We all know that family holidays can be expensive. Thankfully, there are plenty of fun, FREE things to do at Lake Bohinj to keep the whole family entertained without breaking the bank.
Lake Bohinj attracts visitors from all around the world to experience its crystal-clear waters and natural beauty. Lake Bohinj is quieter and less developed than the more famous Lake Bled nearby, and is protected inside the Triglav National Park.
1) Walk Around Lake Bohinj
A walk around Lake Bohinj is a must-do activity at any time of the year. Entirely free, this is the best way to appreciate the stunning lake setting surrounded by the magnificent Julian Alps.
So grab your trainers, pack a picnic and head out along the well-marked trail around the lake.
Good to Know
- The path around Lake Bohinj is 12km (~8 miles)
- Walking all the way round will it take 3-5 hours, depending on how often you stop
- The path around Lake Bohinj is well-marked and level, but bumpy underfoot in parts. Parts of the northern shore are not well suited to buggies – best to carry small children in a sling or backpack
We recommend that you walk anti-clockwise around Lake Bohinj, heading along the north shore to begin. This means that you go along the quieter and more scenic side first. If walking the whole of the lake is too much, you can then either turn around and return along the same path or get a bus or boat back from Ukanc (not free!)
Relax & Recharge
One of the joys of walking around the lake is that your mind begins to slow down. You will soon forget the busyness of life. There is time to chat, observe nature, and relax. Reconnecting with the natural world and each other.
You’ll notice the tinkle of the bells as the cows graze in the adjacent meadows. You’ll notice the paragliders soaring above your head, skilfully swirling without a care in the world. You may even spot a golden eagle if you are lucky. Children love to gaze at the fish darting about along the shore line. Even the resident ducks seem friendly.
Take along a yummy picnic or snack, and you will while away the whole day, enjoying mother nature for free.
2) Swim in Lake Bohinj
You can swim anywhere along the shoreline at Lake Bohinj for free. During the summer period, the lake water can reach well over 20 degrees – easily warm enough to paddle or swim.
Mountain streams refill Lake Bohinj three times as year, making the water incredibly clean and refreshing. You can feel confident that the water quality is high here. Ideal for families and those with small children who spend a lot of time in and out of the water!
Bohinj Lake Beaches
The water is shallow along the “beach” areas on the east shore (between Ribčev Laz and Stara Fužina). There are also toilets, grassy areas and shady trees. It’s easy to while away half the day here, lounging about, reading, splashing, and swimming. For the more adventurous, there is a small pier which you can run and jump off. Young and old alike love this!
There is also a floating platform secured in Lake Bohinj where the path leads off to Stara Fužina. Older children enjoy diving and jumping into the deep water here. Who needs to pay for an indoor swimming pool when you can have so much fun outside?
The platform is also a great place to meet people and make friends. Our kids have chatted with people from all over the world in between flinging themselves into the lake.
Cold-Water Swimming at Lake Bohinj
As cold-water swimming has increased in popularity, many people come to Lake Bohinj even in winter.
These two photos were taken on consecutive days in February!
To make the most of the swimming on offer at Lake Bohinj, check out our Blog Post on the 5 Top Spots for Swimming at Lake Bohinj.
3) Hike to a Viewpoint over Lake Bohinj
Lake Bohinj and the Triglav National Park are full of walks and hikes to suit all abilities and ages. In fact, there are 300km of marked hiking trails in Bohinj alone! Hiking is one of the most popular reasons that people visit the area. And the great thing about hiking is that it is totally free – the only things that you will spend are time & energy.
Peč Viewpoint over Lake Bohinj
One of our favourite hikes is to the Peč viewpoint. You have probably seen photographs of this fabulous vista on promotional material for Lake Bohinj. It’s one of the classic shots, with the church and bridge acting as gatekeepers to the lake.
Good to Know
- Altitude: 640m (climb of about 100m)
- Path length: 2km round trip from Stara Fužina
- Time: 40-60 minutes round trip from Stara Fužina
How to get to Peč Viewpoint
The walk begins in Stara Fuzina, one of the prettiest of the traditional Bohinj villages, 10 minutes’ walk from Lake Bohinj.
From the centre of Stara Fužina, cross the main bridge over the Mostnica river, heading east. Turn right down the small road after the wooden barn, following the flow of the river. After a while, you’ll cross the smaller Ribnica river and join a cycle path. Head stright on, and after about 500m the path rises gently to a road crossing the river from the right. Turn left here and follow the signs to Peč. You won’t be disappointed!
Peč is a great walk that you can do with the whole family. However, as is common in Slovenia, there are no fences or barriers on the way up. So do keep little ones close by to avoid them straying from the path. There are also gaps between rocks which could be dangerous for carefree children.
Once you have seen the view it is easy to see why this is one of the most popular Lake Bohinj viewpoints. Peč is also a great place to watch the sunset. A magical place to end a magical day.
4) Watch the Paragliders Take Off & Land
It is thrilling to watch the skilful paragliders take off, loop-the-loop, and land in the meadow next to Lake Bohinj.
Vogar Paragliding Launch Site
Mount Vogar is another popular viewpoint over Lake Bohinj. This is the mountain above the north-eastern end of the lake. It’s a steep climb, but well worth the effort as you see the panoramic views over Lake Bohinj and the village of Stara Fužina.
One of the highlights of hiking up to Vogar is that you get to watch the brave paragliders close-up. Perching on the grassy bank, it is thrilling to watch them take off, and then soar high in the sky like a bird. It’s easy to spend time here, soaking up the view and atmosphere.
