The emerald green Zelenci Lake with its crystal-clear water is one of a kind natural gem in an impressive part of unspoiled alpine nature in Slovenia. Its uniqueness also noticed Sir Humphry Davy, a famous English naturalist who wrote: “The most I was fond of the Sava River Valley with its waterfalls and lakes. I haven’t seen anything more beautiful in the whole of Europe. ”

You can visit Zelenci with us.

Our one day tour, 7 Alpine Wonders Tour is a trip where you can see Zelenci and 6 other most interesting natural sights in Slovenia.

Why is Zelenci nature reserve so special to visit?

The 14-hectare Zelenci nature reserve was protected in 1992. Drni marsh is nearly 1200 meters long and 150 meters wide. Unique features of this wetland are in its colorfulness and picturesque landscape, as the small area attracts visitors with the upper part of a river basin, lakes with babbling underwater sources, water windows and winding riverbeds in the lower bog.

Three meters deep breathtaking emerald-green Lake Zelenci is located on the extreme west side of the Drni marsh. Its uniqueness, besides the mesmerizing color, is in the porous chalk on the bottom of the lake that is letting through the groundwater in the formation of small volcanoes, which babble on the surface. This is also a unique feature in Slovenia.

Sava River sources in Zelenci, as the longest Slovenian river and as the second spring of a brook called Nadiža, which sources near a mountain cottage in Tamar Valley. Nadiža River, along with other torrential streams in the Planica Valley, flows below the water-permeable gravelly surface.

Vegetation and the animal kingdom

Considering the water, relief and climate conditions, Zelenci and the Drni marsh are an important habitat where various plants and animals found their homes. Some of them are on the Slovenian endangered species list.

In this area, plants that need a lot of moisture to grow are thriving. The alder and spruce trees prevail among the tree species, and the carnivorous drosera, genus carex, winter horsetail, whitewater crowfoot, and alpine bulrush are growing near the water. Some of the marsh fauna, which is widespread in Central Europe, only grow in this area.

While strolling around Zelenci park, you may notice some of the typical animals, such as:

  • Nesting birds: scarlet darter, blackbird, kingfisher
  • Amphibians: viviparous lizard, grass snake, sand lizard, alpine newt
  • Fish: brown trout, brook trout
  • Grey heron, white and black stork, small grebe, garganey, Eurasian wigeon

Location of the park – beautiful alpine valley

Zelenci park, that lies at an altitude of 850 meters, is located in the extreme northwest of Slovenia in the municipality of Kranjska Gora, near the village of Podkoren, which lies on the south side of the main road between the Kranjska Gora ski resort and Rateče village.

The Zelenci nature reserve is positioned in an alpine valley on the northern edge of the Triglav National Park. In the south, it is surrounded by forested Vitranc and the mighty Julian Alps, and in the north, it is encircled with Karavanke mountains.

Walk around Lake Zelenci with the best views of the Julian Alps

You can walk around Zelenci Springs on a wide wooden pathway. There are also two piers that are particularly interesting for taking amazing photographs. Information boards are set up along the well-maintained paths. This way you can learn more about the park and its history and about the life of the plants and animals that live here.

There is also a single-storey wooden lookout tower next to Zelenci Lake, to which you can climb and observe the surrounding area from a slightly higher perspective. The lookout tower also offers captivating views of the surrounding peaks of the Julian Alps in the background. That’s how you’ll see the mighty two-thousand-meter mountains like Mt. Špik, Mount Jalovec, and Mt. Ciprnik.

How to get to Zelenci Springs?

Below you will find information how to get to the park on foot, by car, and by bike. Then we will describe the pathway from the parking lot or snack bar to the lake.

Hiking trail from Kranjska Gora

It takes about an hour to walk from Kranjska Gora to the parking lot near Zelenci. At the Kranjska Gora ski slope, on the large parking lot, you can start the hike and continue along Borovška road. The hiking trail will take you through the woods to the ski slopes in Podkoren.

From here, continue to the parking lot at the foot of a ski lift and Velika Dolina double chairlift and then walk along the pathway, which is one part descends to the footbridge over the Sava Dolinka River. Then continue on the left side of the main sidewalk to the inn.

