Escape to Bohinj

A Winter Escape to Lake Bohinj

Things to do in winter at Lake Bohinj in Slovenia

A Winter Escape to Lake Bohinj

Are you dreaming of a winter escape to Lake Bohinj? After the last year and a half, it feels like we could all do with relaxing getaway…

Here is a taste of what to expect if you visit Lake Bohinj in winter. 

Winter Wonderland

Last year, we had an abundance of snow, making the area around Lake Bohinj a Winter Wonderland. Just take a look at this video to see how beautiful Lake Bohinj is under a blanket of snow.

Snow brings stillness and peace to the mountains – even the air smells different! Do you want to build a snowman, ice-skate, have fun sledging, get energetic on the slopes or try some cross-country skiing? There are even opportunities for nighttime sledging and skiing!

Build a snowman at Lake Bohinj Slovenia

Lonely Planet has recently recognised Vogel Ski Resort (just above Lake Bohinj) as one of the most affordable ski resorts in Europe with “unforgettable views of the Julian Alps.” If you are after a low-key resort, where you can give skiing a try, then Vogel is the place to go. And it won’t break the bank either! 

vogel ski resort lifts bohinj

Of course, there is not snow every year down by the lake, but there are plenty of other activities to enjoy. 

Invigorating Walks

One of our favourite activities is to wrap up warm and head around Lake Bohinj for a refreshing walk. The walk around the lake is 12km and takes about 3-4 hours. Bright blue skies, with the snow-capped Julian Alps reflected in the water, make this walk particularly stunning during the winter time. You will hardly see a soul – just you, the lake and the mountains all around. Bliss.  

Winter walk around Lake Bohinj Slovenia

When you are half-way around the lake, why not stop at Restavracija Ukanc for some lunch or a warming hot chocolate? Best to check opening hours before you head out though as the restaurant is usually only open at weekends in winter. 

Even on misty, foggy days, Lake Bohinj has an ethereal quality which makes it incredibly atmospheric and beautiful.

Mist at Lake Bohinj Slovenia

Another option is to try snowshoeing – imagine giant trays on your feet spreading your weight as you traverse the snow. Experienced guide, Grega at Hike & Bike, offers snowshoeing hikes around Lake Bohinj and has an abundance of local knowledge he is keen to share. Or maybe you’d like to try the Full Moon Walk at Vogel Ski Centre for an unforgettable evening.  

Other popular local walks include the Mostnica Gorge and Savica Waterfall

Winter Hiking

Mountain hiking in winter offers fabulous vistas if you are experienced and well prepared.

Winter hiking in the Julian Alps, Slovenia

Lake Bohinj is in the Triglav National Park and so offers a good base for exploring the Julian Alps in Slovenia. A favourite hike of ours is the mountain Pršivec, on the north shore of Lake Bohinj. At 1,761m, you get amazing views over the lake and the Julian Alps. 

Hiking up Pršivec, Julian Alps, Slovenia

This is a hike that is perfect when the winter is mild, as otherwise there is too much snow. Read about our winter ascent of Pršivec here.

Moreover, with the sun rising later, winter is the perfect time of the year to get up for that spectacular sunrise over the mountains. The summit of Viševnik is a terrific place to watch the sun slowly rising up, creating a radiant glow over the Julian Alps. Compared to other peaks over 2,000m, Viševnik is a shorter hike, and is therefore a more accessible location to reach in the dark.

Sunrise over Triglav from Viševnik, Julian Alps, Slovenia

Read how we got on climbing Viševnik for a sunrise adventure here.

After a day out walking there is nothing nicer than returning to an open fire and some local food. Old favourites such as pizza and pasta are easily available too. 

Pizza and Lasagna near Lake Bohinj Slovenia

Fewer restaurants are open at this time of year, however. For some tasty treats head to the chocolate shop at Hotel Krystal in Ribčev Laz and buy some of the amazing artisan truffles to take home.

Rest & Relaxation

A winter holiday isn’t complete without an opportunity to rest those tired muscles after a day out exploring. The Aquapark in Bohinjska Bistrica (8km from Lake Bohinj) offers a wealth of therapies to help you relax. 

