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Slovenian Lakes and River | 4 Days

Slovenia is an easily accessible country in the heart of Europe. At the junction of the Alps, the Mediterranean and the Pannonian Plain, it will surprise you with its diversity and lush natural beauty. Slovenia is known as a land of pure water, and its numerous green glacial lakes and crystal clear rivers make it a perfect location for our lake swimming adventure.

Overview

Duration: 4 Days (3 Nights)
Tour Type: Lake and River Coastal and Crossing Swimming
Average Daily Swim: 4 km
Accommodation: Hotel on the Lake
Escort: One wooden boat, two canoes

We are based in the small secluded town of Bohinj, overlooking the vast waters of its famous lake, which dominate the area. Bohinj provides a perfect gateway for exploring the fantastic landscape of this region and each day of our trip features a varied itinerary of swims and hikes so that our guests get a real sense of what Slovenia’s adventure heartland has to offer.

Our trip takes us through Triglav National Park, swimming in the stunning glacial lakes and exploring the lush forest and magnificent waterfalls. Lake Bled, with its unique island church, cliff-top medieval castle and mountain backdrop, is just one of the highlights of the tour.

This trip is suitable for all levels of swimmers, including non-swimmers and complete beginners. At Strel Swimming we pride ourselves on running smaller groups, so we are able to offer a tailored programme for those individuals who may not wish to participate in all the swim adventures. Alternative options are often available to those guests who may wish to combine some walking and sightseeing with shorter swims.

The safety and enjoyment of all our guests is very important to us, so we can provide separate escorted walks around the swimming venues or the chance for a ´dip´ rather than a swim. No motorised boat traffic is allowed on the lakes/river.

Slovenian swimming trip in the press:
Sunday Star Times, National newspaper in New Zealand
Financial Times Article about our trip: "Slovenian Strokes "
Guardian: Master strokes: wild swimming in Slovenia
EasyJet Magazine: The Iceman Swimmeth (Lake Bled Winter Swimming)

National Geographic Traveller´s (Jul/Aug) cover introduces Lake Bled as one of the 10 Country Escapes in Europe and later describes it as "Alpine Adventure in Slovenia".

UK´s Food and Travel Magazine features Lake Bled in the article "The lake districts". The cover photo in Aug/Sept edition presents the Bled Castle,  which is celebrating 1000 years this year.

Lonely Planet puts Slovenia amongst top 10 BEST VALUE DESTINATIONS 2013

See Video Footage From Our Slovenian Trips
See High Resolution Photos From Our 2012 Season
See High Resolution Photos From Our 2011 Season

PDF: Swimming Trip Notes Slovenian Lakes

Tour Highlights:

- Swim to the 17th century church on Lake Bled
- Swim past Vila Bled, a former holiday villa of Marshal Tito of Yugoslavia
- Swim the length of Lake Bohinj and enjoy the picturesque mountain backdrop
- Swim down the glacial, emerald River Soca
- Dip in the Kozjak waterfall at Triglav National Park
- Journey on a car train through the Julian Alps
- Take in the stunning views of Bohinj and Mount Triglav from the Vogel ski-area
- On some tours, meet and swim with legendary marathon swimmer Martin Strel

Lake Bled hosted World Rowing Championships in 2011 which also served as a qualifying tournament for the 2012 summer Olympics in London. While the rowers row the famous course, we swim across!

Local Operational Policy
All our treks ensure that in the team of guides there is at least one team-member who has in-depth experience and knowledge of the local waters, the main swimming routes and the alternatives as well as a fluent local language speaker.
 
Included in the price
Complete guided tour led by a local guide, min-bus (van) transport, full safety escort on every swim, baggage handling, coaching & technique session, accommodation for the duration of the tour (breakfast included), and equipment usage. Each guest receives a swim hat, t-shirt and water bottle. Wetsuits, fins, rash vests and other swimming gear will be provided on each tour.

Additional cost
Travel to and from the start of the tour, lunches and evening meals, Vogel cable car return way (13 Eur, optional). Single room supplement: 45 EUR.

Travel advice
Now you can travel to Slovenia with a low cost ground transportation service (van / coach / shuttle) from nearby airports: VENICE, TRIESTE (ITALY), SALZBURG, VIENNA (AUSTRIA), ETC. Just book online and reserve your spot with GO OPTI.

