Kropa.. thunder river & nails
If you are looking for a secret place to visit in the Bled area which is a bit different from what you might expect to find in Green Slovenia, but can divert you away from the rest of the world for a few hours, then why not head to Kropa!
You have to take a detour from absolutely anywhere just to get here, but leaving the main roads is one of our biggest tips for discovering Slovenia's cute little villages, secret rivers and the awesome greeness at a slower pace anyway.
Kropa was actually once a rather important European industrial town, but you wouldn't necessarily realise this nowadays when you arrive on the tidy, quiet high street, with green mountains towering above and a crystal clear river absolutely thundering through the centre of the town, stimulating your ear drums!
Yes, the very fast and powerful Kropavica river flows down from the mountains into Kropa and then finally into Slovenia's longest river, the Sava. It's power was harnessed during the industrial revolution to fire up two big ironworks and this is where the modern day town of Kropa was born.
There are plenty of clues from the industrial past for you to find and admire.. the tall, narrow worker's houses are squeezed in, Amsterdam style, between the river and mountains. There are many fantastic iron made items scattered around the town in lovely detail.
Kropa first specialised in making nails, yes nails.. and these were sold ALL over Europe! Kropa was incredibly successfull at it and if you want to know a little more about this and the history of Kropa, then check out the iron museum in the centre of the town!
And there is a kooky grand organ to greet you with a tune in reception as you enter! But the rest of the museum concentrates on how nails were made, the history or the works and the town and the lives of the iron workers.
You will also see how in more recent years Kropa moved production into detailed specialist iron decorations, such as railings, street lamps and other hand made iron pieces. At Lipizzaner Lodge we are very lucky to have all our cafe lamp shades made in Kropa and we are very proud of them!
Sadly our iron lampholders were some of the last made in Kropa, almost inevitably the first and then the last ironworks closed down a few years ago.. now no iron is shaped in Kropa.
After the museum visit we recommend you explore the high street a little and walk up the river towards the Pr Kovac restaurant at the top of the town. The restaurant owner is a real character and we hope you stop for a meal here and let him entertain you, the food is local and excellent of course.
Even on a hot summer day standing by the river you can understand how this force of nature could power a town and if it has been raining or at other times of year the river can be so loud that you can't even hear yourself think.. it's magnificent!
And that is it for your short hop to Kropa! A few hours diversion from the main tourist routes for something a little different and quite unexpected.
We left via the top of the town, following up the river and out into the amazing countryside roads to take a little longer to get home, but if you go directly you can get to Kropa from the Lodge in an hour.
Kropa can be a lovely addition to a day out at lake Bled or nearby medieval Radovlica.. In Kropa you have several of the key Slovenian green wonders here, river, pretty church, mountains and forest, but Slovenia has a long industrial heritage too and so an hour spent at the iron musuem here, a stroll and a bite to eat next to the river will offer you something you might not have expected to see in Green Slovenia.