As we drive close to the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, heavy raindrops slowly dwindle and thick black clouds tear apart offering a peek of the mountains. Velika Planina, a high Alpine plateau on the Alps’ southern rim just 30 kilometers from Ljubljana, had just started to show some greenish hues in its vast brown fields after a long winter, yet in less than two months cows from the neighboring villages will be already grazing in those highland pastures. In April, however, as the snow melts away, Velika Planina is well-known for something else. Carpets of purple crocuses break out every year, turning Velika Planina into a blooming place straight out of a fairy tale!
Ljubljana hiking marathon: from sunrise to sunset
Whether you’re visiting the city for a few days or you live there, here is a list of top hiking places in the European Green Capital of 2016, Ljubljana, which you can easily do separately, one per day, or combined in a day-long hiking marathon doing altogether impressive 31 km and 760 m elevation gain.
Sunrise on Šmarna Gora
If you want to start your day with a bit of exercise and stunning panoramic views, then this 2,195-ft (669 m) hill is ideal for you. You will do a little less than a 1,000 ft (303 m) elevation gain in approximately half an hour if you are normally fit. So plan the start of your ascent accordingly to catch the first sunrays at the very top (exact time of the sunrise in Ljubljana). Trust me, as hard as it is to wake up in the still of the night, it’s an experience worth the effort.