Discovering the Hidden Gems of Slovenia: A Journey through Mountains, Lakes, and Waterfalls

Posted: Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Field Notes from Hiking Slovenia and the Julian Alps 2023

It's hard to believe that it has been almost two weeks since we returned home from our trip to Slovenia. What a great Adventure we had! Our time there may have ended, but our memories can take us back to Slovenia's unique sights, food, waterfalls, valleys, and mountains. 

Day 1

Arriving in the Capital city of Ljubljana and settling into the Slamic Hotel was our first opportunity to meet in person. This gave us a chance to explain what motivated us to take this trip. We met our in-country guides, Ivana and Katarina, and then reviewed the details of the week ahead. We walked to dinner at Manna Restaurant in the old city when we finished our meet-and-greet. After a great meal, we turned in for a good night’s rest. 

Day 2

We awoke to a gorgeous summer morning and left the city, and northeast through Kamnik, Gornji Grad, and Luce. This was our first chance to see the beautiful alpine farmland, which is so common in Slovenia. We made the most of the weather and took off to Velika Planina, the best-preserved herding community in Europe.

After about an hour of hiking, we stopped at a backcountry hut for a break. From there, we headed to Fani’s farm for lunch, where she served us sour milk, homemade cheese, soup, and tea. After lunch, we strode to our first summit (Gradisce), the highest part of Velika Planina. After hiking, we checked into our hotel in the Logarska Dolina Valley and enjoyed our first true night in the Slovenian mountains. 

Day 3

It was clear and hot in the morning. After a great breakfast at the Hotel Plesnik, we stretched, loaded our packs, and began our hike to Slap Rinka, the first of many beautiful waterfalls. We all arrived at Slap Rinca before lunch and got to enjoy the view while snacking. In the afternoon, we traced our steps back down the mountain for another peaceful evening, relaxing in the pool and hot tub as a distant thunderstorm lit up the sky. 

Day 4

Another bright, sunny morning. We hiked to Peca, which rises to 6,971 feet and is the tallest eastern peak in the Karawanken mountains. The mountain is composed of limestone and dolomite and has been mined for lead and zinc. The lower slopes were forested and had a great variety of wildflowers. Some of us rested at the quaint mountain hut at 5,463 feet, while some of us continued farther.

Unfortunately, the weather had different ideas, and we had to descend before reaching our destination. The Matjaz Cave on the hike is named after the King, who was known for bringing a golden age of prosperity to the region. Afterward, we were treated to a sweet strudel of delight and beautiful scenery. 

Day 5

Saying goodbye to the Logarska Valley, we packed the vans and headed towards Bohinj. By noon, we had arrived at Vintgar Gorge and had gotten ready for our hike. As we started, it began raining lightly, but luckily, it stopped. We had lunch next to Katerina's church.

After lunch we made our way west and got our first views of the Julian Alps. By late afternoon, we had arrived at Lake Bled, where we tasted the world-famous Blejska Kremna Rezina (Bled Cake) and took in the beauty of the area. That evening, we settled into our new home at Hotel Jezero in Bohinj, right next to the lake. 

Day 6

After breakfast, some of us headed to the west end of Bohinj Lake to begin our walk around the lake and up the Mostnica River. This was a great choice on a hot summer day, and we were afforded cooler temperatures in the gorge area. We had a nice lunch at the base of the gorge, then headed back to Bohinj for the afternoon off. Many of us took advantage of this time to swim! 

Day 7

Today, we had options for more hikes or a full rest day. Those of us who chose to hike headed to a higher Alpine hike and explored Brda mountain. The trek afforded us rewarding views of Triglav (the highest peak in Slovenia).

We could also see Lake Bled and the Austrian Alps from the summit of Brda. We had lunch at Blejska Koca na Lipanco hut. The food was traditional sauerkraut soup, with meat and beans and bread, a mountain hut staple. The cows, pigs, and dogs entertained us as we relaxed and climbed into the mountain air. 

Day 8

Bidding ‘so long’ to the amazing Lake Bohinj (the biggest lake in the country), we started towards the Vrata Valley. We passed through Lake Bled on our way to Podkoren. After a nice coffee break, we began our hike to Martuljski Slap.

The hike along the waterfall was spectacular, and the choice of eating at Kapella Marije Sneze provided a great backdrop from which to rest from the warm weather. That evening, we checked into our amazing hotel in Podkoren and dined on local fare that was as appetizing as it was filling.

Day 9

Today, we traveled the winding road to Vrsic Pass (also known as the Russian Road). We began our day’s hike at the base of the pass and walked along the Soca River, where some of us braved a swim in the freezing cold waters! Brrrrrrrrr. That evening, we walked to dinner in the village of Kranjska Gora and had another lovely meal out to wrap up our adventure.  


Day 10

Sadly, after breakfast, we had to load the vans and head to the airport. We said our farewells. Some of us flew home, and some headed to Ljubljana.


We hope you have a lifetime of great memories from our time in Slovenia.


Best Regards, Your Guides

Carrie, Ivana and Katarina

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