Sharing borders with Italy to the west, Austria to the north, Hungary to the east and Croatia and the Adriatic Sea to the south, Slovenia boasts incredible natural diversity for such a diminutive country. Our 8-day Julian Alps Hut Hike is brimming with some of Slovenia’s most stunning landscapes.
Beginning in the Prague-like capitol of Ljubljana, we will then visit the lakeside town of Bled with its picturesque island church and hillside castle, walk the Vintgar Gorge and visit the medieval town of Radovljica, finally traveling northwest to the Lake Bohnj in the heart of the Julian Alps.
Our 4-day hut-to-hut circuit will pass through one of Europe’s oldest and largest parks, Triglav National Park. Encompassing the tallest peaks in Slovenia, including Triglav at 2,864m, this is not only a landscape of towering limestone spires, but of rich medieval forests and lush open valleys. Dotted with old world mountain huts set in green meadows and along emerald green lakes, this area offers a hiking experience reminiscent of a bygone era. Dipping into the Upper Soca Valley, known for its unspoiled beauty and rich history, we’ll get a taste of this area depicted in Hemingway’s Far Well to Arms before our tour comes full circle returning to Ljubljana.
This will be our eleventh year working in collaboration with TrekTrek Adventures, a Slovenian adventure travel company. TrekTrek is one of the foremost active travel companies in Slovenia, working to introduce travelers to the many unspoiled natural treasures the country possesses.
Day 1: Rendezvous at the Ljubljana Airport at 1:00 pm for a group transfer to our hotel in the center of Slovenia’s capitol, Ljuljana. After checking into our hotel, we will have time to wander the quaint, narrow streets of the old city along left bank of the Ljubljanica River. Baroque townhouses, stately churches and medieval bridges give the Old Town the feel of a smaller less crowded version of Prague. We can also climb up to the Ljubljana Castle on Castle Hill overlooking the city. From clock tower of the castle there are far ranging views to city below and beyond to the Kamniske Alps to the north. Welcome dinner and orientation.
Day 2: Vintgar Gorge – Radovljica – Lake Bled – Bohinj
After breakfast we will head northwest to the province of Gorenjska, which encompasses Triglav National Park and the Julian Alps. En route to the start of our hike we will first stop at Lake Bled. With its fairytale island church and mountainside castle against a backdrop of distant mountain peaks, it’s one of the most picturesque lakes in Slovenia.
Any easy walk from Bled will bring us to the Vintgar Gorge. A wooden walkway built in the late 1800’s traces the Radovna River, spectacularly passing pools and rapids on it’s way to the 40-foot waterfall of Šum. Following lunch in the old medieval town of Radovljica, we’ll have time for a walk around Bled lake before heading to our hotel situated on Lake Bohinj. We’ll have to time relax and enjoy the pool or possibly have a swim in the lake before dinner.
Day 3: Triglav National Park: Bohinj to Seven Triglav Lakes Hut
Today we begin our hut-to-hut circuit through the beautiful, scenic the heart of Triglav National Park; also known as a Kingdom of the Goldenhorn, after well know folktale. (You will have to wait until you are on the trail to learn more about the tale!). Our route today leads us through rich picturesque forests and open green pastures. Along the way we’ll get a glimpse into the unique way of life of the Slovenian shepherd.
A morning transfer will bring us to the start of our hike about the lake. First hiking up through the alpine pastures of Vogar, we’ll continue to Planina pri Jezeru(4,767’), a small glacial lake surrounded by a smattering of shepherds huts and the mountain hut of Koča na Planini pri Jezeru. We end our hike at the terminus of the Valley of Seven Triglav Lakes(5,528’) and our mountain hut for the night. There is no better place than to spend a night than on the shores of a mountain lake.
Day 4: Valley of Seven Lakes to Vodnik Hut
In the early morning, we’ll head deeper in the Valley of Seven Lakes. Here we’ll find some of Slovenia’s finest mountain scenery. It is a spectacular landscape of dark green lakes, limestone peaks and pastures littered with giant boulders.
Surrounded of peaks that reach over 6,000’, we’ll reach the highest point of the day, the pass of Cez Hribarice (7,734’) before descending to the green fields of Velo Polje. A final short climb will bring us to our mountain hut for the night, Vodnikov dom (5,961’). Set just below Slovenia’s highest mountain Mt. Triglav (9,396’), on the western flank of Mt Tosc(7,463’) and overlooking Velo Polje, this is the hut from which many climbers begin their climbs on Triglav. Francka, our host, prepares fresh bread every morning!
Day 5: Vodnik Hut to Vogar Hut
After a nice breakfast and donning our hiking shoes again, we’ll meander along paths with wide-open views of the green pastures and the surrounding Julian Alps. From our high point at Jezerski pass (6,381’) we’ll slowly descend to the pastures of Krstenica(5,480’). Here the high alpine scenery becomes softer. As we hike through blossoming meadows we may catch a glimpse of Lake Bohinj in the distance. Overnight at Vogar Hut(3,458’).
Day 6: Vogar Hut to Kranjska Gora
Today’s hike takes us to the Mostnica River Gorge, a natural wonder considered to be one the most captivating sections of river in the country. Soft forest trails lead us down to the river and close enough to easily spot trout swimming in the crystal-clear currents. We’ll follow this 2 kilometer narrow gorge as it slices its way through the lower Voje Valley forming emerald green pools and amazing limestone rock formations. Coming full circle, we’ll arrive back at Lake Bohinj finishing our circuit through this part of Julian Alps. From here we have a 1h 20min van transfer to Kranjska Gora where a well-deserved long shower, followed by a nice local dinner, is waiting for us.
