Kozjansko Park is one of the oldest and largest protected areas in Slovenia. It is located in the east of Slovenia and covers an area of 206 km2. It has the status of a regional park. It covers an area that is bounded on the north by Rudnica, to the east with Sotlo, while in the south via Vertnik and Orlica it passes over Senovo and Bizeljski hills.
The larger, especially the middle and eastern part of the Kozjansko Park, the Republic of Slovenia in 1981, declared by the Law a protected area of the Memorial Park Trebča. Because of the professional, systematic and promotional reasons, the park was increasingly called Kozjansko Park, and in 1999 with the adoption of the Law on Protection of Nature it was declared a regional park and officially renamed to Kozjansko Park. The high degree of biological diversity classifies Kozjansko Park among the most important protected areas in Slovenia and Europe. From 2010, Kozjansko and Obsotelje area enjoy the status of a biosphere reserve under the UNESCO protection (MAB Programe – Man and the Biosphere).
The protected area with the status of the regional park is a mosaic of subalpine hills, vineyard hills, plains along the river Sutla, preserved nature and rich cultural heritage which offers a lot of opportunities to explore, enjoy and relax. The nature of Kozjansko Park is known for its rich biodiversity, which is testified by the fact that even 69% of Kozjansko Regional Park belongs to the area of Natura 2000.
Among the flora of this area, the plant species on the Red List deserve special attention. In the area of Kozjansko Park there are more than 70 species, which according to the Decree on placing of endangered plant and animal species (Official Gazette No. 82/02) belonging to the Red List.
Fauna, with the exception of birds, amphibians and certain kinds of insects has not yet been explored sufficiently in the area of Kozjansko Park. The diversity of relatively well preserved habitats also affects biodiversity. The traditional use of pastures is essential for the number of species of insects and spiders. Some of them are rare and endangered species in Slovenia, and even in Europe. Unfortunately, these habitats gradually disappear.
Since pure water habitats are increasingly becoming a rarity, the wealth of the region, is reflected also in the preserved water surfaces. Unpolluted streams Bistrica, Dramlja, Gabrnica are the natural habitats for some endangered species that survive only in clean water systems.
The geological structure of the area is also interesting. The oldest rocks in this area are about 300 million years old, dating from the time when this area was under the sea. So far the fossil remains haven’t been found in them.
Kozjansko Apple Festival is a traditional central event in the Park, which is held every year in the second week of October from 2000. This event is a product of collaborative effort between residents of this protected area of biosphere and joint efforts for the protection of nature and preservation of agricultural and cultural environment in the Kozjansko region. The greatest characteristics are the preserved orchards with tall trees of old varieties of apples.
Kozjansko Park offers to tourists one-day and two-day visit as a walking tour.
• Podsreda trail (32 km) connects natural and cultural interesting sights around the medieval small city Podsreda.
• Pilštanj trail (4 km) connects natural and cultural heritage of the medieval small city Pilštanj with the lookout at the nearby hill Vino Gora.
• Geologic and Educational trail (10 km) leads through settlements and monastery Olimje. In addition to the 21 geological points that illustrate the geological history and special geological characteristics of the region of Kozjansko, by the way it is worth to visit also many natural and cultural attractions.
• Educational trail Travnik (2 km) which leads to the highest peak Vetrnik (709 m). With an exceptional view of the region of Kozjansko by means of this route a rich and diverse habitat of dry grasslands was presented. The best time to visit is in June and July, when the meadows are in full bloom.
• Trail Repnice (9 km) leads the visitors through Bizeljska vinska brda (Bizeljska vine hills) in the village Brezovica, which is known for its “beet stores”, unique caves dug for the storage of beet which are now used as wine cellars.
• Trail Slomšek – Starting from Bizeljski in the south, the trail leads over the entire Park to Olimje (the north most point of the Park), and then also further to Ponikve.
• European pedestrian trail E7 enters the Park at Križe (southwest of the Park), crosses the mountains of Orlica and goes down from Sveta Gora towards the valley of Bistrica, and then leads through the vineyards hills to Olimje, where at the same time ends the route E7 through the Park.
Depending on the wishes and interests of tourists in the Park Kozjansko it is possible, as negotiated, to organize a tour, which includes trails, natural features, medieval towns, castles, old mills, churches and tourist farms.
The Park Kozjansko can be reached from the direction of Ljubljana and Maribor. If you come from the direction of Ljubljana the exit is Dramlje, and from Maribor the exit is Slovenska Bistrica. The road to Park goes further on towards south in the direction of Podsreda. The Park can also be reached from the neighboring Croatia by the direction Zagreb – Ljubljana, exit Krško or Brežicve and further north towards Podsreda. The Info Center of the Park Kozjansko, which is located 120 km away from the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana.