Fresh air. Clear water. Green forests. Towering mountains. Wide pastures. Deep gorges. Flourishing nature. Lake Bohinj is uncomplicated and raw; she’s the girl next door that doesn’t have to dress up or put on make up in order to attract attention. Lake Bohinj is a postcard-picture scene, naturally designed in hues of unbelievable blues and shades of intense green. Cradled in the Julian Alps, the glacial lake is watched over by the mountain peaks that rise around it and is protected within the boundaries of Triglav National Park.
Yet, tourists often pass over Lake Bohinj in favor of her more popular sister, Lake Bled. While Lake Bled is stunningly gorgeous, the appeal is enhanced by man-made embellishments: the lone church and bell tower that occupy the island in the middle of the lake, the castle that is dramatically perched on the edge of the cliff, the sleek restaurants and modern casino that entertain guests on the lakeside. Lake Bled has accessories, while Lake Bohinj is a natural beauty, existing exactly as created. On Lake Bohinj, the (very) few lakeside dwellings blend in, rather than stand out. Nature is what Lake Bohinj is all about.
Lake Bohinj is Slovenia’s largest natural lake, measuring nearly 2.5 miles in length with a depth of up to 145 feet. In the height of summer, the sun warms the frigid lake temperature to 71˚F, which is warm enough for a refreshing swim. The water in the lake completely – and naturally – cycles out three times a year (entering the lake from Savica Stream on the west and exiting via Sava Bohnijka to the east) keeping the lake water crystal clear and impeccably clean; in fact, so clean that the lake water is potable in the non-summer seasons.
Lake Bohinj, Slovenia 3-Day Itinerary
Detouring from the main tourist route – even for just a glimpse of Lake Bohinj – is worth the effort. However, our suggested Lake Bohinj, Slovenia 3-Day Itinerary offers more than just a quick look. In three days, we explore the varied landscapes around the lake with numerous hikes, a cable car ride and a train excursion – and still allow plenty of time to do exactly what it seems Lake Bohinj was created for: to admire the beauty while relaxing lakeside.
Day One – Lake, Waterfall, Mountain
Day One of our Lake Bohinj, Slovenia 3-Day Itinerary is all about the lake and viewing it from different angles. After dropping your bags at your accommodation, walk to the eastern shore of Lake Bohinj and inhale a deep breath of fresh mountain air. Blink…twice; it’s real. Delight in the simplicity.
To truly put the size of the lake into perspective, get out in the middle of it. Hop on the Electric Tourist Boat and head to Ukanc at the west end of the lake. Enjoy the commentary – or simply hang out the window and watch the passing scenes.
On the west end of the lake, find the trailhead (or the bus stop) to Savica Waterfall. The waterfall, which flows in two streams (255 feet and 82 feet) down the side of a cliff from underground sources, is the sole continuous source of water into Lake Bohinj. From the Savica Hut, the main waterfall entrance, hike the 500 stairs to the viewing platform, stopping along the way to look back over Lake Bohinj.
Next, head for the Vogel Cable Car. Take the 4.2-minute cable car ride to the Vogel Ski Center – and linger on the platform for the best views down to the lake. Spend a couple of hours exploring the summit, taking one of the many hiking trails that begin near the ski center.
Make your way – via hike, walk, boat or bus – back to the east end of the lake. Gather picnic supplies from the grocery store and then find a spot along the east shore of the lake to dine and watch the sunset.
- Electric Tourist Boat: 30 minutes, each way
- Savica Hike from Ukanc: 2-3 hours, roundtrip
- Savica Hike from ticket entrance: 1 hour, roundtrip
- Vogel Cable Car: 4.2 minutes each way; plus, as much time as desired at the top
- Hiking near Vogel Ski Center: 45 minutes for a short hike; up to 5-6 hours for longer hikes
Restaurants en Route:
In Ukanc, near the Electric Tourist Boat dock, there is a casual restaurant with lake views that has basic food at decent prices. Restaurants can also be found at the Savacia Waterfall Hut entrance and at the top of the cable car ride at the Vogel Ski Center.
Day Two – Hike, Swim, Relax
On Day Two of our Lake Bohinj, Slovenia 3-Day Itinerary spend the morning hiking the Mostnica Gorge and Voje Valley Trail. The four-hour roundtrip hike from Stara Fuzina follows the deeply-cut, narrow gorge, before passing through open pastures and then re-entering the forest to a waterfall at the end of the trail. This is not a hike to be rushed; slow down and enjoy it!
In the afternoon, take a rest from all the hiking and test the chilly waters of the lake. Pick a spot along the eastern shore to slowly ease into the shallow water. Brave swimmers might consider jumping from the end of the dock using the trampoline to launch into the lake (find it next to Kramar restaurant). If you’re feeling motivated, consider renting a row boat, kayak or stand-up paddleboard.
- Mostnica Gorge Hike from Stara Fuzina: 4 hours, roundtrip
- Relaxing at the lake: As much time as desired!
Restaurants en Route:
On the hike along the Mostnica Gorge, there are the two restaurants on the trail – one at the halfway point and one near the waterfall at the end of the trail. In Stara Fuzina, Gostilna Mihovc serves traditional fare. Kramar restaurant, on the eastern shore of Lake Bohinj, has a patio overlooking the lake and café food, like pizza.
Day Three – Lake, Train, Walk
For the last day of our Lake Bohinj, Slovenia 3-Day Itinerary, start the day early and head out to the lake before the crowds arrive. Experience the stillness and solitude of the lake while the rest of Lake Bohinj still sleeps. Tip: The low light and lack of people make this a great time to take photos. Before leaving the lakeside, step inside St. John the Baptist Church to the decorated interior.
