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The mysterious region of Dolenjska

Dolenjska is full of secrets

Stories circulate about mysterious phenomena ...

... that are still happening, or about what happened in the past. Or did it not happen at all? Who knows. People have always enjoyed believing in the stories about some phenomena, even hoping that they are still happening today. Why not believe, for example, that a clear spring in the Gorjanci mountains brings back beauty and youth?

Who dug up the Krka meanders to create the famous islet?

The Krka River is full of islets, the result of the deposition of the river's characteristic rock, tufa. On the second largest Otočec Castle is perched, a cultural monument of national importance and one of the most beautiful sights in Slovenia. The castle has been converted into a five-star hotel, and also an excellent restaurant.

It is known that the islet was created when someone dug up the peninsula on which the castle stood, cutting it off from the shore. Who it was remains a mystery. Historians have concluded that it was most probably commissioned by one of the castle's owners in the second half of the 15th century, when the Turks were ravaging the area, to protect the castle from them. But people prefer the legend that love is to blame for the island's creation – that a jealous landowner prevented his beautiful wife from dating a young man she fell in love with from the castle by cutting the island off from the shore.   

A mountain spring that restores youth and beauty

The mysterious Gorjanci mountains are the source of fables and legends about fairy-tale creatures and miraculous phenomena, including the three miraculous springs: Minutnik, Jordan and the most famous – Gospodična. Their water has healing powers, and so the water of the Gospodična spring is said to rejuvenate and restore beauty. As the hiking trail to the highest peak of the Gorjanci mountains, Trdinov vrh, passes by the Gospodična spring, and there is a mountain hut nearby where you can have refreshments, you can check in the mirror whether the spring water has made its presence known. Oh, miracles do exist! Spring waters and fresh mountain air may not smooth out all the wrinkles, but they certainly bring back the sparkle to your eyes!

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After reading about the fables and tales of the Gorjanci mountains in a book by Janez Trdina, about the giants who lit their pipes with the fire of the stars, about the enchanted castle, dancing fairies, the bird of paradise and flying apparitions, you will walk around this part of the Dolenjska region with your eyes on stalks and your ears pricked up.

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A thermal hot spring that heals

The region is rich in springs, clear streams and thermal springs, and these have also been developed into health resorts. But how did they discover that the water of these springs is healing?

Legend has it that a priest in Dolenjske Toplice had a dog and was very attached to it. This dog had a habit of running into carts and pack animals that were pulling the carts through Dolenjske Toplice. And it happened that this did not have a happy ending – the dog ran under the wheels of a wagon, and then, whimpering, he disappeared in the bushes on the bank of the Sušica stream. The priest searched for his dog for a few days, but when he finally found it in the bushes, he realised that it was lying in a puddle and that the water in the puddle was warm. So, in fact, it was a priest’s dog that first let its sore, injured body be healed by the soothing effects of the thermal water.

The healing effects of thermal water have since been scientifically proven, and Terme Dolenjske Toplice, in addition to Terme Šmarješke Toplice, was awarded a concession for the treatment of diseases and conditions after injuries and operations on the motoric system. 

How the Indian lotus can survive the cold Dolenjska winters

This miracle is also thanks to thermal water. A hot spring keeps the water in the park lake at Terme Šmarješke Toplice at a comfortable temperature, and a real Indian lotus has been thriving in it for years. This is probably the most northerly natural habitat of the Indian lotus, as it only thrives in tropical and subtropical climates. 

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The lotus's magnificent leaves and beautiful flowers delight walkers in the park from late spring to late autumn, and it is also home to turtles, fish, ducks, dice snakes, grass snakes, herons and many other birds.

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The healing power of the lotus was known to the ancient Egyptians, who called lotus oil an elixir of youth, good health, and vital and sexual vigour.

Singing waterfalls and outdoor winter swimming

Not far from Šmarješke Toplice is another natural wonder – the Klevevž natural hot spring. The warm water is trapped in a small rock pool, and the constant water temperature of 21-22 degrees Celsius makes it possible to bathe here even in winter. The Radulja stream flows past the pool and creates small waterfalls, which were once called Klingenfels in German, meaning singing waterfalls, hence the name Klevevž.

The mighty lime trees on Trška gora and the Princess's Bench

If you'd like to see the Krka Valley with the town of Novo mesto, Otočec and Gorjanci mountains in the background from a height, climb Trška Gora, where there is a 17th-century Church of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary at its summit. The church is flanked by mighty linden trees – the oldest is also the most imposing at over 400 years old, and at 8.3 metres it ranks among the five thickest in Slovenia. It has been struck by lightning several times, has no top, and its mighty trunk is hollow and could seat up to eight people. The opening in its trunk stirs people’s imagination and encourages them to contemplate the endurance of nature.   

Foto Jana Planinsek
Princesina klopca na Trški Gori

This linden tree is accompanied by three equally mighty linden trees, all of which create a pleasant place to gather and rest. On nice weekends, you can also visit the open-door vineyard cottages nearby or take the scenic hiking trail to Hmeljnik Castle.

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Koblarjeve jaslice

Trškogorsko srce Tourist and Cultural Association is setting up a very special nativity scene in the linden tree, an enlarged replica of the famous Koblar nativity scene. The one on Trška gora is five times bigger than the original, measuring 2 metres high and 1.40 metres wide.

Art hotel with comfortable rooms and unlimited bathing in thermal pools.

Vacations from

10800 EUR

(per person, per night)

Excellent food, thermal wells and top quality wellness service.

Unforgettable vacation from

10000 EUR

(per person, per night)

A superb offer for an active time-off and relaxation at Otočec.

Active vacations from

31600 EUR

(2 overnight, 2 persons)