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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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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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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Climbing Mt. Begunjščica in harsh winter conditions

{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,…}

A few weeks ago, back in March, I joined a guided mountaineering course to learn about climbing steeper terrain in the snow safely. It was great with the hands-on approach, so we learned the skills while actually climbing a mountain, the 2,332-m high Mala Mojstrovka above Kranjska Gora. As it turned out, the climb was unforgettable, and, me being me, I had to return to the mountains the very next day and try the easiest winter approach to Mt. Begunjščica, the 2K mountain you usually see in the background of the Lake Bled photos. Today, comfortable in my office, I’m reliving the crazy but wonderful moments of climbing that thing in a swirl of a snow blizzard, fierce wind and temperatures way below zero, and, yet, my heart melts with the fond memories. Here’s the story.

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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

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Safe winter trails that will blow your mind

IN Adventure , Alps , Hiking , Hiking blog , Kamnik-Savinja Alps , Karavanke , mountains , snow , Winter hiking

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.

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

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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Hiking the gorgeous Karawanks: Veliki Vrh and Kofce

IN Adventure , Alps , Hiking , Hiking blog , 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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