Slovenia in the Snow

I first visited Lake Bled, Slovenia in April 2018 and instantly witnessed first hand how beautiful the country is and that there is so much more to Slovenia than what first drew me there.  After my perfect visit in spring I wanted to head back. Slovenia still seems to be somewhat under the radar of travel destinations for Brits even though it’s under 2 hours to fly to the capital, Ljubljana, but over the last year it seems to be getting more attention. The summer itself in Lake Bled is supposed to be very busy, given how beautiful the place is I’m not surprised so I decided my second visit needed to be in the winter to hopefully see it decorated with snow. 

After some research it seems that January is the month with the most snow so I booked a mid January visit, but on the date of the outbound flight the snow was yet to arrive. 

I picked up my car before 11am and headed straight to one of the locations I’d been researching, the Church of Saint Leonard in Črni Vrh, which was about an hour from the airport.  What I hadn’t realised about Satnav is it takes you on journey to just get to the destination, irrelevant of the type of roads you’d prefer to drive on. After quite a few hairpin bends on mountain edge dirt tracks that certainly made me concentrate I ended up at the small hamlet of Črni Vrh. With only a handful of buildings that are crumbling, derelict properties its a very unique location with the church dominating the scene but certainly worth a visit. 

As I drove to my next destination I came across the view below that had first drawn me to visit.

The Church of Saint Leonard in Črni Vrh,

The next stop was another hill top church, The Church of St Primoz in Jamnik. Heading to these destinations meant that I saw plenty of Slovenia and more of its beauty, and even in the rain it’s clear to see that the country is stunning.  

When I arrived the rain had momentarily paused, but that meant that the rolling clouds added wonderful drama to my images.

The Church of St Primoz in Jamnik

Next stop, Lake Bled via Kropa, a settlement in the Municipality of Radovljica which is known for its traditional blacksmiths and metalwork from Celtic times is shown off throughout Kropa. 

Mid afternoon I got to Bled and the conditions were stunning, despite the rain so I headed straight out to walk around the lake, and as sunset arrived the conditions were wonderful.

Dinner was my first visit of my trip back to restaurant Sova, and it never disappoints. Wonderful service and some of the best food I have ever eaten anywhere in the world.  I can’t recommend this place enough

I set the alarm early the following morning but could hear the rain, so slept in later than I intended but when I did get up I headed towards Lake Bohinj. About 5 minutes outside of Bled the snow had really settled and before long it started snowing again. By the time I got there the snow was starting to get heavy and the lake and church looked beautiful in the snow. After a few photos I drove back to Bled but around the Lake there was still no settled snow, but the flurry’s were falling, the clouds were black and the water was still so I spent the rest of the day enjoying the lake and views

The following morning I made it up for sunrise, my favourite time of the day. I love the peace and quiet of this time. The rain and snow had passed but the views and sky were still breathtaking and the water on the lake was like glass. Once it was daylight I decided to head back to the 2 churches I’d visited when I’d arrived, as I wanted to see these covered in snow. Once outside of Bled the snow really had settled and was thick, and as both churches are high on hills the journey and snow on the drive was incredible. 

Slovenia in the snow

Now this is where satnav really wasn’t a good idea. I programmed an alternative route to try and avoid the dirt tracks - but it seemed to take me back the same way.  Once I realised this I was so far along I decided to just go for it. The snow and ice was getting worse, but was ok. Then I saw the sign - snow chained vehicles only.  I thought about it, but decided it’s only snowed for 1 day, how bad can it be?  Surely these signs are for when the snow has been there all season. Anyway, halfway up a steep ice covered track my car gave up. I had no phone reception, an almost vertical  drop to my right and no chance to turnaround.  Now it’s quite funny - at the time it was less so. I tried for about 30 mins to go forward and up, but after the car kept failing I decided I just needed to reverse back down to a point I could turnaround.  About 40 minutes later when I was back in some sort of civilisation I decided my next move. Not one to give up easily and as I hadn’t seen any locals with cars different to the one I had, I decided to try an alternative route. I skirted around the area I thought would be worse, to the north of the church and set the satnav to the new route. The drive continued to be amazing and after a while the snow covered roads all seemed to look the same.  An hour later I realised the satnav had taken me back to the same track I was stuck on before!  After 3 hours of driving on what should have been an hour trip I wasn’t impressed.  

So, for the last time I thought I’d try the trip via a route I hadn’t yet explored, and amazingly this route was pretty simple compared to the others I’d tried and before I knew it I was exactly where I wanted to be and was rewarded with the same view I’d seen a few days earlier but covered in snow.  All my effort had been worth it, but it was only at this point I thought how am I going to get back down…

The Church of Saint Leonard in Črni Vrh in the snow