Hiking in Slovenia: the best trails and tips
Anyone who goes hiking in Slovenia will be pleasantly surprised! Not just because of the beautiful nature, but also because of the friendly and active people. Although you might not expect it, Slovenia has a huge outdoor culture. It’s said that every Slovenian should climb the highest mountain Triglav at least once in his/her life. Slovenians usually go outside in their spare time to be active in nature. In this article I will give you all my tips for hiking in Slovenia, including beautiful places, things that are useful to know and nice Slovenia hiking trails to check out. Enjoy reading!
Hiking in Slovenia: good to know before you go!
As mentioned, hiking in Slovenia is a real must for many. You will therefore find hiking trails everywhere that are generally well marked. Slovenia has diverse landscapes and areas where you can hike. First of all the mountains and especially the Julian Alps. This nature reserve is located in the north of Slovenia and actually has the same ‘walking conditions’ as, for example, the Austrian mountains: walking at high altitude is best here in the summer months and the weather can change quickly. In the spring and autumn you can enjoy a peaceful walk a little lower in the mountains. There are plenty of multi-day trails such as the Juliana Trail and you can spend the night in mountain huts along the way. Outside the Alps you will often find hilly areas, which in many places are covered with vineyards. If you want to walk here, spring and autumn are particularly suitable, partly because it can be very hot in summer!
Do people speak English?
One of the major questions I asked myself when I first went hiking in Slovenia was whether the people would speak English and/or if I could make myself understood. Fortunately, I soon found out that especially the younger generation can speak English without any problems and I actually had no problem communicating with the locals.
And how about markings and hiking maps?
The hiking trails in Slovenia I walked were all well marked. A hiking map is often available at the local tourist office, but there are sometimes information panels along the way. In addition, you can of course download a GPX file online. I had good 4G coverage almost everywhere and that was a nice feeling, so that I could contact someone in case of an emergency or if I got lost.
Best hiking regions in Slovenia
In the next part of this blog about hiking in Slovenia I will give you tips for the most beautiful hiking regions. I visited several, but of course there is much more to see and experience in Slovenia. However, during my first trip to Slovenia I also wanted to visit the well-known highlights and so I ended up at the following destinations:
The bright blue Lake Bohinj is beautifully closed in between the mountains and is a popular destination for tourists. But not nearly as busy as Lake Bled, Slovenia’s other ‘known’ lake. The hamlet of Bohinj is small in size, but the surroundings are beautiful. Make a stroll along the shores of the lake and return by boat or take the cable car up Vogel Mountain for a hike through the mountains.
One of Slovenia’s best kept secrets is the Pokljuka Plateau. This plateau, north of Lake Bohinj, is visited by few foreigners because you can only get there by car. From the Uskovnica alm you have a beautiful view of Triglav, the highest mountain in Slovenia. On the plateau you will also find the national biathlon center, where Slovenia’s top athletes practice on skates in the summer months for the winter months to come. Very nice to see!
Another place that many tourists miss is Radovljica – a town a short drive from Ljulbljana. Here you have countless hiking trails into the mountains, but also through gorges and along special viewpoints. The walking tour to St. Peter’s Church, on top of a hill, is very special. Radovljica is also worth a city walk! Got curious? Read all my tips for hiking in Radovljica and the surrounding area here.
The Soča Valley is of course not to be missed during your visit to Slovenia. This valley with the bright blue Soča River as its center offers not only countless hiking trails, but also a lot of natural beauty such as waterfalls, rocks and special views. I visited the canyon while the weather was cloudy and rainy. Which is a shame at first, but on the other hand it’s great because the water seems even bluer!
Another fine region for walking is the wine region of Brda. Here I took a short walk between the vineyards and historic villages, located on the flanks of the vineyards. In this area it is particularly pleasant to walk in the spring and autumn, as it can get very hot here in the summer.
Velika Planina is almost an open air museum to walk through. At an altitude of 1.600 meters you will find an expansive shepherd’s village with wooden houses. In between are the sheep and cows. The plateau can be reached by cable car and chairlift or on foot (about 3 hours). Various walking trails have been marked out on Velika Planina by means of color markings. It is a unique area, not only in Slovenia, but also in Europe. There is little shelter from the sun on the plateau, certainly something to take into account on warmer days.
Long distance trails
Of course Slovenia also has several long distance trails. You can walk this in its entirety or in various stages. I’ll cover two different trails in this article: the Juliana Trail and the Alpe Adria Trail, part of which runs through Slovenia. Of course there are more options, but I wanted to mention the paths I have experienced myself to give you the most complete and honest expriences of the options.
The Juliana Trail in Slovenia
Not long ago, the brand new Juliana Trail opened: a 270-kilometer hike through northern Slovenia. You walk in the area between the Julian Alps and the Karawanks and the uniqueness of this trail is that you do not hike up in the mountains, but mainly in the valley. This makes the Juliana Trail easy to walk all year round, but especially interesting to do in the spring and autumn. In the spring the flowers are in full bloom and you can intensely enjoy the budding nature. In the autumn the leaves turn fifty shades of orange and it is a wonderful place to stay during the Indian Summer.
The Juliana Trail is divided into 16 stages and can be walked in its entirety or in separate parts. You will pass the highlights mentioned above such as Pokljuka and Radovljica. Each stage is about 17.5 kilometers long and has a modest number of altimeters. Because it is a relatively flat trail, the Juliana Trail is also ideal for children.
Do you want to do the trail? Then you usually spend the night in small-scale hotels and guest houses along the way. You can read more about trail here.
The Juliana Trail is a circular walk and circles the Triglav National Park. With good weather you can see this giant mountain with some regularity. Along the way you enjoy beautiful views, beautiful trails and the hospitality of the Slovenians. Because you move on foot, you get to know the real Slovenia. Where most tourists do not get further than Bled and Bohinj, as a hiker you also experience the special places off the beaten track. Good food is of course also not lacking on the way, because a good meal is the basis of every walk. In addition, it is useful to know that most of the start and end points of the stages are easily accessible by public transport! In short: a must for anyone who wants to get acquainted with hiking in Slovenia and discover this country on foot. Meer over de trail
Alpe Adria Trail
Another long-distance hike that runs (partly) through Slovenia is the Alpe Adria Trail. This trail is 750 kilometers long and takes you from the highest mountain in Austria (Alpe) to the Adriatic Sea (Adria) and through three different countries: Austria, Slovenia and Italy. The trail was developed in 2012 and consists of 43 stages, all approximately 15-25 kilometers long. The walks are well marked and mostly take you through non-alpine terrain, making the trip doable for everyone. Of the 43 stages, 10 run through Slovenia, past the aforementioned highlights such as the Soča Valley and Brda.
The Alpe Adria Trail is excellently marked in the landscape and to navigate you can request a free brochure online. In addition, there is a free app with which you can keep track of the route. You don’t need more!
Hiking in Slovenia with kids
Do you want to go hiking in Slovenia with the kids? That’s an excellent idea! When planning your holiday, keep in mind the areas where it can be very hot during the summer holidays. Good places for hiking are the Karawanks and the Julian Alps. The lakes of Bled and Bohinj are great for swimming and there are numerous waterfalls to cool off under. Slovenia also has many gorge walks, where you can walk in the shade.
Conclusion and disclaimer
Hopefully I have given you an idea of the possibilities for hiking in Slovenia and you, like me, will give Slovenia a chance. If you have any questions regarding this article, please feel free to contact me. This article contains collaboration and affiliate links. Should you make a purchase or make a reservation through such a link, we may receive a modest commission at no additional cost to you.