Take the chance to discover these gorgeous lesser-known Nature Parks in Slovenia, that get overlooked by the majority of travelers.

European Day of Parks: parks in Slovenia
Kozjansko Regional Park. Source: slovenia.info. Author: Jost Gantar

Natural Parks are some of the most beautiful places to enjoy health and well-being in unique ways! Did you know that contact with nature:

  • promotes mental tranquility and reduces stress;
  • prevents health problems and promote an active lifestyle;
  • reduces social isolation and strengthens community cohesion?
European Day of Parks: contact to nature reduces social isolation
Source: slovenia.info. Autor: Simon Avsec

This summer, avoid the hotspots, indulge in nature, and experience the exceptional biodiversity of the top 5 lesser-known Nature Parks in Slovenia. Here they are!

1. Kozjansko Regional Park

Do you want to discover some particular characteristics about the Kozjansko Regional Park? Before starting, you must pause for a moment and imagine a mosaic landscape of colored plains and hills along a river. This river is called Sotla river and constitutes, together with the Kolpa river, the greater part of the border between Slovenia and Croatia.

European day of Parks: discover the Kozjansko Regional Park
Source: slovenia.info. Author: Jost Gantar

Since 2010, the Kozjansko region is part of the Man and Biosphere programme (MAB), under the auspices of UNESCO. This is certainly a prize to the Kozjansko Park for all the goals achieved in maintaining biodiversity and promoting human resource development by preserving cultural values.

Do you like apples? Well, you will surely appreciate the Kozjansko Apple, from the typical meadow orchards of the Park. In fact, this special apple has become a symbol of health, environmentalism, sustainability and preservation of the heritage. This is why, since 2000, every year in the second week of October, the Park celebrate the Kozjansko Apple Festival.

Where to eco-friendly stay near Kozjansko Regional Park?

For sure, at the Ortenia Apartments, first eco-friendly apartments in Slovenia designed using the principle of innovative sustainable construction. Here, you will be able to find your contact with nature. Indeed, all the visible parts of the building are made of wood, while the insulation material inside the walls is of cellulose fiber and is fitted with natural sealing materials.

2. Notranjska Regional Park

The Notranjska Regional Park is characterized by a large number of Karst phenomena on the surface and in the underworld. The municipality of Cerknica established the Notranjska Regional Park in 2002. Undoubtedly, the aim was to preserve, protect, and explore natural and cultural values as well as protect natural ecosystems and characteristics of inanimate nature.

Slovenia: discover the Notranjska Regional park
Notranjska Regional Park. Source: slovenia.info. Author: Jost Gantar

The most important attraction of the Park is the Cerknica Lake. Indeed, it is one of the largest intermittent lakes in Europe. It appears every year in the karst plain. Then, during the dry season, the lake disappears. Can you guess the consequence? You can practice so many activities that you can not even imagine! Precisely, you will be able to choose between paddling, fishing, hiking, bear-watchingor grass mowing. No more fights with your family and friends who have different hobbies from yours.

The hobbies menu is not finished yet! Are you maybe in love with discovering secret caves? You have found your place: the Križna Jama Cave. Sure enough, this is the most beautiful tourist water cave in Slovenia and ranks among the richest caves in the world. It is composed of 22 emerald lakes connected by an underground crystal-clear stream.

Slovenia: discover theNotranjska Regional Park
Križna Jama Cave. Source: slovenia.info. Author: Križna jama Lovers Association

Where to eco-friendly stay near Notranjska Regional Park?

The Dormouse House is a very special accommodation. First of all, it is a historic stone holiday house in which you will sleep like a rock! Then, the house dates back from the 18th century, and it is still maintaining many original features: that is why you will feel like you have traveled two centuries back in time. Moreover, the owners, Jana and Paul, are both naturalist guides, and they are also currently running a non-profit company: Nature in color, which is working on nature conservation and ecotourism.

3. Goričko Landscape Park

Imagine a picturesque landscape with dispersed farms on low hills: well, this is the essence of the Goričko Landscape Park. Surely, this is one of the lesser-known Nature Parks in Slovenia. Probably, that is because Goričko is just one part (the Slovenian part) of a Three Countries Park with Austria and Hungary.

European Day of Parks: discover the Goričko Landscape Park
Mosaic Carpet of Land Usage via Nature Parks of Slovenia

This region has seen dramatic volcanic events, both 17 million years ago and, more recently, 1.6 million years ago. The effects of this phenomenon are still visible. For example, the Grad Castle, the biggest castle in Slovenia, is situated on a solid rock of volcanic ash. Do you want to know something curious? The castle is named after Grad, but, at the same time, Grad means ‘castle’ in Slovene. Moreover, the Grad Castle is located in the Grad settlement, in the municipality of Grad. Does not it seem a tongue-twister?!

Where to eco-friendly stay near Goričko Landscape Park?

Definitely, at the Vrbnjak agrotourism farm. The farmhouse includes two beautiful apartments. The area surrounding the property offers the opportunity to try a wide range of activities, such as fishing, hiking, horse riding, and cycling.  Plus, you will enjoy the delicious organic food produced on the farm.

4. Kolpa Landscape Park

Another landscape park that can be considered part of the lesser-known Nature Parks in Slovenia is the Kolpa, situated in the south of the country. The heart of the Kolpa Landscape Park is the crystal-clear, clean, warm and biodiverse Kolpa river. Its peculiarity lies in the fact that it changes its character several times during its flow: from a mountain torrent to a slow flat country river.

Slovenia: discover the Kolpa Landscape Park
Hikers looking over the Kolpa River. Source: slovenia.info. Author: Jost Gantar

On one hand, the Park boasts a rich architectural heritage, including old castles, churches, and chapels. On the other hand, its most interesting peculiarities are the ruins of 16 mills and sawmills along the river. Some still defy the ravages of time and in three of them the millwheel still occasionally runs to grind grain, so visitors can see the work process.

Where to eco-friendly stay near Kolpa Landscape Park?

If you are searching for a relax with your family, there is no better place than Residence Ana. Two green, luxury, and safe apartments are available for up to 12 guests. The Residence has its own organic garden, where you can pick fresh products to boost your immunity and simply chill in a 50 square meter saltwater swimming pool!

5. Pivka Nature Park

The Pivka Nature Park has many names: Pivka Basin, Pivka Valley, Pivka Region or simply Pivka. Undoubtedly, the name Pivka Basin is related to the fact that the main attractions of the Park are the Pivka intermittent lakes. Specifically, in the Pivka Valley (an area of 15 km²), you can find 17 of them. The mysterious lake landscape changes every day: this means that if you visit the Park today, probably you will find it completely different in a few days.

The full of life nature in this area is dependent for the most part on farms. As many as 40% of the agricultural areas are farmed ecologically, while the Slovenian average is 7%. The use of areas is dictated by the shallow soil and the karst surface: these characteristics do not allow intensive agricultural use. Indeed, the Pivka Nature Park is one of the lesser-known Nature Parks in Slovenia where sheep and goats, cattle and horses graze on the village greens. Therefore, the landscape does not become overgrown.

Where to eco-friendly stay near Pivka Nature Park?

Being in love with parks means being in love with nature. Organic Tourist farm Pri Andrejevih  is located in the heart of the bear area and has a bear-friendly certificate. For the most authentic local experience, you can involve in everyday activities, such as assisting shepherd at remote pastures, experiencing howling with wolves, and learning about the bears and other wildlife.

So, have you chosen your next destination in nature? I bet you have a wide range of possibilities right now!