Solcava region – harmony of nature and people
Solcava region – harmony of nature and people
Solcava region, the land of unspoiled natural sights, was on my bucket list for ages. It truly is a hidden pearl on the northern part of Slovenia. It consists of Solcava town, settlement Podolseva and 3 parallel glacial alpine valleys: Robanov kot, Logar valley, Matkov kot. Due to its unique natural beauties the region was awarded the title »European destination of Excellence (EDEN)« in 2009.
Solcava region has been given a nickname „Slovene Switzerland“ for its pristine alpine environment, breath-taking vistas, mighty Kamnik-Savinja Alps, traditional high-altitude self-sustained farms, dense forests, colorful meadows, winding roads, fresh mountain air. What a charming alpine idyll!
7 reasons to visit Solcava region
1. Abundant natural sights
Solcava region covers the area of 102km2 where 540 people are living. On such a small area you will find 104 natural features and 85 % of the area is protected!!! Mineral spring of iron sour water (železova voda) with healing properties, the oldest yew in Slovenia, Potočka zijavka cave where they found the world’s oldest sewing needle, Logar linden tree which is supposed to be the most photographed tree in Slovenia, and 240 million-year-old fossils just to mention a few of them. You will be amazed by untouched nature!
2. Natural silence… natural sounds
Away from hustle and bustle you will find a peaceful environment away from the crowds. A real pleasure for all of your senses! Meadows, mountains, forests, streams can be your playground! Birds, butterflies, grasshoppers can be your life-time friends.
3. Hike, cycle or drive along Solcava panoramic road
Solcava town is the heart of Solcavsko region and a great starting point for Solcava panoramic road, the road with the most breath-taking views. By walk, bike or car! You will definitely get amazed by a symbiosis between a nature and a human. Solcava panoramic road got an award for the best themed road in 2015! The story behind a themed road is about a shepherd Kristof lost 5 sheep during the storm. While exploring Solcava panoramic road, you help him to find his lost sheep while learning about the outstanding region itself. Kristof represents people from Solcava region while a Lintver dragon, which is following you along the road, represents a power of nature. Get acquainted with natural and cultural heritage of the Solcava region as well as magnificent views over alpine valleys, high peaks and secluded mountain farms. There are 19 stops along the 37-kilometres Solcava panoramic road with superb viewpoints on Savinja Alps, benches and information boards. The road can be done in one day but you would like to stay longer for sure 🙂 In case you stay longer, make a reservation at one of accommodation on the way. Check them here.
4. Off-the-beaten track festivals
Solcava region offers various festivals throughout the year. For example, Mountain wood festival (May), Hiking festival (June), Days of Solcava (July), Wool festival (September). I was surprised that they are organizing an event Observing moths and butterflies in June, when being informed by a local enthusiast and expert Mr. Joseph. Due to its pristine environment Slovene and foreign experts are coming here to study butterflies and grasshoppers. For more up-to-date information check the website here.
5. Moon wood, Jezersko-Solcava sheep, Logar marbel
People in Solcava region are living in a harmony with nature and they respect the environment despite of harsh Alpine conditions. The region is known for mountain wood, Jezersko-Solcava sheep, Logar marble. When you are driving around the region, have a stop at Apartma pod macesnovo streho where you can see a sustainable construction of a house using moon wood that is cut during a certain phases of the moon. And you don’t need to use any extra coating for wood! What is more, for house isolation they used wool from autohtonous Jezersko-Solcava sheep! Mountain forest, a forest above 800 meters above sea level, in Solcava region is mainly covered with spruce (80 % of Solcava region is covered by spruce forests!), larch, beech, fir. Another great example of using a moon wood can be seen at Alpske Sanje House where an owner decided to built a wooden fence in a shape of surrounding mountains. Great creative idea, isn’t it? And at a tourist farm Zibovt you can buy extremely well shaped wooden toys and board games which are made of Solcava mountain wood.
Women from Solcava are known for making traditional fleece products (sleepers, clothes, hats, carpets, soaps, accessories, toys, etc.) from the wool of Jezersko-Solcava sheep under the name Bicka. Check their work here. They are offering hands-on activities as well. Did you know that it takes a day to make 1 pair of fleece sleepers?! Before WW2 there were more than 1000 sheep while today you can see around 400 on the alpine pastures and meadows and each Jezersko-Solcava sheep, which is famous for its lovely tear around the eyes, produce 2 kilos of wool per year.
