As the bus pulled away from the Lake Bled station in the direction of Lake Bohinj, Slovenia, there were more empty seats than those occupied. Of our fellow passengers, a few carried backpacks and tents, some were donning only swimsuits, others were geared to hike. During the 40-minute ride, as we followed the curving Sava Bohinjsk River, we overheard fellow passengers conversing. It seemed everyone was in agreement: for anyone looking to flee the crowds of Lake Bled and completely step into nature, Lake Bohinj is the place to go. Our anticipation was mounting. Not only did we want to breathe the fresh mountain air and swim in the clear cool water, we were also eager to set out on the hiking trails near Lake Bohinj.
Hiking Trails near Lake Bohinj
Lake Bohinj, the largest lake in Slovenia, is a mountain lake in the Julian Alps. It is situated within the boundaries of Triglav National Park – the only national park in Slovenia. Outdoor activities abound; swimming, boating, cycling, paragliding and hiking. The hiking trails near Lake Bohinj vary in degree of difficulty, from “I can walk this in flip-flops” to “We should hire a guide.” The most popular trails are easily accessible and well-marked, while detailed trail maps and hiking gear are recommended for the hikes further afield. As casual day hikers, we were most interested in exploring the hiking trails near Lake Bohinj that got us in touch with nature, but required little pre-planning or hiking gear.
Savica Waterfall Hike
The hike to Savica Waterfall is the most popular hike near Lake Bohinj and has been for many years, as even in 1807 the site was visited by Archduke John of Austria. From the west end of Lake Bohinj, Savica Waterfall is visible cascading down the rocky mountainside, but completing the hike provides an up-close view. Two separate falls – one 255 feet high and the other 82 feet high – flow from underground passages then tumble down into a stream. Savica is the only continuous source of water into the lake.
In the lakeside village of Ukanc, there is a marked trailhead where enthusiastic hikers can start the hike that leads up to the waterfall, but we opted for the less strenuous hike starting from the much closer Savica parking lot. While the hike was certainly shorter, it wasn’t without incline. We had to climb nearly 500 steps to the waterfall viewing platform. However, even in the height of summer, the path wasn’t overcrowded and most of it was shaded under a canopy of trees.
- Entrance to the Savica Waterfall hike costs €3 per person, but is free with the Bohinj Guest Card. There is a fee for parking. A public bus (also free with the Bohinj Guest Card) takes hikers to the Savica parking lot.
- We were on the trail for a little more than an hour. We took our time, stopped at viewpoints and lingered at the top before coming back down.
- Bring a water bottle and fill it with fresh mountain water at the Savica ticket entrance.
- Make it a longer outing and bring along a picnic. There are tables and benches on the trail.
Hiking Trails at Vogel Ski Center
Vogel Ski Center sits at an elevation of 5,036 feet on the south side of Lake Bohinj – and is a 3,100-foot elevation gain from the lakeside. We had no interest in making the hike up – or down, for that matter – but were rather thrilled to take the cable car, which whisked us up in just a little more than 4 minutes. Once at the top, after taking in the views, we set off to discover the hiking trails that are just beyond the cable car platform.
Without a map, we were left to use the limited information provided on signs. We followed the main gravel path away from the Vogel Ski Center until we saw a sign for Turisticna sirarska POT, the Cheese Trail. Veering to the right, we walked on the gravel road for some distance, appreciating the solitude, the colorful flowers and mountain views. After about 15-20 minutes, we saw a trail on the left that curved back toward the ski center through the forest. We hopped on that trail – a narrow, dirt path – and circled back to where we started.
- The Vogel Cable Car costs €14 roundtrip and is discounted by 20% with the Bohinj Guest Card.
- We spent about 2 hours at the top; but only about 40-45 minutes hiking.
- Bring your own water! The tap water at the ski center is not potable.
- When you exit the cable car, stay on the platform for a few moments to take in the view – these are the best views down to the lake.
- There are several hikes – both long and short – from the ski center, but not well marked. Do prior research (there are trails listed on the Vogel Ski Center website, but more info should be gathered) and ask questions once you arrive. We would have been able to enjoy a longer hike if we had been more prepared, but we did enjoy a cold beer once we got back to the ski center.
Voje Valley and Mostnica Gorge Hike
The trail into Voje Valley along the Mostnica Gorge extends 3 miles to a waterfall, but that isn’t the most impressive feature; rather, it is the narrowly carved gorge and the pale blue-green water that rushes through it. The gorge, which measures 65 feet deep in some places, was created during the period of glacial melting. Located on the northeast end of Lake Bohinj, the Mostnica Gorge trailhead is accessed through a small village, Stara Fuzina.
