Hiking the gorgeous Karawanks: Veliki Vrh and Kofce

IN Adventure , Alps , Hiking , Karavanke , Karawanks , mountaineering , mountains , Slovenia , Winter

As much as I tout the Julian Alps as being amazing and unique in their beauty, there’s still that corner of my heart that jumps for joy for their south-facing neighboring mountain range, the Karawanks. Stretching 120 kilometers from east to west and serving as an actual border between Slovenia and Austria, the Karawanks offer mostly sunny hiking, remarkable wild flowers in late spring and huts with traditional mountain food. To be honest, the alluring setting couldn’t be more ideal, especially on a beautiful winter day.

And we’ve seen many of those over the past few weeks!

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Climbing Mt. Stol, the iconic postcard mountain behind Bled

IN Adventure , Alps , Bled , Hiking , Karavanke , Karawanks , mountains , News , Winter

As tourists snap selfies in front of the deep green Alpine lake Bled and take a boat to the little island with a 12th century church, the dramatic backdrop of the snow-capped peaks of the Karavanke Mountains lure the other kind – the adventurers at heart. The highest in the 120-km-long mountain range, which stretches all the way from the border with Italy and Austria, to Croatia, is the outstanding Mount Stol.

The Karavanke Mountain range rise above Lake Bled with Mt. Stol on the far left

Hiking it will serve you idyllic vistas quite different from the sheer walls and rugged landscapes typical of the Triglav National Park. Here you’ll be given incredible views across the valley floor, the Sava River, and Lake Bled, while the top will literally blow your mind away as the landscape suddenly transforms into an Alpine fairy tale with seemingly never-ending white peaks all around.

The turquoise Sava Dolinka River snaking its way towards Ljubljana at the foothills of Mt. Stol
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Hiking in a winter fairy tale above Kranjska Gora: Mt. Cipernik

Serene and tranquil, rising high above Kranjska Gora, this mountain hides under a thick layer of virgin fluffy snow, its top unveiling unspoiled Alpine vistas, never-ending rolling hills, and “the mother of all ski jumping hills” Planica. Yet this lonely 1,745-meter peak is not only a forest hike with only stunning views at the top. Cipernik is adorned with a mysterious “Black cave”, numerous viewpoints, a meadow with a mountain hut, a rock arch formation with a naturally occurring window, and a perfect 6-7-hour round route. Want to hear the crazy part? You can *literally* hike it from the cute little alpine town of Kranjska Gora.

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Best of: Bled’s must-go outdoor spots

IN Bled , Family hiking , Hiking , Julian Alps , Triglav National Park

Bled is gorgeous, it’s as simple as that. A cliff with a medieval castle rising high above Lake Bled, a deep green lake that turns turquoise in spring, and a small island with a 12th century church in the middle; all set against the picturesque backdrop of the Karawanks mountains. The setting looks like one out of a fairytale, especially in early morning from a small perch on Ojstrica above the lake’s western hilly shore.

Nevertheless, after spending a few days by the lake, you might want to stretch your adventures out a bit. Thankfully, the area has a plethora of beautiful spots and I’m here to share my favorite outdoor spots near Bled. Have more to add? Share them in the comments.

To get that picture-perfect view, extend your tour to a 611m-high hill called Ojstrica. It’s a 15-minute walk uphill on a trail starting near the parking lot in Zaka.
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Colors of the fall above Bohinj: Pokljuka, Triglav Lakes, Vogel

As I drive towards the misty Bohinj Valley, green and lush due to the amounts of rainfall it receives, surrounded by towering mountains, I’m anxious to see how the landscapes have transformed with the change of season. Everything looks brown, red, orange and yellow. Even the road resembles a colorful carpet while a light breeze continues to sweep away the vibrantly colored leaves. But I’m not here for the luring fall colors of the Lake Bohinj. I’m here for the golden larches high above the lake in the otherworldly Triglav National Park.