Mobile App: Slovenia´s Top 50 places to visit

Guest Testimonials (for best quality select 720pHD and watch full screen)


Video Trailor (for best quality select 720pHD and watch full screen)


Rick Stevens: Lake Bled, Natural Beauty

 

About Area

Hotel Jezero Bohinj

Hotel Jezero is the pearl of Bohinj located on the banks of its picturesque lake. Shadowed by the Julian Alps this hotel is the perfect base for your weekend of walking and swimming as you can relax back on the hotel deck overlooking the lake or continue your activity in the hotel pool or gym.

Lake Bled

The lake is situated in a picturesque environment, surrounded by mountains and forests. A medieval castle stands above the lake on the north shore. The lake surrounds Bled Island, the only natural island in Slovenia. The island has several buildings, the main one being the Pilgrimage Church built in the 17th century, where weddings are held regularly. The church has a 52-metre tower and there is a stairway with 99 steps leading up to the building.
The lake is also well known among rowers because it hosts the biggest rowing championship events.



Lake Bohinj

Slovenia´s largest lake, which lies inside Triglav National Park. Lake Bohinj, which glacial dammed by a moraine, is 4.2 km long and 1 km at its maximum width. It is one of the regions hidden gems and an ideal base for our tour. The mountain peaks around dominate the surroundings. Just being there and breathing and feeling the fresh air is astonishing.

Julian Alps

The Julian Alps, named in honour of Caesar, form Slovenia’s dramatic northwest frontier with Italy. They are located in Triglav National Park named after Slovenia’s highest peak at 2864m. The Sava and Soca rivers which we cross during our
tour are the regions two largest. They rise in the Julian Alps and then flow down to the Black Sea and Adriatic respectively.

Lago del Predil

Located just few kilometeres from the Slovenian North-West border this idyllic and remote lake is on a high altitude of 960m. Fed by an Italian small glacial river the lake is surrounded by stunning trees and cliffs. The water quality is exceptional and the views breath-taking.

Accommodation

Hotel Jezero, Lake Bohinj, Slovenia | www.bohinj.si/alpinum/jezero
Start: 7.30pm on the 1st day
Finish:  2pm on the 4th day



Hotel Jezero (4*) is the pearl of Bohinj, located on the banks of its picturesque lake. Shadowed by the Julian Alps this hotel is a great base for outdoor activities such as swimming, hiking, cycling, kayaking and paragliding.  The hotel has its own indoor pool, sauna and gym. Accommodation is based on twin-share with en-suite facilities. There are single rooms available at an additional cost of 40 Euro and double rooms for solo use at additional cost of 65 Euro.
Hotel Jezero Reviews on Trip Advisor Site

Extended stay
If you require additional nights’ accommodation before or after the tour, all Strel Swimming guests receive a discounted rate. Please book directly with the hotel, quoting Strel Swimming. Hotel contact info: hotel.jezero@cc-line.si, Tel: +386 (0)4 572 91 00



Extended stay in Bled
If you arrive on our tour earlier or would like to stay in Bled after our tour, we have arranged discounted prices for your stay in Hotel Vila Bojana in the centre of Bled.
Only 200 metres away from the Lake Bled shore, this small family owned hotel offers you a pleasant stay for a reasonable price. They have 11 double rooms.
Discounted Price Range: 79-89 Eur for a double room for 2 persons. Breakfast included. Please quote Strel Swimming.
Contact: http://www.bled-hotel.com, info@bled-hotel.com, Tel: +386 4 576 8170



Accommodation In Transit - Ljubljana

If you come on our tour earlier or would like to stay longer in Slovenia, we have arranged discounted prices for your stay in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia.

Ljubljana is the political and cultural heart of the Slovenian nation. It is an important European commercial, business and exhibition centre. Ljubljana is a modern, lively city with a high quality of life, lots of greenery, parks and beatiful river in the centre. City location also represents an ideal departure point for the discovery of all the variety Slovenia has to offer.

We have partnered with the following good standard hotels for your stay. Please quote Strel Swimming Adventures at the time of booking. All Hotels know us very well and you will be treated well. Make sure you mention our company name and your swimming tour.

