The road from Bled to Bohinj – by Bohinj I mean the lake itself at Ribcev Laz and the road’s terminus at Slap Savica via Ukanc – has as long as I can remember been the kind of busy that the Triglav National Park, in which much of the Bohinj area is situated, must surely have held grave concerns about. Whilst a moratorium on new builds in the central core of the TNP has rightly been upheld, much hand-wringing over the years regarding traffic levels has failed to reach a satisfactory conclusion, let alone consensus. This has resulted in the road from Bled, through Bohinjska Bistrica, that brings travellers to the lake’s edge at Ribcev Laz before continuing to Ukanc and the iconic waterfall Slap Savica being at times unpleasantly busy, somewhat flying in the face of the sound ecological principals to which the TNP espouses to adhere.
In these congested times, the railways have increasingly come to be seen as a panacea, to alleviate the amount of vehicle movements on roads that weren’t built for the amount of traffic they’ve subsequently been expected to support. It is therefore pleasing to note the Bohinj Tourist Board have signed a cooperation agreement with Slovenian Railways, with the objectives of promoting public transport and decreasing the reliance by holidaymakers on their own vehicles. A pilot scheme in 2014 to bring skiers by train and shuttle-bus to Vogel via Bohinjska Bistrica was hailed a great success; this year the package on offer has been upgraded to not only include the aforementioned ‘door to door’ access for winter-sports enthusiasts but also, a daily ski pass and lunch at restaurant Viharnik Vogel, situated close to the cableway’s top station at Rjava Skala. An excellent initiative which, for €35 and €23 respectively for adults and under 15’s will undoubtedly prove to be popular. As ever though, the fly in the ointment for those working in the Slovenian tourism sector in areas specialising in winter sports is the amount, or at the time of writing, the lack of snow. Approximately one foot of snow will not last without being naturally topped up – Vogel does not allow artificial snow-making on its pistes. It is though pleasing that the will is there from Bohinj Tourism and the railways to work in unison for the greater good of the local environment, whilst also providing a financial stimulus for all parties. I, personally, would be happy to take up an offer of train travel, bus shuttle to the cableway’s bottom station at Ukanc, lift pass and lunch overlooking the stunning mountains perched above Lake Bohinj for €35, regardless of the depth of snow. It is to be hoped this initiative becomes a regular feature in the Bohinj region for years to come, an enterprise other areas of the country could learn much from.
Additional reporting by Gorenjski Glas on this issue can be viewed at: Lake Bohinj: let the train take the strain