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Hiking in Slovenia

Hiking is an extremely popular outdoor activity in Slovenia, since there are 28 mountain peaks above 2.500 meters within an area of only 20.251 km2. The highest mountain peak in Slovenia is Triglav, measuring 2.864 meters and it is also the highest peak in the Balkans.

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View of Karavanke and Kamnik Alps (www.slovenia.info, photo: Anže Čokl)

Slovenia's Alpine region consists of three mountain chains: the Julian Alps, Kamnik–Savinja Alps and Karawank Alps. These mountain chains, with their many peaks and well-marked mountain trails, offer excellent opportunities for hikers, mountaineers and climbers who wish to experience the ultimate thrill of overcoming their own personal boundaries. Depending on your physical abilities, fitness and experience, you can choose among several different mountain tops to conquer.

Julian Alps

The Julian Alps are the largest and highest mountain range in Slovenia. As a part of the Southern Limestone Alps, they stretch from northeastern Italy to Slovenia at approximately 4.400 km2, most of which lies in Slovenia and only a small part in Italy. The Julian Alps, named after Julius Cesar, are the most popular mountain chain in Slovenia, offering many steep trails and high mountain tops, the highest of all being Triglav. It is said  that every Slovenian should climb Triglav at least once in their lifetime. Tourists from other countries are just as welcome.

Kamnik-Savinja Alps

The Kamnik-Savinja Alps are a mountain chain in Northern Slovenia and also a part of the Southern Limestone Alps. The chain is named partly after the city of Kamnik and partly after the river Savinja and lies on the border with Austria. About 900 km2 of these Alps lie on the Slovenian side. Most of the area is wooded, while the peaks are bare and rocky.

These Alps are extremely popular, not just for their peaks, but also for two of the most beautiful valleys in this area – Logarska dolina and Kamniška Bistrica. Velika Planina, Slovenia’s highest and most charming mountain plateau, is also a popular part of this mountain chain. But for those in search of a bigger challenge, the Kamnik-Savinja Alps of course offer many difficult mountain tops, many exceeding 2.500 meters.

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Hiking on Velika Planina

Karawank Alps

Karawank Alps (also known as the Karawanks, Karavankas or Karavanks) are also part of the Southern Limestone Alps, on the tripoint of Slovenia, Austria and Italy. This is the longest mountain range in Slovenia and one of the longest in all of Europe. The Periadriatic seam traverses the Karawanks, separating the Apulian tectonic plate from the Eurasian plate. Along with several important trade routes, this mountain range is also a greatly popular mountaineering destination, with many well marked trails, leading up to breathtaking views and welcoming mountain huts.

Mountain tops above 2.000 meters

These peaks are a mountain climbers’ dream and are a good choice for those with experience, since at certain points you might have to do some climbing or go over an extremely narrow and steep area, which may be a problem for those who are fairly inexperienced hikers.

Julian Alps

  • Triglav at 2.864 meters is Slovenia's highest mountain and the national symbol
  • Škrlatica at 2.740 meters is Slovenia's second highest peak
  • Mangart at 2679 meters
  • Jalovec at 2645 meters is the symbol of the Alpine Association of Slovenia

Kamnik-Savinja Alps

  • Grintovec at 2.558 meters is the highest peak in the Kamnik-Savinja Alps
  • Jezerska Kočna at 2.540 meters is the second highest peak in the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, with an very recognizable shape

Karavanke

  • Stol at 2.236 meters is the highest peak of the Krawanks
  • Vrtača at 2.180 meters
  • Kepa at 2.143 meters
  • Košuta at 2.133 meters
  • Peca at 2.126 meters
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Hiking in Mangart (www.slovenia.info, photo: Iztok Medja)

Mountain tops bellow 2.000 meters

For less experienced mountain climbers and hikers, the peaks bellow 2.000 meters are a better choice, since they offer gentler sloping paths.

Julian Alps

  • Rodica at 1.966 meters is a nice peak with a great view in the midst of Triglav National Park
  • Matajur at 1.650 is a mountain on the borderbetween Slovenia and Italy, the peak itself lying on the Italian side. The highest peak on the Slovenian side is Mrzli vrh at 1.359 meters.
  • Mežakla at 1.348 meters is a high plateau in the Julian Alps, and is a great hike for less experienced climbers.

Karavanke

  • Dovška Baba at 1.892 meters has many relatively undemanding hiking trails, that take anywhere from an hour and 45 minutes to four and a half hours to reach the top.
  • Golica at 1.835 meters has relatively easy to medium difficult trails leading to the top and is the most popular hiking destination in the month of May, when the daffodils are blooming.
  • Klek at 1.754 meters has mostly undemanding hiking trails and a breathtaking view from the top, which is right on the border between Slovenia and Austria.
  • Uršlja Gora at 1700 meters is an easily accessible mountain top with a nice church right beneath the top, which is the highest lying church in Slovenia.
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Hikers on their way to Ledine, Kamnik- Savinja Alps (www.slovenia.info, photo: Jošt Gantar)

A few tips for safe hiking

Regardless of whether you are an experienced hiker and climber or you just want to experience something new, we advise you to always inform yourself as much as you can about the climb or hike that you are about to take. Slovenia has many mountaineering clubs connected to the Alpine Association of Slovenia that can offer you guidance and advice. You can also hire a guide and rent appropriate equipment, so that you ensure that you have the safest and most care-free hike possible.

While hiking is a great activity for staying in physical shape, meeting new people and generally having a wonderful time in the great outdoors, there are a few things that you have to bear in mind when deciding to take the challenge of conquering a mountain top. Those things are:

  • Your fitness: choose a path and tempo that suit your skills and abilities and slowly increase the level of difficulty with each hike.
  • Careful planning: plan your hike in advance and be especially cautious of weather conditions, since rain, winds and cold increase the likeliness of accidents
  • Gear: always bring along the appropriate gear for you hike, but make sure not to carry too much weight. Always bring protection against wind, sun and rain, as well as a first aid kit and a mobile phone (the emergeny telephone number in Europe is 112).
  • Appropriate attire: make sure that you are wearing good hiking boots that have a good grip, are waterproof and light. Never wear brand new hiking shoes for a longer hike.
  • Staying on marked trails: wandering off the marked trail increases the chance that you will get lost, get injured or that you end up under falling rocks. If you get lost, go back to the last place where you knew you were on the right trail.
  • Taking breaks: take regular breaks and eat and drink enough to keep your concentration and energy levels up.
  • Safety for all members: it is better to hike in smaller groups of people. If you’re hiking with kids, make sure they are each supervised by one experienced adult hiker. Do not take kids on difficult trails where they would have to concentrate for a longer period.
  • Respect nature: please respect nature, do not litter, stay on the marked trails, do not disturb wildlife and please do not destroy vegetation. Respect the protected areas and enjoy nature in its full, raw and untouched glory!
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Hikers resting on Krstenica, Julian Alps (www.slovenia.info, photo: Jošt Gantar)

Read also – rafting in Slovenia

Read also – cycling in Slovenia