Hiking among Alpine pastures of Pokljuka

IN Hiking , Hiking blog , Julian Alps , photography , snow , Sunset , Winter hiking

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.

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Adventuring in the Julian Alps

After a long summer, spent mostly guiding in the mountains, it’s nice to just sit back and look at how the sun lures hikers out and about while the rain again sends them back into the comfort of home. The fast every day work – life routine changes for a couple of hours or, if we are lucky, days, and we get to rush outside to enjoy ourselves. It feels almost like pressure to maximize a sunny weekend, collecting memories which will undoubtedly fade rather sooner than later in this rushed way of life. 

Instead, breathe in and take a step back. Go outdoors to recharge, to soak up the tranquility of mother nature and its wonderful creations, and to return back home feeling positive and energized.

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Colors of the fall in the Julian and Karavanke Alps

As fog creeps into the sleepy valleys, hiding its browning trees, the cold whitens the mountain tops in the surrounding Alpine ranges, and the daylight shortens, one thing is certain. The carefree mountaineering summer season is finished. The mountains now demand more planning and more weight on the backs, nonetheless, the best days are only yet to come. The changing colors of the fall have turned the mountains, rich in larch forests, completely golden, and the copious rainfall will soon replenish the Alpine streams and lakes after a long hot summer. 

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Viewpoints of Lake Bled for a perfect postcard

IN Bled , Family hiking , Hiking , Hiking blog , Hiking with kids , Lakes

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.  

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Weekend on blooming Velika Planina

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!

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Wandering about the mountains above Lake Bohinj

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.

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Visoki Mavrinc, a gorgeous and safe peak above Kranjska Gora

Way up high – above the lively Alpine town of Kranjska Gora, a glacial valley with a mountain stream, the evergreen fir forests and an escarpment that ends with some of the highest mountains in Slovenia – is a comfortable 1,562-meter peak. The trail to get there narrows from a broad valley to a forest which ends quite unexpectedly on an open flat top. We gasped at the sight. Perhaps even more than the tall peaks, this rather low peak opens to sublime views and lets you soak up the intense history of the place and magic of the Alps without risking too much on the way.

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Secret gems of the Soča Valley

As the sun sparkles over the emerald green Soča River, which winds from its source at 990 meters above Trenta all the way to the Adriatic Sea at Italy’s Trieste, the surrounding hills and mountains call for an adventure. There are endless options in the area and it would be wrong to think that one could only get a kick out of the river. While the Soča truly is spectacular and deserves the attention, the Soča Valley is just so much more; it’s interwoven with various hiking trails that bring us either high up into the Alpine world, or to hidden waterfalls, meadows with wooden houses out of a fairy tale, gorgeous lakes, and even mysterious remains of the WWI.

Let’s dive in.

Join us on a guided tour Soča Valley and the Alps

Read also: Where to hike around the Soča Valley in amazing Western Slovenia

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Twelve Mountain Adventures in Slovenia You Will Likely Fall in Love With

Close your eyes and listen for a moment. Did you hear loud voices from the road outside? Or a faint rumble of a home appliance? In an ever-louder noisy world of the valley one needs a sporadic retreat to the silent world of amazingly wild and incredibly remote mountains. To lie down in an empty Alpine meadow, bask in the warmth, and daydream to the light symphony of birdsong and distant whistles of a chamois guarding its territory. There is no need for silence but only to become in sync with nature, whose vague silhouette we can barely still recognize in the cities.

Whether you live in Slovenia or are planning just a short visit, here is a list of the best twelve beginner-to-advanced hikes and climbs I’ve done this summer. Maybe you’ll find an intriguing idea for a bad-ass family outdoor adventure or maybe you’ll head for a romantic getaway high up in the mountains. Either way, while you’re huffing and puffing your way to the top, stop for a bit to reflect and appreciate how divinely different the Alpine world actually is. Serene and tranquil.

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Exquisite Krško: A land of hidden waterfalls, vineyards, gourmet food and wine

IN Castles , Food and wine , Hiking , Hiking blog , Hills , summer , sunrise hiking , Waterfalls

A streak of sweat drops down Tone’s forehead in the hot summer sun yet he beams with pride to show us his twenty-year project; he named it “Trail of four waterfalls” (Slo. Pot štirih slapov). A school teacher by profession but also active in a local theater, a local tourist association and nature guiding in his spare time, he takes us to their cozy hut by a stream. Friendly and open locals welcome us with oven-baked trout; a welcome relief before a six-hour hike in the recently explored gorge.

Apparently the four waterfalls were only brought to public attention a little over two decades ago and Tone has been making great efforts to create a round 12-km marked trail ever since by finding passages in a labyrinth of vertical walls, fixing pitons, steel wire and stairs along the exposed slopes, and by putting signs to make it easier for hikers to find it. It’s been tough but worth it. Today he boasts a trail that has even impressed the legendary Slovenian Alpinist and extreme skier Davo Karničar.

Bojanca Fall
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