Velika Planina means large pasture.
These pastures form together a very large terrain of undulating meadows proper for cattle grazing.
This "mountain" (indeed not really a mountain; the highest point is Gradisce, 1668m) forms the southermost extension of the Kamnik Alps, and overlook the eponym town. By clear weather the sight goes to the Lubljana basin and even further.
But what hits the eye of the visitor from the very first sight is the amazing quantity of wooden huts located in this location. All of these huts are made of wood, and built in the traditional mountain style. There are only few locations in Europe of this kind and this size.
This is the reason why the place, a real mountain landmark for the Slovenes, is so famous. During the summer, it is not rare to see there some events like concerts of folk music, handcraft exhibitions, etc.
A significant number of the many huts on Velika Planina, mostly the oldest ones (till the 16th century !), are functional: in the summer months, it has a significant population of herdsmen who bring their flocks to the highland pastures. But most of the other ones were built more recently than their aspect suggest, from the moment Velika PLanina became a well-known ski-resort, and eventually, served with a cable-car.
Before 1939, the architect Jože Plečnik prepared the plans of a church based on the unique architecture of the surrounding huts. In 1939, the shepherds and dairymaids of Velika Planina used Plečnik's designs and built the Chapel of "Our Lady of the Snows". Located just above the settlement, the small church was dedicated to the Virgin Mary. In the Second World War, the chapel was burnt down, along with 100 other wooden huts. A new chapel was built in 1988 and is particularly known for its Christmas Eve midnight mass.
Unlike the huts seen on other parts of the Slovenian Alps (for example those in the Julian Alps, reminding the Tyrol style), these huts have an unique UFO-looking shape, and remind more of the classic shape of wooden huts in the Dinaric Alps (personal observation based on photos of SP...).
There are many ways to get near the mountain, including one leading to the pasture itself. However, and despite there is no explicit mention about it, the chances that this track is allowed to all tourists, and not only people working there, are thin.
The Kamniška Bistrica Trailhead is a location where the North-West trails are starting. The valley to Podvolovjek is another option on the opposite side, while the town of Kamnik serves the south.
Kamnik is 25km far from the capital Ljubljana and can be reached by train or bus.
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The most simple consists in taking the chairlift, but it would be a pity because a handful of other hiking pathes are leading to Velika Planina.
The most famous, and probably most interesting is certainly the one from Kamnik, going along two churches of Sv. Primož and Sv.Peter.
The one from Kamniška Bistrica is said to be very steep. But it makes the best possibility for a loop for those taking the lift on the way up or down.
Krivčevo is another possibility in the South East. A last one exists form the Kališe road, near where the land-rover track starts, but cutting the laces.
As for the land-rover track, it probably makes a rewarding and challenging route by bicycle.
On the North, the trail running on the ridge is a fine walk, leading to the peaklets of Rzenik and Konj. After them, and a steep scramble down, it's possible to continue till the Korošica meadow and the hut Kocbekov dom.
Accomodationhere. More details about each of them are available on the site of the Slovenian mountain federation :
* Domžalski dom na Mali planini (Google-translated). The biggest of the three, a huge building one cannot miss.
* Črnuški dom na Mali planini (Google-translated). Just below the first, and much smaller. Perhaps better for more intimacy.
* Jarški dom na Mali planini. Also smaller, and seems to be the most popular and the most picturesque of the three, with folk music and occasional cultural events. Seems not to belong to the federation.
There is a fourth one, located on Velika Planina, which serves only food, but which seems to have been a guesthouse in the past too: Gostišče Zeleni Rob
Finally, there are also many of these wooden cottages for rent, but usually for longer terms, like several days in a row, and for many people in the same time. This list is constantly changing (and possibly uncomplete), so here is the link
The city campsite of Kamnik is also worth mentioning. It is a very quiet place with stunning views to the range, very affordable prices and friendly staff. Internet for free, and the hey driers around very practical to dry wet tents after rain !
Wikipedia has some good articles into which I took most of the historical facts, in English as well as in Slovenian (Google-translated)
There is a little page in English on the Slovenia tourist board website.
And Velika Planina also has its facebook group !
[img:438556:aligncenter:medium:Sunrise on Velika Planina]
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