Slovenia may be Europe’s best kept secret.
When you think of hiking in Europe, you probably think of heading to the Alps in France, Germany or Switzerland – or maybe the Dolomites in Italy. But I bet you don’t think of Slovenia.
When researching a hiking trip to Slovenia, it was hard to find a comprehensive guide to the best hikes in and around Slovenia’s only national park, Triglav National Park. In fact, it was hard to find anyone who had even heard of Slovenia.
Slovenia is heaven for outdoor lovers. There’s dozens of trails ranging from short, easy tracks to peaks more than 2,000 metres above sea level that will leave your legs begging for mercy.
Dominated by huge mountain ranges, many areas of Slovenia can only be seen by those dedicated to some serious ascents – but you’ll be rewarded with views of snow-capped mountains, vibrant green meadows, mountain huts with views to die for (and some delicious hearty food such as blueberry pie!) and pristine lakes and rivers.
By talking to locals and staff at my hostel, I headed out on some of their favourite trails to put together a list of hikes accessible by public transport.
When To Go
One of my most important factors to consider for a hiking trip to Slovenia is the weather.
It can snow a lot in Slovenia and unless you’re kitted out with crampons, snow shoes and winter gear, the freezing winter months is not the time to visit.
The best time of year to go is late May to end of June and September. This is when the temperatures are in the mid to high 20s and the winter snow has melted.
If you go in spring, you may find snow patches and many summits above 1500 metres will be inaccessible due to several metres of snow.
Most of the locals I talked to said September was the best time to hike in the Slovenian mountains with good weather and fewer crowds. Locals advised me to avoid July and August as it can get very hot and busy.
Where to hike
There’s a couple of areas throughout Slovenia that are prime hiking country. The most popular areas are around Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj. These areas are perfect as a base as they are serviced by many hostels, hotels and guesthouses and have facilities such as supermarkets, ATMs and restaurants.
Triglav National Park is where most of the hiking action is in Slovenia. The national park boasts many hiking trails and mountains, including Slovenia’s highest mountain, the 2,863m Mt Triglav.
To access Triglav National Park, your best base is in the town of Stara Fuzina near Lake Bohinj. There’s lots of guesthouses here so it’s easy to find accommodation.
Hiking trails start from the town in every direction and range from short jaunts to epic multi-day treks.
You can also access Triglav National Park from Lake Bohinj’s western end near the Savica Waterfall carpark.
Near Lake Bled, there are also number of hiking trails on the Slovenian-Austrian border that can be accessed from the small village of Moste.
Last but not least, there is also good beginner hikes starting from the shores of Lake Bled.
Experience and fitness level
Hikes in Slovenia range from easy to difficult. If you’re taking on the mountain trails in Triglav National Park, you’ll need hiking boots, a high level of fitness, a raincoat and warm clothing, and have some navigational knowledge. You’ll need to be able to follow trail markers as the trail can be easily lost due to snow or tree falls. It’s also best to hike with someone if possible as the upper reaches of the trails can be very remote.
If this is your first time hiking in Slovenia, here’s a list of my favourite trails to kick off your outdoor adventures in Central Europe. So pull on your hiking boots and get on the trail!
Lake Bled Viewpoints
If you’re after a fairly easy hike to warm up with, complete the circuit of the three Lake Bled viewpoints. The hike starts near a campground on the south western side of the lake about a 30 minute walk from the Bled township.
The most popular viewpoint of Lake Bled is the Ostricja lookout, which offers a magic panoramic view of the Lake Bled island.
From Ojstrica, you can head further up to the Velika Osojnica viewpoint in about another 25-30 minutes.
Then follow the signs and head to the Mala Osojnica viewpoint. From there, you can follow the signs to take you down to the shores of Lake Bled to complete a circuit.
Going to and from this hike you can also walk around the entirety of Lake Bled.
Allow about 4-5 hours to complete the viewpoint hike and Lake Bled circuit.
Lake Bohinj viewpoint
You can also get a panoramic view above Lake Bohinj by heading to the Pec lookout about a 30 minute walk from the town.
To make this hike longer than just the walk up to the Pec viewpoint, make Mt Rudnica your first stop. To reach this peak, start off from the small village of Stara Fuzina – located about a 15 minute walk from the Lake Bohinj main bus stop.
Signage leads from Stara Fuzina to the trailhead, but the Maps.me app will also be helpful to keep you on track. The hike up to Mt Rudnica takes about an hour. You’ll first come across a mountain hut and then walk another five minutes to the viewpoint.
