A few years ago, I was lucky enough to visit Lake Bled. And it was unspeakably beautiful.
In fact, Slovenia as a whole touched me. I didn’t want to leave, and I’ve wanted to go back ever since.
Some places do that to you. They get under your skin for no discernable reason, and you ache to return.
But as beautiful as Lake Bled was, I stumbled across Bohinj (pronounced Bor-hin) during the latter part of our trip.
Many people visit since it’s close to their base in Bled. In fact, it’s only an hour away.
But in my experience, you’d be better off doing it the other way around. Stay in Bohinj, and then visit Bled.
With far fewer tourists, Bohinj has a feeling of purity about it. And it’s commonly regarded that whilst tourists prefer Bled, the locals prefer Bohinj.
And with good reason!
Leave Your Bike At The Hotel
In the first instalment of our Off-Bike Gems series, I mentioned that motorcycle touring isn’t all about the riding.
If you’re in Slovenia on your motorcycle, there’s a good chance you were tempted there by the wonderful riding roads of the Julian Alps.
And that’s great.
But there’s so much more you can explore off the bike.
So grab your walking shoes and a flask and enjoy the gem that is Bohinj.
Motorcycle Touring In Bohinj: Overview
Bohinj is, without doubt, the place to be if you prefer the outdoors and all the activities that go with it.
With far fewer tourists, Bohinj has a rustic and natural feeling to it. The air is clean and crisp. The emerald green lake is crystal clear and inviting.
On New Year’s Day, the locals have a tradition of jumping off the jetty. It cleanses them for the year to come – and despite knowing it’s freezing, you can’t help but feel tempted!
The largest lake in Slovenia, Bohinj is a glacial lake that you can enjoy year-round. So if you’re enjoying a motorcycle tour of the Julian Alps, immerse yourself in nature and witness this spectacular region of Slovenia.
Bohinj is situated in the northwest of Slovenia, a mere 26km southwest of Bled.
If you choose to stop in Bled, the motorcycle route to Bohinj is a pleasant one. Uncomplicated, the ride is awash with feel-good views of mountains, valleys, and canyons.
And with sporadic glimpses of crystal clear rivers and streams, the ride to Bohinj evokes a feeling of freshness and vigour.
The region of Bohinj itself is part of Triglav National Park, and the lake can be found in the Bohinj valley in the Julian Alps.
Around 100km from the popular riding roads of the Julian Alps, Bohinj is only a day’s ride away from the eastern side of the Dolomites and is also reachable from the passes of southern Austria.
Motorcycle Touring In Bohinj: What Will I See?
Where Bled is a convenient, romantic getaway, Bohinj is nature’s playground. It caters much more to the lovers of the outdoors.
With many off-road trails to choose from, Bohinj is the perfect spot for off-roading. Mountain biking, camping, hiking, open-water swimming and kayaking are also popular.
And if you get a chance, take a trip on the Vogel cable car where you will see inexplicably stunning views over Triglav National Park and the Savica waterfall.
From the scenic views of St John the Baptist Church to the Zlatarog sculpture in the mountains, the region of Bohinj offers a world of things to see when motorcycle touring in the Julian Alps.
When To Visit
One of the best things about Bohinj is the changes that take place throughout the seasons.
In the summer months, it’s a region devout to summer activities on the water, such as swimming, kayaking and paddleboarding.
In the cooler months, hiking takes prevalence on the lower slopes, while the Vogel resort provides some of the best ski slopes in Europe.
For riding purposes, the height of summer will yield the best biking conditions. However, it will also bring the majority of tourists.
If you can push it to September, the majority of the tourists would have left, and you might even see the summer greens of the forests turn to burnt autumnal oranges.
If you intend to go up Vogel, the temperature can drop quickly. But during the hours of peak sunshine, the temperature can become warm even during the winter months.
The last time I was there, I was up on the slopes in early January, and the temperature reached a balmy 22 degrees!
Motorcycle Touring In Bohinj: What To Do
For me, the primary activity to indulge in during your off-bike trip to Bohinj is hiking.
There are trails galore around the shoreline of Lake Bohinj, but you can’t go far wrong with the Juliana Trail.
The trail itself is a 267km trail that circumnavigates the Julian Alps – so you won’t be able to do all of it in a weekend!
From mountain ridges to urban valleys, and from secluded mountain passes to river crossings, there’s something for all levels of fitness.
And no matter which you choose, you’ll always have spectacular views of Triglav – Slovenia’s highest mountain.
Drink the natural spring water, and enjoy the gift of nature via Triglav National Park.
If you’re lucky, you may also stumble across the Zlatarog – a legendary creature of the Triglav National Park.
A white chamois with golden horns, he is part of a fairytale passed down for generations.
Up near Ukanc, you can climb the 550 steps to the viewing platform, where you will see the mountains on one side and the Savica waterfall on the other.
Motorcycle Touring In Bohinj: Conclusion
If you’re riding Slovenia’s Julian mountain passes, take time out to visit the off-bike gem that is Bohinj.
For centuries, the region has been synonymous with writers and poets taking inspiration from this wonderful piece of the planet. And if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for you!
Explore the trails and drink in the glacial waters. Hike around these magnificent shorelines and lose yourself on the winding forest paths.
Have your fill of the Triglav National Park, and then jump back on your bike to enjoy the magnificent twisties of the Alps!
I know, I know. You loved this so much you want more. Good news! We have some here:
- Off-Bike Gems: Italy’s Alpe di Siusi
- Don’t Dismiss France As A Touring Destination!
- Motorcycling In The Vosges Mountains
Top image via Hasmik Ghazaryan Olson / Unsplash