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Luče

Luče is a small village near Grosuplje in the Central Slovenia region. Driving from Veliko Mlačevo towards Krka a beautiful green valley will open in front of you and offer you some amazing views. What makes this tiny village worth visiting (beside some really good local food at the best known restaurant in the area, Bar pr’Mrtinet) are beautiful meadows and hills, endless roads and green woods. The main photo attraction must be the local church, dedicated to Saint Oswald.

If in the area, check also: Grosuplje, Log – Cerovo & Županova jama Cave!

Polhov Gradec

Polhov Gradec is picturesque village in the Polhograjsko hribovje hills in Central Slovenia – in the link you can check out the terms of the actual contest of Visit Ljubljana, you can win a nice prize just posting nice photos!

The main landmark and photo spot of the village is the new castle (remains of the old one can be seen on the Kalvarija hill), designed in 17th century.

The mansion is surrounded by a beautiful park.

Here is also a local museum’s permanent collection with objects related to the history of Polhov Gradec and the Technical Museum of Slovenia – Museum of Post and Telecommunications. A well with the statue of Neptun and four nymphs stands by the castle.

There is a creek behind the mansion and a nice view of the building from the back.

The best view of the village itself is from the small hill just a few steps from the main road.

The mansion is visible from this spot as well.

Somehow limited photo options of the village are greatly enhanced by the number of fantastic views in the vicinity of the Polhov Gradec. Many churches are located on the slopes and peaks of the surrounding hills which provides for great photo motifs. Reaching St. Ursula can be a pleasant short hike from the nearby touristic farm reached by car or a longer one from the valley.

A trip to the village of Črni vrh takes some more time but ii is worth the effort.

Enjoy!

 

Črni vrh above Polhov Gradec

Črni Vrh (Black Peak) is a dispersed settlement in the hills northwest of Polhov Gradec in Central Slovenia which includes many isolated farms scattered throughout the hills so the settlement itself is not a micro location in a sense we are looking for. We have picked it out because again there is one of the many small churches on the slopes and peaks of the hills around Polhov Gradec in Central Slovenia which provide for some fabulous photo motifs.

The parish church in the settlement is dedicated to Saint Leonard and t stands west of the settlement on Church Hill (Cerkovni grič). There is a point on the slope across the Church Hill where the best view of the hills and the church can be observed and photographed.

The photo point in located at the crossroads to Poljanska dolina and Pasja ravan – the exact location you can find on the map Where to in Slovenia. We visited it at the sunrise.

A few days later we passed by there in the late afternoon as well.

It was a pretty magical morning there; the settlement is pretty high in the hills, farms are far apart from each other, no traffic at all.

The sights on the other side of the street were also pretty nice but one should wait a bit longer for haze to clear and get a better photo of the mighty Mt. Triglav in Julian Alps and Škofja Loka Hills in the foreground. We are not proud of the following two photos photo but added them it for you to get the idea.

This is how the crossroad looks like.

A closer look at the foot of the Church Hill to the church is also not bad at all – there is a chapel dedicated to Virgin Mary which provides for a nice composition.

At this point the sun was high enough to reveal all beauty of the slopes around the Polhov Gradec, photo taken in front of the chapel.

And finally the view from the church itself onto the farm at the foot of the Church Hill.

As we mentioned already, there are many churches on the peaks and slopes around Polhov Gradec, St. Ursula is one of them some 15 minutes drive from Črni vrh.

St. Ursula

St. Ursula is one of the many small churches on the slopes and peaks of the hills around Polhov Gradec in Central Slovenia which provide for some fabulous photo motifs. Where to in Slovenia features micro locations for mobile photography and sometimes micro stands for really – micro. This one fits into the category but still offers many different views and options to compose a photo.

All of the featured photo spots are on the map with exact positions so we won’t bother with navigation, let us only tell you that reaching St. Ursula can be a pleasant short hike from the touristic farm reached by car or a longer one from the valley. The church is visible almost all the time on the shorter hike.

The peaks of Mala Grmada and Grmada in the vicinity of St. Ursula are popular hiking destination in these hills.

 

The “rear” view is a kind of Slovenian classic and since nothing disturbs the composition it is probably one of the best of the kind as well.

However, the church itself is only a half of the story.

The other half is definitely the view of the surrounding hills over the meadows above the farm.

