Exploring Zelenci Nature Reserve

Of all the places we’ve visited so far, Slovenia remains our favourite. Exploring Zelenci Nature Reserve was a truly magical start to our visit. We arrived in the top north west corner of Slovenia, crossing the border from Italy. By chance I saw a picture on Instagram of Zelenci and discovered it was along our route, not far from the border crossing. After a long drive, it looked like it would make a great place to stop for lunch and a walk.

There is a car park right next to the main road from the border crossing, where we parked up and had our lunch. Then we headed into the woods, following the path in search of the emerald green lake that I’d seen in pictures. The woods themselves were pretty magical, with lots of mushrooms dotted about.

The emerald lake

You emerge from the woods onto a wooden boardwalk and a view of the lake, which is breathtakingly beautiful. Before I waffle on about this magical place, the short version is that it is as stunning as the pictures suggest.

The boardwalk follows the edge of the lake and leads to a sort of high wooden lookout. Follow the steps up and you get an even more incredible view of the lake framed by its beautiful surroundings – woods, rolling fields, and mountains in the distance. We spent a long time just soaking it all up, and wandering along the boardwalk watching the lake.

One of the information boards told us that the lake is fed from springs at the bottom of the lake. We managed to spot these small jets of water that you can see bubbling up through the sand.

A walk in the woods

Reluctantly we left the lake, but decided to explore some of the paths that led into the woods. There were maps that showed various walking loops that you could take. We had great fun spotting various types of mushrooms along the way.

It’s a really perfect stop for a walk and some fresh air for anyone travelling past. Zelenci is not a huge nature reserve so it’s great for kids, and all the paths were pretty accessible to most people. For us, it has been one of the most beautiful places we’ve visited on our travels.

For more write ups on the places we’ve visited with our kids, check out our Family Travel Guides.