Slovenia is a nation of mountaineers and hikers. The first hut was built in 1893. Now, over 160 mountain huts are standing, managed by the local hiking clubs under the Alpine Association of Slovenia. Each area of the Julian Alps, the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, and the Karawanke has at least one hut, some even more. They are there to provide shelter and a resting point for adventurous hikers on their hut-to-hut tour or brave mountaineers on their quest for greatness.
Even though huts are all over Slovenia, they share some commonalities. They are not a luxurious way to spend a night in the mountains, but an authentic place that brings you closer to the Slovenian mountain spirit. The food you can eat there is a part of that. The menu in mountain huts always consists of traditional homemade dishes that make a hiker's belly happy and the hiker ready for the next day of adventure.
The comfort found in these lodges is basic, but that doesn’t mean it’s not cosy. Most huts in the high-altitude don’t have drinking water because of the soluble rock surrounding them. Water and other supplies get transported to them by helicopter. Showers are therefore also a luxury, found only somewhere at lower altitudes.
Apart from all the stuff you need to take with you on every hike, you need to take some extra when staying in huts. That means extra clothes, some cash if they don’t have a reliable internet signal, your ID and the UIAA membership card if you want a discount. They have both dormitories and private rooms available for booking, but I recommend you do it early since the huts are quite crowded in the summer.
Staying in mountain huts is a wonderful thing that every hiker must experience. It is not only extra time spent in the mountains — It’s a place to meet like-minded people with whom you can connect. And don’t forget, you will be able to watch both the sunset and the sunrise. The sun coming down or up and colouring the peaks in exceptionally magnificent colours will be a sight you will never forget. I couldn’t recommend you more to see it at least once. And staying the night in a mountain hut requires the least amount of effort.
When someone thinks of the huts in Slovenia, the huts under Triglav probably come to mind first. Planika Lodge at Triglav is our favourite. It is the most convenient option if you want to include Triglav in your hut-to-hut tour and is a smaller, more authentic alternative to the better known Kredarica hut. Its name comes from the Slovenian name for the Edelweiss flower. It stands on the edge of the southern plateau beneath Triglav, with an excellent view that stretches far down south to the Adriatic sea.
The next must-visit hut is located in one of the most picturesque areas of the Triglav National Park, the Triglav Lakes Valley. Standing next to the Double Lake, the Triglav Lakes Lodge is the perfect resting place on your Seven Lakes Valley Hut to Hut Hike. Surrounded by a rocky ridge on one side and the forest that turns yellow in autumn on the other, it is a magnificent place to spend a night.
Last but not least, it is the Vodnik Lodge on Velo Polje. It stands on the crossroads of many different routes in the heart of the Julian Alps, which makes it a convenient option for many hut-to-hut hikers. If you’re coming from Pokljuka plateau, Lake Bohinj or the Krma Valley and are heading to Triglav or the Seven Lakes Valley, be sure to stop here. The night will be one of the more comfortable ones on your tour, maybe even your last day with a proper shower.
Besides these three, there are more equally awesome but unique huts in the Slovenian mountains. Be sure to check them out and add them to your plan for the perfect hut-to-hut tour in Slovenia.
With its 2864 metres of elevation, Triglav is the highest peak in Slovenia and the Julian Alps, and it’s said one only becomes a true Slovene after climbing it at least once. Triglav is also one of our national symbols and a central element on the coat of arms. Its name means “three-headed”, and could have come from its three-peak shape when seen from the south, or the Slavic god with the same name.
The first documented ascent to Triglav was accomplished in 1778. The “four brave men” from Bohinj made their way to its then still present glacier and traversed the sharp ridge to the peak. The ascent took three days, from the 24th to the 26th of August.
100 years later, when the people of Slovenia were struggling to establish their national identity inside the Austro-Hungarian empire, Slovene priest Jakob Aljaž bought a piece of land on the top of Triglav. There, he built a turret that characterizes the peak to this day. He was also the one to lay out plans for several hiking paths to its top. The dangerous and sharp ridge was flattened and made safer with a Via Ferrata, making it possible for more people to reach its peak.
