View from Rantovše hill across to Sveti Tomaz nad Praprotnim (church of Saint Thomas) with the Kamnik Alps behind in the Skofja Loka hills, Slovenia.

The Classic Slovenian View

View across to Sveti Tomaz nad Praprotnim (church of Saint Thomas) in the Skofja Loka hills with the snowcapped Kamnik Alps in the background, Slovenia.

A panorama of Saint Thomas Church and the panoramic view you get. Stitched from 5 photos. Click to view larger.

Saint Thomas Church (Sveti Tomaž nad Praprotnim) in the hills of Northern Slovenia is an iconic view, and although one of many well photographed locations, it’s also one of the least well known places to visit in Slovenia. It’s only photographers and locals who seem to know about it. This particular viewpoint is a popular spot from which to photograph it, and the exact location was given to me by Slovene photographer Luka Esenko, co-founder of Snapp Guides.

This stunning view is indicative of the many wonderful scenes you can find all across Slovenia. Everywhere you go you’ll see churches backed by towering alpine mountains like this. In this case though, the Saint Thomas Church sits on a small hill backed by the beautiful Kamnik Alps and is a truly unique scene indeed. The mountains behind it are Mount Grintovec

Once I had the location, I visited it many times in the mornings. It’s a morning shot, as the sun rises and illuminates the church from the right. In the early morning in winter, as the sun is further south, the first place it hits is the church itself. I wouldn’t have believed it possible had I not seen it for myself.

Unlike many great photographic viewpoints, this view is easy to get to and is a roadside shot. Quite useful for when you get there early: no need to leave much earlier in order to hike out. It’s a 45-minute drive from the capital, Ljubljana via Skofja Loka.

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The viewpoint is a place called Rantovše hill. To get there go through Skofja Loka and head on towards Železniki then take the turn off for Spodnja Luša. Keep driving and you will eventually see a sign on the left for Rantovše. Head on up this twisty road until you see the viewpoint, a grassy layby on your left.

Morning shot

Saint Thomas Church is a morning shot, and best in winter but also good other times of the year. It’s best in winter because the sun is further south and rises directly to the right of the church. This is when it illuminates the church and hill from the side.

In late Spring and summer, as the sun moves more north, then the sun rises behind Grintovec Mountain.

Winter sunrise photos

View at sunrise in winter from Rantovše hill across to Sveti Tomaz nad Praprotnim (church of Saint Thomas) and the Kamnik Alps, Slovenia.

View at sunrise in winter from Rantovše hill across to Sveti Tomaz nad Praprotnim (church of Saint Thomas) and the Kamnik Alps, Slovenia.

View at sunrise in winter from Rantovše hill across to Sveti Tomaz nad Praprotnim (church of Saint Thomas) and the Kamnik Alps, Slovenia.

View at sunrise in winter from Rantovše hill across to Sveti Tomaz nad Praprotnim (church of Saint Thomas) and the Kamnik Alps, Slovenia.

Unfortunately the church is not lit at night

Unlike Jamnik Church, Saint Thomas Church is not lit at night so there isn’t the possibility of that classic shot at dusk or dawn. However, it can still look good at dawn in the right conditions.

View at dawn in winter from Rantovše hill across to Sveti Tomaz nad Praprotnim (church of Saint Thomas) and the Kamnik Alps, Slovenia.

View at dawn in winter from Rantovše hill across to Sveti Tomaz nad Praprotnim (church of Saint Thomas) and the Kamnik Alps, Slovenia.

Also before the sun hits the church itself

I used a polariser here to boost the contrast on the hill

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Sunrise in summer

Sunrise in the summer represents a whole different story. At this time of year the sun rises further to the north and up over the mountain peaks. But even in the summer with the right kind of weather it can be an amazing scene. I planned a shoot after a day and night of rain, where the forecast conditions looked right. I was not disappointed.

View at dawn from Rantovše hill across to Sveti Tomaz nad Praprotnim (church of Saint Thomas) and the Kamnik Alps, Slovenia.

View at dawn from Rantovše hill across to Sveti Tomaz nad Praprotnim (church of Saint Thomas) and the Kamnik Alps, Slovenia.

Wider view at dawn from Rantovše hill across to Sveti Tomaz nad Praprotnim (church of Saint Thomas) and the Kamnik Alps, Slovenia.

Summer sunrise from Rantovše hill across to Sveti Tomaz nad Praprotnim (church of Saint Thomas) and the Kamnik Alps, Slovenia.

View at dawn from Rantovše hill across to Sveti Tomaz nad Praprotnim (church of Saint Thomas) and the Kamnik Alps, Slovenia.

View at dawn from Rantovše hill across to Sveti Tomaz nad Praprotnim (church of Saint Thomas) and the Kamnik Alps, Slovenia.

View at dawn from Rantovše hill across to Sveti Tomaz nad Praprotnim (church of Saint Thomas) and the Kamnik Alps, Slovenia.

View at sunrise from Rantovše hill across to Sveti Tomaz nad Praprotnim (church of Saint Thomas) and the Kamnik Alps, Slovenia.

Sun rising over the Kamnik Alps from Rantovše hill across to Sveti Tomaz nad Praprotnim (church of Saint Thomas) and the Kamnik Alps, Slovenia.

Later in the morning

Okay so it looks great at sunrise, but a classic view like this also looks great throughout the day. If you can’t get there for sunrise, then it can still look great throughout the morning if the light is right.

Dont forget to look around you

While Saint Thomas Church and the Kamnik Alps as a backdrop is without doubt the focal point of the view, the Kamnik Alps, and especially Mount Storzic, alone can make a great photo., This viewpoint also boasts great views across to the Karavanke Mountains to the west. So make sure to point your camera is that direction on occasion.

View at dawn from Rantovše hill across to Sveti Tomaz nad Praprotnim (church of Saint Thomas) and the Kamnik Alps, Slovenia.

View across to Mount Storzic at sunrise from Rantovše hill near Skofja Loka, Slovenia.

View from Rantovše hill across to Mount Storzic in the Kamnik Alps, Slovenia.

Mount Stol in the Karavanke Alps in Slovenia. This was just after a long period of rain in September, which produced some early snow on the mountain peaks.

Map of the church location

Map of the viewpoint location (the important one)

This is the map you will need in order to get to the photo viewpoint.

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To get there go through Skofja Loka and head on towards Železniki then take the turn off for Spodnja Luša. Keep driving and you will eventually see a sign on the left for Rantovše. Head on up this twisty road until you see the viewpoint, a grassy layby on your left.

Important

Park on the right on the roadside. Try to avoid parking on the grass. Some of the area down the hill belongs to the local farmer, so please try to avoid walking on the grass too much, and keep to the roadside. This is a small place so please avoid coming in large groups and respect the local community.

Book a private photography workshop here with me

If you want to learn photography in a beautiful place like this then why not book a private workshop with me here or in any other great location in Slovenia? More info here:

Watch the video where I talk you through each photo I have taken

A Practical Guide to Photography basic techniques for beginners and beyondFor a more comprehensive look at photography, check out my free e-book here



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