Europe Slovenia Travel Diary

What’s there to do in Kranj?

Kranj in Slovenia, a quick hop on the train from Ljubljana
Kranj in Slovenia, a quick hop on the train from Ljubljana

Kranj is a small town (ok, small but in Slovenia it is probably considered a city: in fact, the fourth biggest city!) between Ljubljana and the airport. It is, truly a historical town, believed (with evidence) to have been settled during the Celtic period in the first millennium BC.

The Old Town is nestled on the curved river bank of the Sava and Kokra Rivers and is complete with a palace on the cliff edge, wonderfully laid out terrace houses, vibrant market square, and home to a very important person to the Slovenians – France Prešeren.

So we couldn’t resist a visit!

But what’s there to do?

The colour houses on Kranj's market square
The colour houses on Kranj’s market square

Kranj is Prešeren town

So, as I mentioned, France Prešeren is a bit of VIP for Slovenia. We’ve heard about him all the way in Bled when we stayed in Vila Prešeren, and first heard of the Prešeren name.

France Prešeren was a 19th Century Slovenian poet, mostly known for some of his verses that led to the nationalism and independence of Slovenia.

Here, you can visit Prešeren House, and learn how this son of a farmer became a national literature (and indirectly political) hero.

 

The Prešeren Memorial Museum is a celebration of France Prešeren's works and his life.
The Prešeren Memorial Museum is a celebration of France Prešeren’s works and his life.

Kranj has some excellent museums

Because France Prešeren is widely regarded as a national hero, making Kranj the best place to learn about Slovenian history, not just political history at that, the history from the Celtic and Roman era before modern day countries even existed.

That's a lot of bones... at The Ossuary in Kranj
That’s a lot of bones… at The Ossuary in Kranj

And at a reasonably price too. For €6 per person, you can get a four museums pass for the day, and allows you to visit the following:

  • Khiselstein Castle & Museum: Khiselstein Castle (more of a palace) dates back to 1256, which houses one of the most important museums in Kranj. The museum is dedicated to the history of the Gorenjska region (the region Kranj is the centre of) and tells the story of the people and cultures that have been through here.
  • City Hall: The City Hall in Kranj, dating back to the 16th Century, is one of the most important cultural monuments in Slovenia. Today, it is still used for wedding ceremonies and important city government meetings, and also houses exhibitions of art works and artifacts from this region. At the entrance there are also skeletons under glass panels on the floor, showing recent excavations of a mass cemetery in Kranj.
  • The Ossuary: and speaking of skeletons, just on the corner of St. Kancijan Church is the Ossuary, an interesting underground mass burial exhibition full of bones! Note: You will need someone from the City Hall to take you there on off peak season for it is not always open.
  • Prešeren Memorial Museum: This is the house where France Prešeren spent the last years of his life, which is now a museum dedicated to celebrating his life and works in Slovenia.
The Old Toll House in Kranj, just one of the beautiful old heritage buildings to see.
The Old Toll House in Kranj, just one of the beautiful old heritage buildings to see.

The serenity of River Kokra Canyon

Follow the cobble stones to Postna Ulica bridge, down the steep steps to the left side you’ll hit the River Kokra Canyon circuit.

This is a short circuit that follows the bank of the Kokra River at the bottom of the canyon of Kranj, a leisurely walk taking you away into the bit of nature’s goodness.

I loved this little walk, it’s a bit of nature without having to go too far, and the sound of the gushing river and the picturesque bridge made me feel that I’ve escaped civilisation just for that small moment.

The beautiful walk on the Kokra River Canyon in Kranj
The beautiful walk on the Kokra River Canyon in Kranj

Treverse the streets and enjoy the colourful Old Town

I love Old Towns a lot more than ‘new’ cities – I prefer colourful terrace houses and tiled walls over the skyscrapers and trendy bars. It’s no wonder I keep being lured to these old places in Europe!

Travelling in Europe in Autumn means I get to feast on chestnuts!
Travelling in Europe in Autumn means I get to feast on chestnuts!

And in Kranj there’s plenty of colourful houses and fountains and old toll houses to explore, at the same time, some funky parts to the town when you are willing to walk away from the main road!

Steer away from the main road we find funky street art!
Steer away from the main road we find some funky street art!

It’s the sort of place an artists would love, and photographers have a ball finding interesting subjects to capture.

Have I convinced you yet? Kranj is an easy day trip from Ljubljana by train, as you can see from our itinerary we took on our Slovenian journey. Check out www.tourism-kranj.si for more visitor inspirations on Kranj.

The Old Town of Kranj
The Old Town of Kranj

Have you been to Kranj? What did you think?

Share your thoughts below!