Bohinj: so much more than just a lake
In October 2018 I made a beautiful autumn trip through Slovenia, where I visited some of the most special places in the Julian Alps region. One of them was the area around Bohinj. You may have heard of Lake Bohinj, but there is much more to see and do than just the lake. I spent 24 hours hiking, being outside and discovering beautiful places. In this article I’ll tell you more about my visit to Bohinj: much more than just another lake.
Also read: walking near Radovljica – away from the crowds
Overnighting in silence at the Pokljuka Plateau
The evening before my visit to Bohinj I arrived on the Pokljuka Plateau. This plateau is located west of Bled and northeast of Bohinj at a height of at least 1,100 meters and within the boundaries of Triglav National Park. Here I spend the night in Villa Vesna, a small apartment complex of a few units in a house in the middle of the forest. There is nothing else around the house except a deafening silence: an absolute must for lovers staying in remote locations.
Upon arrival Urška from the Bohinj Tourist Office gives me a call: tomorrow she is taking me for a hike from the plateau to Lake Bohinj and asks if it is OK to pick me up at 9 am. Fine by me! It needs little explanation that I sleep like a baby: being outdoors all day makes you tired in the best possible way!
Hiking on the Pokljuka Plateau
For the hiking lovers: I’m going to tell you one of the best kept secrets in Slovenia, because there are countless hiking trails on the Pokljuka Plateau, but without any other hikers! This is because it’s relatively remote and it is not so easily accessible.
Urška arrives at the front door of the apartment at 9:00 and together we set off on our hike. First on a relatively wide gravel path, towards the biathlon center. This modern sports complex is the training base for Slovenian biathlon athletes who train here all year round. Everywhere around us athletes come by roller blading but not much later silence returns to the area when we leave the beaten path.
After about an hour and a half walk we arrive at the Uskovnica mountain pasture from where we have a beautiful view of Triglav, the highest mountain in Slovenia. The sky is bright blue and the leaves are starting to change color. Other than an old church, some empty buildings and a bunch of cows there is nothing else here. And more important: no other people! The views are however stunning and I cannot believe my luck as it’s such a beautiful day today!
Descent to Lake Bohinj
During the descent further down Urška asks if I feel like making a short detour that will be worth it? Of course I do! We climb a small mountain where there is no official trail to be seen, so you’ll have to know about it. At the top of the mountain is the point from which the paragliders depart their journeys into the valley. There is not enough wind today for paragliding, but once at the top, the view of the lake deep below me is incredibly stunning.
This visit is followed by a steep descent on small trails and a short visit to the Mosticna Gorge. A few hours later we arrive in Stara Fužina at the Bohinj visitor center. Klemen, the manager tells me more about the area and asks if, even though it is already halfway through the afternoon, I feel like catching the cable car to Vogel Mountain. I’d love to!
Info hike in Triglav NP
Starting point of the walk: at the Biathlon Center on the Pokljuka Plateau
End point of the hike: Stara Fužina at Lake Bohinj
Duration of the walk excl. stops: approx. 3.5 hours
Distance: approx. 11 kilometers
Transport: by taxi, one way trip is around 20 euros
Visit to Vogel Mountain Bohinj
Klemen drops me off at the valley station of the cable car to Vogel Mountain: this mountain is the base for various outdoor activities at Bohinj. You can go hiking, mountain biking and skiing in the wintertime. Vogel Mountain is also within the boundaries of Triglav National Park and from the top of the mountain you have a beautiful view of Triglav and the surrounding peaks in the distance across the lake
The cable car takes me to a height of more than 1,500 meters and I feel the cabin is steep and fast. I love the ride up and I’m be at the top in no time. As I have not had lunch yet, I first decide to settle on the panorama terrace from where I have a beautiful view of the mountains. After I have had a burger and a local beer, I decide to take a short walk along the mountain side.
As said, the views over the lake below me and the Julian Alps in the distance are truly fabulous. I would have loved to stay here for another day, but since it’s already evening, I have to go to the mountain station of the cable car and then take the boat back to Ribčev Laz.
More information about the prices and times of the cable car to Vogel Mountain can be found here.
Sailing on Lake Bohinj by panoramic boat
Once down it’s time for me to time to take a closer look at Lake Bohinj, as I am returning by boat from Vogel Mountain / Ukanc to Ribčev Laz. From the base station it is a few minutes walk to the shores of Lake Bohinj and I’m just in time because the last boat of the day is about to leave. Prices and departure times of the boat can be found here.
In all fairness, it’s a bit touristic for my taste. Yet from the water you can really see how turquoise the Bohinj Lake is in some places and from the water you have the best views of the little church of Ribčev Laz. Occasionally a kayaker passes by, but otherwise it is relatively quiet here on the lake. I love the fact that I’m traveling in low season and missing out on the busy period.
Upon arrival in Ribčev Laz I leave the boat and call a taxi – Klemen informed the driver about my trip and he takes me back to Villa Vesna in a 45-minute drive. A special day at Bohinj has come to an end.
Accommodation in Bohinj: tips for campsites and hotels
As previously mentioned, I stayed in peace and quiet in Villa Vesna near Goreljek on the Pokljuka Plateau. However, if you need a little more excitement around you, you can go to Bohinj for some great places to stay. Camp Bohinj is a popular place to camp, you will find this campsite on Lake Bohinj near Ukanc, at the base of Vogel Mountain. In terms of hotels, you will mostly find small guesthouses and B&Bs in this area. Have a look here for an overview, availability and prices.
Conclusion and disclaimer
Bohinj has pleasantly surprised me. I had expected a busy tourist crowd (partly after I had made a short stop at Bled before), but that was far from the truth. Although there are of course tourists, I could enjoy all the beauty that Bohinj region has to offer in silence.
I made this trip at the invitation of Mijn Slovenië. Affiliate links are in this blog. If you book something via this link, I may receive a small commission, without extra costs for you.