the River of 7 Names..

Green Slovenia is a magic box full of nature's tricks and props, just waiting to pop out and amaze you.. well now we have built up enough info and knowledge to finally describe the biggest Magic Extravaganza of them all to you..

The River of Seven Names..

This is one of those magic tricks where the magician totally amazes the audience by reintroducing something from earlier in the show, like a watch or the Ace of Hearts or some prop he or she used earlier and proudly raises it into the air for the astounding finale of the show..

So if we told you that there is a magical Slovenian river here that disappears underground and pops up again seven times.. yes SEVEN.. EVERY time it reappears the River has a NEW NAME.. so the river is called the River of 7 Names..

the Unica River and Planina old town in the background..
the Unica River and Planina old town in the background..

 

And now for that magical finale Ladies & Gentlemen, Boys & Girls..

Cos if you have visited the most beautiful country in Europe before, then you will almost certainly have marched around the pretty capital city  Ljubblyjana..

So now, imagine the Magician taking off their top hat, placing it on a table and a long silk cloth being whipped off the top off it to reveal..

You have already seen the River of 7 Names, as the Ljubljanica river that flows through the centre of Ljubljana is the LAST section of the River of the 7 Names!!!

Now what about that for a bit of magic! Apologies if you expected a bunny rabbit to appear, but a River with Seven Names.. how cool is that!

 

Yep, many visitors have already seen this river in one or more of it's seven shapes & forms all over Green Slovenia and maybe not known this is the same river?!

So we think it is time to reveal a bit more about this epic story.. so you can easily discover some more parts of this amazing river during your Green adventures, if you want to!

Don't worry, we are not gonna get all technical about it, with measurements and scientific terms.

Nope, we are just gonna tell you what we know about this fantastic river flow and explain WHERE you can see it appearing, disappearing, flowing and generally popping up on it's epic journey from the south west Slovenia, all the way to the capital city where it then  flows off to join the biggest Slovenian river of them all, the Sava, that will end up in the Black Sea.

If it were a movie it would be one of those American Road movies, showing an amazing journey..

Beautiful Sneznik Castle, just a stones throw from the Little Orbh river..
Beautiful Sneznik Castle, just a stones throw from the Little Orbh river..

 

the River of 7 Names..

The River of 7 Names is shaped by all the amazing topsy turvy KARST geology we have in Green Slovenia.. Caves, Sinkholes, Disappearing Lakes and practically another whole country under the surface..

And nobody knows exactly where all the water goes, but we do know where it pops back out!

The start of this fantastic river crosses the (Croatian-Slovenian) Istrian border at Babno Polje and dances it's way under & over Slovenia's Green Karst region..

It helps to create two of the biggest Disappearing lakes in Europe and gushes between the two massive Stone Arches of the uber sensational Rakov Skojcan nature Park..

It crashes into another river inside the Planina Cave to become the only river you can see being formed from two different rivers in any cave, anywhere in Europe and it also has time to be one of the best fishing rivers for Marble trout in Europe too!

the massive power of the new river Unica sliding out of the Planina Cave..
the massive power of the new river Unica sliding out of the Planina Cave..

 

It is nothing short of spectacular.. and probably the least spectacular place you can witness it all is in the very place you might have seen it.. Ljubljana!

All the action has happened by then, so we need to see this river more from the start to see it disappearing, appearing and doing all the magic Green stuff..

The best way to do that is for us now to take a trip along the entire river from the start by the border to the end in Ljubljana.. You would need a couple of days to see it all, so by reading this article you can maybe pick a few places to go see it appearing or disappearing..

No human can follow this river's journey by definition as it pops underground so often.. So for this trip, we are gonna turn into a Baby Dragon, so we can go over and underground with the river!

We will meet other Baby Dragons in this river along the way and no need to pack a snack as Baby Dragons live to one hundred and don't need to eat for a year!

This is where the Ljubljanica river pours out of the Little Window spring near Vhrnika..
This is where the Ljubljanica river pours out of the Little Window spring near Vhrnika..

