As tourists snap selfies in front of the deep green Alpine lake Bled and take a boat to the little island with a 12th century church, the dramatic backdrop of the snow-capped peaks of the Karavanke Mountains lure the other kind – the adventurers at heart. The highest in the 120-km-long mountain range, which stretches all the way from the border with Italy and Austria, to Croatia, is the outstanding Mount Stol.
Hiking it will serve you idyllic vistas quite different from the sheer walls and rugged landscapes typical of the Triglav National Park. Here you’ll be given incredible views across the valley floor, the Sava River, and Lake Bled, while the top will literally blow your mind away as the landscape suddenly transforms into an Alpine fairy tale with seemingly never-ending white peaks all around.
I always wanted to see the ice kingdom which the winter Mount Snežnik is famous for and possibly ski among the frozen silhouettes. You see, since the mountain is close to the sea (only 28 km), it receives more precipitation, which in combination with strong winds can build incredible ice structures on anything that sticks up the ground. Thus the lodge at the top puts on an otherworldly ice cover, while dwarf pines, which sporadically cover the highest parts of the plateau, turn completely white and resemble an exhibition of art work rather than trees. Really spectacular!
There’s certain allure of climbing Slovenia’s highest mountain, particularly over its grand Triglav North Face, a 3-km wide and 1-km high vertical face with paint blazes marking only a few of about a hundred, mostly alpine routes to Triglav. Our small group of four ventured out there the last weekend in June only to return with incredible stories to tell and even more amazing pictures to show. If I had to caption our trip in three words, it would be sun, thunderstorms and fun.
But before I tell the story, let Chris take us up Triglav over the Prag Route. Thanks Chris and Miha for helping create this amazing video!
Somewhere far away from the city bustle, nested among towering mountain peaks, an enchanting green meadow stretches speckled with colorful flowers, and right in the middle of a green patch there is a friendly mountain hut. On its sunny terrace in totally relaxed vibes, a bunch of eager mountaineers share their bold climbing stories over barley porridge called ričet and cold beer while soaking in epic views of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps. That’s Kamniško Sedlo.
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.
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.
The stats? 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!
It’s been a most incredible week but now all that is left are a couple of photos and a big numbing heartache. Arghh. I simply love Lošinj and Cres. I love the lonely beaches, the clearest and bluest waters, dusty paths permeated with the smells of Mediterranean herbs, and the most delicious food. The best part? It’s an outdoor paradise that combines both wild and secluded, as well as comfortable and friendly. As almost a local, I give you my top four trips on these Croatian islands you absolutely shouldn’t miss out if you’re more into wild adventures.
I saw a brave little boy climb the steep route to Mt. Nanos alone this weekend. As a parent, I was shocked. Truly, guys, who lets their six-year-old climb a mountain alone? Over rocks, pitons and steel cables?
I’ve written about climbing our highest peak over and over and over again. It’s strikingly beautiful and climbing it fills you with indescribable emotions way beyond exhilarated. But then again, Triglav is surprisingly demanding and even in perfect conditions a serious ascent. Experienced climbers describe winter ascents to Slovenia’s highest peak as a true challenge. You want to do it safely? Climb it with a mountain guide. Seriously.
Being an active family with a special thing for the mountains, it was no longer than the third day on Sardinia that we set off towards the mountainous region Gennargentu and the highest peak of the island, Punta La Marmora. After a 3-hour drive on curvy roads with unnerved kids on the verge of throwing up, we arrived at the trailhead all wearing the “it better be worth it!” attitude. As it turned out, hiking Punta La Marmora has a lot to offer and easily qualifies as the best trip we made in Sardinia. Yes, it was well worth it to say the least.
A picturesque mountain that’s easily accessible with minimal effort? My sister, visiting from Canada, likes the outdoors but not the sweating part too much. I, on the other hand, needed a little extra, an adventure of a sort to spice up the planned family hike, which I could perhaps even share with my older kiddo. Slemenova špica in the Julian Alps seemed like the best choice and as it turned out – it was.