Zelenci Nature Reserve

Zelenci Nature Reserve

Walk more – Worry less

Zelenci Nature Reserve

Zelenci National Park
Reset Apartments
via D-2 cycling route
Zelenci Nature Reserve
Very Easy
Elevation: 818 m - 855 m
3.6 km
37 m of height difference
45 min walk
Mostly asphalt road


Podkoren Village


Podkoren village
Ratece village
Planica Nordic Center
Tamar walley
Kranjska Gora, Slovenia

The easily accessible Sava Dolinka spring with its fascinating flora and fauna is the perfect walking destination for those looking for a relaxing break in nature. A natural reservoir with a magnificent view from a wooden observation tower over an emerald green marsh full of sand swirls, carnivorous sundews, amphibians, and nesting birds. The name Zelenci was given by the lake’s chalk layers and the numerous extremely clear springs that color the water a distinctive blue-green shade. The marsh, which never freezes, lies on the northern edge of the Triglav National Park. It is bounded to the south by the densely vegetated Vitranc Peak and to the north by the Karavanke Mountains.

Crystal-clear spring water reflects the surrounding peaks of the Julian Alps

Zelenci Spring is the remnant of the formerly larger Lake Koren, which was formed after the retreat of the Planica glacier. Sava river gradually overflowed through this natural dam and the lake level dropped until only the Zelenci and the surrounding marshes remained.

From here comes the Sava Dolinka (219 km), which is in fact another source of a submerged stream called the Nadiža, which rises near the mountain lodge in Tamar and flows under the rubble for most of the valley.

The greens have a constant temperature of 5 to 6 degrees Celsius under normal conditions, together make up an area of about 14 hectares and do not freeze in winter. The bottom of the lake is covered by porous lacustrine chalk, which permanently percolates groundwater in the form of ‘volcanoes’, a unique case in Slovenia. In 1992, the Zelenci were declared a nature reserve by a decree of the Jesenice municipality.

The area is home to vulnerable species on the Red List of Threatened Species. These include the common rosefinch, the whiskered bat, and the viviparous lizard. The carnivorous plant round-leaved sundew, which is protected under the Protected Species Regulation, is also on the red list due to its endangered status. The area around the spring is home to moisture-loving plants such as carex, alder, and willow, and flowers such as Pedicularis palustris, Menyanthes trifoliata, narrow-leaved muhly (Eriophorum angustipholium), Triglochin palustre, water ranunculus (Ranunculus aquatilis).

The famous naturalist Sir Humphry Davy is said to have written about Zelenci: “I liked the Sava Valley with its waterfalls and lakes the best. I know of nothing better in Europe.”

How to get to the spring?

A forest path leads off the cycle path on one side. You can reach it on foot, by bike or by car. In the direction of Rateče in Podkoren, turn onto the cycling route and continue to the parking area next to Zelenci. For the forest path from the other side, the starting point is in the parking area next to the main road. You can reach it by car on the way to Rateče.


The destination is ideal for a pleasant walk or a cycling stop. The water is not suitable for swimming due to the risk of eddies and live sand.

  • Walking on well-maintained paths through the swamp.
  • Enjoying the view from the viewing platform
  • Taking a photo for the perfect Instagram picture

Zelenci can serve as a starting point for:

  • a visit to Planica and a walk to the top of the legendary “Giant Ski Jump”
  • a walk to the lodge in Tamar
  • a visit to Triple Border (SI-IT-AU)
  • a walk through the Alpine village of Podkoren


  • a viewing bridge with the tower
  • explanatory signs
  • rare species of plants and animals
  • water eddies

Sights in the immediate vicinity

If you are heading to Zelenci, we recommend you visit:

  • “Escape” museum in Rateče
  • Village linden trees in the center of Podkoren

View of the mountains in the surroundings

  • Mangart (2.679 m)
  • Visoka Ponca (2.228m)
  • Kotova Špica (2.376)
  • Jalovec (2.645 m)
  • Travnik (2.379 m)
YouTube player