An amazing day climbing Mala Mojstrovka in Slovenia’s Julian Alps

I’m very excited to give you a story written by Nick, our very special guest from Ireland who hiked and climbed with us last summer. Enjoy the read!

It was a wonderful sunny summer’s day in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia. I had been comfortably dined and rested at the hotel and just finished a magnificent breakfast that was truly regal in its volume and variety. That day was my first day climbing of a ten-day mountaineering trip expertly planned by Exploring Slovenia. As the early morning sun warmed me up, I eagerly awaited the arrival of Neja, who owns the company, and has arranged all the guiding and mountain accommodation for my stay in the Julian Alps. Neja arrived promptly and introduced me to Samo, an IFMGA mountain guide and an expert on these demanding high level routes. Neja and I had planned some tough climbing over the coming days and I quickly found both Neja and Samo easy going, chatty and with a good sense of fun too.

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The beautiful Vršič Pass in winter

Beginner winter climb in the Slovenian Alps: Mala Mojstrovka

{A disclaimer for the wise: conditions in the mountains can change very quickly, therefore plan your climb accordingly; read about the planned route, check the avalanche reports, the amount of snow in the mountains, and reports about the temperature and wind changes, consult with mountain guides and local climbers,…}

As crocuses, primroses and spring snowflakes awake from the hard soil and the nature in the valleys begins to pick up more vibrant hues of blue and green, the mountains continue to stand firmly their winter ground in the face of the awakening spring. You drive to them in perfect sunshine, but end up climbing in temperatures way below freezing with occasional snow blizzards and fierce wind chills. Yet, the freezing temperatures make the snow stable and awesome for some serious winter ascents, and that’s what counts when you’re slowly battling your way up on the steep snow glazed slopes.

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The peak on the brink of the accessible

IN Adventure , Alps , Hiking , Julian Alps , Mojstrana , mountaineering , mountains , Winter hiking

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.

See Exploring Slovenia’s Guided Tour to Špik, another peak in the Martuljek Group

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Hiking above Bohinj: Krstenica Plateau, Mt. Jezerski Stog, Mt. Adam and Eva

IN Adventure , Alps , Autumn hiking , Bohinj , Hiking , Julian Alps

Sometimes a hike is just a hike. Sometimes it’s a portal to another plane of perception. These days, when Covid-19 is firmly setting its ground and has likely affected each and every one of us in one way or another, an escape to the great outdoors has never been more appreciated. We start the car and head towards the odd world without masks and hand sanitisers. Towards the world where panic is replaced by families of serenely grazing chamois, the virtual problems with the tangible ones, and busy streets by sunny little spots with amazing views. A place where we embrace life at its fullest.

See Exploring Slovenia’s tours above Bohinj: Mrežce, Triglav Lakes, From Bohinj to Soča Valley

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5 epic hikes and climbs in Triglav National Park that will blow your mind

IN Adventure , Alps , Bled , Hiking , Julian Alps , Kranjska Gora , mountains , Triglav National Park

As much as I love snow and a white fairytale-like landscape, there’s still that tiny corner of my heart that misses the carefree summer adventures in the mountains. The kind that comes along with a relatively small backpack and less planning. Then autumn rolls around, and the mountain huts close down for the season, the cold sets in and the daylight shortens. The mountains empty and the trails, which had been very lively even a few weeks before, quiet down, and the silence is merely interrupted by an occasional whistle of a chamois and marmot. Nevertheless, autumn brings a different kind of magic.

With the best autumn days only to come, I encourage you to head out to the very heart of the Triglav National Park and enjoy the countless dreamy hiking trails that connect valleys with the rugged mountainous world. Here are my top recommendations for hikes and climbs in the Triglav National Park near Kranjska Gora and Bled – enjoy!

At 838 square kilometers in size, the Triglav National Park is the largest protected area in Slovenia and our only national park
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Climbing Triglav with kids: possible or better to skip it?

IN Adventure , Alps , Julian Alps , safety , Triglav

It’s the connection we have with nature and mountains, wandering steps into the unknown, carpets of colourful flowers along the trail, drifting clouds over towering peaks, and huge expanses to rest your gaze upon. It’s a way of life, and something all outdoor loving parents would wish to pass onto their children; but the question is: are your children ready to endure some mountain climbing? If you’re dreaming about conquering Triglav, the highest mountain of Slovenia with your child… you should know that you’re not alone and that there are many ways to climb it safely.

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Getting into the mountaineering mode with the Pokljuka’s classics

IN Hiking , Julian Alps , mountaineering , summer , training

It seems to me that the mountains are the greatest source of excitement, fun, energy and visual beauty. They are the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living. The pulse quickens, the heart pumps, the mind searches for all kinds of excuses—and then, in one impetuous, soul-soaring moment, we say, “I’m going to do this!” And off we go.

As we switch to summer hiking mode and follow the calls of the rugged mountainous world, it’s necessary that we’ve already done our share of physical and mental preparations beforehand. This year, after a few more or less stagnant months due to the coronavirus, when mountains were completely off the chart, preparations for mountaineering seem more important than ever!

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Venturing outside at the time of Coronavirus – how to keep yourself and your family entertained

*Note: Due to the coronavirus it’s extremely important to consider the government’s guidelines about social distancing and limitation of moving outside! All my adventures are always 100% compliant with the current guidelines. Nevertheless, the guidelines might change through time and so the adventures described here might not be in accordance with the updated guidelines. My advice? Take my adventures as a good read and save them as hiking ideas for the future 🙂

You always hear me talking about our little bubble of paradise here in Slovenia. A place that seems immune to the problems of the rest of the world, a place that attracts friendly people who love the outdoors and the mountains. However, we are facing the exact same problems as the rest of the world. As a mum of two, I’m stuck with homeschooling, tons of cooking and cleaning, and, like all of you parents out there, lack of time for myself. High mountains, via ferratas, and rock climbing are off limits anyway, but, luckily, since a complete lockdown hasn’t started yet, we’re still able to enjoy relaxing time in nature. For now, at least. Therefore, we better make it sweet and worthwhile, right?

Dare I suggest it’s a great time for exploring local intriguing spots in the spirit of simplifying our lives a bit? It has worked for me and my family. We have been tracing beautiful spring flowers in nearby forests, spotting wildlife, searching for beautiful sunset spots, and even finding a massive hidden cave!

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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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