St. Lawrence is another peak with a church just over the valley.

Personally we can’t wait to hike there again to observe the sunset – location is just right for that. Enjoy!

Check out also the great views of the Črni vrh in the vicinity!

Text and photos: Zoran Leban Trojar @zokus_gf

Vrhnika

Where to in Slovenia features micro locations for mobile photographers. Sometimes it is quite a challenge to define “micro”, especially in the cases like Vrhnika, a relatively big city which doesn’t provide many good photo spots in the city area itself. Vrhnika is located in Central Slovenia region on the western edge of Ljubljana Marshes and it is one of the destinations included in the photo contest by Visit Ljubljana. Its green landscape is shaped by Ljubljana Marses, surrounding hills and Ljubljanica river which has many sources around Vrhnika and characterizes the area.

This time we decided to put the “Vrhnika” geo located photo spot on the slope of the Grča Hill just above the city, more precisely to the location of the Monument to the Fallen in the National Liberation Struggle.

It is pretty easy to find one of the many sources of the Ljubljanica river in Močilnik, there is an exit just at the first turn when the road begins to ascend above Vrhnika towards Logatec. Find a path at the corner of the small parking place before the bridge and follow it for some 10 minutes to reach the monument.

The view of the city and the surrounding Ljubljana Marshes is fantastic especially in the early morning when the marshes are covered with mist and the sun is rising.

Unfortunately many trees cover the scenery so for the better view one should climb the monument itself. Or shouldn’t?

We are dedicated to mobile photography but this spot demand some serious landscape settings – even with a beast like HuaweiP20Pro you would need to use a tripod at least.

In that case you can also play with the lights on the busy road through the city.

Obviously we haven’t had one but we managed to capture the church of Sv. Trojica (Holy Trinity Church) from afar.

It is an iconic place of Vrhnika, find out why in the link.

The Močilnik source can be beautiful when it is full of water but not really photogenic. Maybe something can be done with the church on the cemetery over the fields.

Crossing the bridge at Močilnik you can easily reach another area with Ljubljanica springs – the Retovje. The bridge can be photogenic there when the water supply is high and some motifs from the river itself are worth considering a try.

When finished here in the early morning just enough time is left to catch the morning light at the Bistra Castle which is situated along the road a few kilometres towards Borovnica.

The best views of the Vrhnika area are of course from the Planina summit with a lookout tower.

The ponds at the abandoned brickworks near Verd can also provide for some good motifs along the nice walk around the area.

Text and photos: Zoran Leban Trojar @zokus_gf

 

Bistra Castle

Where to in Slovenia features micro locations for mobile photographers. Bistra Castle near Vrhnika lies on the southwestern margins of the Ljubljana Marshes in Central Slovenia. Originally it was  a monastery but later became a grand mansion. Both settlement and manor take their name from the clear karstic springs, which issue forth from under the adjacent wooded hillside. Since  1951 the castle hosts the nation’s Technical Museum.

One of the oldest museums in the country has really interesting collections, find out more about them here. We are more interested  in the building itself and the karst source which also provides water for some early industrial objects in the castle’s yard.

Walking around these wooden structures above the Bistra source offer many beautiful motifs, mostly reflections.

The light can be an issue here since the castle is perched under a slope of the hill. Early morning light would be the best but the museum opening hours don’t support this idea in all seasons.

There is also a beautiful garden in front of the castle which is mostly used for different activities at the weddings and other events which are often taking place at this beautiful locations. What is even more interesting for photographers is the typical scenery of the marshes which can be seen next to the castle and its garden.

The morning mist, occasional tree and a horse – can you ask for more?

Enjoy!

See more about photo spots around the city of Vrhnika and Ljubljana Marshes.

Text and photos: Zoran Leban Trojar @zokus_gf

Planina Summit above Vrhnika

Where to in Slovenia features micro locations for mobile photographers. Planina Hill near Vrhnika in Central Slovenia is very popular hiking destinations of the city of Vrhnika and also of  the Ljubljana area. Many different starting points and alternative routes are available for hikers and bikers and the summit is also accessible by car. There is a wooden lookout tower near the lodge…

it is 22m high and offers magnificent views over the Ljubljana Marshes…

… settlements around Vrhnika…

…surrounding hills…

… and in good weather conditions even the Julian Alps with the mighty Mt. Triglav.

