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The Ribnica Valley is nestled between Mala gora and Velika gora mountain ranges, which are its unmistakable features. The valley is crisscrossed by the waters that disappear into the mysterious subterranean world in the middle of the fields. The mighty forests are home to many forest-dwelling animals and a source of tranquillity, peace and good energy for visitors who know how to draw on it.

Is nature your favourite place to go to when you’re in need of some peace and quiet? If this is the case, we have prepared several suggestions for quiet corners, viewpoints with stunning views, beautiful clearings, as well as rivers and other water pearls in our valley.


The source of the river Ribnica is shrouded in mystery. This water pearl rises to the surface at the foot of Velika gora, from where it winds its way through the plains of the Ribnica Valley, all the way to the village of Goriča vas, where it disappears who knows where. Part of its waters flows into the Rinža and the rest into the Krka. The river Ribnica is said to be named after the many fish that have found their home here (the name is derived from the noun ‘riba’, which means fish). To learn more about how Ribnica got its name, read the legend below.

At the river’s source, you can see a large dam and a pond – the remnants of a former fish farm. It is also worth mentioning that up until World War II, Ribnica’s water powered the Rudež family’s watermill and sawmill. A special feature of this facility was a water turbine that powered the so-called venecijanka saw (a water-driven saw).

The source of the river Ribnica can be reached by following a beautiful forest trail, suitable for families, hikers looking for not very challenging trails and a short getaway in nature.

The trail is described in the Hiking Trails booklet, which can be downloaded here.

Reka Ribnica
Reka Ribnica
Pogled proti izviru reke Ribnice
Pogled proti izviru reke Ribnice

Legend has it:

“Back in the day, today’s Ribnica Valley was an enormous lake, inhabited by many fish, large and small alike. One of them was a beautiful goldfish. At the time, a huge giant lived on Velika gora. During the day he slept, and at night he went fishing in the lake. The goldfish helped him by lighting his way. As there was no water in the neighbouring Suha krajina, people from there fetched water from the lake. One time when they came to get some water, they also scooped up the goldfish. They tossed it among the rocks where it turned into stone. The giant woke up and went fishing as usual, but there was no goldfish to light his way. He looked for it, but in vain. He became terribly angry – he smashed the cliffs and threw the pieces into the lake. He uprooted everything that came to hand, all the trees and bushes. Huge holes appeared at the bottom of the lake, which resulted in the water draining away. The lake disappeared and many fish were left on its bottom. People came from near and far came to get the fish and as a result the place was named RIBNICA – roughly translated this means Fishville. To commemorate this event, Ribnica’s coat-of-arms features a fish.”


Destination Ribnica is strongly committed to developing balanced and boutique tourism which aims to provide an equilibrium between tourism and quality of life. Our mission ensures that tourism provides and will continue to provide for a clean environment, foster nature protection, and offer an authentic experience of towns, villages and the cultural landscape.

Ribnica is an authentic and green destination, perfect for those seeking peace and unspoiled local environments. The town is committed to following Slovenia’s sustainable tourism strategy and catering to responsible and more demanding guests, whose main guidelines are green exclusivity, reduced footprint and greater environmental value.


Being aware of tourism’s large impact on the environment, the local community and the state of preservation of natural and cultural heritage, we would like to offer you some environmentally-friendly hints to help you reduce its negative impact and contribute to strengthening the SLOVENIA GREEN brand.

Green transport options

Many roads lead to Ribnica, some greener than others. Choose a sustainable way to reach us by using public transport (bus or train) or other alternative mobility options (bicycle) and thus reduce your carbon footprint.

Visit local events to see how the locals live. Don’t miss the Ribnica Fair, an ethnographic presentation of a fair with a long tradition.

Stop by the handicraft and pottery museum, the gallery, Škrabec homestead and other cultural buildings and contribute to the preservation of Ribnica art and culture.

Natural and cultural heritage

Ribnica people have always lived in balance with nature and used its abundant wealth (wood and clay) to create an exceptional handicraft heritage that has survived to this very day. You can help maintain this primal balance by not veering off the well-marked hiking trails and remaining on designated cycling paths. For a map of hiking and cycling routes, contact the Information Point at Ribnica Castle or Ribnica Handicraft Center.

