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!
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.
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.
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
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.
Exquisite Krško: A land of hidden waterfalls, vineyards, gourmet food and wine
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.
Traveling and vacationing abroad in the coronavirus times
As far as I can remember, I have always been a free soul. I excel in perfect freedom, get extremely frustrated within constraints and perform satisfactorily in situations in between. I confess, not being able to travel freely abroad, let alone in my own country during the lockdowns, didn’t sit with me well. During the lockdowns my stress level was solid high, and I even found a legit way to travel in Slovenia! Owning a travel agency helped me get around the country, but just the fact that I had to print those damn day passes to move from point A to point B felt restricting. Spending 10 days in obligatory quarantine to cross a border? Forget it, I’ve got better things in my life!
The peak on the brink of the accessible
Through the window of a car, I remember being awestruck as a child by the serrated outline of a rugged mass of rock and snow, usually shrouded in a swirl of clouds, towering over Gozd Martuljek’s green and vibrant landscape. Later I learned that the Martuljek Mountain Group is the remotest and wildest part of the Julian Alps with only two mountains accessible on marked and secured trails. Other peaks, all over 2K, quietly watching the world from their solitary abode, remain a place for experienced mountaineers, comfortable with climbing and manoeuvring through the labyrinth of faint tracks.
Many years later I am still awestruck; so much that entering that mystical world seems like a far-fetched unattainable adventure that only exists in dreams. Particularly so in winter. Coming close to it to catch a glimpse of the elusive beauty and absorb the grandeur is another matter. And there is no peak closer than Vrtaško Sleme, which at its 2,077 meters brings you so close to the Martuljek Group it seems like you can almost touch its first peak Kukova Špica.
Exploring Slovenia’s Guided Tour to Špik – another peak in the Martuljek Group
Safe winter trails that will blow your mind
When everything becomes still, the streets empty, the noises die down, the silence becomes overwhelming and I can finally hear it. The winter is here. First snowflakes lightly fill the air and the world turns calm and beautiful. Our hearts fill with joy and our minds with fantasies about our favorite corners of the world turning white. We go to bed in one kind of world and wake up in another quite different.
Chasing the sun and views in the Karawanks: from Stol to Belščica
As the very last tourist has left Bled, and this enchanting little town seems almost too big for an occasional jogger or a couple enjoying the promenade around the lake, its nature has never looked more amazing and, best of all, more tranquil. The hazy fog colors light yellow as I drive through the sleepy town, and the forest around the lake looks pleasantly vibrant in the fresh morning sun that manages to peep through the fog. I’m tempted to make a stop to absorb this autumn scene, but the tour I had opted for in the Western Karavanke Mountains would be long and we’d need every minute of the dwindling daylight.