A land of fairytale villages and craggy distinct mountains lording over endless meadows, the Dolomites seem mysterious and not quite real to fresh onlookers. It would be easy to frame this mountain range, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2009, as a site of staggering beauty, unique landscapes and a paradise for hikers and bikers. Yet it’s far more than that.
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.
Our favoured one-day round tour to the Triglav Lakes
I’ve already written about what an amazing country this is, but despite all of its unique qualities, hands down my favorite part of Slovenia is the spectacular mountainous area of the Triglav National Park, the largest protected area in Slovenia covering 838 square kilometers, which encompasses Mt. Triglav and most of the 400 2K+ peaks found in the country. To be honest, the setting with pristine lakes, small streams and towering mountains couldn’t be more beautiful, inspiring or just plain divine. Why would you not hike there?
Where to hike around the Soča Valley in amazing western Slovenia
Certain places resonate with us, hikers, in many unique and mysterious ways. Whether I can envision myself exploring one mountain top after another or just falling in love with a particular area, often-times I find myself returning to some spots again and again.
The Upper Soča Valley is definitely one of the corners of Slovenia where I have left bits of my heart.
Beautiful mountain above Mojstrana: Vrtaški Vrh
At first glance, Mojstrana seems like a classic small town of a little over a thousand people. Yet this little town is anything but ordinary. Apart from hosting the Slovenian Alpine Museum, namely the only mountaineering museum in Slovenia, Mojstrana is also closely connected to the Julian Alps, the Triglav National Park and the Karawanks. That’s why I’m always beyond psyched when visiting that part of Slovenia and exploring the beautiful mountains and waterfalls surrounding it. This time I headed towards a most scenic 1,900-meter high mountain called Vrtaški Vrh with not only astonishing views of the tall and grand, but also green valleys and countless spring flowers blooming along the trail.
Encircled by high mountains, this picturesque village offers a plethora of hiking trails: Bohinjska Bistrica
Approximately 75 kilometers from Ljubljana, the country’s capital, on the outer edge of the Triglav National Park, the largest protected area in Slovenia covering 838 square kilometers that encompasses Mt. Triglav and most of the 400 2K+ peaks found in the country, there is a sense of contented isolation. It seems that wherever you turn there are dusty trails that wind through tall forests and eventually end up in the surrounding snow-capped peaks. Bohinjska Bistrica, a settlement of less than 1,800 people, lies cradled among 2,000-meter high towering mountains, making it a perfect holiday destination for everyone in love with hiking; mountaineers, families and complete beginners included.
Unplugging on Velika Planina
Fairytale on Velika Planina is everything I love about mountain resorts: it’s remote and isolated, yet still nicely connected to the valley by a cable car or a road that ends only 45 minutes away. It has personality and all the little benefits of any other nice resort in the valley, plus you stay in pristine nature with spectacular views of sunlit mountaintops of the Alps. That’s why I was beyond psyched when the kind folks at Fairytale on Velika Planina invited me up for a few days of snowy trails and jaw-dropping sunrises and sunsets.
And did I mention dogs are allowed? Lisa and her furry buddy Hari were welcome too!
Exploring rolling hills of Krško and its medieval castles
Rolling hills, endless vineyards, pristine nature, generous and welcoming people, and good food. Now that I’ve really experienced the Krško region, spending there a weekend, I couldn’t agree more. That place makes a surprisingly invigorating holiday spot.
In just two relaxing days, I walked through a virgin forest of tall oaks and fallen mossy trees. I walked along long vineyards, stretched across the hilly landscape of the Lower Sava region. I explored Medieval castles to learn about Trappist monks. I drank chocolate wine, and ate locally produced food that simply melts in the mouth. I was treated to local wine Cviček and home-made salami by friendly locals. I spent the night in a remote B&B in the midst of vineyards. And I drank a cup of tea in a hostel run by the ex-gold-medal Olympic athlete Primož Kozmus. Kind of awesome, right?
Waterfalls around Kranjska Gora
Hurtling over cliffs, narrow gorges, and mysterious mists lingering in the thick tall forest now dressed in spectacular autumn hues, the waterfalls around Kranjska Gora tend to be most spectacular particularly during the rainy months in the fall. The most fascinating falls in the area, the Peričnik Fall and Martuljek Falls, make a perfect daily trip either in moody weather or sunshine.
For more hiking ideas around Kranjska Gora, you are welcome to read Colors of the fall around Kranjska Gora: Trupejevo Poldne and Sleme
Climbing 2 K+ mountains in the Julian Alps after the first snowfall
With the early snowfall coloring the peaks of our highest mountains white, my thoughts go back to a special two-day climb in late August to three beautiful mountains in the Julian Alps I was honored to climb with my Dutch-Austrian friend Georg. Originally, we had been planning to climb Triglav over its 1-km high vertical North Face taking the Prag Route on the first day and explore the Triglav Lakes Valley on the second day, but as fate would have it, Slovenia experienced a sudden extreme drop in temperature just a few days before our trip and the mountains above 1,800 m dressed in an unexpected 30-cm snow cover. That called for a quick last-minute change of plan, and instead of climbing the Triglav North Face, we rather opted for the southern slopes of the spectacular mountains on the opposite side of Vrata Valley, also home to the beautiful Alpine ibex.