From the parking lot, the hiking trail quickly becomes enveloped in forest and passes many bridges, as well as places to get closer (or into!) the water. About halfway through the hike, the trail emerges from the woods into open pastures before re-entering the forest and ending at a waterfall. In two sections of the trail, it is possible to walk on either side of the water, allowing hikers to loop around the trail instead of just hiking in and out on the same trail.
- Entrance to the Voje Valley and Mostnica Gorge hike costs €3 per person, but is free with the Bohinj Guest Card. There is a fee for parking. A public bus (also free with the Bohinj Guest Card) takes hikers to Stara Fuzina.
- It took us 4 hours to hike from Stara Fuzina to the waterfall and back, including several stops for pictures and for a picnic lunch.
- There are two restaurants on the trail – one at the halfway point (where you can also refill your water bottle) and another near the waterfall at the end.
- Pick up a detailed Voje Valley and Mostnica Gorge pamphlet from the tourist office in Stara Fuzina (the glossy one that includes a map and brief information about the bridges and area).
- For a shorter hike that is about an hour long, follow the trail to Cesenjski Most (Bridge). Cross it and loop back to the entrance.
- This was our favorite hiking trail near Lake Bohinj; we would have hiked it twice if we had time!
Galetovec Trail and Pokljuka Trails
The Pokljuka plateau, which is within the boundaries of Triglav National Park, sits above Lake Bohinj to the northeast and is dotted with villages, pastures and forests. Many hiking trails begin near the villages and a few paths run between the villages allowing hikers to walk from one village to another.
Since we wanted to experience hiking trails near Lake Bohinj that weren’t on the tourist trail, we set out to hike Galetovec from the village of Gorjuse. The trail was estimated to take 2.5 hours and includes viewpoints to Lake Bled. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a detailed trail map, which was a poor decision on our part. We were only able to find the first two yellow trail markers.
Without a clear understanding of which direction to go (we had three options), we chose the gravel road to the right. We followed it for more than an hour before turning back around. Although it was technically a road, it was completely enveloped in forest. During our time walking, we saw a running deer, a small snake and not a single other person. However, we don’t believe we were on the correct trail (or a trail at all, for that matter!) and we never saw the viewpoint of Lake Bled.
- The summer Hop On, Hop Off Bus makes three round-trips from Lake Bohinj to Pokljuka on Saturdays and Sundays. An all-day pass costs €5, but is free with the Bohinj Guest Card.
- After spending a few hours on the ‘trail’ we made it back to the bus stop in time to catch the next bus that continued further up the mountains to Rudno Polje. After a short stop there, we rode the bus back to Lake Bohinj.
- Get a detailed map from the Bohinj Tourist Information Center! To really enjoy the trails on Pokljuka, a trail map is a necessity.
- Even though we didn’t feel as if we were on a ‘hike’, riding the bus was a pleasant way to get a glimpse of the rural area outside of the Lake Bohinj tourist zone.
Lake Bohinj Circumference Trail
For hikers who aren’t interested in leaving the lakeside, there is a trail that follows the lake’s edge in a complete circle. The loop around Lake Bohinj is 7.5 miles and takes about 3-4 hours to complete. We never made it all the way around, but enjoyed portions of it along the east and south sides of Lake Bohinj.
- On the east end, is the often photographed St. John the Baptist Church. There is also a volleyball court and a restaurant, Kramar, with a lake view. The shallow waters on the east end are perfect for easing into the chilly water.
- The trail along the south side of the lake follows the road, which is not exactly an ideal way to experience nature, but hikers are rewarded with the stunning views toward the lake. The boat dock for the electric tourist boat and statue of the Zlatorog is on the south shore of the lake, both toward the east end.
- Although we did not walk along the northern side of the lake, we heard that was the best portion to hike for a nature trail as there are no roads.
Looking for hikes in Lake Bled, Slovenia? Check out which Lake Bled trails we hiked!
Want to see more? Watch our video that highlights some of the hiking trails near Lake Bohinj, Slovenia:
Our top tips for your trip to Lake Bohinj
Where To Stay
During our visit to Lake Bohinj, we stayed at Rooms Simon Ceklin, which we can definitely recommend as an affordable and comfortable place to stay. However, there are many hotels to choose from that are close to the lake.
Before You Go
- 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!).
- It’s easy to get turned around or lost in any new city! Be sure to have a good guidebook prior to arriving.
- We think travel insurance is essential! If you haven’t already obtained travel insurance for your trip, travel protected with World Nomads.
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