Velika Planina is a plateau in Slovenia where there is one of the largest surviving high mountain shepherd villages in Europe.
Such a village has the peculiarity of having wooden cottages with characteristic very sloping spruce roofs, built in this way to withstand the heavy winter snowfalls, which give the visitor the idea of entering a fairy tale.
Below we will point out all the information to best organize your trip to the Velika Planina plateau.
How to get there
To reach the top of the plateau you have to take a cable car and then either walk (an hour and a quarter walk) or take a chairlift (15 minutes).
In Italy you are not allowed to take small children on the chairlift, in Slovenia we don’t know how the rules are in any case we decided not to risk it and walk the last stretch.
To get to the cable car station, you have to set the address of the parking lot located near the starting point on your navigator: Kamniška Bistrica-Kokrsko 2a, 1242 Stahovica. In about 5 minutes you go from the 555-meter altitude of the lower station of the cable car, to the 1412-meter altitude of the upper station. From here you can continue precisely by chairlift or on foot. The maximum altitude of the plateau is 1611 meters.
The cable car ticket costs 17 euros (round trip), the combined ticket with the chairlift 21 euros. For up-to-date prices and schedules, always check the official Velika Planina website.
What to do at Velika Planina
Once you get to the plateau, you can spend a half day going to visit the shepherd village and taking some nice walks in the surrounding area until you reach the Konjščica and Dol alpine pastures.
➽ The village of shepherds
The main attraction of Velika Planina is the village of shepherds: in total there are 140 huts of which about sixty are inhabited by shepherds mainly from June to September to take the cows to pasture. Some among the typical dwellings have been turned into Bed & Breakfasts where you can for all intents and purposes stay overnight, while others have become restaurants where you can dine on local products such as polenta, cheese, and cold cuts.
➽ Chapel of Santa Maria della Neve
At the top of the plateau, there is this small church where a mass is celebrated on August 5 for the celebration of Our Lady of the Snow. Even during the summer months, services are held regularly every Sunday.
The small church was destroyed by the Germans during World War II and later rebuilt in 1988 at the behest of local shepherds.
➽ Preskar Museum
This oval-shaped dwelling houses a small collection of the clothing and equipment of the shepherds of the pastoralists, so you can learn about their way of life on the Velika Planina plateau.
An example of the Trnič cheese that was once richly decorated and given by shepherds to their sweethearts can also be seen.
Museum opening hours – every day during the summer months and the ticket cost is 3 euros.
➽ Veternica Caves and Dovja Griča
We did not go to see them, but we would like to inform you of the existence of these caves, which can be reached by a short walk. Guided tours are organized that also include a stop in the caves.
Where to sleep
Just off the chairlift, before you get to the actual shepherd’s village, you will find typical-style dwellings converted into Bed & Breakfasts where you can stay overnight (with prior reservation). Below is a list of the best accommodations:
Vetrnice Chalet & Sauna – I FEEL ALPS – Book here.
Koča Bistra – Book here.
Koča Ojstrica – Book here.
Chalet Resa – Book here.
These are luxury accommodations, equipped with a kitchen and some with a sauna. Alternatively, you can stay in Kamnik, which is 10 km from the plateau.
Where to eat
To fully understand Slovenian culture, it is essential to visit this ancient shepherd settlement and, of course, to taste the local cuisine. The typical highland dish is sour milk with buckwheat porridge, which has a fairly strong taste.
Other typical dishes include jota (soup with beans), barley soup, goulash, Carniolan sausage, fresh cheeses, and cottage cheese štruklji (typical Slovenian dessert).
The most famous restaurant in Velika Planina is the Zeleni Rob tavern; you have to make reservations otherwise you may not find a seat. Alternatively, there are other restaurants or shepherds’ dwellings where you can put something under your teeth.
When to go to Velika Planina
The Velika Planina plateau is accessible all year round.
The ideal time in our opinion is summer for beautiful nature walks or the month of April-May when the Nigritella Lithopolitanica, a purple crocus that dyes the plateau’s meadows a spectacular hue, and the Daffodils bloom (if you are interested, see also The Blooming of Daffodils at Pian della Cavalla).
Remember, however, that we are in the high mountains and the weather can change rapidly even in summer.
▶ You might also be interested in How to dress children in the mountains.
During winter, however, you can go up to Velika Planina for skiing and snowshoeing. A free winter park is set up for children.