Things to do around Kranj, an often overlooked Slovenian town | Nest Campers

Things to do around Kranj, an often overlooked Slovenian town

ptičja perspektiva mesta Kranj
22. February 2020

What can you do when on a road trip around a cute little town Kranj in Slovenia?

Our campervan rental service is based near Ljubljana airport, so you can get your van as soon as you land. 
Before you start your journey you can also explore the hidden gems of the city Kranj and go from here. It's a great way to get familiar with the Slovenian culture and people.

Let see what Kranj can do for you.

 

Kranj, “that” forgotten lovely town between Ljubljana and Bled

When we ask tourists about Slovenia, we usually get similar answers: they visit Ljubljana, Piran, the Postojna cave, and the Lake Bled, with the only little island in Slovenia. Well, it is appealing. But many tourists sometimes forget that the real beauty of discovering a new country and culture are the small, cozy towns which are normally not the number one on someone’s travel visit list.

camping in kranj, renting campervan in slovenia
Kranj with Karavanke mountains in the back. Author: Jost Gantar
 

Kranj is the fourth-largest city in Slovenia and the capital of the Gorenjska region (Upper Carniola). “Gore” means mountains and the Gorenjska region is called after them. This north-western region surely is the most mountainy and hilly in Slovenia. If you are looking for a fresh Alpine breeze, Kranj is the perfect (starting) point to find it. Kranj is located around 25 km north of Ljubljana and south of Bled. It is a mainly industrial city with significant electronics and rubber industries, back in the days the main industry running was textile.

Kranj nowadays offers many different types of activities on one point. One thing that might be special about the town, in general, is, that Kranj was built on big conglomerate rock. It is not a “passing” town; it has few ways to enter and leave the town, but one can not simply go through it. Well, in theory, that is possible, but if you are not a superpowers-kind-of-tourist, we don’t recommend trying.

A better alternative is to park your campervan and walk through the city.

 

Shelters from World War II & Medieval towers

Kranj shows some remarkable signs of a strong impact on history. The main attraction nowadays is the ditches under old Kranj, which are open to visitors and held various events, such as the Martin's Wine Route, the Christmas workshops, and the Halloween house of ghosts. During World War II, those tunnels were a central city haven/shelter.

tunnels under kranj, renting campervan in slovenia
World War II tunnels below Kranj. Author: Jost Gantar

 

There are also some Medieval ruins in Kranj. The three defense towers are left (the oldest pieces are from the defense wall found from 1st century) and in each one, there is a different kind of art culture going on today. The last one, just next to the “end of the town”, is Pungert, which was transformed into a kids-friendly tower. Many art workshops are held inside, and just next to it, there is a modern playground and a lovely café.

The next tower is a part of the bigger picture, the Khislsten Castle. Inside the Castle, there is a part of the “Gorenjska” museum, where worth seeing is definitely the exhibition called “Beautiful Gorenjska”. In the third tower, you can find artists from around the world. The tower holds many various exhibitions and events (mainly from the film and theatre industry) and offers a laid back breeze of Kranj’s art culture.

 

Kranj, Prešeren’s town. Wanna fig?

Slovenes connect Kranj primarily with France Prešeren Ph.D., the greatest poet of Slovenia. He was not born in Kranj, but he lived in Kranj in the years before he died. In the main Prešeren street, you might visit his house from that time. You might also hear that he was called “doctor Fig”, as the story tells that he was giving figs to the kids. He was a lawyer with a bitter-sweet (love) life. He never got married and didn’t have any kids, but did write many poems to his love Julija Primic (to whom he wrote one of his most famous poems as an acrostics). Lots of streets, squares, and buildings are named after him in the whole of Slovenia. He is also the author of the Slovenian national anthem song Zdravljica, which is a “carmen figuratum” - a poem that has a shape of a glass. 

 

camping in kranj, Prešernov trg
Prešeren square with his own statue. Author: Jost Gantar
 

He, and Julia too, are buried in the Prešerens grove (Prešernov gaj), a lovely small park, where especially young people like to hang out. You can find a remarkable huge statue of France Prešeren in front of the Kranj’s Theatre (Prešernovo gledališče), where the big annually event “The week of Slovenian drama” takes place. The theatre and in general the art culture is very strongly involved among Kranjs peoples; both once and today. The arcades in front of the theatre were built by Jože Plečnik, a Slovene architect who had a major impact on the modern architecture of Slovenia, Prague and of Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, most notably by designing the iconic Triple Bridge and the Slovene National and University Library building, as well as the embankments along the Ljubljanica River, the Ljubljana open market buildings and the Ljubljana cemetery (Žale).

 

camping in kranj, renting campervan in slovenia
Prešeren groove - a beautiful park with lots of youth. Author: Jost Gantar

 

Kranj’s protected sausage with baked grated porridge, yum!

One of the most iconic and unique festivals of Kranj is definitely the Prešeren festival (Prešernov smenj), held annually on February 8th, when Slovenians don’t work in the honor of his death. People quoting his poets on the streets and dressing in the costume, eating traditional Slovenian lunch, Kranjska klobasa (Kranj’s sausage, which from 2015 successfully entered into the register of protected geographical indications (PGIs), sauerkraut, and roasted potatoes with onions. You might wanna try the very retro dessert – Kranjski štruklji (rolled dumplings) – baked grated porridge with eggs, cream, and sugar.

preserns festival, camping in kranj, renting campervan in slovenia
People of Kranj at the Prešern's festival. Author: Urban Urbanc

 

Kranj’s beautiful modern library with a mountain view

Nowadays people like Kranj because of its small and cozy cafes and little, boutique shops, such as “The king of noodles” – a lovely small shop where they produce fresh daily homemade noodles for soup and pasta. Just next to the “Kranj’s bridge” you can stop by the “Mitnica café” – Mitnica is an old word for a bridge-tax. Back in the days, everyone who crossed the bridge entering the town needed to pay the “mitnina”. If you walk under the bridge, you will find yourself in a lovely nature spot by the Kokra river. Fresh air, green woods, perfect for walking on jogging.
 

great nature location for camping with campervan
Kokra river runs through the city. Author: Marko Arandjelović
 

We also recommend chocolate, coffee, and tea house, where you can pamper yourself from the tastes from around the world. We especially like the weekly food and stuff open market “Eko pod zeleno smreko”, just on the other side of the Visit Kranj office, where they will be happy to help you with more details about the town.

Not to forget – a few years back Kranj got a new library, which partly replaced the remarkable “Globus” building from back in days. This modern place is mostly covered in glass and offers people a precious view of the mountains and nature. On the glass itself, you can find the national anthem from Prešeren.

 

Park your camper in Kranj!

If traveling with a camper, you might wanna stay in Kranj longer! We can recommend it – the camp is located just a few hundred meters from the downtown, very close to the river. Treat yourself with a coffee and camp in front of the amazing view of the Kokra river on one, and the Alps on the other side. You can also park your camper at PZA Stara Sava. The Sava is the name of the longest river in Slovenia; just at “the end” of the town Kranj, the river Kokra flows itself to the Sava.

Kranj is a great spot to visit if you are renting your Nest camper at Ljubljana’s airport – just 4km drive and you'll reach this small, cozy town, worth visiting!

Written by: 

Monika Kern

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