Lake Bohinj in Slovenia is a great holiday destination for families with active and thrill-seeking teenagers. The area’s abundance of outdoor things to do means that phones are easily forgotten, except maybe to snap some photos.
As every parent knows, planning a family holiday can be tricky. Teenagers can get bored quickly, and it can be difficult to know which activities will appeal. What follows is a sample week-long itinerary based at Escape to Bohinj Holiday House in Slovenia. Based on what our own teens have enjoyed, it includes plenty of fun, time to relax and lots of good food!
Things to Do at Lake Bohinj with Teens
The best thing to do after arriving and unpacking is to get your first experience of Lake Bohinj. After travelling, it feels good to get mobile and have some fresh air. Walking from the house to the lake only takes 10 minutes: cross the bridge in front of the house, head straight up the quiet road and follow the path through the meadows. Our teenagers are always eager to have their first swim, so make sure to bring your swimming costumes. Remember to grab one of the beach towels provided at the house.
After a dip in the lake, head back to Stara Fužina and pick up some food supplies from the local shops. If you don’t fancy cooking on the first night, you can stroll next door to Gostilna Bohinj to refuel. Gostilna Bohinj serves pizzas that go down a treat with teenagers. Local trout, meat and veggie dishes are also available if you fancy trying some Slovene cuisine.
Top Tip: As you head down to the lake, look right as you cross the bridge for a fabulous view of the summit of Triglav. At 2,864m, Triglav is Slovenia’s highest mountain. Its name means “three heads”, and it is represented on the Slovene national flag.
Day 1 - Get Your Bearings
After a good night’s sleep, it’s time to get your bearings. What better way to do this than walking around Lake Bohinj? We suggest walking along the quiet, north shore first, where the path winds along the lake edge and through the forest . The total trail is 12km (3-5 hours) and provides you with ample swimming opportunities and beautiful views of the Julian Alps. Be sure to bring books and a pack of cards with you: you’ll likely succumb to the temptation of one of the numerous small coves to stop for a dip and a sunbathe.
At the far end of the lake is the hamlet of Ukanc, which in Slovene means “the end of the world”. It is certainly the end of the road – the ridge of mountains beyond here is only passable on foot. If you get tired, you can get a bus back from Ukanc. We often stop for a bite to eat at Restavracija Ukanc. Alternatively, the café at Camp Bohinj makes a good pit stop for lunch, a drink or ice cream.
If you walk back along the south shore, look out for the rope swing opposite the youth hostel, “Pod Voglom”. Our teens love to swing off into the water here. For the bold, there are also some ~10m high cliffs a little further along the path. Obviously, jumping into water can be risky – please consider whether it is safe to jump, and you do so at your own risk.
Top Tip: Look out for the fish darting about along the shore line, listen for the cows with their bells, and gaze up to the sky to watch the paragliders – and golden eagles – soar.
Day 2 - White-Water Rafting in the Soča Valley
Venture out of the Bohinj Valley for the day to explore Lake Jasna, the Vršič Pass and the Soča Valley. The Soča Valley is famous for its amazing turquoise river, which offers superb white-water rafting, kayaking and canyoning. This day involves an early start and quite a bit of driving, but it is a fabulous trip around the Julian Alps, with many adrenaline activities to try.
Setting off early, head down the valley to Bled. From there, follow signposts to Kranjska Gora, nestled under the mountains near the borders with Italy and Austria. Dubbed “The Chamonix of Slovenia”, Kranjska Gora is an outdoorsy mountain base where skiers flock in winter. Follow the signposts to Vršič, the highest mountain pass in Slovenia at 1,611m. Kranjska Gora is a nice town to wander around, with plenty of cafés and outdoor shops.
Soon after leaving Kranjska Gora, stop at Lake Jasna. Compared to Lake Bohinj, the water feels freezing, but adrenaline-seeking teens can jump off the 6-metre high tower into the water. The more cautious among you can enjoy the impressive mountain views. To the south, the impressive north face of Prisank (2,547m) dominates the skyline.
Leaving Lake Jasna and driving up Vršič pass rewards you with a series stunning vistas. The road up to the pass, built by Russian prisoners of war at the end of the first world war, is a true feat of engineering, consisting of 50 hairpin bends.
Once in the Soča Valley, white-water rafting is the thing to do for families with teenagers. Not only is it exhilarating, but it is a great activity to re-connect the family, both to the natural world and to one another. Jumping into icy water (don’t be fooled by the inviting turquois colour!) is life affirming, and looking out for each other and working as a team to navigate the rapids creates a memorable family experience.
You can read about our rafting experience here. The vibrant water, mesmerising mountain backdrop and rafting action provide a fabulous day trip.
From Bovec continue to Kobarid, a town famous for the battle which took place there in World War I. If you have time, it’s well worth stopping at Napoleon’s bridge to peer deep into the Soča River and up at Mount Krn. To get back to Bohinj follow the signposts to Most na Soci, Podbrdo, Soriška Planina and then Bohinska Bistrica. Although the road is pretty twisty, it will feel tame after Vršič, but the views do not disappoint!
Top Tip: Rafting needs to be booked in advance. Choose the afternoon slot to give time to visit the other sites first.
Day 3 - Relax at Lake Bohinj & Discover the Mostnica Gorge
After a long day circumnavigating the Julian Alps, its time to kick back and relax! Kramer Cafe by the lake does incredible pancakes, and their outdoor seating spot is undoubtedly the best place for coffee in the valley. It’s easy to pass time reading, chatting, swimming and watching the world go by.
If your teenagers want to get out onto the water, paddleboards and kayaks can be hired from Ribčev Laz. Rental is affordable and will provide hours of entertainment. Paddleboarding is a particular favourite of our teens – although maybe the bit they actually like best is pushing each other in!
