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.
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!
Make Triglav a winter climb
The king of the Julian Alps, the highest mountain of Slovenia and an iconic climb for most of the nation, Triglav rules its kingdom of jagged peaks, stunning lakes and deep valleys. Strategically positioned in the heart of Triglav National Park, its somewhat pointed summit lures the crowds in summer (Climbing Triglav on the favoured route, The most scenic tour to Triglav), but the question today is who’s up for the challenge in the snow? Because the reward is simply finger-licking sweet!
Ski touring in the frozen kingdom of Snežnik and its ice sculptures
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!
Better luck next time!
What a weird weekend. It started with big plans but ended up with nothing tangible worth bragging about. In contrast to what you must be thinking right now, no, it was still a great weekend, just very different from expected. We walked up an icy trail and we’d have been ok with that if it hadn’t been for the rain which gradually intensified into a heavy downpour. The next day, I fought with incredible amounts of soft wet snow with each step sinking into knee-or- butt deep snow. In the rain again. While I’m usually not a quitter, I quit both hikes. The only things I didn’t quit last weekend were a sunrise hike up to Šmarna gora with my doggy pal Lisa and sauna pampering with my girlfriends.
It doesn't get cooler than this: ice climbing in the Hell thirty minutes from Ljubljana
Ice climbing has never been my thing. Ever since the climbing accident ten years ago, I’ve steered myself away from the vertical and kept my step safer on the trail instead. A few weeks ago, though, the news arrived about frozen waterfalls in the Hell Gorge near Ljubljana; being such a rare sight I decided to duck out of my comfort zone and join my friends the next morning for an ice-climbing session in the Hell.
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.
Sunset hunting in the Karawanks or an adventure of contrasts
As soon as my husband and I finished work for the week, we quickly hurried towards Gorenjska and left our car in the parking below the Matizovec farm at the foothill of the Košuta massif. In fact, Košuta is the largest massif in Slovenia with its 10 km (6.2 mi) long crest and as many as 12 mountains over 2 K. The goal for the evening was to hike to Kofce, a mountain hut at 1.488 m (4,882 ft), and record a time-lapse video of the sunset in the mountains.
Hiking Mt. Begunjščica, the most popular mountain in the Karawanks
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.
A fun hiking adventure with a 6-years old
It was neither an easy nor a short trail with 2,930 ft (893 m) of elevation gain and some sections covered in ice and slippery compact snow. As an experienced hiker and a parent, I knew it was a long shot of actually reaching the top with a small child, but we gave it a try nonetheless. It is all about the journey, anyway.