Introducing Zelenci Nature Reserve
The Zelenci Nature Reserve lies in the far northwestern corner of Slovenia, only a stone’s throw from the area where Slovenia, Austria, and Italy come together. Located within the reserve is a marsh, which consists of a crystal-clear emerald-green, below which Slovenia’s longest river Sava mysteriously bubbles up to the surface. This idyllic area that has remained unchanged for centuries is home to an exceptional range of flora and fauna. It encompasses 15 hectares and was officially declared a nature reserve in 1992.
Zelenci Nature Reserve Review
Tucked into the far northwestern corner of Slovenia, only 3 kilometres west of the alpine resort of Kranjska Gora, is a pristine 15-hectare nature reserve called Zelenci, home to a wide range of flora and fauna. The centerpiece of the reserve is a brilliant jade green lake which is filled by spring water emerging from the sand in small jets and is also the source of the Sava, Slovenia’s longest river which ultimately joins the Danube river in Serbia’s capital Belgrade and empties into the Black Sea. If you look closely, the springs can be seen on the bed of the lake, stirring up the silt like little volcanoes. The temperature of the water is 5-6 degrees Celsius throughout the year; the lake never freezes no matter how cold the winter temperatures are. The clarity of the water is fantastic and the breathtaking surrounding alpine scenery is reflected into the lake.
The reserve and the lake can be easily accessed via a series of carefully constructed walkways – it is a pleasant walk of approximately 10 minutes from the roadside parking lot located near the village of Podkoren on the main road leading from Kransjka Gora towards Italy. There is a nice snack bar where the path starts. You can walk around the reserve in about half an hour. The paths are very manageable for pretty much anyone and are suitable for strollers and even wheelchairs. In spite of the proximity of the road, the reserve has a lovely sense of tranquility and serenity, and it is a great place to observe some of the rarest plants in Slovenia, including cotton grass, buckbean, pygmy willows, alder trees and buckbean. The reserve also supports some unusual fauna, such as the whiskered bat, sand lizard, and a rare bird species, the scarlet grosbeak, all of which have been placed on the list of most endangered species in the country. There’s also an observation tower which provides some wonderful overhead views and features large orientation boards which explain the geology and identify flowers and wildlife in four languages, including English.
Through the past centuries, local residents used the long grasses from Zelenci as horse fodder, but it was the renowned nineteenth-century British scientist Humphry Davy who brought the Zelenci area to the world’s attention when he famously said that there is no more beautiful spot in Europe than this.The picturesque appearance of the Zelenci lake and surrounding area attracted numerous painters, including Ladislau Benesch. Today, the Zelenci nature reserve is an inspiration for landscape photographers who unanimously agree that it’s almost impossible to take a bad photo here.
All in all, the Zelenci Nature Reserve is an absolutely wonderful place for a tranquil afternoon out. Following well-maintained wooden walkways, you can walk through the reserve and to the lake without doing nature any harm. And if you climb up the wooden lookout tower you get fantastic views of the whole area.
Zelenci Nature Reserve Pictures
View our image gallery with 22 high-resolution photos that prove you absolutely have to visit the Zelenci Nature Reserve!
Photo by Sabina Tomazic
The name Zelenci derives from the Slovenian word for green, and it’s obvious how the area got its name.
Next 5 photos below by Bojan Kolman
Autumn is such a photogenic and colorful time of the year to visit the reserve.
Next 4 photos below by Daniel Tomanovic
Following wooden walkways, you can walk through the reserve and to the lake without doing nature any harm.
Photo by Denis Sodrznik
The observation tower provides some lovely overhead views.
Photo by Jernej Leben
The unspoiled natural beauty of the reserve is phenomenal.
Photo by Erich Reisinger
The Zelenci nature reserve is home of the tranquil and pristine source of Slovenia’s longest river Sava.
Next 8 photos below by Miroslav Asanin
Touch of first morning light.
Photo by Masa Vodenik
If you climb up the wooden observation tower you get fantastic views of the whole area.