For adults, pamper yourself with a massage (including chocolate and fruit!) or a facial, zone out in the saunas or try the salt room. Children love the swimming pool, with whirlpools, water jets, the wild river, a rock-climbing wall over the water and slides. Buy a day ticket and hang out for some rest and relaxation… remember to take a good book too!

The weather in winter can be unpredictable, so the Aquapark is a great wet weather option too. Alternatively, take a day trip to Bled (stunning with a dusting of snow), Ljubljana or explore one of the amazing caves at Postojna or Škocjan.   

Lake Bled, Slovenia in winter

Plan a Magical Winter Escape to Lake Bohinj

It is easy to see why Lake Bohinj offers a magical winter escape.

Winter at Lake Bohinj

A visit here offers a tranquil escape from the hustle & bustle of life, a place to slow down and reconnect with family and friends. After the difficulties of the last eighteen months, we could all do with a little of the restorative power of being outside and in nature.  

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Vogel Ski Resort – “One of Europe’s most affordable ski resorts” says Lonely Planet

Vogel Ski Resort Slovenia

With the arrival of cooler weather, we are delighted to see that Lonely Planet has recognised Vogel Ski Resort (just above Lake Bohinj in Slovenia) as one of the most affordable ski resorts in Europe with “unforgettable views of the Julian Alps”.

vogel ski resort slovenia

Vogel Ski Resort

Set in the Triglav National Park, Vogel Ski Resort offers 22 kilometres of blue and red runs and a snowboard park. The resort is low-key, making it ideal for beginners and families. You won’t feel overwhelmed here and can focus on learning to ski. That’s if you can keep your eyes off the amazing views, of course!

vogel ski resort lifts bohinj

With affordable accommodation and where a high-season six-day lift pass costs €153, Vogel Ski Resort is a “bargain” says Lonely Planet. Be mindful that snow cannot be guaranteed – and as Vogel Ski Resort is in the national park, only natural snow is allowed. The resort is at an elevation of 1,535m and the season starts on 4/12/2021-24/04/2022.   

skiing vogel bohinj slovenia

Access to Vogel Ski Resort is by cable car from the hamlet of Ukanc at the west end of Lake Bohinj. The carpark is free in winter, or you can hop on one of the local buses to the cable car station. The cable car takes only 4 minutes to climb 1,000m to the foot of the slopes. 

Good to Know

At the top cable car station, you can hire ski equipment through either Ski Finžgar or Alpin Sport. Ski lessons are easily available in English, which is widely spoken.  Again, being a more affordable resort, your money goes that little bit further – individual lessons cost €35 per hour for 1 person rising to €58 per hour for 4 or more people.

Vogel Ski Resort is just under 1 hour’s drive from Ljubljana airport, so it is a quick resort to reach. Hire car is inexpensive and easy to arrange in advance from the airport.

Alternatives to Skiing

Sometimes it is nice to break up a ski holiday with other experiences. Walking around Lake Bohinj, or visiting one of the local waterfalls are both popular activities. Just 30 minutes down the road by car is beautiful Lake Bled – always a delight. 

Lake Bled, Slovenia in winter

The capital city Ljubljana offers cafes, markets, museums and galleries. For an impressive day out, head to one of the amazing underground cave systems at Postojna or Škocjan. Finally, for those who would rather zone out in the sauna, head to the Aquapark in Bohinjska Bistrica (8km from Lake Bohinj). Adults can be pampered with massages and salt rooms, whilst children love the swimming pools with slides and a rock climbing wall over the water. Bliss for everyone!

Escape to Bohinj

If you are looking for a touch of comfort for your ski trip to Vogel, then come and stay at Escape to Bohinj Holiday House. Our holiday house sleeps 6 in 3 bedrooms and is in the village of Stara Fužina at the east end of Lake Bohinj. It is just 5-10 minutes in the car to get to the cable-car station at Ukanc for the ride up to Vogel. After a day out skiing, return to a warm and spacious holiday house and relax your tired muscles. 

Luxury self-catering accommodation Slovenia

So come and Escape to Bohinj for some winter fun in the snow.

