All the Hidden Secrets of The Ljubljana Marshes (Barje)

When visiting Ljubljana, among the peak destinations you can visit are the Ljubljana Marshes. The breathtaking greenery made of swamps and peat bogs is one of a kind in the world. The entire aesthetic of the marsh harkens to a time long forgotten.

The Ljubljana Marshes are home to several secrets privy only to those who visit there. First, the marsh is home to prehistoric pile dwellers, together with its beautiful connection to the Ljubljana River. The swamps are home to exotic flora and fauna not found anywhere else in the world.

If you’re planning to tour around Ljubljana, the Barje (marsh) is a great place to go. Here’s everything you need to know about this magical place.

An Overview of the Ljubljansko Barje

The Ljubljana Marshes or Ljubljansko barje is due south of the city itself. It’s the largest marsh in the country, in a country famous for its various wetlands. The entire marsh is 63 square miles (163 sq km), which makes up 0.8% of the entire country.

The expansive marsh is a beautiful tourist destination that spans as many as 7 municipalities. These include:

  • Borovnica
  • Brezovica
  • Ljubljana
  • Ig
  • Log-Dragomer
  • Škofljica
  • Vrhnika

Wherever you are in central Slovenia, you’ll likely find a way to access the site easily. Why would you want to go to the Ljubljana marshes? If you’re a tourist, the activities you can do at the barje are near-infinite.

Sightseeing is a common activity at the marsh. Tourists can go around and enjoy the beautiful greenery with their own eyes. Almost every part of the barje offers a different experience every time.

There are also many ways to go around, including walking and biking. The area has one of the best biodiversities in the world, which means visitors can find the rarest flora and fauna.

There’s also the Ljubljanica river and many of its rich heritage connected to the marsh. If you’re visiting the Ljubljana marshes, it’s crucial to find every secret the place has. By doing so, you can make the most out of this beautiful tourist destination.

Here’s everything you would find in the Ljubljansko barje.

See Everything Through Biking Tours Around the Marsh

One of the many things that tourists can do when visiting the Ljubljana marshes is to visit the area by bike. Biking tours are among the most famous and most common modes of transport for the area.

Biking has a few different advantages over other styles of transport, especially walking and vehicle tours. The marsh is a large maze that encompasses a big landmass. It has small arterial roads that connect to each other, opening it up for exploration.

People using cars can only have limited access to the entire bog. There are roads too small for a vehicle to pass but have beautiful sights and scenes to see. You will also miss the “tour of the senses” that biking around the area will give you.

The marsh has fresh air and some of the lushest greenery on Earth. A vehicle will be a subpar experience compared to a bike.

If you want to visit common tourist sites, you can visit the Trnulja Estate, the Iški vintgar gorge, and Lake Podpeč. The Trnulja Estate is a great place to stay, giving a countryside feel to every visit.

The Iški vintgar gorge is a beautiful and well-hidden body of water where tourists can fish and swim in clear waters. Podpec lake offers a scenic view where you can relax your senses. The surrounding valleys during the summer are lovely, while the lake is a wistful sight during the winter.

Go on a relaxing Walking Tour Around The Barje

Another way people get around the Ljubljana marshes is to walk. Going around by foot has its advantages, especially for people who want a scenic tour. While walking is not as fast as a bike when it comes to touring the area, it is a great way to absorb the energy of the locale.

Walking around the marsh will let you see small banks where you can sit and relax. Small walking tours can also be great for tourists who are looking to go around a small part of the marsh itself.

Many tours divide the marsh into four routes that people can visit. These tours focus on different aspects of the barje. Some opt to go through the entire marsh, while others opt for a set of places to visit. These routes include the central barje, west barje, east barje, and around the barje tour.

Among these tours, the central barje tour is doable on foot. By dropping off to Črna Vas, tourists can afford themselves a visit around the marsh itself and walk from there.

Learn About The Koliščarji Pile-Dwellers

Among the best-kept secrets of the Ljubljana marsh are the koliščarji. The koliščarji or the pile dwellers were ancient people of the marsh who lived in Slovenia 6000 years ago. During this time, people settled on the marsh for a variety of reasons.

Pile dwellers were merchants by profession, with different roles like tillers, hunters, and even stockbreeders. Their settlements were lakeside huts built on poles on lake floors.

As you visit the Ljubljana marsh, you will likely know more about the koliščarji and their life. Much of what is left from their legacy is in museums around Ljubljana.

The exhibition areas for the pile dwellers are in the City Museum of Ljubljana. Other exhibitors include the National Museum of Slovenia and the Ljubljanica River Exhibition.

From what is left from the pile dweller legacy, we’ll see the level of culture they had. They believed in Mother Earth, worshipped the Sun, and were amazing potters. They were also a part of the legacy of Jason and the Argonauts, with whom they traded.

Much of their history comes from their ability to utilize ancient trade routes. This seminal history tells us that the barje is not a simple marsh, but rather a living, breathing locale for the first people of Slovenia.

See the Fauna of the Peat Bogs

The peat bogs of the Ljubljana marsh are disappearing due to parching. Peat is also in heavy use over the past centuries as a type of fuel, pushing it to the brink. Even then, what little peat left in the marsh still makes the entire area as beautiful as it can be.

Peat forms on bogs, specifically due to its high groundwater level and a combination of chemical conditions. As marsh plants die and accumulate, they grow and layer on top of each other. The lack of oxygen in the formation prevents rot and allows peat buildup.

A bog develops once peat becomes so thick that its upper area does not receive groundwater. The formation of the bog itself is an astounding phenomenon that you need to see with your own eyes. To see everything in its most primal form, you would want to visit the Goriški Mah and Mali Plac nature reserve.

For those who want to see more local wildlife, tourists can also visit the Iški Morost Nature Reserve. Ornithologists would love this place as it’s home to several endangered bird species in the world. These include the Eurasian curlew, Eurasian woodcock, whinchat, and the Northern Harrier.

Near the reserve is the Koščeva pot or the Corn Crake trail. This trail, named after a rare species of birds, will offer a unique insight on how fauna survive in the barje. It even has as much as roe deer, otters, and up to 89 species of butterflies.

Feast Your Eyes With The Flora Of Ljubljana

Much like its fauna, the flora in the Ljubljana marsh are among the most diverse in the world. The marsh meadows are teeming with vibrant colors and among the most beautiful greenery in the world.

In spring, the meadows of the barje are full of dark reds coming from the snake’s head fritillary. Marsh marigolds also cover the swamps with yellow blossoms as you pass by them. Much further, giant goldenrods give the marsh its characteristic gold radiance.

Once the summer months take a turn, the marsh gets its fill of purples, whites, and lilac. The scheuchzer cottongrass dresses the fields with soft-white blossoms, while the devil’s bit adds a patch of light purple.

Orchids and lady orchids are also teeming in the summer, giving the barje a gorgeous hue. For tourists, it’s best to visit the Ljubljana marsh during spring or summer. These seasons offer the best color for the wonderful flowers of the marsh.


Visiting the Ljubljana marshes will unveil its secrets to you. When going to Slovenia, it’s a must to see the beautiful barje in the flesh. Its gorgeous greenery, diverse flora, and among the rarest fauna in the world makes the barje a sight to behold.

When going to the Ljubljana marsh, it’s important to explore and be curious. See everything with your own eyes and scour every place you can visit. The barje is a living, breathing ecosystem that has something in every corner.

If you want to visit the barje, it’s best to come with an experienced guide to help you around. The marshes can be an overwhelming journey with how vast it is.

Whether you go with a guide or not, the Ljubljana marsh is a world on its own. Enjoy and prepare to see all the secrets of the barje.

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