Ribnica strives to preserve wildlife, so please do not feed or disturb forest animals. We recommend local guides for the best forest experience.


Ribnica is a green oasis, so let’s join hands in keeping it clean and tidy.

Rubbish bins for separate waste collection can be found throughout the municipality, but should you not see one, please take your rubbish to an area serviced by communal services.

Keep nature clean!

You will find clean and drinkable water everywhere in Slovenia, as the right to clean drinking water is a constitutional right. We recommend a refillable bottle for traveling around Ribnica. We will provide you with water at every step.

Help conserve water and energy while at your accommodation. Choose a short shower instead of a bath, save on towels, turn off the lights and air conditioning upon leaving the room.

Share your positive and green experiences with friends and help spread environmental awareness.

Natural resources of Ribnica

Admire the river Bistrica at sunset and enjoy the beautiful green corners.

Francoski most, reka Bistrica

River Bistrica

The river Bistrica is the town of Ribnica’s green island. It is about 30 km long. It begins its winding path on the Bloke Plateau, where it runs down the Kadica Canyon, before continuing its way across the Sodražica Valley and onwards to the Ribnica Valley. It sinks underground to the south of Ribnica, near the village of Goriča vas.

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At times of high water levels and flooding, it flows together with the river Ribnica towards the Kočevje Polje, where they merge with the river Rinža.

Bistrica’s riverbed has always been an unmistakable part of the town centre of Ribnica. The river runs right along the walls of the mighty Ribnica Castle – in fact, back in the day, it played an important protective role for this historically important castle.

Take a walk around the town centre and along the beautifully landscaped riverside area, and watch fish of various sizes that live in the Bistrica.

The church of St. Ana and the Stene svete Ane on Mala gora

The Church of St. Ana from the 16th century, which is part of the Mala gora mountain ridge, stands in a spot with beautiful views, at the edge of the forest at an altitude of 920 metres.

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Nearby, you can see the remains of burnt beacon fires – dating back to the times of the Ottoman incursion – which were part of the so-called fiery phone. The fires were used to warn the local people of the Ottoman danger. Owing to a wonderful view of the Ribnica Valley, the Church of St. Ana is a popular hiking destination. Just below the top, you will find a mountain hut, where you can relax in a pleasant ambience and get some refreshments.

To make sure you don’t get lost on the way to the church, you can have a look at the Hiking Trails booklet, which can be downloaded here. There is also a PDF version of the leaflet titled ‘The Ribnica Nature Trail’.

Stene sv. Ane, the highest peak of Mala gora, is a few dozen metres higher, i.e. 964 m. If the weather is nice, you can enjoy fine views of the entire Ribnica Valley, the Kočevje Polje (Kočevsko Polje), Velika gora, and on clear days, you can see all the way to the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, the Karawanks and the Julian Alps.

Hiking Trails / Ribnica Valley and Surrounding.

Bele stene

Bele stene and the petrified wedding guests on Velika gora

Velika gora is a karstic and predominantly dolomitic mountain range above the Ribnica Valley, which consists of limestone in its southern half and dolomite in the northern half. The plateau is rich in beech trees and mighty firs.

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Bele stene with an unusual name, which translates as the ‘White Wall’, is an almost 60-metre-high limestone cliff (at an altitude of 1122 m) and, due to its one-of-a-kind features, a natural monument. It is surrounded by large layers of limestone, which shine through the overgrown forest. Back in the day, the unusual shapes and the limestone layers really captivated people’s imagination and have resulted in numerous legends – one of them is the legend about the creation of Bele stene and the so-called Petrified Wedding Guests (Okameneli svatje).

Once upon a time, one of the richest and haughtiest girls of Ribnica was getting married. The sun was shining brightly and the wedding guests were going across Velika gora on their way home. The bride was worried her dress might get dirty from the sweat and was so angry she cursed the sun. This made the sun so mad it summoned some dark clouds and thunder. The whole earth shook, and a bitter cold wind came howling from far away. The wedding guests turned to stone and thus stayed part of the wedding for good.

Visit the Petrified Wedding Guests – they’ll be happy to see you.
You can download the booklet (guidebook) that will lead you to Bele stene here.


