To be quite honest, I had been eyeing this peak for years. A moderately demanding day hike in the Julian Alps, whose peak opens up to absolutely stunning views of a lake. Mt. Jerebica is a beautiful hike throughout, but its top will literally blow your mind away as it faces the 1,400-m long and 400-m wide glacial Rabeljsko Jezero (Eng. Lake of Predil) from a thousand meters above. Yet, as much as I devote my life to the mountains, Jerebica has always managed to slip by somehow. A couple of years ago I even attempted to hike it but failed badly due to the lack of preparation. Yes, one wrong turn right at the beginning of the trail can eventually lead you into a maze of wide and deep Karst holes and cracks instead of taking you to the comfortable grass-covered peak with a view of a turquoise lake. However, once I did manage to climb Jerebica – I was not disappointed!
Here’s what you need to know about the hike above a beautiful lake.
As the season turns around and we are suddenly faced with high temperatures and lots of hot sun, it’s nice to look back and daydream about the awesome mountain adventures you’ve done in the past months. Due to a colder start of the spring, the nature remained in its snooze mode for a couple of weeks longer this year, but once it finally did wake up, it was freaking insane! I’d never seen so many daffodils in the mountains before, nor had the mid-elevation peaks looked so lush and verdant in early June.
Let’s go through the most memorable mountain hikes (and one awesome climb!) that Exploring Slovenia did this spring.
There’s that special moment in the year when we get to see two seasons overlap. Lively birds singing, trees blossoming and the first flowers announcing the arrival of warmer spring days down in the valleys. However, higher up in the mountains the strong north winds and freezing temperatures still hold a firm hold over the white mountaintops. The best of spring and winter in the great outdoors is right here, it’s just a matter of us grasping it or not.
To that extent I’ve been fortunate to walk endless greening meadows speckled with wild marsh tulips, hike along rolling hills carpeted with purple crocuses, and see the trees coming into leaf along a vibrant small gorge. Over a thousand meters higher, on the other hand, I enjoyed snowshoeing in half a meter of fresh snow up to incredible mountain peaks, while also climbing safely to a white peak with views of both Slovenia and Austria.
Here are five memorable spring hikes in the Slovenian Alps and the hillside close to Ljubljana that I’ve done; some you can do easily with your family and friends, and some are preferably reserved for the more experienced hikers or in company of a certified guide. Either way, enjoy the pictures and the gorgeous first days of spring and the last of winter!
With the winter school break in sight and two kids in tow bursting with energy, it was high time to plan a decent family vacation. We had practically tried all ski resorts in Slovenia already and some across the border in Italy and Austria as well, but nothing really appealed. Not with school-break crowds there anyway. Then it dawned on me. The Soča Valley, the long valley of the emerald green Soča River in northwestern Slovenia with a high-mountain ski resort and countless hiking trails, might be a tiny bit too celebrated in summer, but is highly overlooked in winter! No crowds, just lounging in perfection of the high mountains and expansive panoramas, hiking on empty sunny trails and exploring numerous frozen waterfalls in this spectacular and secluded valley.
Sounds idyllic, right?!
I booked an apartment in Bovec, which would place us strategically for our planned winter fun: 2 minutes away from the cable car to the Kanin Ski Resort, 5 minutes from two beautiful and easy panoramic hikes, 13 minutes from the Great Soča Gorge, and 13 minutes from the Loška Koritnica Valley, a valley of a hundred waterfalls. Sure, Bovec doesn’t offer any spa resorts or any other means for idle pampering to be exact, but, honestly, we weren’t even looking for that. Being surrounded with so much beauty and outdoor options was enough for my family.
With all big celebrations behind and before we leap fully into 2023, let’s take a step back for a moment and reflect. We’ve shared many unforgettable adventures together; hiked, wandered carefree on undulating trails, climbed steep walls, overcoming fears of many kinds and sweating for the same goals. We’ve enjoyed sandwiches seated on conditionally comfortable rocks, yet snugly sunk into mesmerizing views. We yelled at the top of our lungs from the top of the mountains, sharing happiness with everyone around us. We’ve admired with big Wooows the mighty Alpine ibexes as they stretched their muscular bodies in the warm sun somewhere high up in the remote rocky world. We’ve become friends, connected with an invisible thread, knitted so precisely around our hearts as only the magic of the wildest mountains can do.
There are so many adventures I would love to share with you! So here are a few photos of Our 2022 to reflect the beautiful trails we’ve walked together. Enjoy!
Hidden in southwestern Pokljuka, a high karst plateau in the Julian Alps with 6,300 ha of mostly fir forests, are numerous Alpine pastures with old wooden huts that seem lost in time. Some of them have been changed into tourist homes, while others are kept simple by the new generations of the old shepherd families. In summer, hikers can make a stop to taste delicious home-made cheeses, sour milk and sometimes local cured meats and štruklji – a welcome relief on their wanderings along the long trails of Pokljuka.
In winter, however, there is a sense of contented isolation. As often as not, from late-autumn until mid-spring the pastures, especially the higher ones, are uninhabited and inaccessible by car, and can only be reached on skis or showshoes. Set against a playground of high peaks of the Julians Alps and yet so snugly hidden in the otherwise thick forest, Pokljuka’s Alpine pastures offer perfect winter hiking goals with breathtaking views of the winter wonderland.
Hidden behind a long Alpine valley and a gorge with plummeting waterfalls and a winding narrow road going through rock-carved tunnels, is the high and steep eastern part of the Košuta massif. Measuring ten kilometers in length, Košuta is the longest mountain in Slovenia that boasts twelve peaks of over 2K meters. If the western side of the massif is popular with hikers due to its accessibility and relatively easy trails, among frequently visited peaks being Mt. Kofce and Veliki Vrh, the eastern side seems more remote and mysterious.
In the midst of forested hills set against a backdrop of snow-capped peaks lies a small lake with an idyllic island in the middle, and a medieval castle dramatically perched on a cliff above the shore. The lake color changes with seasons and it goes from deep blue-green in winter to sapphire blue in summer. Considered as one of the most beautiful Alpine resorts in Europe, Lake Bled has been a tourist destination for centuries, while it also regularly tops the lists of the most beautiful places in the world.
As we drive close to the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, heavy raindrops slowly dwindle and thick black clouds tear apart offering a peek of the mountains. Velika Planina, a high Alpine plateau on the Alps’ southern rim just 30 kilometers from Ljubljana, had just started to show some greenish hues in its vast brown fields after a long winter, yet in less than two months cows from the neighboring villages will be already grazing in those highland pastures. In April, however, as the snow melts away, Velika Planina is well-known for something else. Carpets of purple crocuses break out every year, turning Velika Planina into a blooming place straight out of a fairy tale!
I’ve walked in the fairytale mountains above Bohinj and between my first and second attempt to climb the 1,761-m peak Mt. Pršivec I realized something; to hike in that area you have to understand the background. Its remoteness nestled among towering mountains has shaped the locals over the centuries, giving them the skills to not only master the surrounding peaks but even conquer Mt. Triglav as the first. Tackling any trail in their playground might thus bring unexpected hiccups like a section of expert terrain on a trail marked as easy. Yet, dreamy views and the adventure will leave you craving for more.