Vitovsko jezero Lake/Vitovlje Lake and St. Mary’s Church
|Region||Gorizia Statistical Region|
|Starting point||Parking lot at the end of the village of Vitovlje|
|Route length||2,20 km (1.64 miles)|
|route duration||1-2 h|
|End Point Altitude||604 m (1,982 feet)|
|Best time to visit||spring, summer, autumn|
|Appropriate for||Baby Carriers , 3-6 years of age , 6+ years of age|
|Level of difficulty||Easy route|
Many idyllic locations in this country really show how beautiful Slovenia is. We recently discovered one such "pearl" near the town of Nova Gorica, the Vitovsko jezero Lake/Vitovlje Lake. It is a crystal-clear 10-metre (10-yard) long lake located in the middle of a forest. Above it stands the beautiful St. Mary’s Church.
Leave the Ljubljana-Koper motorway at the “Razdrto” exit and continue on the Primorska expressway towards Nova Gorica. Turn off the expressway at the “Selo” exit and continue left towards the village of Vitovlje.
Vitovsko jezero Lake is the only natural lake in the Vipava Valley. It lies in the woods below the famous St. Mary’s Church. Water flows into the lake from a small spring, which is actually a natural monument. The trail is easy enough for families with small children because the walk from the parking lot to the lake takes less than half an hour. You can extend the route to the St. Mary’s Church, which you can already see at the starting point of the trip. Four large chestnut trees meet you on a beautiful clearing, which has a stunning view of the nearby village and the hills of Trnovski gozd Forest.
The day of our trip was a national holiday and we thought there would be many people here; however, we only met two “lost” hikers and that was it. These beautiful places are hidden from tourists, and the locals probably prefer to go to the sea or a larger lake on hot days.
We continued our way to the St. Mary’s Church on a hill, about half an hour's walk from the lake. It took us about 45 minutes to get to the location with our 3.5-year-old daughter. The hot summer day was sunny, the view was breathtaking and the only thing we missed was the cool breeze of the bora wind.
It is not known exactly when St. Mary’s Church was built (some say in the 14th Century, some yes earlier) on the rocky hill (604 m/1,981 feet). Next to this church, which is basically Romanesque, several old Slavic graves were discovered. Nearby is a monument to those who fell in the National Liberation War and a special venue for different events.
The Vipava Valley is caught on both sides between high karst plateaus, with a typical sub-Mediterranean climate. By the Vipava River, which flows into the Soča River and then into the Adriatic Sea, the influence of the Mediterranean climate spreads into the valley, while the sharp north and warm south create conditions for diversity and uniqueness of plants.
What about the strong “burja” wind (bora wind) that blows here?
According to legend, Theodosius came to pray for help in the battle against western Roman Emperor Eugenius in 394. In the end, Theodosius’s army prevailed in the Battle of Frigidus, fought on the fields of the valley and, as the story goes, it was our very own “burja” (bora wind) that helped him win the throne.
Pigal Brewery and Pizzeria
The pizzeria serves both traditional Vipava Valley dishes as well as modern cuisine. Their menu boasts 30 different kinds of pizzas and several types of light and dark beer. Children can entertain themselves on the outdoor playground, while our little four-legged friends can rest while drinking from a big bowl of water.
Goriška cesta 25/č
+386 (0)5 36 44 707
Vita, Olja and Juna Recommend
Since the wind always blows around here, do not forget to bring a headband to protect your ears :).
The Burja is a powerful northeastern wind that greatly shapes the life in the valley. Legend has it that at one point it even turned around the wheel of history. Even though its gusts overturn and blow away everything not properly fastened or bolted, burja is a beloved part of this locality as it clears the air and scatters the clouds. The gale force of the burja wind appeals to the thrill-seeking visitors of the Vipava Valley (Source: vipavskadolina.si website).
A Natural Phenomenon
The Burja occurs over the Vipava Valley when a high pressure cell is present over Central Europe and generally pushes the cold air from the inland toward the hills and into the lowlands. It flows towards the valley down the slopes of Gora, Čaven and Nanos in gusts. When that happens, the hilltops are topped with distinct clouds, hats as they are called, or zastava (meaning “flag”) as the locals like to refer to them. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the valley, the skies are clear. Occasionally, burja will evolve due to a cyclone, in which case it will bring rain. Burja gusts can exceed 200 km/h, with the highest unofficial gust speed having been recorded at 235 km/h. Generally it occurs during winter months, but it is not unusual in other seasons as well.