Radovljica Slovenia

Radovljica is a quaint little town in the heart of the Gorenjska region. Even though Bled is just a quick ride away, Radovljica has much to offer as well. If you fancy a culturally, naturally, and historically rich destination for a vacation or just a quick trip from Ljubliana, or a fifteen-minute ride from Bled this town has everything you could wish for but without all the hustle and bustle of arguably the greatest tourist attraction in Slovenia,  this hidden gem is a wonderful choice.

It is a medieval town with a defense moat from the 15th century and stunning views of the Karavanke Alps and the Julian Alps. The tradition of beekeeping and honey is supplemented with sweet new experiences. It has become the true capital of handmade chocolate. Their traditional chocolate festival in April is the biggest of its kind in Slovenia and it is an absolute treat to visit. Furthermore, you can enjoy guided chocolate tastings at their Chocolate Boutique all through the summer.

Whether you wish to explore the rich history of this town, with some buildings preserved from as far back as the 16th century, whether you prefer an active holiday with hiking and exploring natural attractions, or if you are a culinary buff and a social butterfly who likes to dive into the tastes and the vibe of a town, there is something for everyone.

A walk through Radovljica Old Town offers a glimpse into the town’s rich history, where you can see and get the feel for its past inhabitants. In Vurnik Square you can see a special ceramic replica model of the town, by the local ceramist Urban Magušar, which shows the old town area. Continuing along the road you can observe villas in the style of Art Nouveau.

Linhart Square offers an insight into typical bourgeois architecture spanning from the 16th to the 19th century. Walk past the birth house of Anton Tomaž Linhart, the first Slovenian playwright from the 18th century. It was restored after a fire and adorned with beautiful decorative features in the 19th century. The square widens at the town fountain, featuring a monument to Josipina Hočevar, a 19th-century benefactor and philanthropist. On the right-hand side of the square is a row of former craft houses featuring preserved 16th and 17th-century architecture. The most interesting among them is Šivec House (Šivčeva hiša), which today houses, among others, a gallery that showcases interesting exhibits.

Take a moment in the picturesque square in front of St. Peter’s church, where you can learn about the town’s rich history by viewing the exhibition about the town’s development. A short walk further will lead you to a viewpoint, where you can take in the wonderful views of the Sava River valley and the peaks of the Julian Alps. You can also observe the village below, Kropa, with a proud and long tradition of iron forging and blacksmithing going back to the 14th century. You can also visit their iron forging museum and get a feel for the dying craft.

After admiring the surroundings of the church square, you can continue to the adjoining Radovljica Manor. There you can visit the Museum of Apiculture, as well as the Municipal Museum; the latter features an exhibition about the life and work of Anton Tomaž Linhart. Radovljica Manor is also the venue for the annual Radovljica Festival.

The Lectar Honeybread Workshop and Museum is right next to Radovljica Manor. The Lectar honey bread has a long tradition and is still handmade following the original recipe and technique. They also run a small hotel upstairs, which is where we were staying during our lovely visit to Radovljica. They were very hospitable, accommodating, and their hotel is dog friendly. Nearby, you can visit the Magušar House with its pottery workshop, mini-shop, and exhibition of traditional local pottery.

The Pharmacy and Alchemy Museum in the old town center of Radovljica tells an intriguing tale of pharmacy and alchemy through exceptional objects, related to pharmacy, cosmetics, and alchemy, collected over the period of 40 years from all over the world. You can dive into their fascinating history in a wonderful area of a restored bourgeois house.

You can recharge your batteries with a stroll through the lush former castle baroque park. Walk beneath the ancient linden trees, past the National Liberation Front gravestones towards Grajski dvor, the former castle manor, which is another of the works of Radovljica’s most prominent architect, Ivan Vurnik.

You can spot the unique wrought iron streetlamps throughout the old town. The street lamps, which you can also see along the avenue in the former castle park, are the work of acclaimed designers and master blacksmiths from Kropa.

Radovljica also offers a lot of delicious culinary experiences. For fine dining, try Hiša Linhart, run by a Michelin-star chef Uroš Štefelin. He believes in sustainability and in working with local farmers, so he procures local, organic, traditional, and seasonal ingredients. He aims to revive forgotten dishes and ingredients and transform them into new products of tradition. We enjoyed his 9-course menu, which is very reasonably priced and includes courses like local trout, venison tartare, roasted chicken, huchen in cider sauce, roasted cauliflower with shrimp and hazelnuts, topped with a delicious carrot cake with a surprising hint of celery, yogurt, and thyme. He is a culinary visionary who puts a modern spin on traditional techniques and flavors.

If you wish to immerse yourself in a culturally, historically, and gastronomically rich town, prepare to be dazzled by this hidden gem in the heart of the Gorenjska region. It boasts a wide range of sights and activities and offers something that its more famous neighbor Bled simply can’t: peace, quiet, and a relaxing medieval town atmosphere. The surrounding villages and towns offer a lot more for you to discover, but more on that at another time.

Radovljica really is honestly sweet. If you’re planning a trip to the Gorenjska region, read our post about Bled. Subscribe for more Slovenian travels. Have a lovely day.