M Hotel ***, Derceva 4, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia, Tel: +386 (0)1 513 7000
www.m-hotel.si, Reservations at: info@m-hotel.si, anja.novak@m-hotel.si
Hotel is located 1.5km out of the city centre (on the way from the airport) in the peaceful area near the park.  Frequent city buses are behind the hotel and it only takes 10min by bus to the centre. Hotel also offers a lovely terrace at the top and rent-a bike . Wi-Fi, Air-condition, TV and a great breakfast are included in the price. Hotel also offers 30% discount on the tickets to the Wellness Centre and Water Park Atlantis, one of the best in Europe (www.atlantis-vodnomesto.si)

Hotel Park ***, Tabor 9, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia, Tel: +386 (0)1 300 2500
www.hotelpark.si/en/hotel/, Reservations: info@hotelpark.si, booking@hotelpark.si
Hotel is located very close to the city centre in the peaceful area. You can walk to the city centre in 10min. The main bus and railway station are within walking distance of 10-15min. Wi-Fi, Air-condition, TV and a great breakfast are included in the price.

City Hotel ***, Dalmatinova 15, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia, Tel: +386 (0)1 239 00 00
www.cityhotel.si , Reservations at: info@cityhotel.si
City Hotel is located in the centre of the city, right next to the old city core. To reach the city centre and City Hotel simply follow the signs leading to the city centre. The bus and the railway station are located approximately 300 metres away from the hotel and city bus stops are also in the immediate vicinity.  Wi-Fi, Air-condition, TV and a great breakfast are included in the price.

Discounted Price Range: 50-65 Eur for single room and 70-90 Eur for double room. Breakfast included.

General Trip Info

Passports and Visa information
Slovenia is an EU country.  Citizens of the EU can enter the country with identity card or passport. Citizens of USA, Canada should not require a visa, however, please always check on visa requirements before travelling.

Vaccinations
There are no essential vaccination requirements for Slovenia, but you should ensure that your tetanus and polio vaccinations are up to date.

Meals
All breakfasts and welcome dinner are included but lunches and evening meals are at your own expense.  This allows you to sample a variety of typical Slovenian cuisine at different restaurants and we can suggest what is good in the local area as we know where you will be treated well!  There is also the option at lunch for you to arrange a picnic and relax on the lake or river banks.

Currency
Slovenia is Euro (€) zone.  ATMs are widely available.

Group Size
Up to a maximum of 12 people, with a lead Slovenian guide and 3 boat/canoe escorts.

Itinerary

Brief Itinerary:
Day 1:
meet up for a full trip briefing
Day 2: swim Lake Bled in the morning and afternoon, short hike after lunch
Day 3: swim Lago del Predil (Italy), dip in the waterfall Kozjak, swim River Soca, return journey on a car train
Day 4: walk around and then swim across Lake Bohinj, finish at 1.00 pm

Full Itinerary:

Day 1
Meet at 7.30pm at the hotel for a full trip briefing. If you arrive late, we can do another briefing the next morning.
 
Day 2
We take a short ride to Lake Bled for a day of swimming in its crystal clear water. No motor boats are allowed on the lake so our only companions will be the small rowing boats taking visitors across to Bled’s famous island, home to its small 17th century church. After a short acclimatisation swim in the Zaka bay on the north-western shore of the lake, we swim across to the island where we walk up the ninety-nine steps to enjoy a panoramic view of the lake. Following a short break, we jump back into the water and swim across to the far side where we eat lunch on the beach.
 



Before our afternoon swim we climb a nearby hill to a viewpoint offering amazing views of the lake and the Julian Alps.  Our final swim of the day crosses the full length of the lake (a famous rowing course), finishing at the lakeside Lido where it is time to relax, take a shower and participate in an optional stroke analysis session with your swimming guides.  The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure for you to enjoy the lake views, visit the historic castle, or enjoy Bled’s famous ‘kremsnita’ cake in one its many cafes.

Day 3
Today we cross the border into neighbouring Italy, where we swim the full length of the stunning mirror-like Lago del Predil.  We take a quick break on the shore before the short drive back into Slovenia for lunch at the popular rafting town of Bovec. We then venture into the remote centre of the Triglav national park and hike through the forest to reach the picturesque Kozjak waterfalls, where we take a refreshing dip in the pool at the base of the falls.



Later, we head to the pristine turquoise waters of the mighty River Soca for a longer swim - an enjoyable contrast to both the thunder of the waterfall and our serene lake swims.  Our adventures on this day culminate in an unforgettable journey on the car train, taking you through the Julian Alps back to Bohinj.

