Monday, 17 November 2014

Walking in Slovenia’s Julian Alps

Walking in Slovenia’s Julian Alps

We first discovered Slovenia’s Julian Alps on a weeks Spring break in May / June 2011.  Since then we have spent a further 5 weeks getting to know the area in some depth.

Lake Bohinj
The Julian Alps are believed to be named after Julius Caesar and are the highest mountains in Slovenia with at Triglav 2864m the highest summit. The Slovene people are rightly proud of their mountaineering heritage and the national flag has Triglav represented on it. There is a “saying” in Slovenia that you are only a true Slovene if you have climbed Triglav.

As an alpine nation, its mountains are not as high as those in neighbouring countries but they are equally spectacular. There is an extensive network of mountain huts throughout its mountains making it quite possible to stay for longer periods high up without having to keep descending to a valley base each evening.

Martagon Lilly
Our first trip was in the spring of 2011.  Too early to access the high paths and summits because the high mountains were full of snow. We were able to walk to the summer pastures on the low alps where the cows were being taken up to from the villages and the wild spring flowers were very impressive. We were surprised at the warm weather, though the proximity to the Mediterranean generally gives a warmer and more stable climate than the western alps.

The second trip we made was for two weeks in August 2011.  The paths and mountains were now mostly clear of snow and we were able to explore the extensive network of paths and huts in the high mountains. Especially memorable was seeing both Edelweiss and the rare, endemic, Zoiss Bellflower.

We returned again for two weeks in 2013, this time leading walking holidays for Mountain House Holidays. We led two, week long holidays and were able to take our clients to the summit of Triglav. We became true Slovenes!

In September, 2014 we had the privilege to return once more leading a hut to hut walking holiday for Mountain House Holidays. Memorable on this trip was the accordion playing that we experienced at all of the huts we stayed at.

Pogacnikov Dom

Zoiss Bellflower
Situated less than an hours drive from Ljubiana Airport, the Julian Alps are very accessible. There are flights from both London Stanstead and Luton airports. We have found car hire quite cheap though there are taxi’s and mini-bus taxi’s available. By booking them in advance these also work out quite cheaply.

If you are planning to visit in springtime, there are lots of flowers out in late May and early June. An ideal base would be around Lake Bohinj. There are plenty of hotels, guest houses and hostels here to suit all. Hostel 13 in Studor offers good clean basic self catering accommodation. Hotel Starre offers good hotel accommodation.

For summer hut to hut trips you need a start and end point. The Aljazev Dom at the head of the valley above the village of Mojstrana has a massive “wow” factor that it overlooks the mighty north face of Triglav. This is one of the few huts that has showers and you can get a taxi or drive to within about 400m of the hut. We have also left bags here with our clean travelling clothes to return to on several occasions.

If you want a guided itinerary, Mountain House Holidays will help you sort out a suitable itinerary and provide you with a qualified International Mountain Leader who has knowledge of these beautiful mountains.

Mike and Jane from Mountain House Holidays are always willing to advise you to plan your walking holiday in Slovenia.