Slovenia, a limestone treasure in south-eastern Europe. This small country, barely 220km’s across, has much to offer. Jagged and spotted with numerous unique and beautiful natural features. It is that unique characteristic of limestone, which makes up a greater part of the Slovenian landscape; spotted with hills and mountains, alpine lakes, alpine rivers and streams cutting their way into picturesque valleys.
It is these natural features, which are utilized by tourism and by curious explorers, who come to Slovenia to explore this diversity. Also, a significant number of Slovenia's citizens actively enjoy the outdoors; cycling, hiking, camping,
Hiking is a popular and widespread activity in Slovenia. From paths through parks and woods in and around the towns and cities of Slovenia, all the way, to treacherous and demanding hiking and climbing trails in Slovenia’s alpine regions.
Slovenia has two main mountain ranges. The Kamnik-Savinia Alps, just north of Ljubljana and the Julian Alps, in north-western Slovenia, which also has Slovenia’s highest mountain; Triglav, at 2864m. Slovenian mountain ranges are categorized under the Southern Limestone Alps system, also known as the child mountain ranges of the Alps. Therefore, relatively small mountain groups. Slovenia is thus abundant with hiking trails and footpaths.
Exploring Slovenia: Hiking a Gorgeous Ridge above Pokljuka (photo: Exploring Slovenia)
With all the hiking opportunities and terrain Slovenia has to offer, it has sadly seen a significant rise in hiking incidents and accidents. So much that the mountain rescue services have often been overwhelmed and unsuccessful to react to all incidents. According to the rescue services, the majority [over 90%] of incidents could be prevented.
A key to having a successful and enjoyable day out is preparation. Firstly, to know where you are going. A common appearance at the start of most trails in Slovenia are little red signs, indicating the direction and the approximate time needed for the trail. But only knowing the time needed, thus the approximate distance of a trail is
Not far out of Ljubljana, there is a solitary hill, Mount Saint Mary (Šmarna gora), which has numerous hiking trails, requiring up to two hours. These are well prepared and maintained trails. Therefore, ideal for anyone with average recreational gear and a comfortable pair of Nikes.
But if you take it a step further and head off into the Alps; and even though you may select a route which is marked as being the distance as on Šmarna gora , your comfortable pair of Nikes won’t be enough, with more appropriate footwear something that is emphasised by the mountain rescue service.
Call 112 for the mountain rescue service
Once you head into the country, thus onto more treacherous and unmaintained trails. A better pair of shoes, not only ones with a strong sole but which also sufficiently hug and support the ankles are more than fundamental. Inadequate footwear is too often the cause of turning an outing into an unpleasant event, or worse.
We emphasise the value of preparation; Know where you are going. If you’ve never been there before, a bit of research to get some basic information on the trail is always welcome. It’s always good to tell someone where you are going, and always stick to your plan. Don’t provoke or over-challenge your capabilities. Rather keep that for activities where you won’t jeopardise your safety or the safety of others. All too often, people admit to the rescue services that they didn’t know where they were going or they didn’t know the trail.
It’s always special to remember outings out in the country, in nature. So, let’s make sure that they are remembered and remain special, remembered for the right reasons.