Day 4
Depending on the weather, we either start our day by walking around the Lake Bohinj or taking the Vogel cable car up to the Mount Vogel ski area to enjoy the panoramic views of the Bohinj valley, across the lake to Mount Triglav and the Julian Alps.  (Mount Triglav is a well-known Slovenian symbol, appears on the Slovenian flag and its 50 cent coin and is Slovenia’s highest peak at 2864m). 



We then get ready for our final challenge: swimming the full length of Lake Bohinj (4km).  Motorised boat traffic is not permitted on the lake so our only companions are the trout and other fish, which can clearly be seen in the pure water of the lake. 

Itinerary changes
Please note that our swims are carried out in the natural environment and we rely on the current weather conditions. As a consequence, sometimes on-trip changes in the planned itinerary are required.

Swimming Info

Google Map of the Area with Swimming and Hiking Routes

Swimming Distances

Lake Bled
Zaka beach - Bled Island: 1km
Bled Island-Hill Osojnica: 1km
Crossing lake Bled to Lido: 2km
Lago del Predil
Length of lake: 2km
Soca River
Prapetno-Most Na Soci: 2km
Bohinj Lake
Crossing lake Bohinj: 4km

If at any time you would like to skip one of the swims, then you can always follow the group along the waters edge.  This is your tour, you can choose!

Temperatures

Month Water Temp. (˚C) Air Temp. (˚C)
June 18 19
July 21 23
August 22 25
September 19 21

Note: Soca river is always around 3 to 5˚C cooler then the lakes. We have wetsuits available.

Walking Conditions
Most walks are on clearly marked tracks and paths, but we advise you to bring a good pair of walking or running shoes (trainers) as there are some uneven rock surfaces.

Wetsuit Availability
The water temperature varies quite a bit and we will do our best to inform you prior your trip about the current temperatures. If you do require a wetsuit, we have them available for everybody.  We also have extra swim hats in case you want to wear two.
    
Essential Equipment
In addition to normal items, we recommend the following: at least 2 swimming costumes, at least 2 pairs of swimming goggles (one clear and one tinted recommended), sweater/fleece, towel, hat, small daypack, waterproof  sun cream and jacket, walking shoes and sandals or aqua shoes.

Weather Caveat
Your safety is of utmost importance to us. In the event of adverse weather conditions at any of our swimming locations, we may need to adapt our itinerary or amend some of the swims described above.  Our team always includes local guides who know the safest and most picturesque places to swim, so rest assured you won’t miss out!

Environmental and safety factors in Lakes
Slovenian lakes are clean, fresh water lakes. As with any open water activity, swimmers should always be aware of the risk of Weil’s Disease (Leptospirosis).  The risk of infection in Slovenia is extremely low, but guests should inform their swimming guides immediately if they feel unwell. The incubation period for the disease can be several weeks, so contact your GP immediately if you feel unwell after you have returned home.
 

Travel

To get to Slovenia you can fly straight into Ljubljana (LJU) or to several surrounding airports.

Ljubljana airport website: www.lju-airport.si/eng/default.asp
Venice Marco Polo airport website: http://www.veniceairport.it
Trieste (Italy) airport website: www.aeroporto.fvg.it/en/home/index.htm
Klagenfurt (Austria) airport website: www.klagenfurt-airport.com

Flights into Ljubljana
Easyjet from London Stansted, www.easyjet.com (daily)
Wizz Air from London Luton, www.wizzair.com (flying TUE, THU, SAT)
Air France from Paris, www.airfrance.com
Lufthansa from German Munich or Frankfurt, www.lufthansa.com
FinnAir from Helsinki, http://www.finnair.com/
Swiss Air from Zurich, http://www.swiss.com
Czech Airlines from Prague, http://www.czechairlines.com/
Turkish Airlines from Istanbul, http://www.turkishairlines.com/

Other Flight Options
European and International flights to Venice Marco Polo (Italy) (VCE)
EasyJet to Venice Marco Polo (VCE), www.easyjet.com 
Ryanair from several Europen cities to Venice Marco Polo (VCE), Traviso (TSF) or Trieste (TRS) (Italy), www.ryanair.com
Ryanair from London Stansted to Klagenfurt (Austria) (KLU), www.ryanair.com
Alitalia from several European cities to Trieste (Italy) (TRS), www.alitalia.com
Croatian Airlines from several Intl. cities to Zagreb (ZAG), www.croatiaairlines.com

