There’s nothing quite like filling your lungs with fresh air in nature’s peaceful embrace. Old or young, fit or less so – hiking can be enjoyed by all. If you happen to be in Slovenia, a hiker’s paradise, your odds of finding the perfect trail are more than excellent. So let’s take a look at a few hiking trips you shouldn’t miss out on.
To describe Slovenes as avid hikers would be a gross understatement. Hitting the mountain trails is nothing short of a national pastime. And who can blame them? One of the greenest countries in the world presents incredible hiking opportunities everywhere you go. Weather permitting, the locals are off walking through a nearby forest, down country lanes, or further afield to a more hilly or mountainous parts to venture onto the 10,000-km network of marked hiking trails.
One of the most popular hiking destinations is located just outside the capital city of Ljubljana. Nestled in the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, the high mountain plateau of Velika planina makes a lovely day trip that includes undemanding hiking trails. Perfect for families, this scenic place affords spectacular views. Its peaceful pastures are dotted with grazing livestock and 140 authentic shepherd huts where traditional cheese-making is still going strong. Visitors can taste an assortment of hearty local dishes, including the hearty, all-Slovenian dish called žganci.
If you set your heart on a more adventurous hiking expedition, hut-to-hut hiking is an absolute must. Cosy and warm, mountain huts are situated in the most ridiculously stunning alpine locations and present a great chance to meet other hikers. Staying in huts while discovering the hidden gems of Triglav National Park is truly a remarkable experience. They also make wonderful pitstops on longer hikes, like the one to the sublimely beautiful Seven Lakes. There are over 181 mountain huts in Slovenia, but reserving your spot in advance is crucial, as they tend to fill up quickly during the high season.
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For adrenaline seekers, there’s a unique way of exploring the mountains: the via ferrata or “iron paths”. More climbing than hiking, these trails usually come equipped with pegs, carved steps, ladders and bridges, allowing relatively inexperienced hikers to tackle more demanding ascents and soak up the picturesque views. Mojstrana is a great place to start. Some via ferrata routs in the Julian Alps date back to WWI, when soldiers used them to fight at the Soča Front.
You’re not a true Slovene until you’ve conquered the country’s most famous via ferrata and the highest peak, Mount Triglav, Or so they say. Each year, over 80,000 domestic and foreign hikers prove their Slovene spirit by tackling this majestic giant. Although anyone with a fair amount of physical stamina can take on this very climbable peak, it’s strongly recommended to ascend Triglav in the company of a certified guide. Highly experienced alpinists can reach the top in a single push, but most hikers take two days to reach the summit. All, however, are rewarded with a jaw-dropping panoramic view that on a clear day can stretch right down to the Adriatic.