It doesn’t matter how long you plan to stay in Slovenia; you will soon discover why Slovenes are deeply in love with their hills and mountains. People who go hiking in the Slovene highlands can go to three high mountain ranges. They can go hiking in the magnificent Julian Alps, the adventurous Kamnik-Savinja, and the lengthy Karavanke Alps. As a hiker, you’ll find more than 10,000 kilometers of mostly polished and well-maintained treks in Slovenia, making it a great place to go.
Each place has its own kind of mountain that looks beautiful and is very different from the rest. However, what sets the Slovene mountains apart from other sites is that they provide a variety of natural masterpieces as close, as accessible, and as fresh and untouched as few locations in the European Alps.
To help you choose a hike, to see and appreciate the best hiking trails and viewpoints, we have put together some recommendations for Slovenia’s best easy and moderate hikes. Walk with the sun from east to west. Let’s go on the trail now!
5 Best Hiking Trails in Slovenia
1. Velika Planina
Let’s begin nearest to the Slovene capital, in the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, merely north of Ljubljana. Traveling through the medieval village of Kamnik, you can reach the saddle at Kranjski Rak, the entry point to the kingdom of the largest mountain meadow in this portion of the Alps.
Velika Planina, or the Great Alpine Meadow, is a huge natural-human monument. There are flower bouquets all over the place and herders’ huts made of pine shingles, which are a piece of architectural history that has been kept safe from damage.
People lived on this massive plateau as soon as the Bronze Age, and then over the generations, it was a venue of tension between property owners and farmers from neighboring valleys.
Velika Planina is among the greatest easy wanders in Slovenia’s alpine area.
You’ll go for a pleasant, long, and mostly flat walk through karst caves, herds, flowers, and shacks. Cattle are brought to the mountain by shepherds in late June. They stay until the earliest days of September. The alpine pastures at Velika, Mala, and Gojska Planina are the busiest at this time.
Some shepherds sell their fresh dairy goods and other homemade treats. If you want to have an authentic meal in a mountain hut, there are three mountain huts on Mala Planina. At least one of them, the Domzalski Dom mountain hut, is open all year.
Most of the fun of this trek is the sheepherders’ settlement at Velika Planina, where it can get very crowded on sunny summer weekends. It’s much easier to get to Velika Planina from the Kamniska Bistrica valley by taking a cable car. You’ll have most of the other treks almost to yourself.
Don’t miss the beautiful Chapel of Marija Snezna (Snow Mary), as well as the intriguing Preskar Museum, where you can learn more about the history of the area and how shepherds lived their lives. It takes about four hours to make the entire loop, including the rocky apex of Gradisce (1666 m), which has a great view of the Ljubljana Basin and the central Kamnik-Savinja Alps.
It isn’t very often that Velika Planina gets foggy, but it can be tough to figure out where you are when it does. It is recommended to stay on marked hiking trails.
2. The Kamnik Saddle and Brana
The Kamnik-Savinja Alps are a beautiful mountain range in Slovenia. If you take the same route north from Kamnik and yet take the road along the Kamniska Bistrica valley, you would then eventually wind up under the highest peaks of the range.
This hike is very different from the one on Velika Planina. It starts at a mountain hut called “Dom v Kamniški Bistrici,” which has a lot of parking and a very chilly river spring right next to it, and it goes through a marked trail.
In the beginning, the trail goes through the forest and under beautiful overhanging rock formations. Then, it takes you to a popular resting place called Pri Pastyrjih (At the Shepherds’) on the top edge of the forest. As you walk from here to the famous mountain hut at Kamnik Saddle, you’ll walk in switchbacks under the huge massifs of Brana and Planjava.
Kamnik Saddle is a mountain hut where you can refuel (traditional Slovenian food and drinks are available) or even spend an extra night there if you want to explore nearby peaks. If so, it is suggested to go east to Planjava and, if you wish to, the jagged Ojstrica apex. Some very steep, rugged, and exposed parts on most trail routes go above the Kamnik Saddle. Only experienced hikers should go on these trail routes.
Kamnik Saddle is at the top of one of the most beautiful Slovenian Alpine valleys, the Logar Valley. From the top, you can see the Logar Valley and the towering Slovenian waterfall, the narrow Rinka. It will take you about 4 hours to go from the parking lot in the Kamniska Bistrica valley to the mountain shack on Kamnik Saddle. The trail is well marked and easy to follow.
Finally, you’ll hit the summit of Mt. Brana, which takes an additional hour. The upper part is steep right away, and you’ll have to use your hands, too. A few parts that aren’t really exposed but are still steep have steel cables to keep them safe from the weather.
The hike from the Kamnik Saddle to the peak of Mt Brana is challenging and only for experienced hikers. When it snows on the north side, it can last until early summer, which can cause a lot of trouble. You should be careful.
At the summit of Mt. Brana, you can anticipate being rewarded with spectacular views of the whole area, especially to the south, where you can see the Ljubljana Basin, and west, where the central Kamnik-Savinja Alps massif is situated.
It’s a good idea to go back to the valley the same way you came. You can cool off your legs in the Kamniska Bistrica river. It is an incredibly long day, and it is recommended to extend a night at Kamnik Saddle mountain shack or at the intriguing bivouac Pod Skuto.