Train
You can travel to Slovenia by train from many European cities,
such as Venice (Italy), Zagreb (Croatia), Vienna (Austria), Budapest (Hungary), www.slo-zeleznice.si/en/passengers/abroad  

From Ljubljana Airport to Bohinj (our base)

Transfer; We can arrange a transfer from the Ljubljana airport straight to the hotel in Bohinj (70 EUR for up to 3 pax, 80 EUR for 4-8 pax). Transfer from the Ljubljana CITY to the Hotel in Bohinj (or vice versa) costs 90 EUR for up to 3 pax and 100 EUR for up 4-8 pax. To make a booking please contact us directly. We will send a group email before the trip starts so that you can arrange to share the transfer with other guests.

Bus; there are regular buses that run from Ljubljana Airport towards Bohinj, via  Kranj. See the schedule at: http://www.lju-airport.si/en/passengers-and-visitors/getting-here/bus-and-shuttle/
Buses to Kranj depart from the airport on the hour (2 Euro). At Kranj bus station there is a 20 minute wait for the bus for Bohinj (7 Euro). Buses are marked Ljubljana-Bohinj and there are two companies operating: Alpetour and Veolija. You pay the fare directly to the driver.

From Ljubljana Airport to the city of Ljubljana

Transfer; the easiest way to travel to Ljubljana city is to get on one of the group minibuses which are located just outside the terminal. The company is PREVOZI MARKUN and the bus has a clear table Airport-Ljubljana transfer. The cost per person is 5 Euro.

Bus; there are also regular buses that run from the Airport to Ljubljana. See the schedule at: http://www.lju-airport.si/eng/vsebina.asp?IDm=100

From Ljubljana City to Lake Bohinj by Bus

There are every hour buses from Ljubljana main bus and train station going to Lake Bohinj (8.00, 9.00, 10.00, etc.). The cost is 8,30 EUR. To see the full schedule, visit: http://www.ap-ljubljana.si/eng/

LOW COST TRANSFERS from around airports: Venice or Trieste (Italy), Klagenfurt, Graz, Salzburg (Austria). Get transported from Trieste or Venice to Ljubljana for as low as 24 EUR!

There is a new service in Slovenia for low cost ground transportation from around Slovenia airports (Italy, Austria). GoOpti offers transfers from several sorrunding airports such as Venice (2hrs) and Trieste (1hr) - Italy and Klagenfurt (1hr), Graz (2hrs), Salzburg (3hrs) - Austria. You need to book online and you get a guaranteed departure within the promised time. We recommend this service if you can´t fly straight into Slovenia-Ljubljana airport or would like to visit/stop let´s say in Venice.

From Trieste (Ronchi) Airport to Lake Bohinj

If you fly in with Ryanair to Trieste, Italy (TRS) the best way to travel to Bohinj is the following; a) take our pre-arranged taxi from the airport to Nova Gorica (Slovenia) town for 30-35 EUR (up to 4 pax), b) at the train station get a ticket to Bohinjska Bistrica, Slovenia for 5 EUR/person. Download the timetable here or visit http://www.slo-zeleznice.si/en. Trains go daily every few hours. The 1h and 20min train ride is beautiful as you cross the stunning scenery and tunnels. You arrive straight to Bohinjska Bistrica town which is only 6 km away from Lake Bohinj. From there you can call us or hotel and we will come and pick you up. Or you can use GoOpti low cost transfer to Ljubljana and from there travel to Bohinj by local bus.

From Klagenfurt Airport to the city of Ljubljana

If you fly in with Ryanair to Klagenfurt, Austria (KLU) the best way to travel to Ljubljana is the following; a) catch a bus just outside of the terminal to the main train station-Hauptbahnhof for 2 Eur, b) at the train station get a ticket to Ljubljana, Slovenia for 18 Eur. Download the timetable here or visit http://www.oebb.at/en/index.jsp.  The 2h and 20min train ride is beautiful as you cross the Julian Alps and stunning scenery. You arrive straight to Ljubljana city centre. Or you can use GoOpti low cost transfer to Ljubljana and from there travel to Bohinj by local bus.

Video footage

Video 1-Swim Slovenian Lakes and River:

Video 2-Swim Slovenian Lakes and River:

Video 3-Swim Slovenian Lakes and River:

Video 4: Lake Bled Trailor

Video 5: Cool video showing Lake Bled, cream cake, church island, etc.

Trip availability
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