Hiking trail from Rateče

A short 20-minute walk from Rateče village to Zelenci starts near the bus station or the main crossroads. From here, walk along the cul-de-sac, at the end of which, descend to the main road leading from Rateče to Kranjska Gora and turn left. Walk on the main road for a few minutes and then cross the road. From here, you will soon reach the snack bar.

By car

The park is only 5 kilometers away from Kranjska Gora. If you drive from Kranjska Gora towards Rateče, you will pass Podkoren village in three kilometers. From Podkoren, you will drive another two kilometers and see a parking lot on the left side of the main road. You can park in this parking lot or you can go a little further and park in the second parking space.

By bike

Cycleways are well arranged in this part of Slovenia, so it is also possible to get to the park by bike. The cycle trail runs from Forest Martuljek to Italy. You can also stop by the beautiful Lake Jasna, continue past Zelenci to Mangart Lakes in Italy.

From the parking lot to the Zelenci Lake

You will walk only 5 minutes from the upper parking space to Zelenci Springs and a minute longer from the lower parking lot. You will walk on a wide and well-maintained hiking path that leads through the forest and soon divides into two parts. Continue along the left side, and you will soon arrive at your final destination. The trail is easily accessible in all seasons.

Lake Zelenci
Beautiful Colors of Lake in Zelenci

Free entry and free parking

You do not have to pay an entrance fee or a parking lot for a visit to Zelenci. This means that the sightseeing tour is completely free.

Access for wheelchairs and strollers

The pathway from the parking lot to Zelenci is also suitable for wheelchairs and strollers as the track is beaten and well-maintained. It is a macadam trail with smaller pebbles that do not stop the wheels. Besides, the path is not steep, as there is no difference in altitude. The wooden walkway around the lake is also suitable for wheelchairs and strollers.

The Zelenci nature reserve is wonderful in all seasons

7 alpine wonders

This natural park attracts many local and foreign visitors. The unique trip around Zelenci Springs is worth to visit in all seasons. The excursion is an unforgettable experience for active hikers, seniors, young couples and families with children.

The area is gorgeous when spring is in the air and all the buds are blooming. It is also lovely in the fall when nature dresses in warm autumn colors. The water has a constant temperature of 5 to 6 degrees Celsius. So, the water is very cold for swimming even in summer when outside temperatures are high.

In spring, summer, and autumn, you can join us on an all-day 7 Alpine Wonders tour. In addition to Zelenci, the guide will also take you to other sightseeing spots in the area, such as:

  • Waterfall Peričnik
  • Špik Mountain – photo shooting spot
  • Lake Predil
  • Soča River Valley
  • Lake Jasna
  • Vršič mountain pass

Lake Zelenci does not turn into ice even on the coldest days. The reason is in the porous chalk at the bottom that is letting through the groundwater and creates some kind of small volcanoes. This way, the water has a constant temperature of 5 to 6 degrees Celsius.

If you are interested in 7 Alpine Wonders Tour

Click here

Winter wonderland

In winter, when the landscape is covered in snow, the spring of the Sava River is even more mysterious and romantic. The Zelenci lake stands out with its blue-green color, which is even more noticeable on a sunny winter day.

If you would like to visit other natural attractions nearby, you can join us on an all-day Winter Alpine Wonders Tour and discover hidden gems in the Triglav National Park and the Julian Alps region. On a day trip, we will visit amazing attractions, that are especially impressive in the wintertime.

  • Lake Bohinj
  • Pokljuka plateau
  • Radovna and alpine Vrata Valley
  • Peričnik Waterfall
  • Kranjska Gora
  • Zelenci
  • Ski Nordic center in Planica

If you like to go to Winter Alpine Wonders Tour

Click here
Altitude Activities Trip Advisor Travelers' Choice 2023 Award

Proud recipient of a TripAdvisor 2023 Certificate of Excellence
Thank you all for the great reviews!

Trip Advisor 5 stars

Aleksandra (our guide) provided an excellent day out with lots of beautiful sightseeing and lovely hikes! It was a full jam packed day (10 hours) which had enough breaks with a lovely spot for lunch. We loved it so much that we are going to go on another tour with Alpine Activities!

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DECEMBER 17, 2023

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