Vršič Pass and the Russian Road
The Vršič Pass is an alpine crossing in the Julian Alps. Standing at roughly 1,500 meters above sea level, it is not very high as alpine passes go. That’s not to say that Vršič is small potatoes – quite the the opposite. The Julian Alps in Slovenia feel like the Alps in miniature. Within a short time you can go from a snowcapped mountain peak to a turquoise blue river in a lush green valley. The pass is very easy to reach by car, from the airport in Ljubljana you can be there in roughly an hour. If you are coming from that direction you will go through the town of Kranjska Gora and pass Lake Jasna just before starting up the winding road. There are 24 bends on the Kranjska Gora side and 24 on the Trenta side. The official name for the road on the Kranjska Gora side is the Russian Road, named after Russian POWs in World War I who died while building the pass – in commemoration a Russian Orthodox chapel was built, and is a popular spot to stop and visit on the pass. I stayed near Lake Jasna for a couple nights and went up and over the pass multiple times, catching the mountain scenery at various times of day.
Lake Jasna in Kranjska Gora
Before heading up Vršič, you’ll come by Lake Jasna. This beautiful lake is impossible to miss, but be sure to make time – at the very least – for a stop and a quick wander. The “lake” is actually two interconnected artificial lakes at the confluence of the Velika Pišnica and Mala Pišnica streams. There are a few walkways, outdoor cafés, a lookout, as well as an Ibex bronze statue. There are also changing rooms if you want tot take a dip. The lake is still part of Kranjska Gora but a way outside the city center, I decided to stay here in order to be close to the pass and the lake for taking pictures.