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EuroMed Regional Congress 2024

22 April from 12:00 to 26 April from 10:00

$135,49
  

The Alps are one of the most important, but also threatened ecosystems in Europe. With
increasing pressures in the form of tourism, traffic, urban development, and climate
change, this fragile region needs green solutions and plans for a more sustainable and
environment-friendly future. That’s why we invite you to the Julian Alps in NW Slovenia to feel the sunny side of the Alps and explore how people have been living in this unforgiving environment for centuries and how the sustainable development of mountain areas can provide a greener tomorrow for the region.

Our congress aims to highlight the Slovene part of the Julian Alps, which we like to regard as the sunny side of the Alps, showcasing projects, ideas and traditions which help build a future, geared towards a peaceful cohabitation between people, animals, plants and heritage of this protected mountainous area. We will focus on both human and natural topics and their interactions while tackling the challenges which this regions is facing. To present solutions and a less bleak picture of the Alps, it is of vital importance to pinpoint and address these threats and problems, which include among others climate change, mass tourism, increased traffic, pressures on the region’s fragile water sources, habitat loss and others. Our hope is that participants will leave the congress with ambitions, ideas and motivation to take action themselves and ensure a resource and climate-friendly future for all European alpine regions.

Located deep in the Alps, Kranjska Gora might not be connected to the rail or highway network, and travelling to it by public transport might take a bit longer, but we encourage you to opt for sustainable transport options and enjoy the scenic journey to reach it. After all, it is impossible to imagine the future of alpine regions without supporting sustainable mobility! For more info and tips on how you can make your journey here as sustainable as possible, check theSustainable Mobility page of the Slovene Tourism Boardand the Green Slovenia guidelines.

Slovenia is well connected to the rest of Europe with long-distance FlixBus lines. The nearest Flixbus station to our accommodation is inBledbut not all Flixbuses stop there, as it is directly connected to only 16 cities across Europe.Ljubljana Flixbus station, on the other hand, is connected to 156 cities, while just over the border in Austria,Villach Flixbus stationis connected to 46 cities. Several smaller bus companies also run services especially from the former Yugoslavian countries to Ljubljana, Kranj, Bled, and even Jesenice. You can check all of the international bus connections on theLjubljana bus station International Travel map, where timetables are also available.

Buses are probably the most convenient and common mode of transport in the Slovene countryside, and if you aren’t arriving by car, bike or on foot, you will have to take a bus to get to Kranjska Gora after arriving in Slovenia. Beware that paying by card is still usually not possible on buses, and you might be left to the mercy of the often not very cheerful and English-savvy bus drivers if you try to pay with a 50€ bill. You can check the timetables of regional and local buses and also buy bus tickets on the website of theLjubljana main bus station, but keep in mind that only direct routes are shown and a ticket bought online must still be printed before the journey to be valid, a pdf on the phone won’t work (we realise how absurd this is and apologise in the name of our chaotic public transport system). For connections within Gorenjska (such as from Jesenice to Kranjska Gora), theArriva websiteoften works best and displays all the available direct buses, but does not offer online tickets. Here’s how you can reach us after arriving in Slovenia:

  • via Ljubljana: there are hourly direct buses to Kranjska Gora from the main bus station in Ljubljana (Ljubljana AP in Slovene, next to the main railway station) taking around 2 hours. Keep a lookout for buses with “Rateče Planica” displayed on the info board, since that is the usual final stop for buses heading to Kranjska Gora.
  • via Bled: there are hourly buses between Bled and the Jesenice railway station bus stop (Jesenice ŽP in SLO) on multiple routes. From Jesenice, you can take a direct bus to Kranjska Gora. Another option is to take the train from Bled Jezero (don’t confuse that with the Lesce-Bled station, which is located in Lesce 4 km away from Bled) to Jesenice and catch the bus from there (but keep in mind that the Bled railway station is located 2,3 km away from the Bled bus station, but the gentle stroll along the lake shore connecting both is very scenic!)
  • via Villach: unfortunately, you can only catch a bus from Villach to Bled or Ljubljana. The best option would therefore be to take a train to Jesenice and change to a bus there, or look into ridesharing options.

