One of the rainy days during our stay in the area around Bled took us to Radovljica! The small and quiet town impresses with an authentic and well-preserved medieval center, revealing beautiful views of the Sava River valley… It’s also known as the cutest city in Slovenia!
Where is located
The area of Radovljica is among the most easily and quickly accessible in Slovenia. The capital Ljubljana (50 km) is less than 1 hour away on the highway, and Zirovnica (9 km), where we stayed, and Bled (6 km) are only about 10 minutes away by car.
There are several parking options, we used the one on Gorenjska cesta. It’s divided into three zones – the middle one is for locals and the others for visitors to the city. You will recognize them by the blue line that identifies them as part of the so-called blue zone. Up to 3 hours of free stay allowed! It is only necessary to place the arrival time in a visible place in the car, using a special disk (sold in most small shops) or simply written on a piece of paper.
Radovljica Chocolate Festival
Every year Radovljica hosts the biggest Slovenian chocolate festival! Experts from all over the country meet the visitors, and an entertainment program accompanies the days of the event. The reason why the city is the host is that the most famous brand of Slovenian chocolate (Gorenjka) is from this area. At the entrance to the old town, we were greeted by a chocolate sofa, which told us that we had hit the month, but not the days of the festival… For a while…
Let’s sweeten up without a festival
We decided to sweeten our day anyway… The weather was not very good for walks – gloomy and rainy… But it was perfect to we hide in a warm place, with a cup of cappuccino and a delicious dessert. That’s what we did, heading to the main square!
Entering Cafe Vidic we felt a mixture of the aromas of the fresh homemade cakes and the burning wood stove, which definitely brought the feeling of coziness! The cafe is located in a Renaissance mansion from the 17th century, with an antique interior filled with many interesting objects, children’s toys, board games and what not… The prices are very good for Slovenia, with a cappuccino costing us €1.40 and pastries ranging between €3-4. Nestled warm in this lovely atmosphere, we occasionally peeked out the window to watch for the rain to stop…
Let’s get to know Radovljica
We stalked him for a long time, but alas… He didn’t stop and that’s why we decided to get to know Radovljica under the rain! Although the first mentions of a settlement in these latitudes date back to the 14th century, officially the city has existed since the end of the 15th century. The central square, Linhartov trg, is named after Anton Linhart, who was born here and was the author of the first theatrical play in the Slovenian language. And its appearance is almost unchanged to this day! Besides being the main place for every event happening in Radovljica, it is enriched with museums, galleries and restaurants… Almost every house is an architectural gem and has its own incredible history!
Some of the more important houses
You can stop by the tourist office where they will be happy to assist you with additional information about the city. Perhaps the most impressive building is the Šivčeva house – a fine example of late Gothic bourgeois architecture from the 16th century, the ground floor of which is used as a gallery.
Right across from it is the Lectar restaurant and museum, from whose basement the aromas of freshly baked honeybread waft… In the workshop, the traditional Slovenian craft of making heart-shaped sweets comes to life every day. In the past, they were considered an extremely romantic gift, it has even been compared to an engagement ring. Today they are among the most recognizable Slovenian souvenirs. You can touch the process of making, the equipment used and the way of decoration.
Adjacent is the Radovljica Manor with its fine 18th century facade, built on the remains of an ancient small castle from the 13th century. It houses the Museum of Apiculture and the Music School.
At the end of the square is located one of the newest museums in Radovljica, that of pharmacy and alchemy (Lekarniški in alkimistični muzej Radovljica). We didn’t get to visit it, but inside is a unique collection of exceptional objects from all over the world!
Saint Peter’s Church
We found another hiding place from the spring rain – St. Peter’s Church. The first records of a temple on this site date from the 10th century, and the current Gothic church began its layout at the end of the 15th century. Hidden behind huge trees, the facade of the temple was restored in the 19th century in its original form. Despite its simple exterior, the inside of the church impresses with high and richly decorated vaults. And the main altar is made of black marble and is another interesting element of the interior.
For a final
Radovljica is a great choice for a base when visiting the area around Bled or to see for a few hours. The lake is both close and far enough to avoid crowds of tourists… There are three mountain ranges nearby, the main roads of Slovenia are also convenient, and the town is a peaceful place surrounded by beautiful nature!