In the framework of the SMARTOUR Erasmus+ project European Wilderness Society continues informing you about Smart and sustainable initiatives. One of them is the Kranj city in Slovenia
Nestled amidst the captivating beauty of the Slovenian Alps, Kranj stands as a testament to the harmonious blend of alpine serenity and urban vibrancy. This European gem boasts a remarkable tapestry of picturesque architecture set against the breathtaking backdrop of Slovenia’s natural wonders. With its medieval old town, Alpine hikes, and a commitment to sustainable tourism, Kranj has embarked on a journey to claim its title as the 2023 European Destination of Excellence. Join us as we explore the fascinating transformation of Kranj into a beacon of eco-friendly travel and cultural enchantment.
Unveiling the Enchanting Tapestry
In the heart of Kranj lies a cityscape that seems to have sprung from a fairy tale. The Old Town, often referred to as the ‘Capital of the Slovenian Alps,’ boasts a convergence of two rivers and a backdrop adorned with the towering peaks of the Southern Alps. As visitors wander through its cobblestone streets, a medieval atmosphere embraces them with well-preserved Gothic churches, medieval structures, and inviting squares. A stroll through this enchanted enclave reveals charming cafés and restaurants that invite indulgence in the flavors of traditional Slovenian cuisine. Adding to the allure, the Kokra River Canyon, an awe-inspiring 30-meter-deep chasm, lies nestled at the entryway of the Old Town – a breathtaking reminder of nature’s grandeur.
Beneath the Streets
Kranj’s allure extends beyond its surface beauty. The city’s subterranean labyrinth of tunnels, built during World War II, houses more than historical relics. These tunnels provide a haven for the elusive cave salamanders, a species teetering on the brink of extinction. The SOS Info Centre Proteus, a conservation haven, offers insights into the lives of these blind amphibians while highlighting the critical importance of preserving clean groundwater. Notably, the same groundwater serves as a vital resource for drinking water across the globe.
A Green Odyssey: European Destination of Excellence
Kranj’s commitment to sustainability has propelled it to the forefront of eco-conscious travel. In 2023, the city earned the esteemed European Destination of Excellence (EDEN) award – a recognition bestowed upon destinations that exemplify sustainable tourism practices and offer a unique cultural experience. This accolade joins the city’s collection, which includes the Slovenia Green Destination Platinum Label and membership in the EU Mission for 100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030.
Underpinning Kranj’s sustainable journey is the Green Team, a collective of local authority institutions dedicated to reducing the city’s carbon footprint. Through data collection, targeted measures, and collaboration with local businesses, the Green Team is shaping a future that harmonizes tourism and environmental responsibility.
Riding into a Sustainable Future
Kranj’s commitment extends to its transportation network. The Centre for Sustainable Mobility has spearheaded a dynamic bike-sharing system, complete with e-bikes and electric minibus services. This endeavor, recognized as the best e-mobility municipality in Slovenia in 2021, paints a picture of an eco-friendly cityscape where convenience and conscience converge.
Green Gastronomy: A Fest for Change
In response to the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kranj introduced the Kranj Long Table – a celebration of sustainable culinary delight. Held within the historic Khislstein castle, this gastronomic event showcased local chefs crafting a menu from regional ingredients powered by renewable energy. Not only did this gathering foster a sense of community, but it also underscored the city’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions and food waste.
The Kranj Long Table event has become a symbol of Kranj’s dedication to green practices. Scheduled for September 7, 2023, this innovative culinary event promises to once again marry gastronomic excellence with environmental responsibility, offering visitors a taste of Kranj’s commitment to a sustainable future.
Discover Kranj: Where Past Meets Progress
Kranj invites travelers on a journey where the past intertwines seamlessly with progress. Against the backdrop of stunning natural landscapes and historic treasures, this European Destination of Excellence beckons adventurers to explore its hidden corners, embrace its eco-conscious spirit, and immerse themselves in a tapestry of sustainable beauty and cultural charm. For those seeking an unforgettable travel experience that harmonizes with nature, Kranj is the embodiment of excellence.
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