Kranj is the third-largest city in Slovenia and one of the most beautiful settlements. The city is the centre of the traditional region of Gorenjska. It is primarily an industrial city with a significant electronics and rubber industry. The core of the city is a well-preserved medieval old town built at the confluence of the Kokra and Sava rivers.
The city is less popular among tourists, but thanks to its constant development, it is becoming more and more desirable each year. Many Slovenian families are moving here from Ljubljana.
Map - Where is Kranj?
Map, address, approach, approach, distances
Kranj is located next to the river Sava, approx. 30 kilometres to the northwest from Ljubljana. It is roughly halfway between the capital city and Bled. To the northeast, you will find the Kamnik Savinja Alps. If you go to the northwest, you will find the Julian Alps and the Triglav National Park.
The city is served by the Kranj railway station, the route from Ljubljana to Munich, Germany (via Jesenice and Villach, Austria) and a motorway. Slovenia's national airport, Ljubljana's Jože Pučnik Airport (in Brnik), is also very close - even closer than Ljubljana itself.
- Distance from Ljubljana: 30 minutes / 30 km
- Distance from Bled: 20 minutes / 26 km
- Distance from Lake Bohinj: 1 hour / 55 km
More about the city
In Kranj, the river cuts deep into the ground and forms a canyon 40 meters deep. Kosorep, on the northern edge of the city, is a picturesque place along the river. Parts of the canyon can be reached on foot. The dam of the Mavčiče Hydroelectric Power Station is also located here.
The city is located 385 m above sea level. In addition to Kranj’s historic buildings, you will find modern plazas, restaurants and other useful facilities - yet the town is charming. Its role in trade with neighbouring countries has always been significant. It is an important stop on trade routes from Northern Europe to the Adriatic. The city is famous for its textile and rubber industry as well as its shoe production.
In the 6th century, Lombards settled in the area and were followed by the early Slavic tribes. Between 1000 and 1100, the Franks formed their border base here. The city thus became a market and church centre. Kranj's boom was triggered by iron ore mining.
Attractions & Things to do
There are many shopping malls in Kranj, but for most hikers. Kranj is located in a beautiful natural environment, under mountains and hills, with signposted hiking trails around it. You can explore the area by bike or on foot.
#1 Old town
The main attraction is the historic centre. Protected as a national cultural monument since 1983, the bustling old town boasts a wide range of attractions, from religious monuments and the Ethnological Museum to modern art spaces. You can also see the unique remnants of World War II (in the tunnels under the old town of Kranj).
#2 Tunnel system
One of Kranj’s most special attractions is the World War II tunnel complex, which runs for 1,300 meters in the heart of Kranj’s Old town. The tunnel has 3 entrances:
- West entrance: Jelena Klanec
- Eastern entrance: Kokra Gorge
- South entrance: below Pungert
There is a permanent exhibition of fossils and minerals in the tunnels.
Construction of the tunnel complex began in the late 1930s, but much of the construction that exists today was carried out in 1944 by the occupying forces. In 1980, an entrepreneur started growing mushrooms in them. Utilisation and mushroom growing have had their effects, and the tunnel system has entered a critical state. Nowadays the tunnel can be visited.
#3 City wall and towers
The city wall of Kranj has 7 towers, from which you can enter the Old Town through the gate of the Spital Tower (located in front of Masitrov Square). The most beautiful view is from the Kokrski Breg tower. You can get here through the gate of the 15th century Spital Tower.
#4 Main Square
The Main Square - or Glavni Trg in Slovenian; is a long narrow square in the heart of Kranj. Like much of the rest of Kranj’s old town, the square has recently been renovated and restored. The square is a bustling hub of the city, with restaurants and cafées. Here you will find the St. Kancijan Parish Church, the Preseren Theatre, many galleries, museums and the tourist office.
#5 St. Kancijan Parish Church
Kranj's most important prayer house, the parish church of St. Kancijan, was built around 1400.
#6 Pungert Watchtower
On the southernmost edge of Kranj’s Old Town stands the Pungert Tower, the only surviving watchtower in the city. It was built in the 16th century and its function has changed several times over the centuries. It was a prison, and his best-known prisoner was Leopold Layer, a counterfeiter. Nowadays, it has a three-storey playhouse, where events are held for both children and adults.
#7 Kokra Gorge
One of the popular destinations for hikers is the gorge formed by the river Kokra. It is an excellent program, which captivates those who go there. It used to be a city bath. An educational trail leads through and around the gorge.
#8 Khislstein Castle
The 13th-century Khislstein Castle originally played an important role in protecting the city. The castle, rebuilt in the 16th century, has an impressive appearance today. Today, Khislstein Castle is home to a branch of the regional Gorenjska Museum, which is dedicated to the flora and fauna of the Alpine region. The castle’s arcaded courtyard serves as an amphitheatre in summer and hosts periodic festivals.
#9 Preseren Fair
The Preseren fair takes the town of Kranj back to the 19th century. At the annual event, craft stalls, food, music and dance fill the city’s streets. The celebration attracts more than 25,000 visitors a year. During the fair, famous Slovenian historical figures will also appear, with whom you can take selfies and photos.
#10 In the footsteps of Joze Plecnik
The most famous Slovenian architect, Joze Plecnik, also left his footprint in Kranj. He designed a monumental entrance to the city, stairs, arches and a fountain. All of these can be seen at the top of Vodopivec Street.
#11 In the footsteps of Leopold Layer
The Laner House is home to the prolific artist Leopold Layer (1752-1828), a renowned Slovenian painter. Recently, the house has been transformed into a beautiful, multifunctional art facility. The museum has a number of permanent exhibitions.
- Address: Tomšičeva ulica 32, 4000 Kranj, Slovenia