One day in February I got the most exhilarating call. It was Alenka from the Ljubljana Guides asking me if I could join her on an organized group hike in the Julian Alps in July. The plan was to start the hike from Savica above Lake Bohinj, go to the Krn Lake Hut on the first day, then off to the Triglav Lakes on the second and third day, and finally head back down to Lake Bohinj across the Blato Plateau on the fourth day. It sounded like a blast and so I was in!
Chasing spring flowers in the Slovenian Alps: Dovška Baba
Spring too often seems to take its time arriving in the Slovenian Alps. But when it does turn up, it creates otherworldly scenery spreading wildflower colors everywhere. While in May you can find glorious spring practically everywhere at different elevation, there are a few spots particularly famous for their blooming flowers. Yes, I’ve written about Velika Planina and Golica already, but here is yet another beautiful flower hike, which against all odds isn’t crowded at all.
When Velika Planina dresses in purple: welcome to endless fields of crocuses
On the southern rim of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, some thirty kilometers north of Slovenia’s boutique capital Ljubljana, lies a large Alpine plateau called Velika Planina. The place is known not only for its unique shepherds’ settlement, arguably the oldest in Europe that remains active to date, but also for organic milk goodies produced every summer. Locals and tourists alike visit it for its long hiking and biking trails, skiing and sledding in winter, good food and friendly people. Every spring, though, something extraordinary happens: as the snow finally melts sometime in April, little crowns of crocuses flood the whole plateau turning a good part of the landscape purple.
This hike will blow your mind: Golica and endless fields of daffodils
Golica is often called the “mountain of daffodils”, and for a good reason; in mid-May, the long slopes are carpeted with wild narcissi in full bloom, making the scenery look pretty otherworldly. If the first at the foothills of Golica start budding somewhere in late April or early May, the whole slopes of the Western Karawanks bloom a few weeks later. For many, a trip to the slopes covered with daffodils is a once-a-year experience, yet the stunning vistas attract not only the locals but tourists as well.
Check our available hikes to Golica
If I had meandered in early April over the vast slopes of Golica, searching in vain for wild daffodils only to find epic views instead, my Sunday trip turned out a real treat. Once out of the forest, just underneath the mountain hut, my dad and me separated from the rest of our hiking gang and followed a trail towards Mala Planina, a 1,646-meter-more-eastern peak along this mountain ridge. What we saw took our breath away.
Yet, Golica is so much more than just pretty flowers, and one would make a huge mistake to end their jaunt there. Actually, it’s a grand mountain that fuels adventure dreams beyond narcissi. For one, you can extend your hike with a scenic 40-minute walk along the ridge to the peak of Golica, 1,835 meters high. Since the mountain borders Austria to the north, you’ll get to soak up stunning views of Slovenia on one side of the ridgeline and Austria on the other. The most daring of hikers even throw in a few extra hours to the trip and combine Golica with mountains further along the Karawanks mountain range like Dovška Baba and Stol. Last but not least, I’ve heard it’s great for mountain biking and paragliding as well.
How to arrive at Golica?
Planina pod Golico, an enchanting village where the trail starts, sits above Jesenice, a town in the northwestern part of Slovenia. To find the road to Planina pod Golico, you’ll need to drive through Jesenice and look for its direction board, located close to the town health center, pointing towards the mountains.
If the classic trail to the mountain hut below the Golica peak is marked for 1.5 hours and the peak adds extra 40 minutes, you’ll need approximately 3.5-4 hours for a return tour. For those aiming to catch a glimpse of the famous daffodils and follow my so-called daffodils route (Planina pod Golico – mountain hut – daffodils on Mala Planina – peak – mountain hut – Planina pod Golico), make sure to add another 1-1.5 hours to the trip. The daffodils route is about 10 kilometers long and ascends about 900 meters.
Hiking Golica with kids
While I’m sure your kids will be hopping and singing all the way to the peak, my little grouches called it a day once at the mountain hut. So, while my dad and me continued alone along the daffodils route, the kids were relieved to wait by the hut with other three grandparents and a bunch of tired little warriors. To be honest, not many kids passed that point the other day. Still, not having babysitters at hand doesn’t equal to not seeing daffodils. While there are plenty growing everywhere on vast grassy slopes along the way, according to the map, there seem to be even more flowers closer to the hut just a little further along the trail to Jekljevo Sedlo.
Anyway, mark your calendar for this weekend and prepare for an amazing day in the mountains as Golica and its endless fields of wild growing daffodils might literally blow your mind. I swear, it’s that amazing!
Read about hiking among purple fields of crocuses on Velika Planina
Until next time, y’all, and stay tuned for more outdoor adventures! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and subscribe to the newsletter. Looking for a guided tour in the mountains? Exploring Slovenia offers hiking and climbing tours!
In search of wild daffodils on Golica, a picturesque mountain in the Karawanks
Known for endless fields of wild white daffodils, Mt. Golica is particularly popular in late April and early May. In fact, I fully subscribe to the April visits, and, guilty as charged, have never hiked it in another month before. This time, though, I was too early for the daffodils, but was compensated with equally incredible views of not only Slovenia and Triglav, but as far as Austria’s Grossglockner.
Cycling to and exploring the glacial valley of the Kamniška Bistrica
June is the month when the summer hiking season usually starts, since the mountains would have dropped the white blanket by then. This year, however, the never-ending rain and almost daily afternoon thunderstorms have been constantly messing with our hiking plans, and instead made big mountains even less manageable than during the colder months. I have managed, however, to switch my focus to cycling lately and it’s been just as fun.
One of the most memorable trips was a 40 km or 25 miles long tour to Kamniška Bistrica, a glaciated valley at the foothills of the Kamnik – Savinja Alps, which was actually a nice combination of cycling, hiking and – the most adventurous of all – exploring new grounds off the beaten trail. In fact, the tour was so nice, I have done it twice in the last three weeks, both times with my family, who eagerly joined in for the last part – climbing big rocks up a dry mountain torrent Krvavec.