 

By the way, there are lots of other fantastic rivers in Green Slovenia that stay above ground and so have just one name!

You can also follow some of these from their spring (Izvir) along their journey, sometimes some of the way, other times ALL of the way and so we also did a RIVER SPRINGS and a RIVERS section to help you find out some more!

For the River of 7 Names, it will depend on the recent weather and more on what time of year you are visiting here as to how many parts you can still see overland!

But you can ALWAYS see certain parts of the river and ALWAYS see the dry or wet sinkholes and caves where the water disappears and reappears!

in summer you can hike along the river bed of the new Ljubljanica and find the huge caves where the water comes out of..
in summer you can hike along the river bed of the new Ljubljanica and find the huge caves where the water comes out of..

 

So now we will list each of the names of the River of 7 Names below with a bit of description about how you can find them and stuff to do there.. be prepared for a tale of castles, caves, disappearing lakes and a few other surprises along the way!

the Trebuhovica river..

The very first part of the river pops up on the other side of a very wiggly paper border between Croatia and Slovenia at a little village called Prezid, immediately sinking underground at the Slovenian border village of Babno Polje.

This area is part of the Sneznik mountain park forest which is covered in some of the oldest and thickest forest in Europe and has some of the cleanest air on the planet..

Sneznik means Snow mountain and at 1,796m high it has stunning views of the Adriatic coast and the rest of Slovenia and can be very often snow capped!

We have it on our list to try to find the exact place where this river can first be seen in Green Slovenia!

the map shows where the very first spring and sinkholes are for the Trebuhovica river..
the map shows where the very first spring and sinkholes are for the Trebuhovica river..

 

the Orbh river

A couple of new springs now pop up to form the next part of the River of 7 Names in the Loz Valley, which is a really excellent green location for hiking and bear watching .. 

The springs create the Big Orbh (Velik Orbh) and the Little Orbh (Mali Orbh)..

We have actually seen the Big Orbh, flowing near sections of the long Green Heart hike, which is an epic local 5 hour hike in the shape of a heart around the Loska Dolina, (Loz Valley)..

And the Little Orbh is even easier to find!

It flows very near to Sneznik Castle, which in our humble opinion is the second best castle visit in Green Slovenia! (Of course, Predjama Castle is number One and so amazing it shoud be in a league of it's own)..

this is the Big Window where the last section of the River of 7 Names pours out of this cave taller than a man..
this is the Big Window where the last section of the River of 7 Names pours out of this cave taller than a man..

 

Snezik Grad, or Snow Mountain Castle is an old Germanic noble family's fairytale hunting lodge and a really good explore, both inside and out.. There is an Eygptian room, an early heating system, lots of nooks and crannies and ALL the original furniture is still there, so it kinda feels as if the family have just popped out hunting and will be back for a cup of tea anytime!

It has a drawbridge entrance, Harry Potter towers and is surrounded by a moat, fed by more secret springs and we would be very surprised if this water did not end up somewhere in the Little Orbh too!

We strongly recommend you go visit Sneznik Castle.. it's a fairy tale..
We strongly recommend you go visit Sneznik Castle.. it's a fairy tale..

 

Just cos Sneznik Castle is not in Ljubljana it does not mean for one swing of a knights' sword that you should not go visit.. Like we said, it is our number 2 Castle to visit for Green Slovenia, which is saying something and by the way, there are so many other really good castles in Slovenia that Ljubljana castle would not even get into our top 30 castles.. so put that in your catapult and launch it!!

We noticed that the Little and Big Orbhs converge near the little village of Smarate, so we will go there soon to try to find the exact place where the two rivers become the ORBH..

Hiking along the Rak river path in Rakov Skocjan in January..
Hiking along the Rak river path in Rakov Skocjan in January..

 

But for your limited hollibubble time, we would highly recommend visiting Sneznik Castle and spotting at least the Little Orbh river near there!

The Orbh river continues down the Loz Valley and we have actually been exploring in the very cave where it ducks down into the ground again to do it's next disappearing trick!

The cave is just outside the village of Danes and is called Golobina Cave, (Doves Cave)..