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A glimpse of WWI on a stunning traverse from Bohinj to the Soča

IN Adventure , Alps , Bled , Bohinj , Hiking , Julian Alps , Krn , mountains , News , Slovenia , Soča

On stunningly beautiful trails above Bohinj, where wild flowers grow in abundance and marmots peek from behind large rocks peppered on Alpine meadows, one may be also taken back to the bloody years of WWI. Numerous deteriorating buildings of the war, remains of walls, an old border line with bunkers, and bombs are dotted all along the rugged mountainous stretch between Bohinj and the Soča Valley.

There we were, on a warm and bright day in late September, wearing our hiking clothes and a backpack with the basics for two days in the mountains, starting out our three-day adventure in the Julian Alps. In the first two days we would hike over 24 kilometers and make 2,050 meters of ascent to reach Mt. Krn, 2,244 m, then descend 1,253 meters down to the Soča Valley and spend the third day hiking and relaxing along the Soča River before driving back to Bled, where we had met earlier that day.

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Immersed in the fascinating Dolomites of Northeastern Italy

IN Adventure , Dolomites , Hiking , Italy , mountains

A land of fairytale villages and craggy distinct mountains lording over endless meadows, the Dolomites seem mysterious and not quite real to fresh onlookers. It would be easy to frame this mountain range, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2009, as a site of staggering beauty, unique landscapes and a paradise for hikers and bikers. Yet it’s far more than that.

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The most scenic tour to Triglav

It’s been 124 years since Jakob Aljaž, a great patriot and a priest, paid one Austro-Hungarian gulden for the top of Slovenia’s highest mountain. The amount of money one could have bought 50 eggs or 10 liters of milk for. His idea was to oppose the prevalent Germanization of the Slovenian people and the mountains in the Austro-Hungarian Empire back then.

Once the top of Slovenia was again Slovenian, he had a 2×1.25 m symbolic tower erected at the top of Triglav on 7 August 1895. In the following years he also mined an almost impassable 30-cm ridge between the peaks of Triglav and Mali Triglav into the nicely wide ridge we know today; besides, he also built the mountain hut Kredarica at 2,515 m and the Aljaž Hut in the Vrata Valley below Triglav. His far-reaching idea was to stimulate more Slovenians to visit the mountains, conquer the very top of Slovenia – the symbol of the Slovenian nation, make new legendary routes, and thus make the mountains Slovenian again.

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Our favoured one-day round tour to the Triglav Lakes

IN Adventure , Alps , Bohinj , Hiking , Julian Alps , Lakes , Triglav National Park

I’ve already written about what an amazing country this is, but despite all of its unique qualities, hands down my favorite part of Slovenia is the spectacular mountainous area of the Triglav National Park, the largest protected area in Slovenia covering 838 square kilometers, which encompasses Mt. Triglav and most of the 400 2K+ peaks found in the country. To be honest, the setting with pristine lakes, small streams and towering mountains couldn’t be more beautiful, inspiring or just plain divine. Why would you not hike there?

With that in mind Lisa and I took our English friends Ted and his pup Scout for an amazing round hike to the first three Triglav Lakes last week to enjoy remote wilderness and empty trails. Mesmerizing!

Would you be interested in joining us on the next tour to the Triglav Lakes? Check here for the next dates!

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Where to hike around the Soča Valley in amazing western Slovenia

IN Adventure , climbing , Hiking , Julian Alps , Krn , Lakes , via ferrata , Waterfalls

Certain places resonate with us, hikers, in many unique and mysterious ways. Whether I can envision myself exploring one mountain top after another or just falling in love with a particular area, often-times I find myself returning to some spots again and again.

The Upper Soča Valley is definitely one of the corners of Slovenia where I have left bits of my heart.

The Lepenjica Stream flows through the Lepena Valley creating a breathtaking scene underneath the snow-capped peaks of the Julian Alps
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