Let's have a little bit of cheeky fun now with this section and tell you all about the different types of Islands you can find here in Green Slovenia!
When you think of islands, then it might well be the Croatian seaside islands that come to mind in this part of the world and there is not much else in Europe to rival them for a holiday if you want to spend 2 weeks just by the sea.. (by the way, even some of the "Istrian" Croatian islands are easily within reach of the Lodge for a roundtrip too)!
Green Slovenia doesn't have those kinda sea islands, but the ones we do have are quirky, completely different to each other and so naturally beautiful that we think you might like to know about them..
A Week's Adventure Holiday visiting ALL the Islands in Green Slovenia!
What about this for a wacky idea.. but it's perfectly possible too.. there are enough islands here in Slovenia to combine together into a very different, fun themed week.. You could visit a different Slovenian Island EVERY DAY as part of your daily adventures here for a complete Robinson Crusoe WEEK!
And of course, you wouldn't be spending the whole day on the island.. there are plenty of other secret places to see in your day out close by, but the island could instead become the centrepiece of each day.. these islands are all over Slovenia, so form a great little logistical map for you to get around here..
With some of these islands, the thrill might be more about actually finding it and knowing that this IS an island or has an "island" story..
So time to jump in your rowing boat and fasten the oars.. let's go explore our little Island list!
Bled Island (60 mins from the Lodge)..
This was perhaps the one Slovenian island you might have thought about when clicking on this "Island" page.. Possibly the most beautiful Alpine island anywhere and certainly the most photogenic!
You coud jump aboard a local gondola (Pletna), row yourself or even swim out to this stunningly beautiful island at the far end of lake Bled. The Pletnas moor at the base of a steep stone staircase with 99 steps up to the church.. once climbed, if you ring the church bell you can make a wish! (We wished for an escalator, but it didn't come true)!
If you don’t go to the island itself, then you will probably spend most of your time gazing out at its beauty from different angles and dangles as you walk around the lake.. and it is well worth going up to the castle (Grad) on top of the cliff for another spectacular view over the lake and Bled island.. with the Julian Alps as a stunning backdrop..
Izola.. (35 mins away)..
Our favourite Slovenian coastal town is Izola, which translates as "island" and was really once an island! It was completely cut off from the mainland during Roman times!
Nowadays it’s a pretty peninsular seaside town and our top pick at the coast for a relaxing day out, swimming, eating, strolling or cycling. We absolutely love this place, it is relaxed, beautiful, full of secret little restaurants and the ice cream here is also extremely yummy!
There is a pretty little old town to explore, with colourful narrow streets and a great little museum where you can see ancient maps of when Izola was this Roman island.
The museum has a metal donkey outside, so you can't miss it and has other great exhibits about sailing and the sea.. Upstairs it has a really great mini museum with a working model railway showing the route of the Austro Hungarian Imperial railway that went from Trieste to Istria and is now mainly a very pleasant cycle path.. Steamtastic!
Krizna (Cross) Cave Underground Island.. (35 mins away)..
One of Slovenia's least known, but best showcaves has a stunning 4 hour underground adventure trip mainly by boat, restricted to just 1,000 persons per year and this is the ONLY way to get to see the island down here!
Yep, during this amazing underground adventure you will paddle a mini circuit around Slovenia’s biggest underground island!
Actually, this is one of several surprises on the tour and believe us, the time flies as you discover another world in a rubber boat, wearing your caving overalls and rubber boots, with just 3 other people and a wonderful guide!
Some couples have actually been married on this underground island and if you want to visit, then please make sure you book the 4 hour tour early, our article on the Krizna cave might help!
There are lots of sensational natural dripstone features in this cave and the 4 hour tour ends at a huge underground waterfall.. you often have to get out of the boat and follow the guide's footsteps, so be sure to wear at least 3 pairs of socks under the wellies (rubber boots) that you will be provided with.. as the crystal clear water is ice cold!
Otok Island on the the biggest disappearing Lake in Europe.. (30 mins away)..
Another word for "island" in Slovene is Otok and this is exactly what you will find if you drive, E Bike or hike along the beautiful stone track road that leads out over the biggest disappearing lake in Europe at nearby Cerknica.. but will you find the island?!
You see, Otok is a tiny village on top of a little tree topped hill that you might not even notice is so special if you see it in the summer, cos it isn't technically an island then, it is just a pretty hill!
Cerknica disappearing lake is the biggest of numerous unique disappearing lakes in Slovenia that magically appear in just a couple of days in the autumn to create huge water paradises for birds and water sports lovers.
They hang around majestically until the summer.. then dramatically disappear or vanish into thin air,just as quick as they arrived, leaving massive summer meadows covered in flowers, huge empty sink holes to explore, revealing hidden roads and yes, even this little island in Cerknica called Otok!
So you can see now, why for most of the year, this hill does actually transform into an island as it gets surrounded by the water from a lake that can reach up to 40 sq KM and regularly becomes the biggest lake of any kind in Green Slovenia!
We cannot recommend enough a visit to Cerknica lake, but this wonder of Green nature really is so huge, even if you just get to visit the large stone tracked corner of this lake where Otok island is perched.. (at which time it might be an island or a tree topped hill.. it doesn't matter).. cos you will know this special island secret!
Chestnut Island, (Kostanjevice) (90 mins away)..
One of the most beautiful and little known rivers in Slovenia is the bottle green river Krka and it snakes around the medieval village of Chestnut, (Kostanjevice) to form a really lovely river island..
The only road access to the island is over a big, rickety wooden bridge. But it also looks great fun to rent a rowing boat and navigate yourself around the island!