We scrambled around this pretty cave when it was completely dry many years ago, but back then we had no idea of the significance of it being a part of the River of 7 Names story! We thought it was just a really cool cave!

the Ljubljanica river flows away from the Mocilnik springs..
the Ljubljanica river flows away from the Mocilnik springs..

 

This can so often be the case where you visit a stunning cave and do not realise how it fits into the gigantic Green ecosystem here and this is exactly why we are explaining this magical story!

There is a long deep wide channel the Orbh river flows down as it sinks into the Golobina cave and we look forward to taking a photo of the water disappearing into the cave when the flow is in full force too!

Now folks, we are getting to the really big hitters in this particular story.. Huge Disappearing lakes, permanent rivers, caves and sinkholes that can also be visited in their own right..

 

the Stržen river..

The next time the River of 7 Names appears it is called the Stržen river and flows under and across the biggest Disappearing Lake in Europe at Cerknica!

This monster lake can fill to almost 40 KM square, but even when it is dry and completely empty in the summer, it is usually possible to catch sight of the very wiggly Stržen river snaking across before it disappears again.

You could easily spend all day exploring the massive Cerknica Disappearing Lake and still not get to cover it all!

view high above the Strzen river on a tiny section of the Cerknica Disappearing Lake..
view high above the Strzen river on a tiny section of the Cerknica Disappearing Lake..

 

But we recommend concentrating your efforts on a really interesting tiny corner of the lake, best done by E Bike in around 2- 3 hours, where you can hop on & off the bike and go explore some of the sinkholes and caves that help to fill and empty this gigantic lake, sometimes completely in just 2 days.. wow!

There is a stone road circuit you can follow to get a really good feeling for the beauty and power of Slovenia's largest AND smallest lake and on this little corner section you can also see where the Stržen river disappears and continues its' journey underground.

Quite simply.. if you think you have visited Slovenia and you have not been to the Cerknica Disappearing Lake, then you have not visited Green Slovenia at all..

 

the river Rak..

We sometimes drop guests off with E Bikes at that special corner section of the Cerknica Disappearing Lake for an Epic day's bike ride back to the Lodge, which includes a fab off road route from the lake to pass through Rakov Skocjan, a 3km long rock valley created by a huge cave collapse several million years ago..

Rakov Skocjan is yet another breath takingly stunning Green Karst feature that nobody seems to know about, but we can tell you, if you do not get to see it, then you have totally missed out!

the River Rak powers out from under the Little Bridge at Rakov Skocjan in January..
the River Rak powers out from under the Little Bridge at Rakov Skocjan in January..

 

It is another of the unmissabubbles!

Rakov Skocjan is another one of those world class secret Green places really close to the Lodge that almost ALWAYS appear in a guest's personal Top 10's at the end of their stay, when many would admit that before they arrived they did not even know existed!

The collapsed cave left 2 enormous stone arches at either end of the nature park and this is exactly where the River of 7 Names pops up again, flowing the few kms between the Little Bridge and the Big Bridge..

This is hiking paradise and the new river is called the Rak.. there are also places here in this practically unknown Karst Nature park where you can swim!

the River Rak flows out of the Rakov Skocjan nature park under the Big Bridge..
the River Rak flows out of the Rakov Skocjan nature park under the Big Bridge..

 

There is a loop track you can follow that goes either side of the river Rak ultimately connecting the two massive stone arches and the best way to see it all is to use 4-5 hours to hike the lot and stay as close to the river as you can for the best bits.

This is a protected nature park, so the trees here are even more massive than other parts of Green Slovenia and we would say this fantastic free park is probably the best place in all Green Slovenia to see what we call "Slovenian Jungle".. where the Karst rock merges with nature and becomes one..

It all looks like a Tomb Raider movie, but real.. and the Rak River section of the River of 7 Names flows through the middle of it all!

In high summer the Rak river can sink, but you can usually see some of it's flow if you explore the sensational rock valley that exists under the Little Bridge..

Did you Know.. the Little Bridge or Arch is only called the Little Bridge cos it is smaller than the Big Bridge! It isn't little at all and about 50 metres high!!