Day 7: Vrsic Pass – Sleme – Soca valley
A 30-minute drive will bring us up to Vrsic Pass (5,316’), one of the most scenic mountain roads in Slovenia. The pass once marked the border between Italy and Austro-Hungarian Empire. From the pass we’ll take a hike up to open green pastures of Sleme. On a clear day there are breathtaking views and with a bit of luck we may spy the delicate white edelweiss flowers along our route. We’ll have a picnic lunch next to a charming tiny glacier lake before returning to the pass and continue our scenic drive along the winding road brings us to Soca Valley. This valley, carved into the white limestone of the Julian Alps, boasts an array of wonderful colors with its waterfalls, pools, ravines and canyons. It also has its own distinct flora and fauna, including the marble trout.
The upper Soca Valley is the most western part of Triglav National Park Like parts of the Dolomites, this area saw quite a bit of fighting during WWI and was used as a setting in Hemingway’s “Farewell to Arms”. We’ll have time for an hours hike along the Soca Trail before heading back to our accommodations in Kranjska Gora.
Day 8: Kranjska Gora to Ljubljana
Returning to Ljubljana we’ll drive back by way of the Vrata Valley. Literally translated as “doors”, Vrata is the entrance that leads to the highest mountain of Slovenia. From a distance we’ll get our last views of Mt. Triglav`s north face, where some of Slovenia’s world class alpinist first honed their skills. We’ll stop for a short walk up to and under the towering Pericnik Falls, returning to Ljubljana for a free afternoon of exploring its the old streets and bridges. Farwell dinner in the old town.
Day 9: Depart Ljubljana
The trip will end with a group transfer in the morning to Ljubljana Airport.
Group transfer to and from the Ljubljana Airport, all accommodations, all breakfasts, 6 lunches, all dinners, transfers as per itinerary, guides, and as always lots of great hiking.
Airfare, 2 lunches, optional/individual transfers or excursions, items not on set dinner menu, beverages, tips to guides, insurance, items of personal nature.
If you wish to have your own room in the hotels there is a single supplement charge of $450 . If you are traveling alone and would like to share a room, we will match you with a roommate. If a roommate is not available, we will not charge extra for this “forced single.”
This hike is not vehicle supported for 4-day the hut-to-hut portion of the trip. For these days you will need to carry a moderate sized pack with only the clothing and accessories you will need for the duration of hike. (See our sample packing list.) With advances in synthetic clothing and other travel gear, it’s possible to keep your pack weight to 20 lbs. or less, including lunch and water.
Accommodations and Facilities
During the trip, we will be staying at mountain huts and hotels.
Hotels: Our accommodations in Ljubljana, Lake Bohinj and Kranjska Gora will be are comfortable 3 and 4 star hotels and B&B’s with have private baths.
Huts: 3 nights will be sent in mountain huts.These huts vary greatly depending where they are located, but are generally very simple and rustic yet comfortable. They have small bunk rooms or dormitories, each bunk with blankets and a pillow. The huts have warm and cozy dining areas where dinners and breakfasts are served. All huts have outdoor areas where you can admire the view and relax over cup of coffee or cool beverage after your hike. The facilities are shared. The huts in Slovenia do have facilities for washing, but do not have showers. Each hut has its own charm, unique character and spectacular view!
Breakfasts are served at the hotels or hut. Dinners are served at the huts as well. Some of our dinners may be taken at local restaurants and lunches are picnic style along the trail or at mountain huts along our route.
It is most convenient to fly into Ljubljana’s Jože Pučnik Airport, which is located 23 kilometers north of the city. Ljubljana can also be reached by train from anywhere within Europe, just be sure to allow extra travel time. Ljubljana is four hours from Venice by train and six hours from Innsbruck or Vienna.
Who would like this trip?
Our Julian Alps Hut-to-Hut hike is a unique experience for those strong hikers who are looking for solid hiking through the Slovenian alps and are intrigued by the idea of staying in old world mountain huts. This hike is a mix of both remote mountain hiking and overnight stops at the resort village of Lake Bohinj and Kranjska Gora, as well as the capital city of Ljubljana.
The group will meet at the Ljubljana Airport the in the afternoon for a transfer to our hotel in Ljubljana.
The trip will end after breakfast on the last day with a transfer from Lake Bohinj back to the Ljubljana Airport.
For a more detailed itinerary that includes daily elevation gains, losses and distances, or to register please call.
Any hiking trip in the mountains requires a certain amount of effort and proper fitness training will enhance your enjoyment. In the mountains, time and elevation gain or loss as opposed to distance, tend to be the determining factors when defining hiking grades or level of difficulty. We have done our best to grade our trips consistently, please contact us for further clarification. We are happy to offer names of past participants.
Easy: Hike 3 to 4 hours daily carrying a day pack on generally gentle terrain. Distances from 4 to 8 miles. Elevation gain and loss 500' to 1,500'.
Moderate: Hike an average of 4 to 5 hours daily on varied terrain. Distances from 5 to 9 miles. Elevation gains and losses generally 1,500' to 2,500' or about 2 hours.
Strenuous: Hike 5 to 7 hours daily on varied terrain, with consistent ascents and descents of 2 to 3 or more hours generally 2,500' - 3,500'. Distances from 6 to 11 miles. There are some sections that include steep uphill and downhills.
Strenuous Plus: 5 to 8 hours partly on rocky, challenging terrain with consistent steep ascents and descents of 2 to 3 or more hours generally 3,000'-5,000'. Distances from 6 to 15 miles. Though each day is not strenuous plus there are some sections that may include rough terrain and open and exposed trails.