A walk through the working villages of the Lower and Upper Bohinj Valley in Slovenia’s Sava Valley - By Alan Garner
This walk takes in six working villages that lie close to the infant River Sava as it makes its way for its source high up on Triglav’s peaks to the Black sea. These villages also have reminders of a past working life, although gradually being taken over by our Internet age, they still afford the culturally aware visitor a glimpse of how things used to be only a few decades ago. The walk is on good paths and tracks all the way, but watch out for the cycles along the newly created 25-kilometre cycle track between the Lower and Upper Bohinj valleys. They mainly have bells!
We start in the largish village of Bohinj Bistrica, the centre of commercial activity in this valley, famous for its iron works, cheese making, and the rail head; go to the station and a fascinating history of the tunnel connecting this region with its cousin to the west. Also notice how the peoples here were involved with the two world wars, evident from the many war memorials in the village.
Taking the cycle track, we broadly follow the Sava River and at Brod, we swing upwards underneath Rudnica mountain through fabulous meadows in spring and early summer a riot of wild flowers. In the distance we see two villages, head for the left-hand side one, Sredna Vas the third village and find a couple of refreshment or lunch stops here. Note the size of its church. On to Studor, smaller but less modernised, you will see the way farming used to be done underneath Studor Mountain.
The next village, Stara Fuzina with the tumbling Mostnice river at its heart is more modern, and new houses abound. Again, a couple of lunch and refreshment stops here. All along this walk you will be aware of the distant mountains with the highest, Triglav in view providing the clouds are not down whilst you have little climbing to do, you will be aware that you really are in an alpine setting, as the valleys are surrounded on both sides with high peaks.
Onto the side of the magnificent centre-piece of the valleys, Lake Bohinj, sparkling sometimes, brooding others, lying at the foot of two mountain ranges and fed by the icy waters for the River Sava flowing down for 2,500 metres high deep in the Julian Alps. From here make your way the tourist village of Ribcev Laz where you can get an electric boat to the other side of the lake from here, or hire a canoe, do some rafting, of simply refresh yourself in its many cafes. The ice cream is tremendous too.
To get back to your start at Bohinj Bistrica use the buses that run every hour from the village centre, a fast and usually on time service that complements walking.
How far – 14 kilometres plus any wanderings round the villages – highly recommended.