We had imagined our stay in Slovenia's Karawanken differently. We had planned to visit Slovenia's highest alpine pasture in Velika Planina. There we wanted to meet the shepherds, who drive their animals to the alpine pastures every spring. But then the rain thwarted our calculations. After our visit in the rose garden of the Arboretum Volcji Potok the clouds sank lower and lower from the mountain peaks. We watched the development of the weather with doubt. When we arrived at the valley station of the cable car, the friendly gentleman at the cash desk showed us the webcam that was installed on the mountain pasture. "The clouds are already so low that you can hardly see anything." He advises us to try again one of the next days.
Experience Slovenia's Karawanken in the rain
We follow his well-intentioned advice, but we have no luck with the weather for the next two days either. On the contrary! Most of the time the clouds hang down so far into the valley that you don't even know how close the mountains of the southern Limestone Alps are in the region around Kamnik. It's raining. For hours at first. It pours. Again and again. With only short breaks between the downpours. So long walks are also out of the question. So we get in the car and drive off to explore the region. These places for Slow Traveler are what we discover on these rainy days and what makes Slovenia’s Karawanken tasty for another visit:
The valley of Kamniska Bistrica
The river valley of Kamniska Bistrica is below Velika Planina. Without the rain we would never have driven to the end of the valley. There, the river rises from a tangle of rocks and flows into a pond whose green is reminiscent of emeralds. I usually only dream of such places. This one is real. The good thing is that even a rainy day does not change its beauty. Between the dense branches of the treetops, which protect this place from prying eyes, and the steep mountain slopes, a ray of sunlight rarely penetrates to the valley floor. All the more we enjoy this green paradise. The few raindrops that make it through the canopy of the trees do not bother us.
The valley of Kamniska Bistrica has other beautiful places in store for us: at the end of the valley is the hunting lodge, which once had King Alexander built here. From here numerous hiking trails lead into the mountains, which we give ourselves however. A photo of the hunting lodge is enough for us. Then we drive along the river back towards Kamnik. Crystal clear is the water of the river that accompanies us on the way. We take our time and play a little with the friendly donkey that caught our eye on the way there. He looks at us as curiously as we do. Somehow it seems to be as much fun as us.
The surroundings of Kamnik in the rain
The next day it rains even more. By car, we set off on a tour through the surroundings of Kamnik, the largest town in this region in Slovenia's Karawanken. We drive to the hills of Tunjice. There is a region where healing powers are attributed. The Medicinal Forest of Tunjice is a holistic health center with various mineral springs. We can not test it ourselves, because the system is closed. It is accessible only with a guide. We are impressed by the drive there: from Kamnik, a narrower tarred road leads up the hill. On top of it we pass the St. Ana pilgrimage church. Behind it, the narrow road winds on numerous curves around the hill and offers us breathtaking views, which catch us even in the rain.
Since it is too early for lunch, we make a short trip to the neighboring town of Mekinje with his nunnery. This is closed, and the church is not accessible. But from the hill on which the monastery stands, we have a great view of Kamnik, which dramatically stages the rain.
Around noon the rain stops slowly. The clouds, however, are still clinging to the mountain peaks. Therefore we decide for a short walk through the city. It is one of the oldest cities in Slovenia and has a well-preserved medieval city center. Two castles are still guarding it today: the Small Fortress (Mali grad Castle) in the old town and the dilapidated ruin of Oberstein (Stari grad) on a hill above the town. We use the umbrellas, which are optimistic in front of a cafe in the city center and enjoy a cup of strong coffee, where the owner of the coffee bar explains how we get to our next destination. It does not seem particularly well known, because he has to ask other guests for directions. But finally he explains the way to the Bauernmuseum
This is a former farmhouse, where today typical Slovenian cuisine (for groups) is served to order. It is cooked on a black wood stove, around which once the whole family life turned. The drive to Zgornje Palovce, where the farmhouse stands, turns out to be the highlight of our trip through Slovenia's Karavanke. Despite - or perhaps because of - the low hanging clouds open up to us spectacular views of the surrounding valleys. The old farmhouse is located on a ridge from which we can enjoy magnificent views.
We are lucky, and the couple who looks after the museum, on request, agrees to show us the house. Normally it is only open for groups or - as with us - on request. Maria and Tomas show us the wood-burning stove, where they cook Slovenian dishes for their visitors and explain how once bread was made. On the lower floor of the house they have created a collection of Easter customs that show how the festival is celebrated in different regions of the country.
Although the Budnar's Museum is certainly more interesting, if you can taste Slovenian specialties, the trip there is always worth it because of the magnificent views.
The rest of our rainy stay in Slovenia's Karavanke we spend in the Therme Snovikwhere we stay in one of the spacious apartments. The spa is located on a narrow country road below the mountains. It is a privately owned joint project of various partners from the region. The owner of the land she was on made a significant contribution to her becoming one of the region's attractions. He was a farmer and had worked in Switzerland for many years. A stomach ailment forced him to return home. Instead of swallowing the many pills prescribed by the doctor, he drank the water of the spring on his bottom. Half a year later, his symptoms had disappeared.
After scientific investigations it turned out that the water actually has healing powers. The youth of Snovik created a small pond, which attracted more and more visitors. After the independence of Slovenia, several partners from Snovik and the surrounding area joined forces and started the construction of today's spa complex. In the meantime, the spa in the holiday resort with spacious apartments offers the best accommodation in the region and attracts visitors from Finland via the Netherlands to Israel. The perfect place to spend the rest of our rainy day there.
And who knows, maybe we will visit the region of Kamnik in Slovenia's Karawanken again to see the mountain pasture of Velika Planina?
Arrival by plane, car, bus and train
The closest airport is Ljubljana. Kamnik can be reached by bus and train. It is possible to travel to Ljubljana by train. You can ask for bus connections here:
Bus stop : Came bus
+386 1 830 94 15
Accommodation in Kamnik
Hotels and accommodation in Kamnik * You can easily book through our partner booking.com. We have stayed in a large and spacious Apartment at Apartment Resort Eco Spa Snovik * with access to Terme Snovik.
Do you already know:
- Therme Snovik - Alpen Wellness
- Slovenia travel tips
- What to do in Dublin when it rains
- Castle in the clouds
- Which rain jacket is the best?
Source: own research on site. We would like to thank ifeelslovenia for supporting this trip. Our opinion, as always, remains our own.
Text: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Photos: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline