Velika planina, the highest high mountain pasture in Slovenia, with its natural and cultural heritage, is one of the greatest attractions of the Heart of Slovenia. It comprises more than 500 typical shepherd’s huts, numerous grazing areas, forest, moorland and typical karst sinkholes. From June to September, shepherds graze cows and use their milk to make sour milk and ornate cheese spikes, which you can buy here.
You can reach Velika planina on foot or by funicular from the Kamnik Bistrica valley, which is open all year round. Near the two-seater intermediate station is the Zeleni rob (Green Edge) restaurant, where you can enjoy spoon meals, à la carte lunches, cold dishes and desserts. Groups can order rustic feasts and typical mountain dishes. In summer, Velika Planina is ideal for walks and hiking tours. Paths lead to the museum’s Preskar’s Hut, with its presentation of the life of shepherds in the past, and to the Church of Our Lady of the Snows, which is especially visited on major holidays. The mountain and its forest roads also attract mountain bikers.
In winter, the snow-covered plains of Velika Planina offer slopes for alpine skiing, snowboarding and tobogganing. Various organised programmes are available for school and other private groups.
THE STORY OF THE SPIKE:
According to tradition, shepherds used to give spikes to their chosen wives and girlfriends in autumn, at the end of the grazing season, as a token of love and loyalty, and also as a promise of marriage. The number of thorns was always even – two epaulettes were decorated with the same ornaments. The shepherds kept one of the spikes and gave the other one to their chosen women, who kept the spikes for several years. If the chosen woman accepted the cheese, she agreed to the shepherd’s courtship.