Another material commonly used by local people is a Logar limestone pink marble. Up for buying some decorative products (vases for flowers, paperweights, etc.)? Have a look for local souvenirs in Center Rinka, a multipurpose center for sustainable development of Solcava region with tourist info point. Pay a visit to permanent exhibition about Solcava region as well. Worth doing it!
Men and nature are really living hand in hand through the centuries in Solcava region.
6. Logar valley – landscape park and Fairlytale forest
Logar valley, nestled in the heart of Kamnik-Savinja Alps, is a 7-kilometers long U-shaped glacial valley protected (together with Robanov kot) as a landscape park since 1987. It is one of Slovenian highlights you should visit when in Slovenia. Logar valley a fairytale natural treasure (it is said to be one of the most picturesque glacial valleys in Europe!) that offers plenty of hiking trails for outdoor lovers and mighty waterfalls (Rinka waterfall is one of the highest waterfalls in Slovenia!) for all photographic enthusiasts. Are you up for visiting a fairytale forest? Children love it!!! And you will like it too 🙂 The entrance to the fairytale forest, which leads you to the land of the fairytales and awakes all of your sences, lies next to penzion Na razpotju. They offer mouth-watering seasonal food as well. Looking for a wedding location? What about getting married beside waterfall Palenk which lies close to Hotel Plesnik? Search no more and send them an email 🙂
7. Staying in the tourist farms
Time passes by slowly in the countryside. Especially in Solcava region. Staying at the farm is an experience itself. Imagine a rustic architecture with wooden furniture, sound of zither music, homemade organic goodies (savinjski zelodec-local specialty with protected designation of origin, masovnik (flour cooked with butter, cream, milk), sirnek-ripened cottage cheese, sirnica soup, zlinkrofi, bratci, sour milk with buckwheat zganci (perfect for a breakfast), cottage cheese struklji (the best are made at Strevc tourist farm, jams (I tasted spruce jam for the first time at Rogar tourist farm), home-made juices (taste yummy raspberry or elder juice!), herbal brandies), outstanding landscape and extremely hospitable people. If you are into ethno-animation experiential activities, make a reservation at www.posebendan.si. You will never forget this experience spending a day experiencing Solcava region accompanied by a shepherd, a fount of knowledge focused on local stories, myths and legends in the local dialect! No worries. Even I as a native didn’t understand his dialect properly but I was amazed by how he passionate was talking about his region. And this matters the most!
In Solcava region there are 50 high-altitude self-sustained farmsteads using environmentally friendly farming methods. More than half of the farms lie above 1000 meters above the sea level while Bukovc farm is the highest alpine farm in Slovenia (1327 meters!). Each farm has a name that is passing from one generation to another. While the average size of the farm in Slovenia is 8 ha, in Solcava region the average size is 145 ha with the biggest one Matko farm covering the area of 700 ha. You really feel at home while staying at one of the farm. I stayed at Govc-Vrsnik farmstead in Robanov kot where they don’t get a sun for 3 months (something similar happens in Soca valley in the village of Cezsoca). Did you know that the locals are heating their homes till 15th August and then they start heating it again from 16th August on?! 🙂 It is a local joke which sometimes becomes true due to cold summer evenings. Warm up yourself with home-made katurouc (blueberry liquer) and ask locals what its name means 🙂 N’ pa na zdravje as the locals cheer!
Each alpine tourist farm is something special. So plan your visit to Solcava region well! If you need a help, send me an email to email@example.com.
When to visit Solcavsko region?
It is really up to you. Picturesque landscape is beautiful in all 4 seasons. If you like winter colors, then you will definitely enjoy snow-covered countryside and sitting behind a wood stove. But if you prefer green landscape more, then visit a region from April on when the nature starts awaking.
See and experience yourself! Get amazed! Solcavsko region will leave you breathless! And I am not kidding. So when are you coming to explore a well-preserved hidden gem amidst Kamnik-Savinja Alps? 🙂