You can enter the valley going down a winding curvy stone path, where caves appear from nowhere and the greens go off the colour chart as you get to the valley floor and the river bed..

the epic rock valley under the Little Bridge at Rakov Skocjan with the river Rak flowing..
the epic rock valley under the Little Bridge at Rakov Skocjan with the river Rak flowing..

 

Then you have to go though a dark cave entrance to pop into the valley and explore further.. It is totally epic down here and one final reminder that whilst you are exploring.. that is the River of 7 Names flowing right next to your feet!

Sometimes in the middle of a dry summer it is even possible to walk under and through the Big Bridge, which is quite something, with the Rak river flowing deeper, below your feet, until it completely dives underground once more!!

 

the Unica river..

The next time you can get to see the Rak river is probably the most sensational part of the entire River of 7 Names.. as you will need to be deep inside the massive Planina cave!

Yes folks, the river Rak reappears inside Slovenia's biggest water cave and this is the only cave in Europe where you can see two rivers crashing into each other to form a new river.

The Rak is the more powerful river and whether you do the one hour Planina cave tour or the longer Epic 5 hour rubber boat tour rowing up the entire cave, you will get to see where this river joins with the Pivka river that flows from the Postojna cave.. (Another place you might have heard of)!

the Epic 5 hour rubber boat tour in the Planina Cave..
the Epic 5 hour rubber boat tour in the Planina Cave..

 

The new river is called the Unica and thunders out of the massive Planina cave mouth, from here the cave looks like a natural cathedral from inside!

The Epic rubber boat tour goes up the gentler Pivka river section of the cave and there are up to one thousand Baby Dragons living here and swimming happily around!

The Planina Cave is such an amazing cave and the biggest "tap" of all for the River of 7 Names.

We strongly recommend either of the two amazing Planina cave tours you can do here, but it is also possible to just park up and walk a little up the Unica river to see the 50 metres of Karst rock over the huge cave mouth and the new river Unica pouring out!

Rapunzel tower looks out majestically over the starting corner of a currently dry Planina Disappearing Lake..
Rapunzel tower looks out majestically over the starting corner of a currently dry Planina Disappearing Lake..

 

You can and should also go inside the massive cave mouth a bit, say 100 metres until the locked gate where the two tours commence, but take your torch phone as there are puddles.

Once inside this enormous cave tunnel mouth you can feel very small indeed and it was only recently that we discovered the cave used to continue for about 100m more outside until the massive roof caved in (is this where the phrase "cave in" comes from??) to create an uber impressive rock wall where the river now flows out in the open!

But this is not the end of it here in Planina, (a 14 min drive from the Lodge).. the river Unica is perhaps the most beautiful section of the River of 7 Names and there will almost always be water and a river here.

There are more secret places where you could swim in the River of 7 Names here and further down from the beautiful 4 arched road bridge is a much respected stretch of Fishing river, where anglers from all over the world come to catch Marble Trout!

the River Unica flows off towards the Planina Disappearing Lake..
the River Unica flows off towards the Planina Disappearing Lake..

 

AND even that is nowhere near all, cos you can also find the ruined rennaissence castle Haasberg near the arched bridge AND the most beautiful medieval tower in Slovenia, which we call Rapunzels Tower (Ravbar Stolp) as we have NEVER seen a tower anywhere in the world looking more like the fairy tale tower!

But even that is not all, cos the River Unica flows onwards into a massive field (Polje) that looks a bit like a long green valley about 7km long and 1-2 km wide, running from the village of Planina direction Ljubljana..

The river snakes it's way across this huge field, completely filling Slovenia's second biggest Planina Disappearing lake in the autumn and finally sinks underground once more into dozens of sinkholes at the end of the Lake!

Park here near Rapunzel's Tower to walk down to the mouth of the Planina Cave..
Park here near Rapunzel's Tower to walk down to the mouth of the Planina Cave..

 

That is a lot of water.. wow, how about all that!

There is so much to see, do and explore around Planina that we have at least 2 different E Bike routes for guests to go explore and, of course, the River of 7 Names is central to all of this Green adventure! 