Mid-morning, catch a bus (or drive) to Bohinj Bistrica train station to join the scenic train journey to Nova Gorica on the Bohinj Railway. On the way, the train passes through the Bohinj Tunnel – a four-mile long mountain tunnel; it continues alongside beautiful, blue rivers and crosses Solkan Bridge – the longest stone arch bridge in the world. The train ride is more about the journey than the destination, so plan on catching the first train back to Bohinj. During the short time in Nova Gorica, stop at Europe Square just outside the train station. The Italian-Slovenian border runs through the middle of the square, so you can literally stand in two countries at once.
See the highlights of our ride on the Bohinj Railway.
Once back at Lake Bohinj, take advantage of the long summer days and walk the lake circumference trail to savor the lake views from every angle. Don’t miss the photo op of the Zlatorog statue on the south side of the lake.
- Train from Bohinj Bistrica to Nova Gorica: 1.5 hours each way; plus, about 1.5 hours in Nova Gorica (total time 4.5-5 hours)
- Bohinj Lake Circumference Trail: 3-4 hours to circle the lake
Restaurants en Route:
There is a small restaurant next to the Bohinj Bistrica trail station, as well as options in Nova Gorica. On Lake Bohinj, there are restaurants at the southeast corner of the lake in Ribcev Laz, as well as outdoor dining on the south side of the lake (toward the east end) behind the Zlatorog statue.
Lake Bohinj, Slovenia 3-Day Itinerary Details and Tips
Where to Eat
The restaurants that surround Lake Bohinj range from quick take-away spots with options of cevapcici and pizzas to gostilnas serving traditional Slovenian meals. Bakeries offer a local specialty, burek, a pastry stuffed with meat or cheese, that is filling enough to be considered a complete meal.
Since we like dining lakeside – and only one restaurant (Kramar) is right on the lake – most of our meals were picnic-style. The local grocery chain, Mercator, has stores in both Ribcev Laz and Stara Fuzina where we could purchase picnic food items – meat, cheese, bread, fruit, wine (and plastic cups!) – then find a place along the shoreline to dine. For our hikes, as well as the train, we brought food along with us to enjoy along the way.
Where to Stay
There are many choices of accommodations in the area of Lake Bohinj. We recommend staying in one of two villages on the lake, Ribcev Laz or Stara Fuzina (both on the east end of the lake), that have hotels and guesthouses. Ribcev Laz is on the southeast corner of the lake, providing easy access to the lake, but is slightly congested with traffic. Stara Fuzina is a rural village on the northeast corner of the lake, but is set back off the water. It is about a 15-minute walk along a path.
We stayed in a comfortable and affordable family-run guesthouse, Rooms Simon Ceklin, in Stara Fuzina. It has a shared kitchen and shared bathroom in a quiet location with friendly owners.
Lake Bohinj is an affordable destination, but it is even more so with the Bohinj Guest Card. The discount card is available to individuals and families staying two or more nights at Lake Bohinj and can be purchased at the Tourist Information Center (lodging information required). The cost of the Individual Card is €10 and the Family Card is €15. (Add €5 more to each card for the car park perk.) For our Lake Bohinj, Slovenia 3-Day Itinerary, the benefit of the card is as follows:
- FREE Electric Tourist Boat (regular cost: €10,50)
- FREE entrance to Savica Waterfall (regular cost: €3)
- FREE entrance to Mostnica Gorge (regular cost: €3)
- FREE local bus transportation (regular cost: €1+ per ride)
- 50% Discount on roundtrip Scenic Train from Bohinjska Bistrica to Nova Gorica (regular cost: €11,60)
- 20% Discount on Vogel Cable Car (regular cost: €14)
See the official brochure for additional Bohinj Guest Card savings.
Lake Bohinj, Slovenia Map of Sights
Before You Go: Our Top Tips for Your Trip
What to Bring
Don’t forget to pack a pair of lightweight and comfortable walking shoes. I (Sarah) have traveled with these shoes by Columbia, Skechers and Reef. Kris prefers wearing these shoes by Merrell and Sanuk.
We’re certain you’ll be snapping tons of photos during your trip. Rather than relying on your mobile phone to capture the sights, upgrade to an actual camera for higher quality photos. We travel with a Canon Rebel (which takes amazing photos, but can be a bit clunky) and a Canon PowerShot ELPH (which takes beautiful pictures, is slim and lightweight – and the new models are wifi enabled so you can share your trip pics to social media in real time!).
We think travel insurance is essential! If you haven’t already obtained travel insurance for your trip, travel protected with World Nomads.
When you are traveling and want (or need!) to stay connected, a wifi hotspot is the way to go. When traveling through Europe, you can stay connected with reliable wifi from Tep Wireless. The personal mobile wifi hotspot can be rented for days or months at a time and allows you to easily connect to the internet from your mobile devices wherever you are. With a Tep Wireless hotspot, you can search for directions, look up sight information and share your travel experiences on social media in real time.
Like what you’re reading? Join the journey!
Subscribe to JetSetting Fools and get new blog posts and our quarterly newsletter direct to your inbox:
We want to know: Have you visited Lake Bohinj? What would you add to our Lake Bohinj, Slovenia 3-Day Itinerary? Tell us in the comments!
Pin it! See all of our travel pins on our JetSetting Fools Pinterest Board.