Skiing at Vogel Ski Resort Slovenia

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Viševnik Hike – A Sunrise Adventure

viševnik-hike

Despite its height of 2,050m, Viševnik is an accessible peak to hike which offers majestic views of the Julian Alps in Slovenia, including the highest mountain, Triglav. Whilst ascents of many peaks require a full day of walking, Viševnik takes around 2 hours to summit from the car park at Rudno Polje. Having climbed Visevnik in summer and in snow on Christmas Day, we decided to hike up for sunrise.

 

Winter Hike of Viševnik

Viševnik sunrise

One advantage of the shorter days in winter is that the sun rises later, giving more time to reach the top. And, of course, a slightly more bearable wake up time! We left Stara Fužina with our neighbour Scott (check out his Blog) at 4.45am and rapidly gained height as we took the twisting road up to Rudno Polje.

 

After parking, we put on our crampons, fixed our head-torches and headed through the woods, with the mountains looming eerily above us and the sky a carpet of stars. 10 minutes of brisk walking took us to the bottom of the ski slopes to begin the ascent. The low temperature meant the snow was firm and easy for our crampons to grip in to. 45 minutes of climbing up a second ski slope and a narrow-forested section got us to a col. From here, the vista started to open up as we continued to climb to the summit, still in almost complete darkness. 

Reaching the Summit of Viševnik

We reached the summit at 7am, 30 minutes before sunrise and our anticipated arrival time, which meant a very cold wait! The temperature was around -15°C, which combined with gusty winds left us feeling rather chilled. This was a moment where we felt so grateful to have brought tea to drink in our flasks. A number of other climbers joined us at the top, including a group of skiers who took sips from hip flasks before disappearing on an exhilarating decent. 

Sunrise from Viševnik in the Julian Alps Slovenia

The weather was perfect: clear skies stretched as far as we could see and the crisp winter air gave amazing visibility. As the sun rose the snowy south faces glowed a range of pinks and oranges, with Triglav looking particularly magnificent. 

Sunrise over Triglav from Viševnik, Julian Alps, Slovenia

The Hike down Viševnik

With the sun risen and offering some warmth to our frozen bodies, we started to head down, with a new spring in our step. Once again, we made good progress and before we knew it we were back to the ski slopes. We had brought some plastic sledges with us and this was the ideal spot to whizz down.  We passed many other hikers who were also taking on the peak that day. When we got back to the car park we found it packed with skiers ready to enjoy the sun. This was a stark contrast to the dark and deserted place we had left 3 and a half hours earlier.

 

All that remained was to drive back down to the valley and enjoy a well deserved breakfast. It’s not every day you climb a 2050m mountain by 9am! 

A Fantastic Start to the Day

We had a great morning, blessed with clear skies in spite of the cold. There is something so magical and uplifting about watching the sunrise, particularly in winter when the snowy peaks provide a perfect canvas for nature’s colours. 

5 Tips for Sunrise Hikes in Winter

  • Make sure you have done the route before in daylight; makes navigation a lot easier

 

  • Ensure you have adequate equipment. A head-torch is essential, as are warm layers due to cooler temperatures. If you’re going to be in snowy conditions crampons, poles and an ice axe are also necessary.  

 

  • Check what time sunrise is and plan to arrive 10 minutes before that time: any longer and you’ll get cold waiting like we did.

 

  • Bring food and a flask with a hot drink.

 

  • Bring a camera. Although smartphones can take incredible photos, they require you to take your gloves off to take pictures: not ideal if it’s -15°C like it was when we climbed. Most cameras can be operated with gloves on, meaning you can get all your shots without sacrificing hand warmth. 

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Winter Hiking in Bohinj – Pršivec

Hiking up Pršivec, Julian Alps, Slovenia

From the north shore of Lake Bohinj, rocky cliffs rise dramatically to the 1,761m summit of Pršivec. The views from the top across the Julian Alps and down to the lake are spectacular. Having hiked up Pršivec in summer and autumn, we wanted to try a winter visit. This year’s winter has been unusually mild. Heavy snow has fallen on the high peaks, but only short-lived flurries have made it lower down into the valley. This meant much of the approach would be clear, with only the higher, north-facing slopes likely to be under snow.

