This quick excursion is perfect for nature lovers, photographers, or anyone who is looking to spend some time in the great outdoors. You'll spend three days in southeastern Slovenia in the heart of bear country, exploring the forests, lakes, and underground cave systems of this unique region—and of course, observe wild bears in their natural habitat on this off-the-beaten-path adventure.

Highlights

  • Observe brown bears and hundreds of bird species in the wild 
  • Visit Lake Cerknica, which disappears completely during the dry season
  • Wander through the primeval forests of Kočevsko
  • Paddle around the subterranean lakes of the Križna jama cave

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Kočevsko Forests & Bear Observation Kočevje
Day 2 Lake Cerknica & Birdwatching Kočevje
Day 3 Underground Cave Exploration Kočevje

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Kočevsko Forests & Bear Observation

A photogenic bear from Kočevsko

Your adventure starts in the town of Kočevje in the region of Kočevsko, your home base for the next few days. After a short briefing, your guide will lead you along the Roška trail through a peaceful primeval forest. The trail is too long to complete in one day, but you'll see a few of the highlights, including the tranquil Lake Kočevje, the fascinating Željnske jame cave system, and the untouched forest known as Rajhenavski Rog. Here you'll find majestic silver fir trees, including one 500-year-old fir known as the Queen of Rog.

Just before the dusk sets in, make your way to the observatory station to wait for the bears. This part of Slovenia is one of the few places in Europe where the wild brown bear population is thriving — there are currently several hundred bears in the region. If you're quiet and patient, you're very likely to catch a glimpse of these routine-bound creatures. If the weather isn't cooperating, you can try to see the bears again tomorrow.

Day 2: Lake Cerknica & Birdwatching

A foggy glimpse of Lake Cerknica

Today you'll explore the enchanting Notranjska Regional Park, where you'll find mountain views, meadows, lakes, streams, forests, and more. It's also one of the only parts of Slovenia where you can find bears, wolves, and lynx in a single habitat.

Stop by Lake Cerknica, an intermittent lake atop a karst field that dries up and disappears during the dry season. The park's museum explains this natural phenomenon in detail. Your guide will also lead you on a photography tour of the lake's 230 species of birds. Try and capture pictures of as many as you can, or simply watch them and appreciate their beauty.

Day 3: Underground Cave Exploration

Hike along the Roška trail

After exploring the above-ground landscape of Kočevsko and the Notranjska, it's time to head underground and discover the caves of this karstic region. There are over 8,000 recorded caves in Slovenia, and new ones are found each year. Today you'll tour the Križna jama water cave.

Dozens of subterranean emerald-colored lakes are connected by a sparkling stream, and as you paddle along it you'll see the ancient bones of the now-extinct cave bears in the side passages. Admire the stalagmite and stalactite formations before emerging from the cave and heading back to Kočevje, where your nature and wildlife excursion will come to an end.

Map

Map of Nature and Wildlife in Slovenia - 3 Days
Map of Nature and Wildlife in Slovenia - 3 Days