Epidemic and lockdown in Slovenia finished: calling for new adventures in the mountains!

IN Adventure , Bohinj , Coronavirus , Slovenia

Slovenia has formally declared an end of the coronavirus epidemic! We did it guys! Moreover, the borders are reopening and even a 7-day quarantine for EU citizens arrivals has been removed! As of now, our lives are finally returning back to normal. Knocking on wood… Still knocking…

We were all pushed into this practically overnight and boy can I say my sanity would have been long shredded into pieces if it wasn’t for one thing. Nature. Those long hikes in the reawakening nature, which just started to green up after the winter and grow beautiful flowers and blooming trees. And boy, were there many hikes…

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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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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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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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Hiking in an abandoned ski resort: Zelenica

IN Hiking

I prefer hiking alone. It’s the only space and time when I do exactly what I want. It’s also the way I perceive mountains when there is nobody there but me; it’s perhaps more adventurous and thrilling, and I definitely feel deeper and more wholesome, connecting to the nature with all senses. That’s why I was overly excited the other day to find a few hours just for myself alone and went hiking in an abandoned ski resort Zelenica.
A highly popular ski resort in the 70s and 80s, particularly so as shopping in richer Austria back then was just a short drive away, Zelenica used to be a perfect spot for professional training and recreational skiing. While it progressively declined over the last two decades, it still operated for some years until permanently closing in 2012. But the fun thing about an abandoned ski resort? The ski runs are still there for winter backcountry skiers, while hikers enjoy in easily accessible surrounding high mountains all year round. Not too crowded though, which makes it even more appealing.
The trail towards Zelenica above Ljubelj
At 10.30 AM light rain and misty fog and not a soul anywhere on the horizon.

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Hiking Mt. Begunjščica, the most popular mountain in the Karawanks

IN Adventure , Hiking , Winter

There are days when I need a challenge and days when I just need to take it easy, relax, even meditate in a way. That’s how I pick mountains. I usually turn in for the night with a ready backpack, but no real plan where to go the next day, only to make one during my morning ritual. If it seems impossible to decide in the evening, it all clears up in the morning. My Wednesday pick two weeks ago was no different.
I woke up early when others were still sound asleep, an hour before my actual alarm. I set out in complete darkness and drove towards the mountains. Since the snow was still fresh from the day before, the greater risk of avalanches outweighed my wish for a true adventure. My safest bet, thus, was Mt. Begunjščica, a 2,060-m or 6,760-ft mountain in the Karawanks range, also called a mountain of a hundred ravines. I figured it would make a great winter escapade; nothing technical, just pure pleasure.

It’s a 20-minute drive from Bled to the start of the Begunjščica trail.
It’s a 20-minute drive from Bled to the start of the Begunjščica trail.

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Off the beaten path in Mt. Viševnik

IN Hiking , Julian Alps

It was one of those grey winter days when you need a big push to even consider going out into the cold. Just the same and just like every weekend, I showed no mercy. Equipped with sleds and skis for the kids, I packed everyone into the car and we drove to the mountains that we love so much. Our plan was to go crazy on one of the very few slopes in Slovenia still covered in snow. Well, my plan was to sneak away and hike in the real mountains. So we set off for Pokljuka, a recreational center 20 minutes from Bled with sledding for the kids, Nordic walking for my husband, and a number of easily accessible 7,000 ft peaks for me.
Although it was January, the otherwise completely white Pokljuka greeted us in green colors. Fortunately, at least one slope gave us a bit of hope for possible sledding fun, and as soon as it began, I was off to Viševnik, a 6,726 ft (2,050 m) mountain with great panoramic views over the roof of Slovenia, Triglav, and the Julian Alps.

Viševnik is the most popular mountain in Slovenia at over 6,500 ft (2,000 m).
Viševnik is the most popular mountain in Slovenia at over 6,500 ft (2,000 m).

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