There are several really great places to visit close by, including Slovenia’s biggest art gallery, tucked away in a massive monastery with lots of outdoor wooden sculptures in the green fields.. there are also other working monasteries around here with vineyards run by monks.
It is also perfectly possible to explore the entire Krka river in a daytrip from the Lodge, with a stop off at Chestnut island for lunch, maybe visit a vineyard to try the unique local Cvicek wine and stop off at some castles along the river.. wow what a day and one of those very castles is next on our island list!..
Otoćec Castle island.. (75 mins away)..
Just 15 mins along the Krka river from Chestnut is another much smaller island with one of Slovenia's most beautiful castles on! You really should stop off here for at least a photo.. it is quite magical..
The castle is now an hotel, but please don't let that put you off going across the wooden bridge to go inside and have a peek as you can have coffee and cakes or even a meal there with a secret view to the inner courtyard.. all this on a Slovenian island!
By the way, do not be put off going into this castle hotel in case you think it looks a bit too posh.. (or indeed other "posh" looking places in Slovenia).. There is no class system here at all and it is more important to be friendly and polite than turn up in a suit!
And if you want to include a round of golf into this day out, there is a lovely golf course hidden away on the other side of the river..
Mozirski Gaj Gardens.. (90 mins from the Lodge)..
We did say this list would be a little quirky.. We recently found an absolutely stunning park on what we thought was an island, surrounded by the beautiful Savnica river and big green rolling hills.
The park is packed with little garden displays & exhibits from all around Slovenia and some influences from the outside world too and it is a little like walking around a small "Chelsea Flower Show", (if you know what the largest garden exhibition in the world is)..
It does feel like you are stepping onto a magical island as you go from one colourful imaginitive display to the next and there is also a fantastic restaurant here where you can eat outside. They have a wonderful local wine menu here and your meal can be cooked on the barbeque if you like!
There are giant bee sculptures, a little mill, a church even and a viewing tower.. there is such a variety of horticultural ideas to see and experience here "on the island"..
We were so convinced that this park was an island we had to check on gurgle maps to see that technically it isn't, there is a bit of land connecting it to the "mainland"..
Mozirski Gaj really does have a Robinson Crusoe island feel to it and would be a magical escape from the rest of your holiday for a few hours or a great chance to have the kids run around like islanders too, (there is a really nice kids wooden playground here too), then have a lovely meal at that restaurant!
Grosuplje disappearing lake island.. (55 mins away)..
This is a tiddler of an island, but in a significant logistical part of the Grosuplje disappearing lake.. The Grosuplje TIC (Tourist Info Centre) is in the town centre, but they have another little office out here next to this little island, just minutes away from the town and we think this office will become the MAIN SPOT for visiting the delights of Grosuplje and in particular here by the island, as it is easy to park and a great place to start an E Bike tour of the lake and the other natural attractions..
So the island itself is tiny and has a just enough space for a small exhibition building on top and like many of the islands in this section, it is the significance of their location in Green nature that really makes them place special..
You see, the island is created by one of the main water springs that creates the Grosuplje disappearing lake.. fresh water comes pouring out of the hillside and forks around the island as it speeds towards the massive meadow that forms the disappearing lake.
By following the water here and exploring various points across Grosuplje disappearing lake, you can get an idea how this freak of nature works.. filling up quickly to form a huge lake in the autumn and then emptying to create a massive paradise meadow spreading over several km in the summer!
So we believe this little island location with the spring of a new river will be the perfect base for visitors to Slovenia to arrive, learn a little about the lake and use as a springboard to lots of little nature adventures in this totally unknown mini KARST region..
If you think Bled is a touch busy during your island visit there, then come here the next day and you will very probably be the only tourists around! Even in the Grosuplje area, which is very probably a place you had never heard of, but there are several secret places to visit in a day out, you can find out more reading the Grosuplje Fab Four..
Koper Old Town.. (30 mins away)..
Another great excuse to pop down to the beautiful Slovenian Mediterranean coast is to explore the largest town there, Koper.. but the ancient island part is a much smaller section of the sprawling, quite ugly, new town.. so we are talking here JUST about the stunning little old town..
We had lived in Slovenia for several years before a friend took us to Koper and explained that just like Izola, Koper was once an island, separated from the mainland by a shallow sea that was divided into fields for harvesting salt!
And the old town is EASY to find.. just look for the tall Venetian type tower and maybe park near the big port or seafront area at the back of the old town and then EVERY old building you see in a complete circle was on the old island and all the new modern buildings and ring roads outside were in the sea!
You can have a great time strolling around the old town.. there is a market place, great shops, cafes, some really great restaurants, several churches, smaller squares and the lovely central square, like a very mini St Marks..
There is one particular little square to find with a bronze map fitted into the paving stones that shows how the island once looked and just by here is the only bit of the old town wall remaining with a gateway.. this is the edge of the old island!
Pop outside the gate nowadays and you will see sea of shopping centres, apartments and roundabouts, instead of salty water!
Kamnik Bistrica Island.. (75 mins away)..
There are numerous little islands dotted around Green Slovenia for you to find, particularly along rivers..
We found a fantasy liitle lump of rock in the middle of a crystal clear pool of running water coming out of the green rocks at the very start of the Kamniska Bistrica river.. now this a would be a wonderful place to have a dip and dry off.. just like a sea lion on a rock!
So if you don't have a specific plan of action for your Slovenian adventures you could get to see the coast, a cave, a few lovely places in the East & Centre, some beautiful rivers, the Alps, a couple of disappearing lakes and a castle.. JUST by following our ISLAND TRAIL!
But the really great thing is there are so many other fantastic secret places close to these islands to see too, so that each daytrip can be filled with Green Slovenian adventures..