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Trnovo and Banjšice Plateau

A world of enchanted nature

The Trnovo and Banjšice Plateau make up the far northwest part of the impressive Dinaric Alps. This dramatic landscape boasts an abundance of natural features and makes for a breathtakingly pristine backdrop, inviting visitors to treat themselves to the luxury of tranquillity and serenity.

A quintessential karst landscape, the area has no surface waters, instead it boasts a myriad of karst phenomena. Set deep in the Trnovo Forest are ice caves with eternal ice from where in the olden times blocks of ice were cut out and transported at night to Gorizia and Trieste, and from there shipped as far afield as Egypt. A very peculiar natural phenomenon are frost hollows, which are areas of vegetation and temperature inversions. This location is an extraordinary mix of various geological, geographical and climatic factors, giving rise to a very rich plant life. Growing on the plateaus are plants that are typical for the Dinarides, the high Karst and Alps, as well as a series of endemic plants which only grow on this one location on the planet.

Of the animals, there are mostly deer, chamois, mouflon, roe deer, wild boar, field hare, as well as brown bear, wolf, lynx and jackal. The Črni Školj Ridge (1080 m) is the lowest-lying golden eagle nesting place in Slovenia.

A remote region’s legacy

This area boasts a rich cultural heritage and a wonderfully quirky spontaneity of the locals who live in tune with nature even today. From the dispersed hamlets and villages emerge small batches of premium artisanal products like cheese, honey and herbal products. A number of precious herbs grow all around. In the past, villagers relied on plants to find relief for various ailments, and the tradition continues into the present day, with herbs being incorporated into the local cuisine and used in various concoctions.

It’s also worth to take a few minutes for a chat with the locals. Having them explain the natural highlights and life stories will give you, the visitor, a different perspective on this enchanting and remote region. Locals also never fail to mention the very elaborate local smithery tradition, and love to direct guests to go see the Small Smithery Museum which is open only if you book in advance.

The natural beauty and authenticity of living give rise to a unique blend and an environment where travellers find serenity and inner peace. No matter where you are: with a host providing lodgings, in a simple hut, a cosy apartment, a quiet boarding house or a friendly holiday home, whether you or at an inn or with a lovely family producing local products – the overarching theme around here seems to be a commitment to the preservation of the environment, values of sustainability and a green lifestyle.

Outdoor activities

Sport fans and adrenaline junkies will find plenty of opportunities for active leisure on the Trnovo and Banjšice Plateau. It’s a special thrill to explore this fascinating landscape on foot or by bike, on horseback or with a parachute. The perfectly varied landscape, criss-crossed with myriad routes of varying difficulties, caters to visitors of all ages and skill levels. During the summer months when the Vipava Valley and the surrounding area get quite hot, it’s a special treat to simply lounge around and fully take in the charms of this captivating plateau.