Nowadays, Triglav is one of the most visited summits in Slovenia. Even though it still presents some risks and dangers, around 3000 hikers reach it daily at the height of the summer season. Apart from the symbolic value, the peak is also attractive because of its spectacular views from the centre of the Julian Alps. The prominent peak can be seen from most of Slovenia, always inviting those who see it to climb it.
Even though many Slovenians do it, climbing Triglav is not that simple of an undertaking. Most of the trails leading to the peak take an approximate time of 6 hours of walking in one direction. That’s why most people choose to do it in two days, spending a night in one of the mountain huts close to its peak.
The most popular is the Triglav Hut on Kredarica, which at 2515 metres of elevation is the highest situated hut in Slovenia. The second choice for most hikers is the Planika Hut, located on the southern side of the mountain. Whichever one you choose, spending extra time in the moon-like landscape of the barren and rocky high-altitude karst of the Slovenian mountains is a must-have experience.
The best time to climb Triglav is August and September since all of the snow is gone. On sunny days of August, it can get pretty crowded, that’s why more and more people climb it in September or even June and July. Of course, early ascenders must research if there is still some snow on the route. Winters ascents are also possible but should only be tried by the most experienced mountaineers. Sometimes it is also possible to ski from the top, which is one of the hardest possible skiing in Slovenia one could try. Otherwise, a ski tour to the Kredarica hut is a must-do for every ski tourer in Slovenia.
There are many different trails from all sides that lead to the top. The least difficult one leads from the Krma Valley, one of the three Triglav glacial valleys. It is one most who want to climb Triglav in one day use since it’s also the shortest. Those who go on multiple-day hikes start from Pokljuka. The trail is a little longer but very scenic, taking advantage of your extra days in the mountains.
The steepest but also the most fun climbs start in the Vrata Valley. They are the most difficult since they have many Via Ferrata elements, which require some climbing skills. They lead you next to the Triglav North Face, the cradle of Slovenian alpinism. One of the bigger faces in the Alps is more than a kilometre high and around 4 km long. It has more than a hundred different climbing routes of different grades that attract a large number of alpinists each year.
Even though the trails leading to the top are of different overall difficulty, they all have a technical upper part. The last hour of every ascent is a Via Ferrata requiring proper equipment and enough experience in mountain climbing. Knowing something about the local weather is also necessary since you never want to be caught in a storm in that kind of terrain.
If you don’t have all of that experience and knowledge, choosing to climb with a guide is the most sensible option. They are certified professionals who spend their lives training how to make your hikes as safe and enjoyable as possible. They know the most optimal routes and how to make your ascents easier. Local guides are also fluent in English and can share some amazing insights about the mountains and the area. Besides all that, they can also help you book your beds in the huts that are very crowded in the high season.
To find the best way for you to climb Mount Triglav, check out this selection of guided Triglav tours.
STA, 25 February 2022 - Direct flight routes between Ljubljana and Brussels will be renewed from next week as Brussels Airlines is returning to Ljubljana Airport on Monday following a suspension of flights in January. Low-budget airline Wizz Air will relaunch Ljubljana-Brussels flights a month later, on 27 March, reads an announcement on the airport's website.
In addition to Monday, Brussels Airlines will also operate flights from Ljubljana Airport on Friday and Sunday next week.
Currently, Slovenia-bound international flights are operated by eleven airlines that cover twelve destinations, the airport's operator Fraport Slovenija said.
Aeroflot flies to Moscow four times a week, Air France to Paris five times a week, Air Montenegro to Podgorica twice a week, Air Serbia to Belgrade six times a week and to Niš twice a week, EasyJet to London Gatwick four times a week, Flydubai to Dubai four times a week, LOT Polish Airlines to Warsaw four times a week, Lufthansa to Frankfurt 13 times a week, Swiss International Airlines to Zurich four times a week, Transavia to Amsterdam twice a week, and Turkish Airlines to Istanbul daily.
According to Fraport Slovenija, air traffic is still largely dependent on border crossing restrictions and other measures in individual countries, as well as on air travel demand. Despite the slow easing of restrictions on global travel, the situation at Ljubljana Airport is improving, the operator said.
