Slovenia, a country filled with stunning panoramic views, just got one more. I was one of the first bloggers to experience Slovenia’s Treetop Walk in Pohorje on Rogla mountain. I definitely won’t be the last!
You don’t have to be a world-class mountain climber to reach the highest point. This attraction, called Pot med Krošnjami Pohorje in Slovene, is accessible to nature lovers of all ages and abilities.
Rogla, in the Pohorje region about two hours drive from Ljubljana and one hour from Maribor, is known for its ski resort and the purity of its air. The Terme Zreče health and wellness spa is nearby. Private investors and local workers built the 500-meter wooden walkway that winds through fragrant and majestic Alpine spruce trees. Buy your ticket and take a deep breath as you begin your stroll across the top of the evergreen forest.
The platform is 20 meters (65 feet) above ground and about 1,537 meters (5,000 feet) above sea level. Don’t worry if it sways a bit in the mountain breeze. Juri, the director, assured me it’s strong enough to hold more than 20,000 people. But that won’t be necessary. A maximum of about 1,000 ticket holders will be permitted to experience the 1,000-meter walk at the same time.
It’s kid-friendly with activities like an outdoor trampoline and lots of opportunities to learn about the local rocks, plants and wildlife. Your dog, however, will have to stay behind in one of the wooden kennels provided free of charge at the entrance.
The highlight of the visit is the panoramic tower. A gently spiraling ramp leads to the top, 37 meters above the forest floor. The grade of only 6% makes it an accessible stroll for visitors of all ages, including those in strollers or wheelchairs. The corkscrew stairway at the center is roped off and intended for use only in emergencies.
On a crisp, sunny October day we could see Mount Triglav and other Slovenian peaks with the snow-kissed Austrian Alps in the distance. Lush green hills stretched in every direction through isolated farms to the shimmering valleys below. Organizers hope that this bird’s eye view will jumpstart year-round active tourism in the entire region.
By the time you return to the parking lot through the gift shop, you’ll have worked up an appetite. There’s no restaurant or coffee shop on site (as yet), so you’ll have an excuse to explore the surrounding area. This video gives you some idea of why you should!
Wine Tasting at Zlati Grič
The Styria region has a long tradition of wine-making. Zlati Grič is one of the most modern wineries in Slovenia. It was founded in 1991, the same year Slovenia gained independence, and now is under Czech ownership. Ninety percent of the wine made here is consumed in Slovenia.
The wine cellar is ecologically built into the contours of one of the golden hills that give the winery its name — and an uninterrupted 360-degree view of the surrounding vineyards. Our guide Katarina explained how some of Slovenia’s most popular “young” wines are made in towering stainless steel vats. Reserve wines are aged in French oak barrels. We got a peek through a glass window into the busy bottling room just after the October grape harvest.
Our tasting began with sparkling white Konjiška Penina made from pinot blanc, and a sparkling rose from the modra frankinja grape. The region is best known for white wines including Konjičan + Sauvignon, Sivi Pinot and Bela Pinot. But we also enjoyed the light red modra frankinja and the heartier pinot noir, paired with local cheese. Hours and more information on the wines is on their website.
Situated among the vineyards is a nine-hole golf course and the Gostilna Grič restaurant, offering a gourmet spin on fresh local ingredients. You’ll be ready for more exploring!
Charming Town of Slovenske Konjice
Local guide Nina Buh led us along the main street of her home town. She explained that the name — Slovenian horses — dates back to the Austrian Empire, when traders would stop here on the route between Vienna and Trieste. Or it’s the nearby mountain that looks like the saddleback of a horse. Take your pick. Either way, young Slovenes and other digital nomads are discovering it as an affordable place to live, with the big city action of Maribor and Ljubljana only a short car ride away.
You’ll see horse images everywhere as you stroll along the cafe-lined main street of restored merchant buildings. The brook that runs through the center of town is said to have originated from the tears of a young maiden who was lost in the surrounding hills. Think back to the times of Turkish invasions, when town residents would hide in the priests’ fortified house next to the church.