It’s time to go to the Karawanks ridge, the lengthiest mountainous region in Slovenia. It defines Slovenia from Austria in the north, and it is very magnificent. Among several apexes that provide similarly truly memorable trekking trips and sceneries, this is an easily accessible peak above the industrial town of Jesenice, very near to Lake Bled. It’s called Golica, and it is among the best hiking trails in the Karawanks Alps!
Many people have heard about the beauty of Golica, which means “little bare naked,” because of the white daffodils that are rarely seen anywhere else. The daffodils come out in full force on the sunny southern slopes almost right away after the winter snow has passed.
Let’s begin this hiking trip in the last community, Planina pod Golico. In the forest, “Koca na Golici” is the only mountain hut safe from avalanches. From here, there is a well-marked trail that goes through streams, crests, and winding passages. Here, you can get some water and refuel before going up the top meadows slope.
There are many switchbacks on the hiking trail. It goes from one of the most famous Slovenian mountain transversals up to the far more stunning scenic peak of Velika Golica (1834 m), right on the Slovenian-Austrian boundary. It looks like this is where you can see the Julian Alps and, in the north, the Austrian High and Low Tauers.
A three-hour hike to the top isn’t enough for you? Then you can go for a longer walk along the peak crest on either path. The half-circle trek will follow the ridgeline to the east, across Mala Golica, and back to the way taken to get up.
Feel free to take your path because the hiking trails in this area are well labeled and well kept.
4. The Valley of Seven Lakes
People who visit Bohinj or Bled might not be able to forgive themselves if they didn’t see Triglav, the heart of the Triglav National Park. The two-day circular hike will take you through the Julian Alps on some remote trails. Plus, you get to walk through one of the most beautiful high valleys, which makes your soul and body feel good.
Let’s start with a short climb through pine forests and throughout some active and magnificent mountain meadows, where you will see shacks, cows, and karst sinkholes. On the dreamy Planina (meadow) Dedno polje, which remains the exact thing as back then, you can infuse yourself with homemade dairy delights.
After that, let’s go to the valley of Za Kopico, which is very beautiful and solitary. Then, you start to climb up to one of the highest high-mountain passes around. Keep an eye on the ridges above you. You will almost clearly see chamois and ibex, and you might also see edelweiss flowers.
People who go to the Seven Triglav Lakes will soon be in a beautiful alpine valley. This valley is at the heart of the Triglav National Park, which was set up hundred years ago to protect the magnificence of the area. Zasavska Koca na Prehodavcih is one of the best high-alpine huts in Slovenia, and it’s on the way there that you’ll see how it is that the Valley of the Triglav Lakes wants you to take a picture.
Zasavska Koca na Prehodavcih is a very simple mountain hut that you can stay at. Spring is about a 10-minute walk away from the shed. You’ll have to use the dormitory rooms and then get used to the pit toilet. People don’t like hiking, but still, the welcoming staff and the best views you’ll ever see from the balcony will make it worth it.
Next morning, you’ll start your trip down the valley. You’ll also pass the most famous and most beautiful lake of them all, Ledvicka (The Kidney). Its shape will make you think of something. Double Lake and a popular hut called Triglav Lakes are on the other side of the valley.
It’s time to get out of the valley of the Seven Triglav Lakes and head up the Stapce Pass trail. It’s an exquisite but steep trail. If you want to get a bird’s eye view of the valley of the Seven Triglav Lakes, you can hike the picturesque Mala Ticarica summit. You can see the trails you’ve been hiking for the past two days from the top.
Almost right away, you’ll be back on the wide paths that will lead you back to the dreamy Dedno Polje meadow and even further back to the start.
During the hike, you will see the beautiful scenery of the kingdom of mythical Goldhorn, the ibex with golden horns, which is the protector of the valley. This is a great way to spend your time.
5. The Soca Trail
There are several other hikes on our rundown, but the Soca Trail is unique from them. In Slovenia, it’s the best way to see the valley. It starts at the top of the Julian Alps and runs all the way to the town of Bovec, which is at the bottom of the Soca Valley. At the same time, it is also the longest one-day hike that we have done. You can hike 26 kilometers on the Soca Trail.
It’s part of the famous Alpe-Adria hiking trail, connecting Austria, Slovenia, and Italy. The track is well-marked and well-maintained.
The trail is as neat as the river itself. You will walk a little to the left and a little to the river bank’s right. You will cross suspension bridges, walk through magnificent moss-covered forests, and see many tributaries and troughs.
You will start your trip at the source of the Soca River. Soon, you will see a monument to the author of the most outstanding books about Julian and the other Alps. It’s Julius Kugy, and he’s sitting on top of the Emerald River and looking at the Diamond, the top of Jalovec, from above.
The Julian Alps rise above you as you make your way. You will find many lovely places to stop for a short break. In the Small and Great Soca Gorges, you will be astonished by the natural wonders of the universe.
The river has been sculpted deep into the limestone and made more beautiful by the turquoise river pools. You can also take a bath in them or one of the rivers that flow into the Soca, but be careful. There is strangely clean water that is usually very cold, even in the heat of summer.
However, you can do this hike in one day, and you can also make it shorter as you want. Or you could break it up into two days by sleeping at one of the places you will stay.
When it’s hot outside, it’s hard to find a place to stay for one night only. Camping might be your best bet. Take a break whenever you need to, and above all, take your time to experience this exquisite hike completely! During the winter season, it can be very cold so be sure to take your battery-operated heater for camping.
The author, Leo Aguilar, runs Safari Nomad.