The summer season is expected to see a return of a number of airlines to Ljubljana Airport that have suspended their services due to Covid-19, including new flights by Transavia France, Finnair, Lufthansa, British Airways, Wizz Air and Israir.
STA, 24 February 2022 - Traditional Shrovetide carnival festivities in Slovenia that mark the end of winter and arrival of spring have largely been cancelled or heavily downscaled this year due to Covid-related restrictions. However, in light of the recent easing of measures, some towns have decided to go ahead with live events after all.
Shrovetide festivities in Slovenia usually culminate with carnivals and parades during the weekend, and end on Shrove Tuesday with the death of Pust, as the Shrovetide period is called in Slovenian.
Pust celebrations are believed to have their roots in the pre-Christian period, when people engaged in ancestor worship and used masks to mark the end of winter and arrival of spring.
One of these celebrations is the traditional Laufarija festival in Cerkno, the main feature of which are furry wooden-faced creatures called Laufarji (Runners). After a period of uncertainty, the event is now confirmed to be held in-person.
The organisers have told the STA that the traditional festivities will be held on Sunday and on Tuesday, which include a street parade. The general public is invited to attend, with no special restrictions in place.
"A live performance and a street parade are important to preserve tradition. We are old-fashioned, and only seeing the procession live brings the most authentic experience," the organisers added.
Despite the relaxation of measures, there will be no Kurentovanje in Ptuj this year, though a celebratory event will be held online. Before the epidemic, the traditional carnival had been bringing tens of thousands of visitors each year to the oldest Slovenian town.
The local tourism board said it would not be able to organise the traditional parade on Sunday in full scale in such a short time. However, several events have already been organised in Ptuj as part of the celebrations since 2 February, and the organisers said that the upcoming main carnival weekend would be lively as well.
Despite the lack of a grand parade, Ptuj can still expect to see many people during the Shrovetide period, especially this weekend, as people dress up in carnival attire and indulge in fatty and filling foods like cured pork and doughnuts, in accordance with tradition during the Pust season.
One of the few places where a public open-air carnival celebration has been announced is Novo Mesto in south-eastern Slovenia where a parade featuring a programme for children is to be held on Saturday. No other major carnival parades, which were a regular feature of the streets of many Slovenian towns before the epidemic, have been announced for this year.
For the most part, smaller celebrations with a limited number of participants will take place, while traditional Pust characters like the Kurenti, which feature a full-body sheepskin attire with huge cowbells around the waist, will also take to the streets.
On Shrove Tuesday on 1 March, the last day before the start of Lent, Pust will be buried or burnt at the stake, depending on local tradition.
STA, 17 February 2022 - The government has approved up to EUR 2 million to subsidise the construction of an observation tower in Rogaška Slatina, the community in eastern Slovenia known for centuries for its natural spas.
A release issued by the Government Communication Office after Wednesday's correspondence session of the cabinet said the government approved the funding as it included the project in the 2022-2025 plan of development programmes.
The 106-metre high Crystal Tower is one of the key projects in Rogaška Slatina's strategy to develop as a tourism destination, boost revenue from the industry and make the town and the region more competitive.
The release from the government says the project will create new jobs, five directly once the investment is completed, as well as indirectly in its multiplier effect on the economy as a whole. As the tower will be located in a degraded urban area it will tap on the as yet unused potential of the destination.
The local community backed the erection of what will be the tallest observation tower in Slovenia in a referendum in December 2020 in the aftermath of objections raised by part of the residents.
The investment is valued at EUR 3.7 million. The municipal authorities acquired the development permit for the tower in July 2021 and reckon it could be completed by early 2023.
STA, 11 February 2022 - Ljubljana has been declared European Best Destination 2022 out of over 400 destinations. It is being recommended to those who love nature, city break, foodies, culture lovers, Instagrammers, lovers and families.
The organisation European Best Destinations ranked the Slovenian capital among the safest Christmas destinations in Europe in 2020, and last year Ljubljana was named the Best Green Capital of Europe.
This year, Ljubljana tops the list of 20 European best destinations, picked out of 400 destinations by a special jury based on previous successes. Travellers from around the world voted for their favourites between 20 January and 10 February, Turizem Ljubljana said in a press release on Friday.
