This weekend I was spending the most wonderful time with my partner Vanja and friends on one of the most beautiful rivers in Slovenia.
We decided to have a 2-day trip on the river while spending the night in the town called Kostanjevica na Krki.
This article will explain a little bit about the river, its animals, nearby towns, attractions that we saw and what happened on the journey. Feel free to dive in and maybe you will want to experience what we did on the river trip.
About the river Krka
First, I must tell you a few basics about the river. River Krka is one of the most beautiful and cleanest rivers in Slovenia.
Its source is in Dry Carniola in the village Krka while the river mouth is in town Brežice when it unites with the river Sava.
Its length is 58.8 miles so it is the second-longest river in Slovenian territory. The river basin with its affluents and underground sources covers 881.8 square miles of the area that presents 10% of Slovenian territory.
It is the calmest Slovenian river with plenty of waterfalls. The most beautiful waterfalls are between Zagradec and Žuženberk.
The river has plenty of natural sights and beauties, a rich animal and plant world, and cultural and historical wealth.
Are you ready to know how we travel down the river and what we experienced? Let’s go!
Active two-day trip
We traveled to the village called Velike Malence where we hired canoes for the paddling. Milan took us and the canoes to the starting point.
Krka is long so we decided not to paddle from the source for the first time, just to see how hard it will be.
Starting point at Otočec
We started at the town Otočec which is a popular tourist point that attracts tourists from all over the world. Otočec Castle is the only water castle in Slovenia because it stands on an island.
Otočec has a castle with 5 stars where you can spend the night in one of their 16 luxurious rooms. You can also play golf, visit the adrenalin park and eat delicious local food.
Do you want more? Check the Terme Krka site to know what you can do at Otočec.
We grabbed our stuff from the vehicle and prepared both canoes.
I must say that the best thing you can do is to get a watertight container where you will put food, clothes, gadgets, money, and an ID (if you will be spending the night in a hotel or other place where they need your ID for registration).
Our friend, Tomaž, who is a beekeeper has these kinds of containers so we used his. Each canoe had one container where we stored clothes, a camera, and money with an ID.
This way your personal things will be safe in case the canoe turns around.
If you will go canoeing here in Slovenia ask the canoe owner for these containers and he will provide one (in most cases).
However, if you won’t get it you can order a watertight box on Amazon that is appropriate for water sports. It is not so big for the clothes but you will be able to protect basic things as keys, money, gadgets and personal ID.
Paddling and seeing the natural beauties
We started paddling slowly, just to see how it will go. For paddling, it is crucial that two people in the canoe have the same rhythm so the canoe goes straight forward.
A person who sits at the back is a helmsman who takes care of direction. If you have a more experienced paddler in the team let him be the helmsman.
Our destination was to reach the town Kostanjevica na Krki where we spend the night.
The river was peaceful the first day without any specific waterfalls but was quite low so we had to step out of the canoes and transport the vehicle through the rocks on some points.
We had to paddle few miles to reach the town before dark. We had a few stops in the shade, under the trees to drink some water, eat and rest. We didn’t have a lot of things with us.
The mother of my girl baked some delicious salty croissants with cheese and ham so we could get energy fast.
Fish and other animals
Krka is rich in fish, especially in the upper current. I saw magnificent fish that were swimming close to us. The most beautiful were fish that had purple/gray color. These are the species that live in the river:
- Danube salmon (Hucho Hucho)
- River traut (Salmo trutta m. fario)
- Grayling (Thymallus thymallus)
- Rainbow traut (Oncorhynchus mykiss)
- Danube rouch (Rutilus pigus virgo)
- Common nase (Chondrostoma nasus)
- Pike (Esox lucius)
- Sheatfish (Silurus glanis)
Fish are not the only animals that live on the river. If you will take advantage and rent a canoe for paddling on the river Krka you can also see:
- Wild geese
- Water adder
These animals are not dangerous to you as you leave them alone. Swans were making us company but they moved away when we were close to them.
If you see them with a baby swan make sure that you avoid them (paddle away) as parents will protect their youngster and attack you if they must.
I was surprised to see wild geese and it only happened once. They were beautiful.
My girlfriend and I ran on a water adder that was sunbathing on the rock that was under the water.
She saw him just before we ran on him with our canoe and it was not a pleasant moment as we didn’t see where did he go. When we succeed to move the canoe from the rocks he swam away.
This water adder was bigger than in the lower current where I lived before. You must know that water adders live in areas that are hidden, with more plants and bushes, and don’t like to encounter humans.
They won’t attack you unless they feel threatened.
Plants and trees
We were able to see plants in the water and trees on the river bank. As you can see from the pictures the plants that are common here are bulrush, water buttercup, algae, and others.