 

There are three main routes up Pršivec and we linked two of them to perform a traverse. Our ascent would be from the Slap Savica hut (653m) at the western end of Lake Bohinj. This offers the quickest ascent, a key consideration with the short winter days. The descent would be along the ridge to the east, via Vogar and home to Stara Fužina.

The Climb

From the car park at Slap Savica, the hike climbs up the Komarča wall, signposted to Črno jezero (Black Lake). As you gaze up at the imposing rock, it is hard to imagine a path could cut a way up. However, it is a well-marked route, with red-white dots showing the way. You quickly gain height… and tired thighs! Teasing views of the lake and the hamlet of Ukanc through the trees give a
taste of what will follow.

 

The Komarča path has recently been repaired and there are steel ropes and pegs to help you in exposed areas. It is not advisable to climb this route in snow – it is steep and exposed, and accidents do happen. The warmth of this winter had melted the snow and ice, so our ascent was completely clear.

hiking-lake-bohinj

Črno Jezero

After 1.5 hours, we reached the top of the climb. From here, the path headed through a snowy forest to the lowest of the Triglav Lakes, Črno jezero (1,294m).

 

The Triglav Lakes Valley, protected since 1924, is considered one of the most beautiful parts of the Julian Alps. Although there are ten lakes, it is generally called the Seven Lakes Valley as three dry up during the year.

 

Črno jezero is the warmest of the Seven Lakes, being shallow and at a lower altitude. It is 150m long, 80m wide and its depth varies considerably with rainfall. Despite its name, the water is not black, but it reflects the dark pine forest which encircles it. The Alpine Newt, endemic to the Alps, lives here – they clearly don’t mind the cold water! Water from the lake drains through underground passages, feeding Slap Savica (waterfall), from where it flows into Lake Bohinj.

 

Because no river flows out of Črno jezero, there is no river bed to set the height of the water. We have visited at different times of year and it is noticeable how much the water level changes. On this visit, the winter conditions strikingly highlighted the fluctuation. Collapsed slabs of ice, formed on a full lake, surrounded the now lower, shrunken, surface of ice in the middle.

winter-crno-jezero

In the solitude of the mountains, it looked and felt otherworldly. Leaving Črno jezero, the next stop was Planina Viševnic (1,615m), a beautiful alpine pasture that in summer feels like a scene from Heidi. Log cabins are dotted among lush meadows, with high mountains all around, making it a popular hike in summer. There is a charming alpine hut here, open in summer for refreshments and lunch.

 

In winter, it is a different story. The red-white blazes, often painted on low rocks, were blanketed by thick snow, slowing our progress. Our prior knowledge of the area, having hiked the trail before, was invaluable in helping us establish the route. The ground turned from earth to snow and then to ice, so we put on our crampons.

winter-hiking-bohinj

On Top of Pršivec

From Viševnik, a path winds up through the forest, opening quite suddenly onto to the summit of Pršivec (1,761m). Here you get panoramic views of the Bohinj Valley and Mount Triglav, Slovenia’s highest peak at 2,864m, seen on the right in the photo below.

winter julian alps

It is a challenging climb to the top of Pršivec, but the reward is fabulous, with views up to Triglav and down to Lake Bohinj, glistening in the sunshine 1,250m below. 

prsivec lake bohinj

As with most Slovenian mountains, there is a visitors’ box here with a rubber stamp. Bring your own inkpad and paper to make a souvenir of the occasion!

 

We could have spent more time admiring the amazing views, spotting other peaks and breathing in the crisp mountain air. However, in February, the daylight hours are limited, so we had to start the descent. The path down the eastern side is quite steep in places, but our crampons dug in securely, keeping us safe. Here again, it was hard to find the path, so knowing the route was very helpful.

The Descent to Stara Fužina

45 minutes after leaving the summit, the snow thinned and the path became clearer as we headed towards Vogar.

Vogar  (1,054m) provides another super viewpoint over Lake Bohinj. It is a popular hiking point, detailed in our Blog post here. On clear days, it is also a paragliding take-off point. There is a mountain hut where you can get a coffee or beer, depending on your need! In winter it is usually open only at weekends, so best to check in advance if you are relying on it for food. From here, we watched the sun set over the mountains before heading down to Stara Fužina on the clear path.

