at the end of the road and surrounded by the imposing Julian Alps. The only way out is the road you came in. Ukanc is a charming village with the access to the Savica Waterfall and Vogel cable car.
In mid-September, Bohinj hosts the famous Cows’ Ball in Ukanc. This is the biggest holiday in Bohinj, which was mainly a holiday for the locals, who rejoiced at the end of the tourist and grazing season until the 1950s. The event is attended by herders, who bring decorated herds of cattle from the higher mountains and bring a “basenga” on their shoulders (everything they need to make cheese and other things necessary for life on the mountain).
How to get there?
You will most likely visit Lake Bohinj from Ljubljana or neighbouring Bled. Renting a car is the easiest way to reach Bohinj, just follow the signs from highway A2 towards Bled.
Another option is the public transport and in this post I will mainly focus on this.
- a bus from Bled will take you to Bohinj in about 40 minutes
- from Ljubljana you will need about 2 hours to reach Bohinj (in high season it will probably take you more than 2 hours from Bohinj to Ljubljana, because there is a lot of traffic)
You can check the timetable on the Ljubljana’s bus station webpage or you can go there and ask. If you are going to visit Lake Bled or Lake Bohinj during the weekend, you will pay the reduced price for the ticket. A ticket from Bled to Bohinj will cost you 3.30 EUR on a working day and 1.90 EUR on weekends/holidays.
A ticket from Ljubljana to Bohinj will cost you 8.10 EUR on a working day and 2.60 EUR on weekend/holidays.
You can buy tickets online, but keep in mind that you still have to go to the Ljubljana bus station to pick up your tickets (the site says that you have to print the tickets or pick them up, but in fact you have to pick them up – in other case the driver can reject you). You can also get the tickets on the bus, but if the bus is already full, you will be probably left behind.
Based on all of this information, you may be asking yourself if is Lake Bohinj worth visiting with the public transport, but I still think that it is. It is hard to get a parking spot (especially in the high season) and the prices can be pretty high (3 EUR/hour which is pretty much for Slovenia).
You can take a train from Ljubljana to Bohinjska Bistrica too. The train ride will take about 2 hours. The train makes a stop at the Lake Bled too. Visiting both of the lakes with the train is doable, but it’s not a good option if you only have one day to visit both Bled & Bohinj.
The final stop on this railway line is Bohinjska Bistrica, a charming village located near Lake Bohinj in Slovenia. While it may not be as famous as some of the other towns in the area, it certainly has its own unique charm and appeal. Bohinjska Bistrica has managed to maintain an authentic Slovenian atmosphere. It’s a place where you can experience local culture and daily life.
Places to visit on the Ljubljana-Bohinjska Bistrica railway line:
- Škofja Loka – a medieval Slovenian town
- Lake Bled – serene gem in the heart of Slovenia
- Ljubljana, the greenest capital of Europe
How long should I stay?
The ideal length of your stay in Lake Bohinj depends on your interests, the activities you want to pursue, and how deeply you want to explore the surrounding area. Here are some guidelines to help you determine how long to stay:
- A day-trip: If you have limited time and just want to see the highlights of Lake Bohinj, you can visit as a day trip from nearby locations like Ljubljana or Bled. In this case, you can spend the day exploring the lake, taking a boat trip to the Church of St. John and enjoying a short hike or swim.
- A weekend getaway: For a more relaxed experience, consider spending a weekend at Lake Bohinj. This will allow you to explore the lake, take in some of the nearby attractions, and enjoy leisurely activities
- 4-5 days: To fully immerse yourself in the beauty of Lake Bohinj and the surrounding Julian Alps, plan to stay for 4-5 days. This duration allows you to explore the area’s hiking trails, visit nearby waterfalls, venture into Triglav National Park, and have ample time for relaxation.
Keep in mind that the time of year also plays a role in determining your ideal duration. While Lake Bohinj is beautiful year-round, the activities available can vary with the seasons. For example, winter visitors may want to spend more time if they plan to ski or snowboard at Vogel Ski Resort, while summer visitors can make the most of water sports and hiking. In my opinion, Lake Bohinj is worth visiting for at least 3 or 4 days and I really wish that I would have a lot more time to spend there!
- The best time to visit is from late spring to early autumn, but Lake Bohinj has something to offer year-round.
- The warmest months to visit Lake Bohinj are July and August. The water in the lake rises to over 20°C, making it ideal for water activities.
- Consider staying in a local guesthouse or cabin to immerse yourself in the authentic Alpine experience.
- Rent a bike to explore the lakeside cycling paths and the beautiful Bohinj Valley.
- Sample local delicacies like cream cakes and traditional Alpine cheeses.
Lake Bohinj is more than just a destination – it’s an unforgettable experience. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a taste of Slovenian culture, this hidden gem has it all. So, pack your bags, leave the tourist crowds behind, and let the enchantment of Lake Bohinj captivate your soul. It’s a journey you’ll treasure forever.
Have you visited Lake Bohinj yet? Is Lake Bohinj worth visiting on your opinion? Would you like to visit it?
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