As the name of the trail itself suggests – Brezje Peace Trail – you will be able to enjoy peacefulness and the beauty of nature during this easy two-hour hike.
The trail runs mostly through the forest, however there is an open view of the mountains at the beginning. It starts and ends in the village called Brezje that is known for the Basilica of St. Mary Help.
You will be walking along a stream full of light green rocks (volcanic tuff) that turns into a beautiful waterfall further on.
Apart from the waterfalls, wooden bridges across Peračica Stream are also highlights of this trail.
Starting your hike at famous pilgrimage site in Slovenia
‘Brezje Peace Trail represents a link between natural and cultural landmarks, and spirituality,’ says the leaflet we got from a lady selling souvenirs in a shop next to the basilica. Around 250,000 pilgrimages come to the little village of Brezje each year in order to visit the Basilica of St. Mary Help of Christians.
The starting point of this trail is outside the basilica that has been for a century and a half the heart of the biggest pilgrimage site in Slovenia.
If you come to Brezje on Sunday or on a religious holiday, do not be surprised at how many people are there at the square in front of the basilica. Most of them will stay there for an hour or two to pray to Mary and then leave.
In case you wish to explore the area further: close to the Basilica of St. Mary Help, there is also a Franciscan monastery where you will find the Nativity Scenes Museum. Located across the square, is the Peace Park where you can enjoy the view of the mountains or see a temporary exhibition.
‘Sugary‘ trail with eleven wooden bridges
What I find the most charming about this hiking trail, and also unique for this part of Slovenia, are cute wooden bridges across the Peračica Stream. There are altogether 11 of them.
One of the wooden bridges is named in the memory of Ruth Podgornik Reš, a well-known agronomist, gardener and extreme sports athlete who lived in a village nearby.
She would often walk or run on the Brezje Peace Trail. Due to all the natural beauty that the trail has to offer, she renamed it ‘the sugary trail‘. The Ruth’s Bridge is located close to the first waterfall.
Peračica Waterfalls flowing across volcanic tuff
The waterfalls – there are actually two, but the second one is almost non-existing – mark the last part of the trail where you do a circle and then walk back the trail. They have the same name as the stream along which you will be walking, Peračica Waterfalls.
The first waterfall is very scenic. It it the most powerful in spring, a little less in summer due to usually smaller amount of rainfall. During cold winters, the waterfall freezes.
What is special about this waterfall that is only five metres (16 feet) high is that it flows across the rocks of light green colour made of volcanic ash. And that makes it the only waterfall of that kind in Slovenia.
If you keep your eyes open during the hike through the forest, you will notice that the stream-bed is full of look-alike rocks known as Peračica volcanic tuff. Despite being fragile, Peračica volcanic tuff was in the past widely used for making window sills, portals and columns.
Those kind of architectural elements made of volcanic tuff can be for example seen in the old centre of Radovljica, the nearest town to Brezje. However, over the centuries, the green colour of the tuff has changed to grey (or brown).
Where to? – Short description of the trail
The Brezje Peace Trail (‘Pot miru’ in Slovenian) is well marked (look for green and yellow blazes) and it is almost impossible to get lost on the way, however, it is good to have some information before setting off on a hike.
If you come to Brezje by car, you can leave it at a big parking area close to the square that leads to the basilica (parking ticket costs 2 EUR/day). Next to the parking, there is an information board with the description of hiking and biking trails in the Radovljica area. The Brezje Peace Trail is marked with the number ten.
After crossing the square before the basilica, you will see a kind of a hut selling souvenirs (‘spominki‘ in Slovenian) that is also a tourist information point. You can get a leaflet with all the information on the peace trail and directions there (ask for English version).
The first part of the Brezje Peace Trail runs through the village of Brezje (walk past the basilica and the wall of the monastery) and continues across the Brezje fields.
The view from the fields is superb. You will see three different mountain ranges in the distance: the Julian Alps (to the left), as well as the Karawanks and the Kamnik-Savinja Alps (to the right).
The macadam road will eventually turn into a forest trail, and that is where you will enter the forest and where the second part of the trail starts. After around 15 minutes of hiking downwards you will reach the Peračica Stream. There, the trail becomes flat, carrying on through the forest.
Walking along the stream is very relaxing. The trail is not difficult and is thus ideal for beginner or lazy hikers, and even families with small children.
Also, be sure to take your camera with you, because there will be lots of good spots for taking pictures, including the area next to the first waterfall.
Around 10 metres (32 feet) further on the trail, you will come across the second waterfall which is a bit difficult to notice. In the vicinity of the waterfalls, there is a natural deposit of the volcanic tuff.
After passing by the waterfalls you will soon get to a macadam road. Turn right, following the sign saying ‘Brezje, Peračica‘. Soon, you will find yourself on the same trail you walked before. Walking on the opposite direction on the trail, you will come back to the starting point in around one hour.
- PRACTICAL INFORMATION -
LOCATION: The Brezje Peace Trail starts in the village of Brezje (Radovljica Municipality) that lies around 14 kilometres (nine miles) from Lake Bled.
Starting point: Square next to Basilica of St. Mary Help in Brezje
REACHING THE STARTING POINT: You can reach the village of Brezje by bike, bus, hop on hop off bus or car.
BIKE: You could ride a bike from Bled to Radovljica (there is a bike lane between those two towns) and then continue from Radovljica to the village of Brezje.
You may ask for the bikemap at the tourist information point in Radovljica (address: Linhartov trg 9, Radovljica).
BUS: There is no direct bus connection between Bled and Brezje; however, you may take a bus from Bled (main bus station, Bled Union stop) to Radovljica (main bus station) and then another bus from Radovljica (main bus station) to Brezje. The bus stop in Brezje is located opposite the big parking area.
You may check out the bus timetable here. Type ‘Brezje/Gor.’ (bus stop in Brezje) into the destination window (final stop).
HOP ON HOP OFF BUS: During the height of the tourist season (1 July-31 August), it is possible to get to the village of Brezje by hop on hop off bus.
The bus starts its journey each Thursday during that period in Bled, stops in Radovljica, Begunje na Gorenjskem, Brezje and then returns to Bled. The ticket that is valid for one day costs 8 EUR.
CAR: If you arrive by car, you can leave it at the parking close to the basilica (2 EUR/day).
HIKING TRAIL: The trail is around 6 kilometres (3.5 miles) long. You will do a circle hike (the hike ends where it starts) and it will take you around 1 hour to get from the basilica to the waterfalls (where you will eventually turn). All in all, you will need around 2 hours to complete the hike.
The trail is mostly flat (only one small section – where the trail enters the forest – is moderately steep) and shaded. When it rains, the forest trail becomes muddy.
BREZJE PEACE TRAIL IN PICTURES
RECOMMENDATIONS: Make sure to wear comfortable clothes and shoes – if it rained the previous day, do not wear your best shoes, because the forest trail will be muddy ;). Trekking poles will make your walk easier.
GEOCACHING: There are two caches hidden along this trail: the first one next to the basilica in the village and the second one by the first waterfall.