 

the Logaščica river..

We know the least about this section of the river that flows from several sources in the hills near Logatec, then becomes the Logaščica river and sinks down again inside the town..

It then joins the huge waterflow from the River Unica that has come more than 10km underground to form the final part of the River of 7 Names.. the Ljubljanica, in Vhrnika..

We are looking forward to exploring and finding out more about the Logaščica river and seeing where it comes from and disappears!

the largest springs at Mocilnik in Vhrnika..
the largest springs at Mocilnik in Vhrnika..

 

 

the Ljublanica river..

Remember that water you see gushing out of the Planina Cave to form the Unica river?Well it can take 2 to 5 days undergound from Planina to reach the springs of the Ljubljanica river that you see finally flowing through Ljubljana!

There are multiple springs to find in & around the town of Vhrnika, a few kms south of Ljubljana, which is exactly where the last river of the River of 7 Names pops out of various cave mouths and other Karst springs!

We also did a whole article on how you can discover these springs and more stuff to do in Vhrnika..

Even when dry still some water here at the Big Window spring for the Ljubljanica river..
Even when dry still some water here at the Big Window spring for the Ljubljanica river..

 

The best way to see the springs is to park up and walk or bike to them, starting in Mocilnik in Vhrnika.

There are two other main places in nearby Mirke, the Big Window (Velike Okence) and Small Window (Malo Okence) where the new river Ljubljanica pours out and if the water flow is very low in the summer it is also possible to hike about one km up the dry river bed to find the two largest cave openings where the new river springs out!

As the final new river of the River of 7 Names flows towards Ljubljana there is some info in Slovene and maps about the entire river on info boards inside a rotund metal display riverside.

Indeed there is a larger indoor exhibition at the Vhrnika Cultural Centre, housed in a converted Leather factory in the town, explaining much more about the Ljubljanica River, if you are interested!

the outdoor display shows how deep the river goes underground..
the outdoor display shows how deep the river goes underground..

 

So now when you are hanging out at Three Bridges in Ljubljana, you will at least know the amazing story about how the water gushing under your feet got there!

And as you stroll around the big smoke seeing dragon statues and dragon bridges all over the place, it should come as no surprise to you, how over time, some of the Baby dragons did indeed make the entire epic jorney along the river of 7 Names in high water to scare the local Ljubljana residents into thinking that Mama Dragon might come looking for her babies, so they had better be prepared and show some respect with a few decent statues!

 

 

Bonus.. the Pivka river and the 17 Disappearing Lakes of Pivka

Remember in the Planina Cave where the rivers Rak and Pivka crash into each other to form the Unica river?

Well the Rak river is the River of 7 Names, but the Pivka river has a quite different story to be told before it enters the Postojna Cave!

You see the Pivka River flows from another massive green area called the Pivka basin and helps to create 17 different Disapeearing Lakes of all shapes and sizes as it flows to Postojna and merges with another river that flows from under Nanos mountain, 1313m.. the same dramatic mountain you can see from the Lodge back garden..

the River Rak rages out of the Rock Valley at Rakov Skocjan and this is where you can sneak into the valley through that cave..
the River Rak rages out of the Rock Valley at Rakov Skocjan and this is where you can sneak into the valley through that cave..

 

The whole Pivka area is yet another huge nature park called the 17 Disappearing Lakes of Pivka and the town of Pivka is just a 15 min drive from the Lodge!

You can easily E Bike to the second largest of these 17 Disappearing Lakes in Petelinje, where there is a new micro Museum of the 17 Disappearing Lakes of Pivka telling the entire story of the river and the how the different lakes form!

We sincerely hope you can see from these mini stories how interlinked all the nature is here in Green Slovenia and now you know where you could really go and see, touch, smell, taste, even swim and paddle in parts of the uber incredible River of 7 Names!

Email: info@lipizzanerlodge.com

Address: Landol 17, Postojna 6230, Slovenia

Phone: +386 5620 3443
Mobile: +386 40 47 0239 or +386 40 37 8037

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