92% of the votes for Ljubljana came from other countries, mostly from the US, Italy, Germany, Austria and Croatia. More than 528,000 people from 182 countries voted, with 75,642 picking Ljubljana as their favourite.
No other destination since 2009 has won such a high proportion of the vote from other countries, Turizem Ljubljana said.
Ljubljana is described as a "city for curious and adventurous souls" and a "treasure trove of exciting secrets and natural joys" on the website of European Best Destinations.
European Best Destinations head Maximilien Lejeune pointed to green practices in the city and the high quality of living in declaring the winner.
Turizem Ljubljana head Petra Stušek sees the title as a unique compliment to the city and its efforts to become more sustainable and to promote soft mobility, high quality of life, diverse local offerings, and inclusion.
STA, 3 February 2022 - Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair, which opened a base at Zagreb airport last year and also flies to Trieste, has no plans to fly to and from Ljubljana in the near future, the EX-YU Aviation web portal reported on Thursday. The company says that the two airports cover Slovenia well enough, and also sees high costs as a problem.
The EX-YU Aviation portal stated that Fraport Slovenia, the company that operates the Ljubljana Airport, expressed willingness to resume talks with Ryanair on flights to and from Ljubljana towards the end of 2021, confirming that talks had already taken place in the past.
Ryanair has considered introducing flights to Ljubljana on several occasions over the past decade, and the budget airline also briefly maintained flights between London Stansted and Maribor in 2007 and 2008.
However, Ryanair said in a statement to EX-YU Aviation on Thursday that Ljubljana is served well enough by their base in Zagreb and is also in close proximity to Trieste Airport, from which the company maintains flights to a number of destinations.
"There are currently few chances for Ljubljana to be included in our network", Ryanair concluded. The carrier also accused Fraport of "high and uncompetitive fees", which are expected to lead to the closure of Ryanair's base at Frankfurt Airport by the end of March.
After the Covid crisis hit Ljubljana Airport hard, its operator Fraport Slovenia is now working to find new partners and destinations, also with the support of state funds, to promote the restoration of Slovenia's air connectivity.
After a severe shock due to the epidemic, the airport slightly recovered last year and counted 430,943 passengers, almost 50% more than in 2020, but still remains a far cry from just over 1.7 million passengers recorded in 2019.
In the busiest months of July and August, 17 scheduled airlines linked Ljubljana Airport to the world, while currently 12 scheduled carriers fly from Ljubljana Airport to 13 destinations. Fraport expects the outlook for the summer season to be promising as well.
STA, 2 February 2022 - Kurentovanje, Slovenia's largest carnival, starts on Wednesday with an event in which the traditional costumed figures Kurenti put on their bells for the first time. There will be no mass gathering of the Kurenti, and the entire festival will be held mostly in a virtual form for a second year in a row.
The festivities start with the traditional Kurent's Jump on Candlemas on 2 February, when people dressed in the Kurent carnival costume gather around a bonfire, jumping around it and ringing bells to symbolically chase away the winter and evil.
The traditional event that looks to replace the winter and evil for the spring, happiness and good harvest has been taking place for the last two decades at the homestead of Matevž Zoki, the 2nd Carnival Prince, in Budina, east of Ptuj.
Only after this ceremony the Kurenti are able to start their door-to-door rounds, which made the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List in 2017.
However, it will not be held as an organised, mass event this year due to Covid restrictions, so the host has called on the Kurenti to carry on with the tradition and gather in small groups at their homes at midnight.
The main part of the 62nd Kurentovanje festival will be held in a restricted, and mostly virtual form between 19 February and 1 March. The competition for the best carnival doughnut starts today, with the winner to be announced on 17 February.
This year there will be no mass processions and concerts that usually attracted tens of thousands of visitors from Slovenia and abroad to Ptuj, the oldest Slovenian city.
This year's events will include carnival tours for tourists in Ptuj, an exhibition of ethnographic carnival characters and masks, carnival workshops hosted by the Ptuj Library and a competition for the most beautiful carnival decoration.
