Zasavska Sveta gora (852 m)

From Vače to a famous pilgrimage church

“Sveta Gora between the valleys of the Sava and the Medija is without a doubt the most picturesque summit in the Zasavje region. The church stands like a citadel above its circling wall, atop cliffs dressed in green and scored with white. . .” These words were written by Rudolf Badjura, a legendary writer of mountain guides, in his description of Zasavska Sveta Gora, or Sveta Gora above Litija, as it is also known. Meanwhile J. W. Valvasor wrote of it that it was very famous because of the miracles that happen on pilgrimages there. Zasavska Sveta Gora is also a very popular hiking destination, where hikers are rewarded by the astonishing view of the walled church on its hill.

Several hiking trails lead to Zasavska Sveta Gora. We propose the trail from Vače – a settlement famous for its prehistoric archaeological sites and, in particular, for the discovery of a decorated bucket or pail belonging to the Hallstatt culture, known as the Vače situla, and for the nearby geometric centre of Slovenia (GEOSS) in the village of Slivna.

When you reach Vače you will soon notice the wooden signposts, including one for the hiking trail to “Zasavska gora”, which initially leads you along the asphalt road towards the settlement of Klenik. Next to the road, you will see a wooden sculpture – part of an Avenue of Creativity featuring works by self-taught sculptors that tell stories about the area, about human life and about relationships. You will also see the top of the tower of the Holy Cross Church on the summit of a tree-covered hill (Slemško), which you will pass further on.

A Knafelc blaze or waymark (a red circle with a white dot at its centre) and an arrow soon direct you towards the forest, at first along a track and then along a narrow forest path that climbs slightly more steeply. Stay on this path until you reach Holy Cross Church (670 m). Records show that Slemško has been the destination of pilgrimages on Fridays during Lent for almost 200 years.

Continue on to the right of the church, along a track that initially goes slightly downhill. At this point the hiking waymarks temporarily disappear, but the wayside shrines representing the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary are reliable indicators of the route. The waymarks appear again just before the forest opens out into a meadow and before long you will find yourself on a broad macadam forest track, where you will also see the information boards of the Vače Archaeological Trail. Continue on along a meadow track and into the forest. . .

After a while the track leads down through the forest and over a meadow onto a macadam road (along which you will later return to Klenik and then Vače). At this point, head towards Vovše. The road, which also goes past a small quarry, for the most part climbs gently to moderately. Once in Vovše, walk past the first houses and follow the broad track that cuts through meadows, then a section of forest, and then more meadows. In fine weather the view reaches as far as Triglav. When you come to a group of older houses, it is time to leave the broad path and take the narrower path uphill. Before long you will come to a wooden signpost that reads “Zasavska Sveta Gora 30 min”. Take the broad path uphill through the forest until the next fork, where you can choose between the longer route (30 minutes) or the shorter route (20 minutes) to the summit. The former leads along the ridge and the latter across the slope: we recommend taking the former to go up and the latter for the return journey back to the starting point.

A pleasant little path in the shelter of the forest leads along the ridge. After a while, you will leave this path and descend onto a track. From here it is around a 10-minute climb to the summit along alternating tracks and forest paths until finally a grassy path leads you onto the asphalt road immediately below the church. The latter remains out of sight practically until the end of the hike, so the first glimpse of it is truly stunning.

Follow the road up to the pilgrimage church dedicated to the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, from where in fine weather you can enjoy an incredible view – from Triglav to the Pohorje and all the way to Snežnik.

A mountain hut (Planinski dom na Zasavski Sveti gori) is located just below the church.


To return to the starting point, retrace your steps to the fork and choose the path that cuts across the slope. You will find yourself on a sandy path with rocks on one side and steep slopes on the other. This is the only part of the route that is somewhat exposed, but it is extremely picturesque. After a while the path re-enters the forest and the path becomes softer. When you reach the crossroads, take the fork for Vovše and return towards Vače along the route by which you came. A kilometre and a half before Vače, at the point where you came out of the forest earlier, continue along the macadam road to Klenik, where you will see a large-scale replica of the Vače situla by the side of the road. Walk through the village and continue on towards Vače.

Starting point

Vače (37 km from the centre of Ljubljana). Park in the small car park by the village church or the larger car park by the cemetery, which is slightly higher up in the village. From here, walk back to the signposts you will have noticed on entering the village and continue on in the direction of Klenik.

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