Beautiful and rugged, the Julian Alps have unbelievable charm. Towering mountains, boulders scattered along long scree slopes under unforgiving crumbly limestone walls, streams plunging into sudden gorges. Yet in between all that, you’ll find soft sun-stroked meadows which explode with colorful wild flowers in the summer, enchanting forests and high peaks with hypnotic views. The northwestern Julian Alps might even be the most photogenic corner of the Slovenian Alps, and Mangart, the third highest peak of Slovenia, together with the highest road to its Mangart Saddle at 2,055 meters their very best gems.
Fairytale loop hike above Srednji Vrh
As we were driving towards the mountains, the soft morning light, caught in the forested slopes of the Karavanke Alps on the right and the craggy peaks of the Julian Alps on the left, added to the vibrancy of a beautiful autumn day. The contrast between the freshly covered snow-capped peaks and the explosion of colors in the forest lower down was mesmerizing. Anything from virgin white to bright green, red, yellow and orange-brown, all set against a clear blue sky with an occasional streak of fog still lingering in the fresh air. The kind of perfection that can only be seen right after a good long downpour.
Hiking in the Julian Alps among flowers, a lake and stunning views: Jerebica
To be quite honest, I had been eyeing this peak for years. A moderately demanding day hike in the Julian Alps, whose peak opens up to absolutely stunning views of a lake. Mt. Jerebica is a beautiful hike throughout, but its top will literally blow your mind away as it faces the 1,400-m long and 400-m wide glacial Rabeljsko Jezero (Eng. Lake of Predil) from a thousand meters above. Yet, as much as I devote my life to the mountains, Jerebica has always managed to slip by somehow. A couple of years ago I even attempted to hike it but failed badly due to the lack of preparation. Yes, one wrong turn right at the beginning of the trail can eventually lead you into a maze of wide and deep Karst holes and cracks instead of taking you to the comfortable grass-covered peak with a view of a turquoise lake. However, once I did manage to climb Jerebica – I was not disappointed!
Here’s what you need to know about the hike above a beautiful lake.
Seven lush, green and fragrant mountain hikes in Slovenia
As the season turns around and we are suddenly faced with high temperatures and lots of hot sun, it’s nice to look back and daydream about the awesome mountain adventures you’ve done in the past months. Due to a colder start of the spring, the nature remained in its snooze mode for a couple of weeks longer this year, but once it finally did wake up, it was freaking insane! I’d never seen so many daffodils in the mountains before, nor had the mid-elevation peaks looked so lush and verdant in early June.
Let’s go through the most memorable mountain hikes (and one awesome climb!) that Exploring Slovenia did this spring.
Slovenia in spring: from flowers to snow in six hiking trips
There’s that special moment in the year when we get to see two seasons overlap. Lively birds singing, trees blossoming and the first flowers announcing the arrival of warmer spring days down in the valleys. However, higher up in the mountains the strong north winds and freezing temperatures still hold a firm hold over the white mountaintops. The best of spring and winter in the great outdoors is right here, it’s just a matter of us grasping it or not.
To that extent I’ve been fortunate to walk endless greening meadows speckled with wild marsh tulips, hike along rolling hills carpeted with purple crocuses, and see the trees coming into leaf along a vibrant small gorge. Over a thousand meters higher, on the other hand, I enjoyed snowshoeing in half a meter of fresh snow up to incredible mountain peaks, while also climbing safely to a white peak with views of both Slovenia and Austria.
Here are five memorable spring hikes in the Slovenian Alps and the hillside close to Ljubljana that I’ve done; some you can do easily with your family and friends, and some are preferably reserved for the more experienced hikers or in company of a certified guide. Either way, enjoy the pictures and the gorgeous first days of spring and the last of winter!
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.
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.
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
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.