Continue your time travel just a short drive outside the town at the remains of the sprawling Žiče Charterhouse (pronounced Zee-chay). It was abandoned in 1782 when Austrian royalty outlawed the monasteries. Local residents helped themselves to the stones from the vast complex to rebuild their homes after a fire. Local authorities have reclaimed some of those artifacts to present visitors with a picture of what life must have been like here for the Carthusian order of white-robed monks.
In the small museum, you’ll see examples of the monks’ handiwork and learn the legend of the monastery’s founding 850 years ago. A visiting nobleman fell asleep on a hunting excursion and had a vision of St. John the Baptist. He awoke when a rabbit jumped into his lap. That’s why the area is known as St. John the Baptist Valley and the monastery is named Žiče, a variation on the Slovenian word for rabbit (zajec).
The remote location fit perfectly with the Carthusians’ strict rules of prayer, meditation, and silence. Stand in the remains of the Church of St. John the Baptist and try to figure out the location of the famed library that once boasted more than 2,000 books, second only to the Vatican in the 14th century.
With their humble one-room dwellings protected from Turkish invaders by stone walls and the surrounding hills, the scholarly monks pursued knowledge of natural healing — the closest thing to medical treatment at the time. Worker monks cultivated food and tended the complex of buildings. This video will give you some idea of the atmosphere, complete with drone footage and a costumed monk:
Hours and ticket prices on the municipality’s website. At the time of our visit, the municipality was seeking a new restaurant operator for the inn at the gate of the monastery complex, said to be the oldest guesthouse in Slovenia.
Eco-tourism at Herb Garden Majnika
To see a modern update of monastic herbal traditions, visit Zeliščni Vrt Majnika. This boutique bio-dynamic herb farm is 7 km from the monastery. Here, you’ll meet Katja Temnik, a former basketball star who has been recognized as one of Slovenia’s most innovative young farmers.
Workshops and tours are offered for cooking and gardening enthusiasts. Visiting in the fall, “the power of the plants has moved underground,” Katja explained. We enjoyed a cup of herbal tea in a small, fragrant cellar. Do not miss the Herb Salt Majnika, composed of Piran sea salt and the dried bounty of Katja’s garden. Her products are available on the website or in Ljubljana’s MaxiMarket; they make a great gift or souvenir.
Terry’s Travel Tips
How to get there: The Treetop Walk Pohorje on Rogla is an easy day-trip destination by car from Ljubljana or Maribor. Rogla can also be reached by bus. Directions, as well as opening times and admission fees, are on the Pot med Krošnjami Pohorje web site in English, Slovenian and German. Save money by reserving a car through Auto Europe before you leave the US, if you are planning to drive around Slovenia.
When to visit: The walkway is open year round except for November 1 and December 24. Spring and fall are delightful off-season times to visit, with more visitors in the peak summer months. Winter brings snow, skiing and Christmas markets.
Where to stay: If you’d like to spend more time in the area, there’s a choice of hotels and guesthouses in Rogla, Zreče and Slovenska Konjice including apartments in a 15th Century vintner’s mansion in the Zlati Grič vineyards. Thanks for booking through these links. It supports my blog with a small commission, at no additional cost to you.
Many thanks to Pot med Krošnjami Pohorje, Zlati Grič and Zeliščni Vrt Majnika for welcoming me to write this post. Get more out of your visit by booking a tour with a local Slovenia guide. We had a great day with Mateja Kregar Gliha, one of the top guides to Ljubljana and the entire country of Slovenia.
Want more stories about seeing Slovenia with locals? Like @strangersinthelivingroom on Facebook, and sign up for the occasional email when there is a new post. Follow me on Trip Advisor @strangersblog. Pinning this post? Get more travel ideas from Strangers in the Living Room on Pinterest.