Introducing Velika Planina
Located at an elevation between 1,500 and 1,666 metres in the heart of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, and accessible by cable car, Velika Planina is one of the largest and most beautiful Alpine pastures in Europe covering some 577 hectares of pastureland. It is also one of the most unusual and unique pastures you will find, as it is dotted with around 60 shingle-roofed, semicircular wooden huts that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Since the Middle Ages, these huts provide shelter for both humans and livestock during late-spring and summer, when the local herdsmen migrate to this picturesque high-elevation settlement to graze cattle on Velika Planina’s lush alpine meadows.
Velika Planina Review
Loosely translated as ‘Big Mountain’ or ‘Great Highlands’, Velika Planina is a high-elevation Alpine settlement of 63 traditional herdsmen’s huts located at an elevation between 1,500 and 1,666 metres in the heart of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps in northern Slovenia. It’s easily accessible to 1,418 metres by cable car – from the village of Kamniska Bistrica, about 10 kilometres north of the town of Kamnik and less than half an hour drive from Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana. The journey to the top comes into two stages, first a fascinating cable-car ride on the fourth-longest unsupported cable car in the world and then a 15-minute chairlift (it operates irregularly) or a 30 minute walk on a gentle slope – it’s a very pleasant walk, but not really suitable for people with mobility issues. Simply follow the signposts up the hill for about two kilometres and you’ll reach a highland plain filled with 63 low-slung, shingle-roofed dwellings enclosed within neat fences. Many avid hikers also choose to walk up the mountain without taking the cable car, a thrilling hike on a well-marked trail that begins in the village of Stahovica. The car parks are large and free at both the cable car terminus and in Stahovica.
Local herdsmen drive cattle up from the valleys to Velika Planina in the beginning of June and remain there, with their livestock, till the end of September. In addition to taking care of their own animals, the herdsmen are required to participate in group work – removing weeds, maintaining ditches, and so on. They even have a building which is called ‘The Parliament,’ where they discuss their daily work, play music and hang out. The tiny wooden Church of Our Lady of the Snows overlooks the huts.
The herdsmen also produce dairy products, including sour milk, yoghurt, butter and cheese, which they often sell to visitors. One type of cheese, known as Trnic, is a particularly interesting specialty of Velika Planina. It’s a dried hard cheese shaped into mounds that resemble women’s breasts. It was once given by herdsmen to girls they were wooing. The girls who were given the Trnic cheeses accepted them as romantic gifts, but if the herder who gave them the gift meant little to them, they simply ate the cheese. The herdsmen’s woodworking skills are well-known too, as they produced a variety of wooden objects like spoons and knives for their own needs while they were spending long months on the high-altitude pasture.
In the 20th century, the idyllic landscape of Velika Planina was almost lost forever. Most of the traditional huts were burned down to the ground during the Second World War by the Germans, who suspected that this area was a base for resistance fighters. Only Preskar’s Hut, which has been converted into a museum, survived the onslaught intact. The hut is oval, covered from roof to ground with shingles, without windows, doors, or a chimney. After the war, the huts were restored in the traditional style, ensuring that the area remains one of the most attractive highland pastures in the Alps.
By winter, the herdsmen have gone and Velika Planina becomes a popular destination for skiers, offering a variety of downhill and cross-country runs at varying levels of difficulty. The peak of the season is between mid-December and March, and the longest piste is one-and-a-half kilometres long.
Overall, Velika Planina is a very unique and charming place, highly recommended for those who enjoy the outdoors and peace and tranquility, a place to recharge your batteries. It is beautiful year round, but the best time to visit is probably between June and mid-September when the herdsmen’s settlement comes alive, maintaining traditions that are centuries old. The huts are scattered all around the plateau, with pine shingle roofs and an architecture that is unique only to this mountain land. As several snow-capped peaks rising over 2,500 meters dominate in the background, it all makes for some incredible scenery. The cows roam around freely and you can try some delicious homemade traditional food. For a particularly special and rustic experience, you can also spend a night in one of the huts.
Velika Planina Pictures
View our image gallery with 27 high-resolution photos that prove you absolutely have to visit Velika Planina!
Nine photos below by Bojan Kolman
Shingle-roofed herdsmen’s huts on the Velika Planina plateau in the Kamnik-Savinja Alps.
Photo by Blaz Gvajc
There is indeed something fairytale-like about Velika Planina, a highland pasture in northern Slovenia.
Next 2 photos below by Masa Vodenik
Velika Planina is considered to be the most beautiful alpine pasture in the country, where traditional dairy farmers graze their cattle between June and September.
Next 2 photos below by Jure Kralj
Some visitors liken Velika Planina to a Hobbit village.
Next 2 photos below by Branko Cesnik
There is something fairytale-like about Velika Planina.
Next 2 photos below by Erich Reisinger
The expansive, mile-high meadows of the Velika Planina, the scenic crown jewel of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps.
Photo by Denis Sodrznik
Try to visit Velika Planina in the morning as there is less rain then.
Next 8 photos below by Miroslav Asanin
Warm days call for an escape from the heat of the city and into the mountains.
Velika Planina location on the map
Address: Velika Planina 1, 1242 Stahovica, Slovenija
Latitude and Longitude coordinates: 46.303798, 14.625965
GPS coordinates: 46° 18′ 13.6728” N 14° 37′ 33.474” E
Traditional region: Upper Carniola (Slovene: Gorenjska)
Statistical region: Central Slovenia