STA, 2 February 2022 - The Lipica stud farm saw a total of 45,000 visitors last year, with the share of domestic guests significantly increasing compared to previous years owing to the Covid-19 epidemic. Revenue doubled compared to 2020, and plans for this year are even bolder, says the operator of one of the country's main tourist attractions.
Tatjana Vošinek Pucer, the director of Holding Kobilarna Lipica, which operates the stud farm in south-western Slovenia, has told the STA that the numbers for last year are satisfactory given the situation in the tourism market.
"We generated twice as much revenue as the year before," said Vošinek Pucer, noting that the stud farm finished 2020 with an accumulated loss of more than EUR 1.5 million.
The home of the world-famous Lipizzan white horses has been hit hard by the novel coronavirus epidemic. "The largest drop was recorded in foreign visitors, which resulted in a substantial drop in revenue," she added.
The amount of revenue and the number of visitors are expected to grow again this year, as the operator counts on revenue from the refurbished Hotel Maestoso and Gratia Restaurant.
Maestoso was one of the largest investments in recent years, and the plan is to renovate the swimming pool and wellness centre of the hotel this year, which will cost around EUR 5 million.
The plan is also to renovate the riding school building, an investment estimated at around EUR 1 million.
With the reopening of Hotel Maestoso, the total number of employees in the group increased to 143 last year, and the stud farm is gearing up for the new tourist season despite the prospects being lower than before the outbreak of Covid-19.
The company is currently looking for stable staff, horse rider, blacksmiths, waiters, cooks and maids.
The Lipica stud farm will admit visitors free of charge on Culture Day on 8 February, with the programme including guided and independent tours, presentations of the Lipizzan horses, workshops for children and other events.
STA, 28 January 2022 - The 5th Winter Festival, the special winter edition of Ljubljana Festival, is getting under way tonight with a concert featuring three Baroque masterpieces by Bach, Ferrandini and Handel, performed by the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir.
The festival, which makes the wait for popular summertime concerts of Ljubljana Festival shorter, will deliver eight events through 5 February.
Tonight's performance, conducted by Bart Van Reyn, one of Belgium's leading new generation conductors, will mark not only the start of Winter Festival but also the end of the 7th festival of Baroque music held by the Slovenian Philharmonic.
Reyn, for whom this is not the first time to be cooperating with the Slovenian Philharmonic, has hand-picked the soloists who will perform tonight - sopranos Julie Doyle and Griet De Geyter, from the UK and Belgium, respectively, and mezzo-soprano Barbara Kozelj from Slovenia.
Another three concerts will be hosted by Slovenia's largest arts centre, Cankarjev Dom, where star pianist Maria Joao Pires from Portugal will perform Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, the first concerto he composed. She will be accompanied by the RTV Slovenija Symphony Orchestra, led by Brazilian conductor Ricardo Castro.
Opera fans have another treat in store as Joseph Calleja, a Maltese-born tenor, will interpret works by French composers as well as present his take on great lyric and veristic tenor roles. He will be accompanied by the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra that will be conducted by Italy's Gianluca Marciano.
The Knights' Hall at the Križanke venue will host four performances, mainly piano recitals, including by the Italian virtuoso duo of Sergio Marchegiani and Marco Schiavo.
The festival will come to a close with another masterpiece, Mozart's Requiem, performed by the Slovenian Philharmonic Choir, RTV Slovenija Symphony Orchestra, the Ljubljana Glasbena Matica choir and soloists, and conducted by France's Yan Pascal Tortelier.
STA, 17 January 2022 - After suspending flights from Ljubljana to Belgium's Charleroi over the winter, low-cost carrier Wizz Air will also suspend flights to London's Luton airport as of 4 February. The connection will be restored at the start of the summer season, at the end of March, the Ex-Yu Aviation portal reports.
Wizz Air restored the connection between Ljubljana and Luton in mid-December 2021 after a good year and a half of suspension due to Covid-19.
But now, after just over a month and a half the flights are being suspended again.
Ljubljana remains connected to London by easyJet, which flies to Gatwick, but only once a week.
Before the Covid-19 epidemic, flights to London were among the busiest and Ljubljana was connected to all four of London's airports - Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton and Stansted.