Grosuplje Disappearing Lake
Green Slovenia is almost unique in having so many disappearing lakes.. these are Karst lakes that usually fill up in the winter and then completely disappear, like magic, in the summer. We found a rather good one at Grosuplje, just 20 mins from the centre of Ljubljana and one quarter part of the amazing Grosuplje Fab Four.
The limestone rocky underground is full of rivers, caves and sink holes so fresh water seeps up through the water table like an escalator on a massive scale to create these amazing lakes that you will probably never see full.. as you are probabubbly making the common mistake of thinking Slovenia is only for visting in the summer months.. well that is wrong!
You currently have zero chance of finding all the stuff to see in and around this lake like we did unless you take a guide from the local TIC, (tourist info centre). Our wonderful guide Uros took us to all the secret parts of this lake so we got a real understanding of how it fills up and functions and how it fits in to the fabric of a town that is struggling to identify itself as a stand alone tourist destination from the sprawl of the capital city, but should be singing from the top of the church towers about this secret lake!
So.. go with a guide!! We went in the summer of 2020 which was a terrible year and the we are telling you honestly, that spending time with a local person and discovering the secrets of a mini region with them is a Slovenian highlight that you can never forget.
We parked close to the main source of the lake and hiked off into the grassland meadows with butterflies whizzing around us. We soon saw the main Karst sink holes which can fill the lake with water up to 10 metres deep.. almost exactly where you are standing! These disappearing lakes can fill a little bit if there is heavy rainfall in the week, so we were lucky to see a bit of water here, but very unlucky cos we couldn't march straight up to the huge rock pillars where the water seeps in, which you can normally do in the summer.
But this lake doesn't just fill up from here, it is also fed by several river sources that flow down from the green hills around.. so we went off to find them!
At the other end of the lake there is a little village with a little building on a little island that you would almost certainly not even notice from the main road, but there is another TIC office here and a little bridge over to the island.. one of Slovenia's few islands actually! This place is created by water gushing out of the forest and circling the island as it hurries off to the lake.
This would be a great picnic place and although the TIC office is mostly closed, the plan is that this would be the hub for your disappearing lake adventures to launch from. It would be a great place to pick up a map and an electric bike and go off to follow the trails that will be hopefully sign posted around the lake area.
And we were surprised to find out how much more there was to see around the lake.. there are secret places hidden all around the secret place! We went to see another of the lake's sources, this time we drove up to a church high up on a hill above the dry lake. You really wouldn't know to come up here, but it is worth it for the view alone.
And this is one of those many places in Slovenia where you see a sign to commemorate a famous Slovenian writer or poet and you just roll your eyes as you have absolutley no idea who or what they did.. but not here.. this is the one poet you might have seen somewhere else in Slovenia.. right in the centre of Ljubljana by the river and the pink church.. the centrepiece there is called Preseren square after the poet with his statue gazing up at his forbidden love.
So this is where France Preseren lived and you can see a table outside the curch where he may well have penned some lines or thoughts! You wont be surprised that someone could come up with ideas here at all. But our next idea was to go through a gap in the trees at the other side of the hill which lead to an unsigned path down into the forest where we found little path to a shrine to St Mary and yes.. a new river was trickling down the rocks from under it and heading down the hill through the forest into the large expanse of currently dry green lake below.
Rumour has it that the water here has stopped flowing ONLY once on an occasion when the figure of St Mary was temporarily removed!
It was back to the car next to drive down to yet another secret position in the middle of the lake.. remember the lake was mostly empty now, but there are always little spots and squidges of water in places, so watch where you step. Sorry to go on about it, but there is no way we would have found this new place without direction or following a guide.
The drive here was along a narrow stone track next to a small river channel.. we couldn't help thinking this would be so perfect to cycle or hike along. We tramped off again into the forest and came to a mysterious set of wooden stairs in the middle of nowhere.. there must have been 99 of them heading up vertically into the trees above!
Our advice to visitors to Green Slovenia is to always go the extra mile, peek around the corner, open the door or in this case climb the steps.. so we did and were rewarded with a jungle like forest view, with so many greens fluttering in the sunshine and ahead down a steep slope we saw the long dark wide slit of a cave entrance!
In we went and found an amazing underground network of dry rivers, one with a massive man made opening, big enough to get one of those Australian mining machines with the monster wheels in and guarding the entrance was a mysterious huge green gate! This was Lord of the Rings size and scale and we were explained that the the cave acted like a freshwater drain for the lake as water would come crashing through and the gate was needed with big metal bars to allow the water to flow, but to stop whole trees crashing in!
This was all so totally unexpected and we clambered out of the cave to explore more around and found 2 more gates, one avenue was full of water flowing into the other side of the cave and we saw how water was flying through the gate into the cave.. this was really amazing and the countryside here was just beautiful.
As we walked back to the car we saw a farmer cutting the lush green grass that grows here when the water recedes and we reflected upon a most wonderful day spent in nature. (In the morning we had been to see another of the Grosuplje Fab Four, being the Supernova Cave).
If you consider the wonderful things they have around here near Grosuplje, it is only a matter of time before you realise this too and come to explore.. We hope this article helps bring your attention to one of the many many other treasures that are totally available to explore in Green Slovenia and this lake is just 45 mins from the Lodge.
The lake and cave and Tabor Fortress church are just so close to each other and they also perfectly compliment each other with fascinating similarities and differences so we do hope they will be connected by a path signed in English with a map and electric bikes to rent so you may see them all in one fantastic day.
Uros mentioned they will also build a tower on the site of an old castle.. (of course there is a castle here.. this is Slovenia) from which visitors can get a fantastic view of the lake, everything we have mentioned here and its green environs.
AND it really doesnt matter what time of year you come to visit the lake.. it is a living part of nature, so is always evolving with the seasons and providing a home to numerous wildlife and plant species.
We have some amazing disappearing lakes closer to the Lodge in the Green Karst.. inckuding the largest disappearing lake in Europe at Cerknica, but we would not hesitate to recommend our guests call the Grosuplje TIC on tel 00386 (0) 820 071 57 and go see another of Slovenia' wonderful disappearing lakes and all the other stuff that comes with it.