In the afternoon, head up the Mostnica Gorge. The Mostnica is the river which runs through Stara Fužina and directly in front of Escape to Bohinj Holiday House. A walk upstream unexpectedly reveals a dramatic gorge with bright green, icy water in the bottom set in beautiful forest scenery. There is a path on both sides, allowing you to make a round trip, perhaps with a stop off at Koca na Vojah for refreshment! If you’ve got enough energy, extending the walk to include Voje Valley is definitely worth it. The valley is stunning, and Slap Voje (the Voje Waterfall at the head of the valley) is impressive and far less crowded than the more famous Slap Savica.
Top Tip: Look out for the rock that looks like an elephant along the Mostnica Gorge. A small signpost points to it from the path on the east river bank – “Slonček” is elephant in Slovene.
Day 4 - Hiking in the Triglav National Park
It would be rude to come to the Triglav National Park and not go on at least one hike! The endless supply of trails means that there is something for everyone, depending on levels of enthusiasm, fitness and experience in your family. In our experience, teenagers are often keen to get high up and bag a peak, so we’ve suggested 3 hikes which involve summitting, each of varying length.
If you want a big walk straight from the house, Pršivec (1,761m), the mountain directly above the north side of the lake, is a great option. The hike is around 20km with 1,300 m of ascent and descent (equivalent to climbing Ben Nevis from sea level!). You get amazing views over Triglav, Lake Bohinj and the Bohinj Valley from here.
Viševnik (2,050m) is another possibility. Starting from Rudno Polje (a 30-minute drive from Stara Fužina) it only takes 2 hours to reach the summit, from where you get extensive views of the Julian Alps. The hike is around 7km in total with 700m of ascent and descent.
Finally, if you want an even bigger challenge, a ridge walk along the Lower Bohinj Mountains will not disappoint. Catch the cable car up to Vogel and then the additional chair lift up to Orlova Glava. After hiking up to the ridge, follow the path east to the summit of Crna Prst. From Crna Prst, there is a long descent to Bohinjska Bistrica, from where you can get the bus back to Bohinj. This hike is around 25km, with 500m of ascent and 1,700m of descent, so less climbing, but a lot of downhill. The views are incredible, with the high Julian Alps to the left and forest-covered hills falling to the Adriatic Sea in the distance to the right.
You can read about all these hikes and more in the Cicerone Guide “Walking the Julian Alps of Slovenia: Mountain Walks and Short Trecks” which can be found in the house. Hiking is completed at your own risk: only you know your experience and ability.
Day 5 - Lake Bled & the Vintgar Gorge
After a hike the previous day, it’s likely you’ll want a slow start to the day! Take time to have a lie in, admiring the mountain views from Escape to Bohinj Holiday House.
After a late start, head to the Vintgar Gorge, located near Bled. After parking and paying for entrance, follow the trail through the gorge, admiring the stunning scenery and the power of nature. It’s particularly impressive after (or even on) a rainy day, when the water levels are highest.
After enjoying the gorge, visit Lake Bled. The more famous lake of Slovenia, Bled is becoming increasingly well known and is featured on many interrail itineraries.
Go for a wander around the lake and check out Grajsko kopališče, a designated swimming area complete with diving boards, slides and inflatables which you can pay to access. You can take a boat to the little island in the centre of the Lake, or swim there if you’re feeling strong! If you still have energy, a hike up to the hill of Mala Osonijca (1 hour round trip) offers spectacular views over the Lake and the mountain backdrop of the Karavanke.
There are many restaurants to eat at in Bled, so something for everyone. One of our favourite restaurants is Pri Planincu where upstairs they have a super pizzeria. They even serve gluten-free pizzas, which is perfect for our Coeliac teenager.
Top Tip: Leave some room to try the traditional Bled Cake.
Day 6 - Canyoning or Paragliding
If you haven’t had enough adrenaline and action for one week, then consider booking a canyoning or paragliding trip.
Canyoning involves navigating down a stream by scrambling, climbing, abseiling, swimming and jumping: it’s as exciting (and wet) as that sounds! It is an exhilarating and unforgettable experience that all three of our kids loved. As soon as we had finished, they were asking when they could go again! There are a number of different companies around Bohinj which offer canyoning packages, and you can read about our experience in more detail here.
If you fancy joining the eagles for truly unforgettable views of the Lake Bohinj and the surrounding mountains, paragliding may be for you. Several companies operate trips from a few take-off points – we have flown with Kumulus before. No previous experience is necessary, as you will have a tandem flight with an experienced pilot. You can either ask your pilot for a gentle flight, which is genuinely tranquil, or a more acrobatic experience.
As these are only half-day activities, they can easily be paired with a morning or afternoon relaxing at Lake Bohinj.
Top Tip: Pay the extra money to get the photos from your canyoning or paragliding experience. You won’t be disappointed!
Day 7 - Final swim at Lake Bohinj
After an action-packed week, enjoy one last swim before you depart from Bohinj. We often send our teenagers down to the lake to have fun whilst we finish up the last bits of packing: too many people can just add to stress! Saying goodbye to Bohinj is always sad, but we hope you and your family will leave with many happy memories. Maybe you’ll even come back in the near future…
Top Tip: The local tourist office in Ribčev Laz sells a variety of locally produced souvenirs to take home. We like to buy mountain tea and a blueberry licquor called Borovničevec.
Goodbye Lake Bohinj
There are far too many exciting activities to fit into a one-week holiday at Lake Bohinj. However, we hope that our 7-day Bohinj itinerary for teenagers will provide some inspiration for your trip. One of the reasons we fell in love with the Bohinj area was that it provided a good mix of action and relaxation. Thrill-seekers and chill-seekers are well catered for in Slovenia!