Even though the last train to Kranjska Gora and further towards Planica departed back in 1966, it is still possible to complete a part of the journey on the same route by taking a train to Jesenice, which is a 30-minute bus ride away. Most international trains to and from Germany stop in Jesenice, from where you can catch a direct bus just opposite the train station from the Jesenice ŽP bus station (check the bus section above).

You can also reach Jesenice by train from Ljubljana. There are regular departures, and it is both faster, cheaper, and more comfortable than taking the bus. If you want to start your alpine exploration in style, consider taking theTransalpina trainfrom Sežana on the Karst plateau, Nova Gorica, the Soča valley, or Bohinjska Bistrica to Jesenice. The Transalpina was voted as one of the top 50 most scenic train journeys in the world by Lonely Planet, with parts of it being placed on the UNESCO World Heritage tentative list, including the world’s longest stone arch railroad bridge!

If you feel adventurous (or have money for a taxi ride), you could arrive from the west and get off at Tarvisio Boscoverde station in Italy, which is served by by several long-distance trains with direct connections to places such as Venice, Rome, Cinque Terre, Trieste, and many cities in Austria and Germany. You then have four options: you can hike 15 km along the Juliana long-distance hiking trail (which follows the cycling path for the most part on this stage, so keep that in mind and find alternative hikes such as the Alpe Adria Trail if you’re more into single-trail/off-road hiking), cycle the same distance along the former disused railway track on the D-2/Jure Robič Cycling Trail,hitchhikeor call a taxi to Kranjska Gora. Similar but more hilly and longer adventures await if you decide to end your journey by train in Villach.

To search for international train connections, we suggest you use theDeutsche Bahn websiteor theÖBB Trip Planner. For connections within Slovenia, you can also use the webpage of theSlovene railways(available only in Slovene for some reason…) or the Grem z vlakom/Go by Train mobile app, where you can also buy tickets. If you are travelling in a group of 6 or more Egeans, you can buy the discounted group tickets at the station (50% off if you are all under 26, 30% if older).

Pick up Egeans along the way and turn your journey to the EMRC into a scenic Alpine road trip! You can reach Kranjska Gora by car from four sides: from the east via the regional road from Jesenice, from the north over the Korensko sedlo/Wurzenpass mountain pass from Austria, from the west over the Adriatic – Black Sea drainage divide from Italy, or from the south over the Vršič mountain pass, the highest in Slovenia (but the pass might still be closed due to snow in April; in that case, you can use the just-as-scenic detour over the Predel pass and via Italy). Another unique adventure if arriving or continuing to the Soča valley is to use themotorailservice between Bohinjska Bistrica and Most na Soči/Nova Gorica and “ride” with your car on one of the most scenic alpine train journeys!

You can also use the most popular ridesharing service in Slovenia calledPrevoz.org(site again unfortunately only available in Slovene) or the more Europe-wideBlaBlaCar.

Stay tuned for a ridesharing form, where you can offer a ride to other Egeans!

After the demise of our national carrier Adria Airways, direct flights toLjubljana Jože Pučnik Airportare now relatively scarce and, apart from a few low-cost options, quite costly. If other sustainable transport options don’t work for you and you manage to find a good deal for flights to Ljubljana, getting to Kranjska Gora won’t be that problematic. There are hourly buses leaving the airport bus station (Brnik/airport Ljubljana on the Arriva website) to Kranj (keep in mind there is a more direct 15-minute route and a “scenic” 30-minute route going through all the villages on the way to Kranj). In Kranj, change buses at Kranj “main station” (Kranj AP in Slovene, literally just a bunch of very disorganised bus stops spread around a random street corner, so check carefully the platform of the bus you are transfering to (buses to Kranjska Gora tend to leave from platform 13 closest to the “main building”)). Check the bus schedule on theArriva webpage.

Instead of flying directly to Ljubljana, it might be cheaper and faster to fly to one of our neighbouring airports, such as Trieste, Venice (Treviso and Marco Polo), Zagreb, or even Vienna. There are some Flixbus connections from these airports, however, a more popular option (but often not cheaper, especially if you are travelling solo) is to book aGoopti transfer(a company Slovenes founded just to take them to neighbouring airports because Ljubljana airport didn’t have any cheap flights😅). If you choose that option, write to us at emrc2024.participants@egea.eu, because we can get you a 10% discount for Goopti.