 

However, without conquering the tower the views are limited and from the tower a phone camera alone won’t be enough to capture a good shot. Taking the Kuren trail or driving from Vrhnika brings you to the Kmetija odprtih vrat (Agrotourism) where a similar views are available from much lower height though.

Text and photos: Zoran Leban Trojar @zokus_gf.

 

Ljubljana Marshes – Ižica

Ižica is one of the shortest rivers in Slovenia. It is a typical river for the Ljubljana Marshes with a karst source in the village of Ig. We named the spot described bellow by the river since there are no other recognisable features to use.

Coming to the village of Ig from Ljubljana and leaving the buildings behind after a few kilometers there is a road to turn to Iška Loka to the right marked with a road sign Iška Loka. Just opposite of the exit there is another one to the left, unmarked and pretty narrow. Turn left and park right away on the left side or proceed on the gravel road until it turns right and park there.

This gravel road is pretty empty most of the time, sitting in the middle of the fields and wet meadows. The landscape is full of lonely trees and the nature is full of life in any season. Flat land, black soil, green meadows, occasional water in the canals make a special feeling which changes with the seasons and is the strongest in the mornings and evenings.

The landscape itself is pretty photogenic. The flora of the marshes is specific and in some seasons the meadows are full of blossoms.

Specific for the marshes is the Snake’s head fritillary from the lily family. It can be easily spotted here but there is another place upstream of Ižica where plenty of them are to be found.

At the turning point of the gravel road just continue in the same direction as you came from. There is no beaten path, just cross the meadows until the river can be spotted after a few hundred meters. The approach to the water changes with seasons and weather but one or two can be easily found.

The meadows. The flora. The water. Upstream. Downstream

The trees. The sunrise.

Take your pick.

Take photos. Enjoy in nature. Check out some other spots on the marshes: St. Anna, Lake Podpeč and Snakes’s Head Fritillary Meadow.

Text and photos Zoran Leban Trojar @zokus_gf.

More about Ljubljana Marshes.

Kamnik

Kamnik is a small picturesque medieval town along the Kamniška Bistrica river underneath the Kamnik Savinja Alps. Its heyday was in the Middle Ages, when it was the capital of Carniola. Nowadays only a small old centre of the town reminds of the days of its glory. Luckily this small town is worth visiting by itself since if offers many opportunities for a good photo without any heavy equipment needed. The second factor of luck is its position close to the mountains which always attract visitors. Kamnik is also one of the most prominent towns of the region called Central Slovenia – really close to the capital but with completely different atmosphere. Just now a campaign is underway promoting Central Slovenia in which everybody can take part and win a prize. Click here to learn more about the contest and here to find out more about Kamnik!

There are three photo spots worth visiting and they are very close to each other. In fact they are all connected with the fourth spot which is also the main street leading through the old town. It is called Šutna. Entering Šutna from SW the parish Church of Mary Immaculate offers a first great view.

The Šutna Street is open for the traffic but with a little patience it is pretty easy to catch is empty. Walking along the street many details offer to the photographer’s eye and the church from behind, closing the view, is also a great sight and capture, especially in the sunset. Take note of the angels above the roofs!

But probably the best way to explore old Kamnik centre would be to turn left first just before entering the street, cross the railway and head to Zaprice Castle – a two minutes walk! The castle is a 16th century Renaissance mansion rebuilt in Baroque style now housing the rich collections of the Kamnik Intermunicipal Museum.

Particularly interesting there is  the permanent collection on herdsmen’s life on the Velika planina high mountain plateau.

Behind the castle there is a fence through which opens a splendid view of the orchards and the Church of St. Nicholas.

When finished exploring the castle and it’s surroundings the next destination is probably the best known spot of Kamnik which you probably have already spotted from the Zaprice. It is called Mali Grad (The Small Castle) and it overlooks the other end of Šutna.

It is situated on the really small hill and accessible via short stairway. From this spot the best view of the other part of the old centre open before the eyes.

It gets even better if the weather is fine – the mountains in the background make a lot of difference.

The old stone wall around the Malo Grad is pretty low so climb it freely and find additional sights like this small square.

