Bohinj and its crystal lake in the heart of the Alps
Bohinj and its crystal lake in the heart of the Alps
Towering over the north-western part of Slovenia are the highest peaks in the country. In the heart of the Julian Alps, in Triglav National Park, lies Bohinj, one of the most magnificent Alpine glacial valleys. The high mountains and green forests embrace Lake Bohinj, while also glittering in its mirror-like surface.
Towering over the north-western part of Slovenia are the highest peaks in the country. In the heart of the Julian Alps, in Triglav National Park, lies Bohinj, one of the most magnificent Alpine glacial valleys. The high mountains and green forests embrace Lake Bohinj, while also glittering in its mirror-like surface. The biggest freshwater lake in Slovenia appears as a perfect picture of nature. For many Slovenians this is their favourite spot for a weekend excursion. Observing the beauty of Bohinj always inspires and fills us with energy to conquer the nearby peaks.
And a rest by the lake or stroll around it at any time of year is balm for the body. The local Bohinj people are famed for being resolute and hardy folk, strengthened by the fresh mountain air. The high mountain pastures provide grazing for cows that delight the herders and dairy farmers with the finest milk for making the cheese for which they are especially famous in Bohinj. When the peaks are snow-capped, you can take the cable car from the valley up to the Vogel Ski Centre, which offers fantastic views of the Julian Alps. Winter offers a whole range of delights – from skiing to ski touring and cross-country, from snowshoeing to winter wellness. Treat yourself to some of the tasty local goodness, which always hits the spot and which placed Bohinj among the finalists for this year’s European Destinations of Excellence in Slovenia.
The local people are convinced that to really enjoy Bohinj you need to be properly fortified. The best way to do this is with some typical Bohinj specialities, which can be bought in jars for “real men and women”, in which they conserve cheese, minced lard and sausage on a bed of fragrant dry Bohinj grass. On the road from Ljubljana to the Gorenjska region, turn off past Bled and continue on towards the heart of Triglav National Park. If you’re staying in Bled, you can get to Bohinj on the Hop on – Hop off bus. Along the way you will notice the famous Bohinj Railway, which celebrated its centenary in 2006.
In winter there is a Bohinj Ski Bus, which takes you past Lake Bohinj, Slovenia’s biggest lake, surrounded by forests and Alpine peaks, and on to the lower station of Vogel Ski Centre. One of the most picturesque Slovenian ski resorts, it will stun you with its views high above the lake. And if you want an even closer encounter with fresh snow, come join an organised ski tour. Bohinj boasts the most popular ski tour route in the Julian Alps, where you can enjoy the full 2000 m altitude difference from Mt Kanjavec to the village of Stara Fužina. The cross-country skiing is also unforgettable, especially on the wooded plateau of Pokljuka, which hosts world cup biathlon events. Romantic evenings are also a feature of Bohinj, with lantern-lit walks around the snowy surroundings. And don’t forget to get some sustenance in between your fun in the snow. Stop in at the farmhouses and inns, which offer home-made dairy and meat products, and try some of the hot local specialities.
The food of Bohinj is typically simple dishes that the herders and dairy farmers would take with them to the high mountain pastures. Once a week they would get a supply of flour from the valley. Then every day they would have sour milk and a corn mash made of coarse-ground hard native maize garnished with pork crackling. Today you can try a typical cheese-maker’s meal. This consists of potatoes boiled in their skins and sweet ricotta cheese from the milk of Bohinj cows.
TYPICAL BOHINJ DISH
Mohant is a semi-soft Bohinj cow’s milk cheese with a strong aroma and mildly piquant flavour. It is excellent in a cream of garlic soup with mohant dumplings, which really hit the spot after a good day’s skiing.
TOP CULINARY EXPERIENCE
Get to know the more than 140-year tradition of cheese making in Bohinj. The Cheese Trail connects up cheese dairies on the mountains and in the valleys. It offers a delicious experience where the exercise of walking sheds the calories along the way. The trail can be best enjoyed in spring and summer, throughout the week, for the cheese makers live there and make cheese in the traditional way. You can taste and buy ricotta, sour cream, butter and other dairy delights.
POPULAR EVENTS IN BOHINJ
* The International Wildflower Festival in May and June is intended both for Alpine flora and for presenting what Bohinj offers in cuisine and gastronomy. The 2016 event will be the 10th, and will be enhanced by cuisine using local ingredients, with added wild herbs and plants.
* The Cow Ball in Bohinj in September is the biggest ethnographic event in Slovenia. It has been running since 1956 and heralds the end of the pasturing season. At this event you can try local dairy and meat products and traditional herder dishes – especially Bohinj cheese and Bohinj corn mash.
* One day before the Cow Ball is the Cheese and Wine Festival, where you can try combinations of the best Slovenian cheeses and superlative Slovenian wines.