The History Buff's Guide
Slovenia’s Beautiful Bohinj: History, Culture, and Things to Do
In recent years, Slovenia has witnessed an unprecedented surge in tourism. What was once a favorite little secret among travelers-in-the-know has become a tantalizing option for everyone. Most of us have seen the jaw-dropping shots of Lake Bled and its Church of the Assumption. We’ve daydreamed over Instagram posts of the Soča River. And we’ve become distracted by wandering thoughts of Triglav mountain during our morning meetings. But there’s even more to the World’s First Green Country. Here, we cover one of Slovenia’s other must-see hidden gems — Bohinj!
Bohinj has attracted settlers for thousands of years. Evidence suggests that the region has been inhabited since the Bronze Age. During the 19th- and 20th-centuries, Bohinj was a hub of iron mining and ironworking; however, as demand declined near the close of the century the iron business up and left. Now, clues to the region’s past are only evident in the names of two towns: Stara Fužina and Rudnica, which mean old forge and mine, respectively.
The Bohinj region is located in the northwest of Slovenia and describes the basic of the Julian Alps. It stretches some 20 km in length and 5 km in width, and encompasses 24 villages. Besides its stunning natural beauty (we’ll get to that), Bohinj’s landscape is punctuated with ancient churches. Because Catholicism was the country’s predominant religion, you’ll find 11 gorgeous churches scattered throughout the region. The four principal ones are:
St. John the Baptist’s Church (Ribčev Laz): Angled west-east along the tranquil shore of Lake Bohinj, St. John the Baptist Church is a highly photogenic Romanesque-Gothic structure that dates to the Middle Ages.
St. Nicholas Church (Bohinjska Bistrica): What was once a Baroque church was reconstructed in the Neo-Renaissance and Neo-Romantic styles in the 19th-century. It sits poised at the edge of the Bohinjska Bistrica village (the largest village in the region), and overlooks the charming town. This parish church is dedicated to St. Nicholas.
St. Martin’s Church (Srednja Vas): Music-buffs listen up — St. Martin’s Church has the honor of hosting Bohinj’s annual summer music festival thanks to its absolutely perfect acoustics! Head inside this Baroque parish and you may be lucky enough to catch an ethereal tune on the recently restored organ!
St. Paul’s Church (Stara Fužina): In the sleepy village of Stara Fužina, you’ll find the Medieval Church of St. Paul. It’s said that the church was erected in the 13th-century as a place where the ironworkers and miners could come to worship.
With a population of just over 5,000 people, this small and often overlooked municipality oozes with rustic charm, outstanding wilderness, and friendly locals. Whether you’re a history-buff, adventurer, artist, or gastronomer, Bohinj has something special for you. There are many accommodation options in the area that cater to your specific travel preferences.
Woodlands Cottage: A cozy and traditional Slovenian vacation cottage. This detached cabin is modernly furnished and in close proximity to picturesque mountains boasting wonderful ski trails. Sleeps four guest.
La Ferme Francej: A rustic and beautifully decorated home in the idyllic mountain town of Ravne. This 300-year-old barn has been tastefully restored and accommodates up to 10 guests. It features a modern indoor spa, glass shower, and spacious sauna. La Ferme Francej truly is the definition of a rejuvenating vacation holiday.
Beech Cottage: A delightful and detached cottage set at the edge of the woods in Triglav National Park. It’s the perfect place to relax amidst peaceful surroundings with nature right at your doorstep. Located about midway between Lake Bohinj and Lake Bled. Sleeps three guests.
Butterfly Lodge Bed & Breakfast: An expansive and breathtaking vacation rental surrounded by high peaks, the Butterfly Lodge B&B is perfectly suited for family trips, romantic getaways, and lovers of the outdoors. The Bohinjska Bistrica region’s first boutique lodge, this B&B offers breakfast, packed lunches, afternoon cakes, and daily room cleaning. Sleeps twelve guests.
Things To Do in Bohinj
It’s only been a few years since Bohinj first opened its doors to tourism. Today, many visitors to the region use Bohinj as a kick-off point for mountain adventures, as it lies in close proximity to both Triglav National Park and the enchanting Lake Bohinj (a less crowded alternative to the endlessly popular Lake Bled). Below are a five suggestions that we highly recommend!
Lake Bohinj: As the region’s namesake, Lake Bohinj holds a special place in Slovenia’s heart. At nearly 4.5 km in length, it is the largest lake in the country in addition to being the gateway to the Julian Alps. While not as popular as its trendier brother Lake Bled, Lake Bohinj is nevertheless worth its salt in scope and beauty. Plus, you’ll enjoy the peace that accompanies smaller crowds!
Ribčev Laz: Home of the aforementioned St. John the Baptist Church, Ribčev Laz is also a great locus of holiday rental homes and charming resorts. Surrounded by beautiful wilderness and traditional architecture, you’ll enjoy a fine balance between the history and modernity.
Mount Vogel: This 6,300 foot behemoth makes up part of the Julian Alps. In winter, Mount Vogel offers an array of ski and snowboarding trails, while in summer these same trails beckon hiking enthusiasts. Either way, prepare yourself (and your camera) for some astounding views of the surrounding Alps. Not so fond of hiking? You can opt to ride a chairlift to a height of 5,000 feet while taking in unforgettable panoramic vistas. Hopefully you’re not afraid of heights!
Mostnica Gorge: Near the town of Stara Fužina you’ll find the turquoise waters of the Mostnica River. The gorge is a two kilometer stretch of eroded riverbed, mesmerizing rapids, and rushing waterfalls. A small entrance fee of around 2.50€ for adults, 2€ for students, and 1.25€ for children lets you roam the lush landscape and snap some vibrant photos. Allow yourself 30 minutes to an hour to complete the entire trail.
Savica Slap: The Savica Slap waterfall flows into Lake Bohinj and is the third most visited attraction in the entire country. The long and narrow falls are a vertigo-inducing sight nestled amongst sheer rocky cliffs. The famous 256-foot, A-shaped drop is best enjoyed from an altitude of some 2,700 feet.
So what are you waiting for? Although tourism in Slovenia has increased over the past few years, the country is still pristine and rife with things to see and do. So pack your bags and book your unforgettable Slovenian getaway at THE STELLA today!