If by some misfortune you were only allowed to visit one region of Slovenia, there is no doubt that Gorenjska would be a good choice. There, for example, you can enjoy views of wonderful Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj and the peaks of the Julian Alps and the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, a wide range of outdoor activities in the resort town of Kranjska Gora, and strolls through the beautifully preserved centres of old towns such as Kranj and Škofja Loka. But of course Gorenjska also offers many other pleasures.
Triglav, Slovenia's highest mountain, lies at the heart of the Triglav National Park, an area of high, rocky mountains and deep river gorges, karst chasms and sunny Alpine pastures which offers protection to many endemic animal and plant species and the traditions of the former way of life of rugged mountain-dwellers and Alpine dairy farmers.
On the northern side of the kingdom of Triglav is the Upper Sava Valley. In summer, the popular tourist resort of Kranjska Gora offers a wealth of outdoor recreational activities and sports (hiking, climbing, cycling, horse riding, skydiving, fishing), while in winter it has excellent facilities for various forms of skiing and other winter pleasures (dog sledding, night tobogganing, snowmobile rides). Visitors to Kranjska Gora can also enjoy a casino and a range of wellness programmes, while children will have fun in the land of the fictional hero Kekec. In nearby Planica, in the shelter of two-thousand-metre peaks, the world's best ski jumpers come to compete every year.
The area of the Julian Alps is enclosed by two beautiful lakes. The resort town of Bled, with its legendary island in the middle of the lake and its clifftop castle, its hot springs and its pleasant climate, has been attracting cosmopolitan visitors for centuries. Bathing establishments, hotels with swimming pools, footpaths, tennis courts, golf courses, a casino, the sports airfield in Lesce and nearby sights of natural and cultural interest provide plenty more reasons for a visit. Not far from the lake is Blejski Vintgar, the remarkable natural gorge of the river Radovna.
Bohinj, with its unspoilt Alpine lake, is popular with visitors not only for its beautiful natural setting and the ski centres of Vogel, Kobla and Soriška Planina, but also for its rich local cultural traditions and numerous cultural and religious monuments. Nearby Pokljuka is a paradise for hikers and mushroom pickers and a venue for important international biathlon competitions.
The most important river in this area is the Sava. At the point where the river begins to be invigorated by tributaries from left and right, the valley gradually widens. Cities and towns with venerable traditions, together with the villages scattered across the high Alps and softly rounded hills, create a land of new experiences not far from the national capital.
The centre of Gorenjska is Kranj, with its surprising industrial, commercial and cultural traditions. The architect Jože Plečnik had a profound impact on the appearance of Kranj's old town centre. Two of the most important cultural venues in the town are the Prešeren Theatre and Khislstein Castle, the latter of which is home to Gorenjska Museum.
Škofja Loka has the most beautifully preserved medieval town centre in Slovenia. The rooms of Loka Castle contain various museum collections, while the former castle garden has become an open-air museum.
Below Blegoš, the highest peak of the Škofja Loka Hills, the countless beauties of Škofja Loka combine with the many local cultural and craft traditions of the Poljanska Dolinav and *Selška Dolina valleys. Železniki, a former ironworking centre, conserves the lacemaking tradition, while Dražgoše is famed for its gingerbread. The Škofja Loka Hills are full of pleasant paths and trails for hikers and cyclists. Škofja Loka and the surrounding area also offer a number of themed routes and restaurants offering traditional cuisine.
To the north, near the border with Austria, is Jezersko, an attractive area with its own autochthonous breed of sheep, Planšarsko Jezero (a man-made lake), Čedca Waterfall (the highest in Slovenia), ancient farmhouses and granaries, and unspoilt mountain scenery. Not far from Tržič, a town with a long shoemaking tradition, is the world-famous Dovžan Gorge, where several interesting geological phenomena may be observed. The Kamnik-Savinja Alps also contain one of the most popular ski resorts in Slovenia: Krvavec.
Lovers of cultural heritage can also enjoy a tour of Radovljica's ancient town centre, a walk along the cultural heritage trail in Žirovnica and a visit to the house in Vrba where Slovenia's greatest poet, France Prešeren, was born.
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