Zelenci – that would literally translate as ‘Greens’ – is a nature reserve located in one corner of Slovenia, lying near Slovenia border with Austria and Italy.
As the name of the nature reserve suggests, the green colour is the main characteristic of this natural attraction that is worth visiting in any season.
The nature reserve is comprised of an emerald green lake and a swamp that are home to various animals and plants.
Top tourist attractions
43 km (26 mi) from Lake Bled
Not wheelchair accessible
Top tourist attractions ⋆ 43 km (26 mi) from Lake Bled ⋆ Family-friendly ⋆ Not wheelchair accessible
One of best photography locations in Kranjska Gora
If you search a hashtag #zelenci on Instagram, you will come across many powerful photos of this nature rserve that is situated in the Triglav National Park, the only national park in the country.
During the times when Instagram did not exist yet – and mobile phones neither – picturesque Zelenci attracted painters who captured its wilderness on canvas. They painted the marl lake in the distinctive green colour.
Surrounded by alder and spruce trees, the green lake with wooden paths and mighty mountains in the background, is ideal location for taking either stunning panoramic shots or candid selfies.
Home to a variety of animals and plants
Zelenci – where springs one of the alpine rivers, Sava Dolinka River, is a natural habitat for various animals, including river trout, water spider, toad, mallard, common European viper and white stork.
When walking on the wooden path that was placed there in order to protect the environment you will notice a sign that is not common in our country. It says that you need to be aware of the snakes (viper) that stay in the area.
In the Zelenci Lake the temperature varies very little from 5°C to 8°C. Which means that even thought winters in Kranjska Gora are cold, the lake does not freeze.
The nature reserve is home to some plants that are not possible to find in any other area in the country, as well as endangered species and uncommon plants such as carnivorous flowering plants.
You can combine your trip to Zelenci with the visit of the alpine resort of Kranjska Gora and Lake Jasna, as well as Planica that is known for ski jumping. When you are in Kranjska Gora, the highest mountain pass in the Eastern Julian Alps, Vršič Pass, will not be far either.
– PRACTICAL INFORMATION –
LOCATION: Zelenci Nature Reserve (naravni rezervat Zelenci in Slovene) is located in the municipality of Kranjska Gora and is part of the Triglav National Park. It lies near the village of Podkoren.
The nature reserve is situated around 840 metres (2755 feet) above sea level.
Zelenci Nature Reserve in Kranjska Gora
GET THERE: If you are starting your trip in Bled, you can get to Zelenci Nature Reserve by car or public transportation (bus). Some of local tourist agencies in Bled also offer guided tours in the Kranjska Gora area during which you will also visit Zelenci.
CAR: It takes around 40 minutes to get from Bled to Zelenci by car. You can leave it on the parking that is located by the motorway that runs past Kranjska Gora and continues towards Rateče-Planica (and further to Italy).
The parking lies on the left side of the motorway (on the right side you will see a road leading to the village of Podkoren). There is also a snack bar that is usually open during summer.
When in the parking space, you will see a signpost pointing towards Zelenci, as well as an information board about that nature reserve. Follow the signposts and about 10 minutes of walking you will reach the lake and the swamp.
BUS: You can take a bus from Bled (main bus station, Union bus stop) to the town to Radovljica (get off at the main bus station) and from there take another bus to Kranjska Gora (look for the direction Rateče-Planica). You can buy the tickets on the bus. Find the bus timetable here.
It takes one hour to walk from the alpine resort of Kranjska Gora to Zelenci.
GET AROUND: The swamp with the lake is around 1,3 km (4260 feet) long and around 150 metres (492 feet) wide. You will first walk through the forest (follow a narrow forest path) and soon reach a wooden path that runs towards the lake. The terrain is flat.
GET AROUND ON BIKE: The alpine resort of Kranjska Gora is known for good and scenic bike trails. You can park your car (or get off the bus) in Kranjska Gora, rent a bike there and ride to Zelenci. The bike trail is well-maintained and offers great views. Just be aware that it is not allowed to enter the nature reserve on a bike (you should leave it outside the protected area).
GEOCACHING: There is one cache hidden in Zelenci Nature Reserve.