Sunset from Vogar, Julian Alps, Slovenia

We had a wonderful hike up Pršivec, grateful that the warm spell provided an opportunity to hike up high. There is something completely wonderful about the solitude and stillness of hiking in winter. You can feel the warmth of the sun on your back, yet snow covers the peaks all around. We did not meet a single other person between leaving the Savica hut and returning to our home, Pr Méžnarjo. It was just us, and the mountains.

Need to Know

Start:                   Slap Savica car park, Ukanc

Distance:          14km

Ascent:              1,070m

Highest Alt:    1,761m

Need to Know

Finish:                 Stara Fužina

Time:                   9hrs in snow (7hrs in summer)

Descent:           1,190m

Name:                 Pršivec (pur-shee-vetz)

map prsivec

Route map from Komoot

Hiking in Winter

Mountain hiking at any time of year can be dangerous, and winter brings additional risks. Always make sure that you are prepared and do not exceed your own abilities and experience. Remember:

  • always check the mountain weather forecast and keep an eye on the conditions throughout the day. Conditions can change very quickly high up
  • plan the hike in advance. Trails can be covered in snow even if it all looks clear from below, so make sure you know the route. Consider escape routes just in case the weather closes in
  • days are shorter in winter and distances take more time to cover in snow, so set off early and don’t be too ambitious
  • always carry the right equipment. As a minimum, you will need: multiple spare clothing layers; waterproof, gloves & hat; strong walking boots; crampons & trekking poles or ice-axes if there is a risk of snow; mobile phone; map & compass (technology is more likely to fail when it’s cold); torch (it gets dark quickly, especially under trees); bivouac or survival bag; sunglasses & sun screen; first-aid kit; lots of food and drink

This is not a definitive list – you are responsible for your own safety in the mountains.

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Family Skiing at Vogel

vogel ski resort lifts bohinj

We are just back from our first family skiing at Vogel Ski Centre. Our motivation to buy and renovate a house near Lake Bohinj was our love hiking, swimming and general ‘normal’ outdoor activities. We had never skied before, so the fact that the Vogel Ski Centre is so close was a potential bonus rather than a deciding factor. Having now just returned from our first ever family ski trip, that perspective has changed!

It takes less than 10 minutes to drive from Stara Fužina to the car park (free in winter) at the cable car base station in Ukanc. You can buy a myriad of ski pass options, ranging from half a day to the whole season, with discounts for kids and families. The cable car runs as often as needed, so it rarely takes more than 10-15 minutes to get on board for the 4-minute, 1000m climb up to the top. There are amazing views over Lake Bohinj and the Julian Alps as you ascend.

vogel cable car lake bohinj

Ski Hire & Lessons

Once on the mountain, we hired equipment from Ski Finžgar, with whom we had also arranged a couple of family ski lessons. Our instructor Luka was great – he was very patient with us! His English was perfect, and his explanations of what to do were very clear. As complete novices, actually doing what he asked of us was easier said than done – the kids learnt very quickly, we adults a little more slowly – but with quiet slopes and his watchful guidance, we had plenty of space & time to practise our snowploughs & turns, and by the end we were all doing parallel turns on the lovely pistes.

 

Vogel, as with many ski centres in Slovenia, caters brilliantly for family and beginner skiers, and the nursery and blue slopes are very easily accessible. For those who are more advanced, there are red routes and off-piste options.

vogel ski resort slovenia

There are plenty of cafés and places to eat, and we really enjoyed learning in such a beautiful environment. We took some time to look around, and loved watching the snowboarders doing their flips and jumps – certainly not for the faint hearted!


At the end of each day, we left our hired equipment in a locker and descended back down to Stara Fužina for a hearty supper and good night’s sleep.


So, after our three “taster” days skiing, everyone wants to come back and do more. We found it to be excellent value for money, with equipment hire, ski pass and two hours’ tuition working out at about €55 per person per day.


We have hiked at Vogel in the summer, so it was lovely to see the same area covered in snow. It turns out that chair-lifts aren’t just for walkers!

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