Kašarija, as locals call the villages in the Municipality of Žirovnica, is a beautiful corner in an idyllic part of Gorenjska. Bled, Radovljica and Jesenice are in close proximity, while Tržič is reached beneath the mountains, and Austria over them. The Karavanke mountains offer shelter, the Kamnik-Savinja Alps extend from the Reber ridge, and when looking out over the countryside one’s view is drawn to the Julian Alps. Locals are particularly proud of Mt. Stol, the mightiest peak of the Karavanke mountains, on top of which our ancestors erected the Prešernova koča mountain hut in 1910.
We like to say that in the villages beneath Mt. Stol a really special creative spirit blows in the wind. The masters of the pen France Prešeren, Fran Saleški Finžgar and Janez Jalen were born here, as was the distinguished beekeeper Anton Janša and scholar Matija Čop. Today, their birth houses have been transformed into museums, which are connected with the first and oldest theme trail in Slovenia – the Žirovnica Path of Cultural Heritage. We also like to boast that our ancestors found Žirovnica as long ago as the 4th century, which is attested to by archaeological finds on Ajdna, in Rodine and at St. Lawrence’s church. Did you know that there are as many as five monuments in the Municipality of Žirovnica that are of national importance and 52 of municipal importance?
What to see and do in Žirovnica
Museums are places where visitors can consciously enjoy exhibits and artefacts from the past, while also being places where we can learn and expand our horizons. Locals know what the rules are for visiting museums, which are as follows:
Visit Žirovnica’s Museums!
While strolling on the mountain pastures beneath Mt. Stol you are certain to be captivated by the Zabreška planina mountain pasture and the Ajdna archaeological site, from where the ‘image of paradise’ is offered as if in the palm of your hand. Every local from the Žirovnica area knows that it is necessary to prepare well when visiting the mountains. Not only is the choice of the appropriate goal important but also the choice of trail. It is important to choose a trail that is suited to your fitness level and to also check you have suitable equipment. After planning your visit don’t forget to also check the weather conditions, as you certainly don’t want to find yourself on Mt. Stol in a storm. Walk on marked trails, which you can identify by the red circles with white inners painted on trees, rocks, etc. The starting point for hikes to Mt. Stol and the mountain pastures beneath it is the Završnica valley.
Where to hike in the mountains above Žirovnica?
Zelenica is known as the ‘the Karavanke flower garden’, as in spring it’s awash with colour of a wide variety of species of alpine flowers. Nature in the Žirovnica area has an abundance of herbs and fruits, but keep in mind that moderation is key when picking them. Locals only pick what they know, the amounts that are stipulated and in areas where it is permitted. Flowers seen in photographs, as well as outdoors in nature where they grow, is by far the most beautiful way of admiring them.
The wonderful animals that live in our mountains like peace, therefore locals are careful not to disturb them and to keep their pets under control. If you walk through the Završnica valley consciously and respectfully, you might be lucky enough to spot a Eurasian eagle-owl – the largest owl in the world – which nests here in Slovenia.
Would you like to know more about Eurasian eagle-owls?
Marked hiking trails, as well as cycling trails and descents, lead to our mountain pastures and summits. Cycling on unmarked territory can have serious consequences for the natural environment and lead to ground erosion, therefore the locals from the Žirovnica area respect this and only stick to marked trails.
Map of hiking and cycling trails
Did you know that in the Žirovnica area we have exceptional (read: the best!) drinking water? Its source is the Zavrsnica stream, which springs on Zelenca – a beautiful spot between Mt. Vrtača and Mt. Begunščica. You’ll never see locals carrying purchased plastic bottles of water!
Locals are proud of every stone and tree stump, and every bench that has been erected in the Žirovnica area. We take care of our property and maintain it. We never leave litter outdoors, instead we throw it in the appropriate bin for separating waste.
Mountain huts offer sustenance for hikers on mountain trails. There are five mountain huts within the boundaries of the Municipality of Žirovnica: Dom pri izviru Završnice, Valvasorjev dom, Prešernova koča, Planinski dom na Zelenici and Sankaška koča. For those looking for a meal in the valley, the area has some excellent restaurants offering local food. The food is so tasty it’s as if it was prepared by your grandma, the portion sizes are as they should be, and service comes with a smile!
What to taste?
If you’d like to take home with you some memories of your visit to Žirovnica in the form of souvenirs, you can visit our beekeepers to buy home produced honey, a friendly local lady who roasts coffee, and even a micro-brewery, as well as numerous other treats.
Where to purchase local products?
While it’s true that there are no hotels or campsites here in the Žirovnica area, numerous locals let out rooms and apartments in their homes, where a warm welcome awaits you.
Where to stay?
We have France Prešeren to thank that every Slovene knows about Vrba and St. Mark’s church. The traditional Hike Along the Žirovnica Trail of Cultural Heritage takes place every year on 8th February, which people flock to from far and wide, even from neighbouring countries. Summer is also a time of joy, when events that make up the KašArt Festival begin: Fairytale evenings in front of Finžgar’s Birth House, Prešeren’s Night with Aleksander Mežek and friends, Venue in front of Čop’s Birth House, and a big concert in Završnica.
Events in Žirovnica
Tourists and visitors from throughout the world come to Žirovnica, because it’s so lovely here! We welcome all tourists with open arms, as locals are very hospitable and friendly. We are especially delighted when those who visit us respect how we live, work and play. Therefore, welcome to the Žirovnica area and don’t forget: When in Žirovnica, live, work and play like a local!
Useful Information for visitors