Home to our Retreats - Villa Planina & Nebibna, located on the Austrian-Italian-Slovenian tri-border (or 'tromeja' in Slovene), Rateče is a charming little village just 5mins drive from Kranjska Gora. It’s rare that such a peaceful quaint village has so much to offer but Rateče is no ordinary village, sitting at the crossroads of three distinct cultures. The village itself has a very rich history being the origin of some of the oldest Slovene manuscripts. These days Rateče takes advantage of its rich cultural and natural heritage along with its close proximity to premier winter sports venues Planica and Kranjska Gora, as a popular tourist destination with some very good restaurants as well as a number of excellent accommodation options.
From the village at the very top of the Upper Sava Valley, there is a huge range of natural wonders very close by, the river from which the valley gets its name, Sava (Slovenia’s longest), has its source just out of town in the Zelenci Nature Reserve, whilst to the south of town the spectacular Planica glacial valley – world famous for its giant ski jumping slopes - opens up and extends into the Julian Alps and Triglav National Park onto the spectacular Tamar Valley.
North of the village lies Mt. Peč - the exact point where the three countries meets - with the ascent to the summit making a pleasant walk or ride. Then there is also the magnificent Belopeški (or Fusine in Italian) Lakes a short way west over the border.
The settlement of Rateče was first mentioned in manuscripts dating back to around 1380, making them among the oldest examples of written Slovenian. The original manuscripts are now held in Klagenfurt though copies are on display in the St. Tomaž Church in Rateče - one of the oldest surviving churches in the country and possibly the site where the manuscripts were produced.
Rateče was not always so close to the border - prior to the First World War (and to some extent still today), ethnic Slovenes also lived to the west in what at the time was part of the Austro-hungarian empire. Whilst during the First World War in particular the area saw fierce fighting. In the inter war period (1918-43) the area was then ruled by Italy.
The small village of Rateče celebrate their rich history annually (15th August) at the Village Days festivities with locals dressing up in national costumes - some more than 100 years old- and presentations of traditional customs and practices such as local wool production procedures and brandy making - and more importantly sampling. Visitors can also admire and purchase local handcrafts, try local culinary specialities and enjoy traditional folk music and dances performed.
|Rateče's excellent restaurants
||Gostilna Pri Žerjavu
In Rateče there are a number of superb traditional Slovenian alpine "gostilnas" (taverns) - which fill up particularly on weekends with Italian and Austrian visitors. There are also several bars,a supermarket and petrol station all close to the village. Whilst a short way north of Rateče near the tri-border and summit of Mt. Peč is a traditional alpine lodge or " planinski dom" in Slovene, offering hearty Slovenian fare. There is also another good mountain lodge, Tamar Planiski Dom, offering local staples at the entrance to the Tamar Valley which can be reached via the Planica Valley.
Gostilna pri Žerjavu (Rateče)
Ratece is a charming village beyond Podkoren on the road going from Kranjska Gora towards Italy. Pri Zerjavu is a traditional gostilna located in the main square of the village.
|Gostilna Šurc (Rateče)
Another fantastic traditional gostilna. From Pri Zerjavu turn left and continue through the village until you see Surc on your right.
|Gostilna Mojmir (Rateče)
Known for its friendly service Gostilna Mojmir serve up similar dishes to the other gostilnas in town, that is hearty Slovenian classics.
With more than 40km of well-maintained cross-country trails crisscrossing the Upper Sava Valley it is one of the best places in the country to get on the narrow skis. With tracks taking in stunning alpine landscapes from Mojstrana all the way up to Rateče it is surely one of the best ways to explore the area in winter. From Rateče itself there are some excellent trails which stretch through the magnificent Planica Valley past the ski jumps to the Tamar Valley. Cross-country ski equipment can be rented and courses are also available for the uninitiated.
To the south of Rateče the picturesque glacial valley of Planica extends 7km into the Julian Alps towards the equally beautiful Tamar Valley where the first flows of the Sava Dolinka River can be seen as they cascade over the Nadiža Waterfalls before disappearing under ground only to reapper in the Zelenci Nature Reserve.
Planica is synonymous with ski jumping and if you’ve never seen ski-jumping in the flesh, then be prepared to be amazed. However many times you've seen it on TV nothing prepares you for the sight of a person flying 200m through the air. Planica is a legend amongst world ski jumping venues with a history stretching back to the 1930s. It was the venue for over 30 world record breaking jumps including the first jump of over 100m (Sepp Bradl, Austria 1936) and 200m (Toni Nieminen, Finland, 1994) and one of the most recent world records by Bjoern Einar Romoeren of 239m in 2005.
Ski jumping or ski flying as it is often called holds a very special place in the heart of Slovenes and nowadays the Planica ski jumping, Slovenia competition, usually held in mid March each year is Slovenia’s biggest annual sports event with around 50,000 spectators coming from all around Europe. The setting is beautiful - overlooked by the towering Ponce, Cipernik and Jalovec mountains, the music is loud, the wine flows freely and the cheering for each nation's heroes is non-stop - creating a superb atmosphere to watch men defying gravity and flying through the air for ever greater distances.
The future for Planica ski jumping looks extremely positive with works under way to create a large complex at the foot of the ski jumps offering a wide range of modern Winter and Summer sporting facilities to add to the existing cross country skiing and hiking trails which scour the bottom of the beauviful Planica - Tamar valley.
Watching the Planica ski jumping, Slovenia is an unforgettable Winter Sports experience that combines perfectly with a ski break at Kranjska Gora and the surrounding region. The Planica experience is perfect to enjoy from our Retreats of Villa Planina & Nebina both situated in the village of Ratece. Ratece is the closest settlement to the Planica ski jumping, Slovenia centre meaning that Villa Planina and Nebina are one of the very few places you can stay in easy walking distance of Planica (circa 2km by foot). With 4 apartments, 12 beds and sofabeds for a further 6-8 people in each villa we are well used to welcoming large groups of fans from around to Europe coming to Planica ski jumping, Slovenia to cheer their team on, so please contact us for more information on Planica ski jumping including reserving your stay at Villa Planina or Nebina and how to get tickets.
Dates: Dates for Planica are usually penultimate weekend of March.
Some useful Planica ski jumping, Slovenia related links:
Map of Planica / History of Planica / Planica ski jumping photo gallery
From the village of Rateče it’s a pleasant 2hr walk or manageable ride up Mt Peč (1,510m) to the triple border of Austria, Italy and Slovenia, where German, Slavonic and Romance cultures meet. It's a popular destination for locals and tourists alike with a mountain lodge set just below the summit serving drinks and hearty meals.
Jure Robič Path
Rateče is located on the wonderful Jure Robič bike path that links Jesenice and Tarvisio, so west of the village the path crosses into Italy and close by the stunning Belopeški alpine lakes - well worth the short detour off the main bike path. East of Rateče the paved route leads to Mojstrana and even onto Jesenice for dedicated cyclist.
There are also a huge range of opportunities for hiking, biking and cross-country skiing very close to Rateče in the magnificent Planica and Tamar Valleys. For more information about local paths and trails check with the Rateče tourist office.