Upper Savinja Valley in summer

Upper Savinja Valley

The region in summer is immersed in the full explosion of scents, colors and clear waters of a spectacular and still unspoiled nature, between the peaks of the Slovenian Alps, Kamnik and Savinja, near the northern border of Slovenia, a few km from theAustria.

The upper part of the Savinja Valley is the Logarska Dolina and is one of the most extraordinary glacial valleys in Europe. Crossed by the green river Savinja, from which the homonymous valley takes its name, it jealously preserves in its heart unique landscapes that can be enjoyed along the panoramic road of Solcavsko, immersing yourself in the intoxicating scents of the Parco dei Fiori, or climbing on the white (in winter) slopes of the Golte ski resort.


The Savinja Valley is located 700 meters above the sea level and is enveloped by the embrace of the Kamnisko and Savinjske Alps, with their peaks exceeding 2.000 meters in altitude.

Although arriving in the Valley from Italy is not very easy, it will be absolutely worth it. In fact, the highway arrives calmly and with a certain speed, up to Ljubjana, but after the town, rather twisted state roads begin which rise northwards, pass the picturesque town of Lamnik, climb to the slopes of Veluka Planina and finally descend towards the Savinja Valley.

Veluka Planina means "large pasture" and is a wonderful high-altitude plateau destination for beautiful excursions, where in summer the shepherds practice the ancient art of transhumance, bringing cattle to pasture. In winter, however, it becomes the perfect stage for winter sports.

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The human footprint in this natural paradise has not left indelible marks, indeed it has always remained respectful and discreet: there are only a few old farms, a few hotels and mountain refuges; for the rest, waterfalls, luxuriant nature, fauna and flora typical of an alpine landscape dominate, with magnificent mountains as a backdrop.

What to do and what to see

The valley unfolds 7 km long, is on average 250 meters wide and, during the ice age, was a glacier. On the other hand, the activities that can be practiced are many, there is only the embarrassment of choice: long walks to regenerate body and mind, excursions for every level of preparation, from beginners to the most experienced, mountain bike tours in summer; cross-country skiing or snowshoeing in winter.

Since 1987 the region has been a natural park that occupies 203 square km of surface and includes two other valleys: the Robtanov Kot and the Matkov Kot, both really wild. For hikers, many trails start from these places that just ask to be explored and vigorously "attack" the peaks of the Kamnik and Savinja Alps.

But the pulsating beat of the Savinja comes from its most precious jewel, guarded as a treasure in the vegetation of the Logar Valley, one of the most enchanting alpine valleys in Europe: the Rinka waterfall, 90 meters high, which also gives its name to a multifunctional center , the Rinka Center, created for the sustainable development of these places; it can be visited and inside it is possible to admire local products and visit the exhibition which focuses on the coexistence of human beings and nature in the Savinja Alps.

Get inspired

In the top five there are:

Mozirski Gaj: it is the flower park, embellished with ethnological constructions, located near the Savinja river and built on top of what remained of a former illegal landfill. Above the town are the Dobrovlje, Menina mountain pastures and the Golte plateau which offers many summer activities. Mount Oljka is a pilgrimage destination and from here you can enjoy a splendid view of the Savinja Valley and the Kamnik Alps.

The aforementioned Rinka waterfall, with its jump of 90 meters: will delight young and old alike.

The Cathedral of Gornji Grad: that is the church of the saints Ermagore and Fortunato; the reason is simple: it is the largest Baroque building in Slovenia.

The Museum of Forestry and Woodworking: is located inside the Vrbovec Castle in Nazarje and is dedicated to the centennial woodworking and carpentry tradition of the Savinja Valley; the castle is 750 years old (but it looks great!).

The Snow Cave on Mount Raduha, which leaves you amazed with its 100-meter-long overhang, formed by frozen limestone deposits: the name recalls a fairytale scenario; in fact it is the oldest tourist cave located at a high altitude in Slovenia. Her age? Between 10 and 12 million years.

Potocka Zijalka: a stone age temple.

Celje: to visit the medieval core full of art galleries, museums, ancient churches. Near the town there is the Šmartinsko lake, the largest artificial lake in Slovenia; also not far away are well-known spas such as Dobrna, Topolšica, Laško, Rimske Toplice, Rogaška Slatina and Podčetrtek.

Also worth seeing is the source of the Crna stream, which among other things is one of the two branches of the Savinja river; the Palenk and Rastovcki waterfalls; the Capela Kristusa Kraja (Chapel of Christ the King); if you have a bit of luck you can then come across the oldest animal in all of Slovenia, the Solcava badger; without forgetting the very nice Highlander cows: they are very easy to find because practically, in summer, they are the protagonists of this natural theater, an integral part of the landscape.

What to do

The Valley is the ideal point from which to venture out on trips and climbing; in summer, you can indulge in multiple activities: cycling in the Savinja, in the Manina Planina nature reserve, along the super panoramic road of Solcava or the smaller and more secluded streets of Mozirje, Nazarje, Ljubno and Garnji Grad (in Golte every year the famous bike ride is organized), archery, horse riding.

But not only. You can fly fishing for native brown trout, grayling or rainbow trout, in the green Savinja river (among other things, very suitable for many water sports such as an adrenaline Rafting): an experience also suitable for beginners, especially in the ponds in Mozirje and Ljubno; or go up the Smrekovec volcano, or even take a raft excursion on the Drava river, embarking at the port in the municipality of Mutana Gortini, with the raftsmen who entertain their guests with the sound of the accordion: disembark in Zalec, home of the cultivation of hops and rich in plantations of officinal herbs, and then witness the production of beer in the Ecomuseum (in the lower part of the Valley there are about 100 companies, small and large, specialized in growing hops, also known as green gold).

And after so much doing there is nothing better than relaxing in the wellness center, with saunas, swimming pools and ponds with natural water or hot water, immersed in the fresh mountain air.

Holidays in the Upper Savinja Valley

The park can be accessed all year round: if you enter with a means of transport, a small sum is required (around 7 euros for cars and around 5 euros for motorbikes). In summer, but generally throughout the year, it is the ideal holiday destination for the whole family; whether it is a weekend or a longer stay.
There are two tourist offices (TIC), an old wooden barn in the middle of the valley, the Plesmik hotel open in summer every day from mid-June to the end of August; from April to mid-June it is open only on weekends. To spend the holidays in the Valley there are also a hotel, two pensions, three farms where you can savor the delights of the local peasant cuisine (among all the typical Slovenian salami) and five refuges; plus different dining places. To set out to discover the Valley, you can rent bicycles (including electric ones), maps or tourist guides and, to take home a memory of the Savinja, many lovely souvenirs.

Summer holidays Upper Savinja Valley

If you are considering a summer holiday in Alta Valle della Savinja, below you can find useful links to find hotels and holiday apartments.

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