Zelenci Nature Reserve location on the map
Address: Podkoren 75b, 4280 Kranjska Gora, Slovenija
Latitude and Longitude coordinates: 46.494295, 13.73438
GPS coordinates: 46° 29′ 39.462” N 13° 44′ 3.768” E
Traditional region: Upper Carniola (Slovene: Gorenjska)
Statistical region: Upper Carniola (Slovene: Gorenjska)
Municipality: Kranjska Gora
|KRANJSKA GORA – the most famous Slovenian ski resort and a beautiful alpine village
Kranjska Gora is a beautiful alpine village and the most famous Slovenian ski resort situated on the northern tip of the Triglav National Park in the Slovenian Alps, just a mere 5 minutes by car from both the Italian and Austrian borders. The resort isn’t the largest ski area in Slovenia but it’s the oldest one and one of the prettiest. It’s perfect for families with younger children and also for beginner and intermediate level skiers, with pistes easily accessible directly from the center of Kranjska Gora.
|LAKE JASNA – a picturesque small lake with an enviable backdrop of the Julian Alps
Overall Rating: 09/10 (Highly Recommended)
Lake Jasna is a picturesque, small lake with white sand around its rim and the high mountain peaks of the Julian Alps as a dramatic backdrop. It lies just south of the alpine resort of Kranjska Gora. The name 'Jasna' derives from the Slovenian word for 'clear,' and it is quickly apparent how the lake got its name. On a boulder by the lake stands the dark bronze statue of the Zlatorog, or Goldenhorn – the magical stag believed to guard the ridges around the lake.
|ZELENCI NATURE RESERVE – a pristine 15-hectare nature reserve with a gorgeous jade green lake
Overall Rating: 09/10 (Highly Recommended)
Tucked into the far northwestern corner of Slovenia, only 3 kilometres west of Kranjska Gora, is a pristine 15-hectare nature reserve called Zelenci, home to a wide range of flora and fauna. The centerpiece of the reserve is a brilliant jade green lake which is filled by spring water emerging from the sand in small jets and is also the source of Slovenia's longest river Sava.
|The accommodation options in Kranjska Gora can be divided into five main categories: hotels, guest houses, B&Bs, self catering apartments and hostels.|
|HOTELS IN KRANJSKA GORA THAT WE RECOMMEND
Although Kranjska Gora is small, you will find a variety of hotels in the village that cater to your needs - from luxury hotels and boutique hotels to a nice choice of affordable 3-star hotels and family hotels. The overall quality is excellent, and hotels in Kranjska Gora are modern, clean and very reasonably priced.
|GUESTHOUSES IN KRANJSKA GORA THAT WE RECOMMEND
Kranjska Gora guest houses are an ideal alternative to staying at the hotels in the area. Meals besides breakfast are often available (dinner and/or lunch) usually on request. Many of the services offered at hotels can be expected, such as wake up calls and laundry service.
|SELF CATERING APARTMENTS IN KRANJSKA GORA THAT WE RECOMMEND
Self-catering apartments in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia are a good option if you are looking for an independent holiday. You will be able to come and go as you please. You will also be able to cook meals for yourself, which can be an economical alternative to eating out.
|BED AND BREAKFASTS IN KRANJSKA GORA THAT WE RECOMMEND
Kranjska Gora bed and breakfasts are based around an old European tradition coupled with a Slovenian Alpine spin. From comfortable beds to delicious breakfasts and relaxing residential settings, staying at a bed and breakfast in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia is the ideal way to truly experience the natural beauty of this alpine village and the surrounding area.
|HOSTELS IN KRANJSKA GORA THAT WE RECOMMEND
Kranjska Gora hostels are a popular option for the budget-minded traveler. Rooms and bathrooms are shared by multiple people which helps keep costs low. In addition to being cheap, hostels in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia provide a highly social atmosphere for fellow travelers to interact with each other. Some hostels have a few private rooms for those who want a little more privacy along with the vibrant social scene.