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Regional Parks

Škocjan Caves. Photo: Škocjanske jame archive

The state can independently set the conditions and criteria for regional and landscape parks and decide on their degree of protection. The law defines regional parks as well-preserved natural environments, which can also include large populated areas (this is not the case with national parks). Slovenia has three regional parks which attract visitors with their uniqueness and natural wealth.

The Škocjan Caves Regional Park lies in south-western Slovenia and is listed on the UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites, and on the List of Wetlands of International Importance. The park is also a habitat for bats, an endangered animal in Slovenia. 

The Park’s central landmark is the Škocjan Caves, a jewel of the subterranean world, followed by the Škocjan educational trail and two museum collections which are on display in converted barns. Almost 90,000 visits are recorded every year, and the whole park comprises 413 hectares of protected areas. 

Kozjansko. Photo: Javni zavod Kozjanski park

Kozjansko Regional Park is one of our oldest and largest protected areas. From the border river of Sotla, where we can find well-preserved riverside vegetation, the park's surface rises via agricultural land to the mountainous world, vegetated by beech and oak forests. This landscape is semi-surrounded with the Sava Hills; in between lie the Mid-Sotla Hills, full of fruit growing and viticulture. 

Here you will find the Rudnica geological educational trail and numerous other hiking trails, as well as tourist wine routes. This is also the site of the traditional international Apple Festival of Kozjansko, at which organic farmers present their produce. The Podsreda Castle is another landmark, and serves as a broader regional cultural and social centre.

Kozjanski Park extends over 206 square kilometres and attracts some 35,000 visitors every year. 

Rakov Škocjan. Photo: STO

The Notranjska Regional Park was established in 2002 and is Slovenia's youngest regional park. It is characterized by a unique combination of diverse landscape, the coexistence of man and nature and a large number of Karst phenomena on the surface and in the underworld. The central area of the Notranjska Regional Park is the intermittent Cerknica Lake. Its maximum flooding surface is almost 29km2. The park boasts a large number of rare and diverse habitats, flora and fauna, as well as geological and cultural heritage.