Wanna embrace the green spirit of the EMRC and feel like one of theSlovene cycling superstarswhile battling your way over mountain passes with amazing vistas of the Alps? Then this is the section for you! Cycling has become immensely popular in Slovenia in the past decades and has exploded in the past few years with our success on the competitive level. This also means a constant improvement of cycling infrastructure and the freedom to ride safely and comfortably around the country.

We encourage you to complete at least part of your journey by bike. This can mean taking advantage of one of many bike-sharing systems set up around the country (for instance, the widely popularBicikeLjin Ljubljana, which costs only 1€ for a weekly subscription, or the newly established region-wideGorenjska.bike system, which allows you to start and end your journey in any of the 50 stations distributed around Gorenjska for just 10€ per month). Those who are looking for a more adventurous arrival to the congress, though, are more than welcome to take advantage of the manylong-distance biking trailsand thebikes-on-trains initiativeto arrive at the congress in style! Kranjska Gora itself is located on two famous long-distance bikig trails: theD-2/Jure Robič Cycling trailrunning along the former railway from Jesenice all the way to Tarvisio in Italy or the more avanturisticJuliana mountain bike loopcircling the Julian Alps and crossing the Vršič mountain pass, which reaches an elevation of 1,611 metres and has 50 numbered hairpin bends like the famous Tour de France climb to Alpe d’Huez. Another exciting option is to cycle theAlpe Adria Cycle Pathfrom Salzburg to Grado on the Adriatic coast, with a short detour to Kranjska Gora. There are plenty more amazing journeys to be found, so choose your own adventure and embody the congress theme!

If you still don’t think arriving to the EMRC by bike would be the coolest, then check out these10 reasons why Slovenia is the perfect place for such an adventure!

Is there a better way to savour the Alps and travel sustainably than to walk straight to the EMRC? We don’t think so. With over 10 000 km of marked hiking trails, your options are practically endless, especially if you combine hiking with other sustainable modes of transport! Here are some of the most well-knownlong-distance hiking trails in Slovenia, which you can try to incorporate into your journey to or from the EMRC! Kranjska Gora itself lies on many of these, including theJuliana Trailaround the Julian Alps, theAlpe Adria Trailconnecting Austria, Slovenia, and Italy, theWalk of Peaceconnecting WW1 sites along the Soča Valley (currently on the Slovene tentative UNESCO list), and the Via Alpina Red Trail connecting Monaco and Trieste, among others.

For more inspiration, check thisofficial hiking trails mapof Slovenia or use theMapy.cz Outdoor map. For more information, check out the page of theSlovene Alpine Association, thepage on hiking by the Slovene Tourism Board, and don’t forget tohike responsibly!

Workshop co-leaders: Majda Odar and Renata Cerkovnik from the Triglav National Park

In this workshop, we will discuss how protected areas are managed nowadays, what their development guidelines are and how all of this affects the locals in the case of Triglav National Park. This vast protected area, which spans 840 km², is home to more than 2300 inhabitants, while more than 2 million people visit it yearly. This all means that managing different interests is vital to ensuring a well-preserved nature, landscape, and cultural heritage. All of these guidelines, of course, also present an obstacle for the development of tourism, which has become the main source of income for the park’s inhabitants, while also proving to be a huge incentive, boosting the area’s economy and changing its social composition.

Workshop co-leaders: Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for Nature Conservation and Dinaricum society

The Julian Alps are home to more than 7000 animal species, many of them protected. While the locals have more or less successfully lived side by side with other species for decades, increasing pressures such as the development of winter tourism, increased traffic, and the spread of second homes, among others, have all led to a rise in conflicts, making the question of protected species an important political topic in the region as well. We will focus on two specific challenges in the area: firstly, the conflict between the expansion of the Kranjska Gora ski resort and the habitats of the capercaillie or wood grouse, and secondly, the management of large carnivores, especially wolves and bears, and their associated conflicts.