And behind the back…

Coming down from the Mali Grad there is a small open market place just across the street and a train station behind it. Find a narrow street above the station and take another three minute walk. Almost immediately  a nice view of the Zaprice offers itself to the camera – a roof is of the train station.

A hundred meters up the hill is another view of the Mali Grad – but it is through the door of the private yard and the owners’s dog has no understanding of the photographer’s needs.

Cemeteries sometimes offers motifs for photographers. We went there to find out if another view of the Zaprice opens but it doesn’t.

It does from the railway station though. Many other angles can also be found wandering around the small territory. Some would also argue that Stari Grad (Old Castle) offers nice views. It does in fact but not on the old centre since the trees cover it. That would probably change in the near future – a viewpoint deck is under construction there. Until then only views of the mountains and the Kamnik Field are available. In any case – a phone wouldn’t be enough for a good photos. The Old Castle is pretty high on the hill, a 45 minute walk or 10 minutes drive is needed to reach it. In fact, the ruins of the castle. However, the sunrise can be nice and sunset even better there.

Many other places worth visiting are very close: the source of Kamniška Bistrica, Velika planina mountain pasture and Arboretum Volčji potok to name just a few. Enjoy!

Text and photos: Zoran Leban Trojar (@zokus_gf)

Additional info:

Visit Ljubljana

Visit Kamnik

 

 

Kamniška Bistrica

Kamniška Bistrica (The Kamnik Bistrica) is an Alpine river, a 33 km long left tributary of the Sava River. It springs beneath the Kamnik Alps. In fact Kamniška Bistrica is also a small settlement in the Valley of Kamniška Bistrica but generally most people in Slovenia would understand  the location as the source of the river. The rivers has three sources but the one near the Lodge of Kamniška Bistrica is THE source.

It is a typical beginning of a glacier valley, pretty narrow with the mountain peaks in the background. Since it is densely forested the views and photo opportunities are limited but beautiful.

Behind the lodge the hiking paths lead to the Kokrško Saddle and Kamnik Saddle. Following the white road a few hundred meters, there is a fairy tale scenery, just after the parking place.

There are generally three kinds of visitors here, the mountaineers, the cyclist who stop at the lodge before heading back to the starting points and people who just enjoy the beauty of this secluded spot. In summer time it is also a nice spot to chill down a bit.

A kind of lake behind the damm is really small and difficult to photograph – a kind of dull in the winter with no snow and a lot of green during the spring and summer. Autumn colours and a lot of snow are probably the best combinations. But the main motif here is always photogenic, in the summer…

… or during the winter.

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First sun rays with some mist over the water are the best combination.

But don’t stop there. Above the lake the water comes into daylight from underneath many rocks, which are overgrown with moss. Spruce trees grow on larger boulders and the water creates tiny waterfalls and rapids. It is very refreshing in hot days, but it could also be pretty wild after heavy rain. Beautiful views on the mountains wait for you along the road from the lodge.

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The valley of Kamniška Bistrica plunges from the south into the heart of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps. Since we mentioned the town of Kamnik so many times already – from most directions, with the exception of the access from Upper Savinja Valley, the small and charming medieval town of Kamnik is on the way to the valley. It was first mentioned as a town in 1229, when it was an important trading post on the road between Ljubljana and Celje. It is one of the oldest towns in Slovenia.

The valley is a very popular starting point for various hiking trips to the mountains of Kamnik-Savinja Alps and nearby waterfall Orglice. Cable car to Velika Planina, huge mountain plateau and ski resort with big and lively herdsmen’s settlement of unique architecture, is also located nearby the entrance to the most narrow part of the valley.

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In summer days, especially at weekends, it is probably the best decision to park the car at first opportunity from this point on and enter the pathways along one of the gorges, Veliki and Mali (Big and Small) Predaselj. Beautiful crystal clear water is at the deepest part of the Veliki Predaselj hidden 30 m bellow. Watch your step if you decide to take a closer look at it.

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Forests and mountains around used to be popular hunting area over centuries. Close to the mountain lodge is another building, which used to be a Royal Hunting Lodge of the King Alexander I of Yugoslavia. Famous Slovenian architect Josef Plečnik designed it in 1932. Later it was used by Tito, as well as the smaller lodge on the boulder above.

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More information:

Kamnik Bistrica Valley

Kamnik 

Velika Planina

 

Zoran Leban Trojar, @zokus_gf