The soource of the River Rakitnica

The river Rakitnica rises from below Velika gora, where you can admire its clear water. The beautiful and breath-taking environment is a perfect place to enjoy some peace and quiet, which is abundance around here.

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Don’t miss the one-of-a-kind experience of the beautiful turquoise colour created by the sunrays when the sun shines directly onto Rakitnica’s water. Its beauty can be observed only for a short time, as it soon disappears into the nearby ponors.

An interesting fact: Rakitnica is said to have been named for the numerous crayfish that live in it (in Slovenian a crayfish is called ‘rak’).

Visit website: and find out how to get to the water gem.

The Francetova jama cave

Francetova jama (France’s Cave), a 5-metre-deep and 22-metre-long cave, is located on Mala gora.

At first, the cave was supposed to be called Ježevka, as the then owner of the plot where the cave is located was France Klun – Jež. However, the first explorers to visit the cave were too ‘difficult to ignore’: the first descent into the cave in the after-WWII period involved five cavers and every single one of them was called France, hence the name.

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The cave was officially registered in 1960. The first cavers’ house in Slovenia, which is still in operation, was built in its immediate vicinity (about 100 metres away). The cavers’ house and the cave itself are accessible by car and on foot and are a popular destination for sightseers and hikers on a daily basis. The cavers’ house caters to hungry and thirsty visitors. There are always warm, tasty and local dishes to choose from. Have something to eat – you won’t regret it.

The cave is currently not open to visitors.

Hiking Trails / Ribnica Valley and Surrounding

Sveti Gregor, Slemena

The hamlet of Slemena

Domed peaks, green valleys and rounded ridges make for perfect subjects for photography lovers and those looking for unforgettable vistas. The hamlet of Slemena offers one of finest views of the Ribnica-Kočevje Polje. When the weather is nice, you can see all the way to the Kamnik-Savinja Alps and Slovenia’s highest mountain, Triglav.

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If you are planning on going to Slemena on foot or by bike, you can go past the Ortnek Castle to see the ruins of this once-mighty castle.


For more information about the castle, check out the following link: .

The fiery Grmada

At the time when the Ottomans ravaged the area of Ribnica, i.e. in the 15th and 16th centuries, the local people signalled their arrival by means of cannon shots and beacon fires. The location of one of these fires was on top of Grmada, which comes as no surprise as it was an important strategic point due to its altitude and a fine view of the valley.

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Today, the 887-metre-high Grmada hill is a popular hiking destination above the village of Vrh pri Poljanah. It lies on the western side of Ribnica’s Mala gora. A mountain hut, which is open at weekends, is located just a few metres below the top.

You can walk to Grmada by following the so-called Trail to Grmada, an interesting trail with beautiful views. The trail is described in the Hiking Trails booklet, which provides all sorts of information about the special features found along the trail. You can download it here.

Turn – the highest peak around here

With its 1254 metres above sea level, Turn is the highest peak of Velika gora. It rises high above the Ribnica Valley and Loški Potok. From its highest point, you can enjoy some fine views and see all the way to the Julian and Kamnik-Savinja Alps on clear days. A well-marked hiking trail leads to the peak.  Turn is is also the highest point of the Ribnica Mountain Trail, which comprises 17 points.

The Ribnica Mountain Trail starts in Ribnica and consists of the following points:
Sv. Ana, Stene sv. Ane, Grmada, Ortnek, Slemena, Mikonce, Kadice, Kračali, Kržeti, Travna gora, Ogence, Jelenov žleb, Glažuta, Grčarice, Makoše, Črni vrh, Ribnica.

Hiking Trails /Ribnica Valley and the Surrounding Area

Is nature your favourite place to go to when you're in need of some peace and quiet? If this is the case, we have prepared several suggestions for quiet corners, viewpoints with stunning views, beautiful clearings, as well as rivers and other water pearls in our valley.

Is nature your favourite place to go to when you’re in need of some peace and quiet? If this is the case, we have prepared several suggestions for quiet corners, viewpoints with stunning views, beautiful clearings, as well as rivers and other water pearls in our valley.

Ribnica hidden corners

Ribniška dolina v megli
pogled na ribniško dolino z Belih sten oz. Okamenelih svatov
Reka Ribnica, pogled proti Založju
Reka Ribnica, pogled proti Založju
Grmada, Ribnica
Grmada, Ribnica