The most common trees that grow on the river bank are:
- Bushes of all kinds
The end of the first day
It was getting dark so we hurried a little bit with our paddling. The goal was to park the canoes at the bank of the Kostanjevica na Krki (island) and find a villa where we made a reservation for a room.
After some time we saw a big bridge with lights and we were happy to see the town in front of us. Finally, we transport our canoes to the bank.
Tomaz and Vanja went to find the villa while Tatjana and I stayed close to the canoes to watch over the stuff.
We got together in the villa that was looking amazing, the old-style house that was renewed in a modern way. The owner of the villa welcomed and escort us to our room.
The end of the day was quite stressful because we made it in the villa late and had about 3/4 hours to take a shower, get dressed, and head to the nearest restaurant.
Relaxing in homestead with an owner
I thought that we won’t make it at a time but we found an old homestead that was transformed into an old-fashioned restaurant where we felt quite domestic.
We were positively surprised to see the waitress with a cart full of good domestic food. We came late so we should be grateful for their hospitality.
The food was amazing! We ate a roast potato, homemade cottage cheese dumplings, pork that is the only preserved Slovenian autochthonous breed of pigs (krškopoljski prašič), grilled vegetables, and a mixed salad.
The surprise wasn’t ending as the owner of the restaurant came to us to make a toast. He didn’t come empty-handed.
He brought a cake that is one of the most known dessert specialties in Slovenian culinary – Slovenian cake that is made of hazelnuts, walnuts, cottage cheese, and tarragon.
If you will visit them I highly recommend trying their cake as they make the best (I loved the tarragon one!). We drank white and red wine that was very good.
We talked and laughed with an owner for a long time and he also showed us what else he has for a drink. It’s a beautiful and big place where you can eat, drink and enjoy yourself in a friendly and domestic environment.
After some time we went to the villa to sleep. The room was all in white, with clean sheets and a bathroom, so we were pleased.
We had trouble sleeping because of the summer heat but the room had two windows that can be open for letting the fresh air in and a climate device that we didn’t use at night.
The last day of our journey
We wake up at 7 o’clock so we could have an early breakfast in the lobby. We packed all stuff that we had, wash and went to breakfast. We had the privilege to eat outside in the backyard of the villa.
The breakfast was one of the most peaceful times and I really enjoyed it. We ate homemade pate and cheese, small tomatoes and colorful paprikas, bread with seeds, and boiled eggs. I am used to eating homemade food so this was a true joy for my taste buds.
Vanja paid for our night stay with a touristic token that our government gave due to the covid situation and we were ready to head to our new destination.
We had time to see Kostanjevica town so we went for a morning walk. Our goal was to see the cave so we walked to it for a few miles. The walk was beautiful, with lots of green meadows and cows.
We turned left where we saw a sign that we were close to the cave.
The cave was close. We reached the place that looked like a bar and we came closer. Tomaž thought that we can buy a drink here and to our surprise, we got 2 beers because the owner had 50 years and he was celebrating. Then I thought: “People here are very hospitable”.
The man told us there is a source of the stream that we can look so we went to see it. We took the path in the forest and reach the most beautiful place where the stream was.
We refreshed our faces and feet and the water was so clean and fresh; it was a true energetic spot.
The cave was closed and we found out that its keeper isn’t here so we moved on. We went through Kostanjevica na Krki to our canoes that were waiting on the river bank.
It was time that we paddle to our home. This day wasn’t so exhausting because we didn’t need to hurry home (we already travel on this path). The water here is slow and in some areas, we had to paddle more because the current isn’t strong.
People were bathing in the river, some of them were fishing. Fishermen don’t like boats and canoes because they scare the fish away so we were careful not to get too close to them.
We stopped at the pier so we could relax a bit and eat.
This was one of our last stops. We had a short way to paddle to our goal. We stopped at a place called Klunove Toplice where there were many people enjoying themselves. The place has a big open bar, a pool, and a place for tents and RV campers.
I was pleased to see a roof tent that is not so popular here in Slovenia yet but it is getting there. The girls went for ice cream for us and we ate it on the grass in a company of people and cows that were feeding on the meadow.
At the end of our path, we heard loud music. It was the music from the bikers meeting that is organized each year on the 15th of August on Velike Malence. We didn’t stay because we were tired so we went home.
Krka made our memories
I will never forget this journey of ours. As a nature lover, I really enjoyed the river, its wilderness, animals, and plants that I have never seen before, bathing in the current, laughter, and people who were very friendly to us.
The purpose of this article is to show you a piece of river Krka, what you can expect if you decide to paddle it and to make a permanent memory.
I hope you enjoyed my story that I will have to repeat soon, just with other unexpected events!