Good to Know
- Altitude: 950m (climb of around 400m)
- Length: 6km round trip from Stara Fužina
- Time: 2-3 hours round trip from Stara Fužina
How to get to Vogar
From the bridge in the middle of Stara Fužina, follow the road uphill to the west. Go past the children’s play area on the left and you will then see a car-park on the right hand side. From here, a signpost directs you to Vogar, a 1 hour 15 minute hike.
Hike up through the forest, marked by signposts and the typical red circles surrounding a white spot. As you get close to the top, you will see a sign post to the paragliding launch site on the left.
Watch the Paragliders Land
Equally fun, and a lot less physically exerting, is to observe the paragliders land in the meadow between Ribčev Laz and Stara Fužina. Watch them land and witness the buzz of excitement as families gather to spot their loved ones descend from the sky.
Unlike most churches, the Church of St. John the Baptist is not free to enter. The church is a historical monument under heritage protection, and the entrance fee is used for preservation. However, you can still wander around the outside of the church for free and admire its simple elegance and location.
Fortunately, you can also see some of the detailed frescoes which are on the outside of the building. Look out for St. Christopher, patron saint of travellers, with six toes! People used to believe that they would not die if they had gazed upon St. Christopher that day.
Experts believe that the Church of St. John the Baptist in Bohinj was built in the mid-11th century, or late 10th century. Although the exact date is unknown, it one of the finest examples of medieval architecture and frescoes in all of Slovenia. Most of the frescoes were painted in 15th and 16th century. It is one of the most photographed churches in Slovenia, and you can easily appreciate its beauty for free from the outside.
6) Explore The Triglav National Park Centre
The Triglav National Park Centre in Stara Fužina is well worth a visit and is free to enter. A light and spacious building, it contains information about the history and culture of Bohinj and the Triglav National Park. It will put many of the things you see and do around Bohinj into context.
There is also a reading room with a fabulous view down towards Lake Bohinj, plus a selection of books to grab your interest.
The Triglav National Park Centre holds free community events throughout the year, so it is worth popping in to find out what is on during your stay. Currently it is the Autumn Potato Festival and so there are guided walks for parents and children, craft and cooking workshops. In springtime there is the International Wild Flower Festival.
7) Visit the Four Brave Men & Zlatarog Monuments
Having now learnt a little more about the history of Bohinj, you will be well placed to visit the two iconic Bohinj monuments.
In the village of Ribčev Laz, you will find the bronze statue of the four brave men. These local men were the first to climb Triglav, the highest mountain in Slovenia, in August 1778. You can see that they are discussing their route, pointing towards the summit of Triglav.
The monument is certainly a fitting tribute to this piece of history, perched on a grassy slope with the Julian Alps rising up behind. The surrounding gardens make a lovely spot to sit and admire the view.
By the shore of the lake, 250m from the four brave men, you will find the statue of Goldhorn (or Zlatorog in Slovene), the keeper of Lake Bohinj.
According to local legend, the golden horns of the white chamois held the key to the treasures hidden in the Bohinj mountains. A greedy merchant who wanted to seize the treasure wounded Goldhorn. From Goldhorn’s dripping blood grew the Triglav flower. Goldhorn ate the flower and his powers were restored. He then fled into the mountains, never to return again. The treasure, meanwhile, remains hidden in the mountains under Triglav.
8) See the Bohinj Hayracks
As you arrived in to the Bohinj region, did you notice the unusual wooden hayracks? The finest examples are in the village of Studor, 2km up the valley from the lake. These double hayracks, with a roof spanning between them, are unique to the region and are called ‘Toplar’ or ’Kozolec’.
The double hayracks have heritage protection and are beautifully crafted pieces of architecture. They are still used today to dry hay and store wood, and are a reminder of the rich agricultural history of the region.
9) Outdoor Entertainment in Summer
During the main tourist season, there are evening markets and concerts held in the Bohinj villages, all free to attend. These are a lovely way to see and taste products made locally, such as cheese, honey, and chocolate, as part of the “Bohinjsko” (From Bohinj) brand.
“From Bohinj” are tourism products that support local life, entrepreneurship, and have a low carbon footprint. This is at the heart of sustainable development in Bohinj.
Stara Fužina holds it market every Tuesday evening in summer. Expect local Slovene music, food and dancing. These are vibrant, friendly events which will give you a feel for the Slovene culture. There are also free outdoor cinema nights held weekly in the village.
10) Free Hop On/Hop Off Bus Services
Bohinj is committed to sustainable and responsible tourism. Due to the excellent free hop on/hop off bus services, it is possible to have a car-free vacation in Bohinj.
The buses take you to Slap Savica, the main waterfall in Bohinj; the Pokljuka Plateau; Soriška Planina; and the villages of Vogar-Blato. Pokljuka is a great place to start many fantastic hikes in the Julian Alps.
One of the most popular buses drops you at Rudno Polje on the Pokljuka Plateau from where you can hike up to Viševnik (2050m). Whilst ascents of many peaks require a full day of walking, Viševnik only takes around 2 hours to summit.
As you can see, there are plenty of free things to do at Lake Bohinj. You can experience the cultural heritage of the area, swim in the silky waters, hike forever, visit viewpoints, watch sunsets, all within a kilometre of the lakeside.
Once you are in Bohinj, your holiday in Slovenia does not have to cost you anything if you are happy to immerse yourself in the great outdoors.