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Seasonal lake and wetland of international importance. 276 bird species have been observed in the area – half of all European species!
Lake Cerknica is one of the largest intermittent lakes in Europe. It appears every year on the karst polje (plain), caught between the Javorniki hills and the Bloke plateau on one side, and Mount Slivnica on the other. During the dry season, the lake disappears. The lake normally stays on the Cerknica plain for about eight months a year. Water usually spreads over the surface of 20 km2, but at its fullest, the lake covers a surface of nearly 30 km2. When full in spring and autumn, Lake Cerknica becomes the largest lake in Slovenia. It then encompasses an area of 2600 hectares comprising huge expanses of reed sedge and wet grasslands. Cerknica is a wetland of international importance because of its importance for the preservation of endangered birds like Râle des genêts, Blongios nain and Marouette ponctuée.
In springtime, Chevalier sylvain, Combattant varié, Bécassine des marais and other waders feed on the banks of the lake. Busard Saint-Martin, Busard cendré and Busard des roseaux fly low over the vast Cerknica plain and look for prey. Héron pourpré and Grande Aigrette patiently wait at meandering streams, with Guifette noire gently flying above them. Flocks of sociable Faucon kobez make a stop at the lake while moving east, and Courlis cendré start calling for their mates.
In summer you can see Faucon hobereau, Alouette des champs, Pie-grièche écorcheur, Chevalier gambette, Circaète Jean-le-Blanc, Grèbe jougris, Locustelle luscinioïde, Roselin cramoisi, Cigogne noire and many other birds can be seen. In autumn, the lake provides plenty of food and enough peace for Pygargue à queue blanche, Fuligule nyroca, Harle piette and flocks of Grue cendrée.
The wetland is easy to reach by car. You can make different stops around the lakeside. But the nicest way to explore the entire area is by bike. Because the 25 km circular route is a bit long for walking, but ideal for cycling. The cycling routes run entirely on macadam. Note that some trails or routes can be inaccessible due to flooding during the wet periods. For renting bikes see the link below.
There is also a possibility to get there with public transport. By train you get off at station Rakek ((either from direction of Ljubljana or Koper). From station Rakek it is approximately 30 minutes of cycling. When reaching Cerknica, you can either do the whole 25 kilometre long circular route around the lake or return back to the starting point anytime during our journey. Another option is to go to Cerknica with an intercity bus and continue on foot. One more option is renting a canoe. They can be rented with Tur Servis (email@example.com) by the Cerknica Lake every weekend without prior notice, as long as the weather and water level are suitable for rowing.