Workshop co-leaders: Renata Škvarč, Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for Nature Conservation

The area of Triglav National Park, with up to 3000 mm of annual precipitation and over 250 springs, presents one of the most water-rich areas of Central Europe and an important reservoir of drinking water for the whole country. While these resources are plentiful, they aren’t infinite, as has already been demonstrated in the exceptionally dry year of 2022, where many springs ran dry and the alpine lakes faced the worst algal blooms to date. That’s why the preservation of these reserves and water-friendly spatial planning are even more important, while research into the geological, biological, and other characteristics of these water sources is a major topic.

Workshop co-leaders: Anton Melik Geographical Institute

Climate change will be the defining factor responsible for the rapid change of the fragile mountainous landscape in the coming decades. The tiny Triglav glacier, the last glacier in the Julian Alps, has already felt the wrath of it, its size diminishing from 14 hectares in 1946 to less than a hectare nowadays. Climate change drastically affects the water cycle, producing more and more green winters while also altering the alpine vegetation. While certain species, including invasives, are on the rise, many habitats, but especially forests, are less lucky, being prone to severe natural disasters and a change in species composition.

Following the path of tradition down the emerald beauty

On this excursion led by Triglav National Park, we will discover the upper course of the beautiful Soča river with its gorges, traditional villages, and mountain vistas, while also crossing one of the famous alpine passes, Vršič or Predel.

Mountaneering history, glacial valleys, and waterfalls

We’ll firstly discover the alpine village of Mojstrana with its innovative Slovene Mountaineering Museum. Afterwards we will tackle the issue of traffic management in alpine valleys while touring the glacial Vrata valley with the Peričnik waterfall and the largest mountain wall in the Eastern Alps.

The valley of nordic sports and springs

Planica has always held a special place in the hearts of Slovenians, symbolising our love for sport, mountains, and outstanding achievements. We will explore this fascinating nordic centre by bike and tackle the challenges and solutions the developers faced when building such infrastructure in the heart of the Alps. We will also stop by the emerald Zelenci springs, where we will touch up on the issues of climate change and alpine water sources.

Krnica glacial valley and the Russian chapel

The Krnica valley is a typical example of a scenic glacial valley, cutting 6 km deep into the mountains of Triglav National Park. We will follow the sparkling waters of the Pišnica stream past active pastures to meadows surrounded by two-thousand metre high peaks, with the 2600 m high Razor being the tallest. We will also stop by the Russian chapel, a unique cultural monument built in 1916 by surviving Russian prisoners of war to commemorate those who died during the construction of the road across the Vršič pass.

Visoki Mavrinc

It wouldn’t be an alpine congress without at least one proper alpine hike, right? Visoki Mavrinc is a 1562 metre high mountain peak with epic views over the Krnica valley and towards the towering mountain peaks all around it, from Slovenia’s second-highest mountain Škrlatica at 2740 m, to the Karavanke mountains on the border with Austria and the mystical Prisank with its Heathen Maiden rock formation. The views are well worth the hike, trust us, and it’s the perfect location to recreate the Kekec shout since the movies were filmed in the valley below!

SUPPORT FUND

We encourage you to apply for the Support Fund, which was set up to help Egeans in need to attend important EGEA events such as congresses and OSMs.

Please remember that EGEAns can apply for the Support Fund to help finance attending this event only while registration for this event remains open!!!

You can find more info on the Support Fund and how to apply here.

Who's coming?

248 people are attending EuroMed Regional Congress 2024

Jonas Martens Tabea Kottek sime Lotta Knorr barbara.kurtov Lorena bobul Jan Jurkiewicz BPietrak anna_noz jkrawczyk swagwera elinda prabhutiwari Mattias jaanviirmann RobertHCB jardasynacek Dan schmauro hendrik_wolter SelyDee CorneliusT Alina_bo Agnesmalve Arne Laura Wallboehmer m.wojcik71 GeoMax Drahotoz ddorociak_ mateusz JulianG RebeccaM Soomardikas74 catepoma Tau Jr Uğur Eren Daştan beberko Riccardobonacina Soeren_Geo sofiia matviichuk HannesRg solben piotrek3na Karla jonascdittmann salzbauer haknguler veeraniemi Hollle paulinapd112 natalqa_s Sofija Beleslijin Urke oliwia.bulczynska Tanja Pantelic
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Vršiška cesta 73
Kranjska Gora, 4280 Slovenia
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