From the top of Mt Rudnica follow the signs to Lake Bohinj (Bohinj Jezero). This will take you along the ridgeline before you start to head down.
Eventually you’ll end up at the Pec lookout after about another hour.
Allow about three hours for the circuit taking in the Rudnica and Pec peaks.
Black Lake and Double Lake
One of the most popular hikes near Lake Bohinj is to Black Lake and Double Lake.
The hike up is steep and narrow in places and is only recommended for experienced hikers comfortable with heights.
The hike starts on the right hand side of the entry point into the Savica Waterfall carpark. Simply follow the signs to Crno Jezero (Black Lake). The one way hike to Black Lake will take about two hours.
If you plan to continue up to the Double Lake, plan your visit for the summer and autumn months as the upper reaches of the hike past Black Lake are often under several metres of snow during winter and spring.
You’ll need a full day (8-10 hours) to complete the round trip hike up to Double Lake or about four hours for the return trip to Black Lake.
Stol & Mali Stol
Standing at the Lake Bled viewpoint and looking at the mountains to the right, you’ll be able to spot the peaks of 2,225 metre Stol and 2,198 metre Mali Stol.
The hike up to these summits is a three hours of switchback hell as you head uphill without reprieve. But there are plenty of places to stop along the way to catch your breath, rest your legs, and enjoy the view.
When I went I was only able to make it to the summit of Mali Stol due to deep snow further on and an absence of snow shoes or crampons, but the views were still worth the climb.
You’ll need to allow about 7-8 hours to complete this hike. The trail is only for experienced hikers due to the steepness and navigational challenges due to possible tree falls.
You can reach this hike by taking the bus towards Jesenice and getting off at Moste or Potoki and following the signs pointing to Stol or Valvasorjev Dom – a mountain hut.
You’ll have to walk a couple of kilometres to the trailhead along a tarmac road, and then walk an hour up to the mountain hut.
From the mountain hut, it’s at least another 2.5 hours to the top.
It can get very cold and windy at the top so be prepared for all weather conditions.
There’s no water on the trail so make sure you fill up at the mountain hut before you begin the strenuous part of your hike.
Mostnice Gorge and Waterfall
For a scenic intermediate hike, head up to Mostnice Waterfall, located near Lake Bohinj.
Enter through the Mostnice Gorge (entrance is €3) from the village of Stara Fuzina (follow the signs for Mostnice Korita). Once through the gorge, follow the signs onto Slap Mostnice (slap is the Slovenian word for waterfall) via a wide vehicle trail used by locals.
You’ll reach a mountain hut first, and then five minutes later you’ll reach the waterfall.
The round trip will take about 3-4 hours.
The hike up to the summit of 1,761 metre Prsivec starts near the carpark for Mostnice Gorge.
From Stara Fuzina, follow the hiking trails signs for Vogar up a tarmac road until you see the signs for Vogar on your left leading up a rocky trail.
Head up the trail and you’ll first come to a viewpoint and a paragliding take off point after about an hour of walking uphill. Head five minutes further to a mountain hut and follow the signs to a second viewpoint for an even better look over Lake Bohinj.
If you’re fit and an experienced hiker, continue onto Prsivec following the red signs.
The trail is marked by circular red and white spray pained trail markers on tree trunks and rocks. The trail can be hard to follow at times due to tree falls so pay close attention to the markers. If you haven’t seen any for awhile, you may be off track so keep an eye on the trail on your Maps.me phone app.
At the time of writing (May 2018), this trail was littered with tree falls due to a recent storm and it may be some time before the damage is cleared. This hike should only be attempted by experienced hikers.
Plan for an 8-10 hour round trip. There’s no water on the trail so fill up at the mountain hut at Vogar.
Hiking in the Slovenian mountains is serious business and you need to be prepared.
Items you need are:
- Good quality hiking boots, preferably waterproof or water resistant
- Rain and wind proof jacket
- Hiking poles (or grab a stick at the start of your hike)
- Maps.me app on your phone so you can make sure you stay on the trail
- Charged up phone and battery pack
- At least 2 litres of water (more in the warmer summer months) and a sachet or two of Hydralyte
- Snacks and lunch (or bring cash to buy something after your hike at one of the mountain huts)
- Bag for any rubbish
- Sunscreen, hat and sunglasses
- If you’re hiking in the shoulder season months, you might also want to bring a warm jacket in case the weather changes.
While a car will make it slightly easier and faster to get to the trailheads, it’s still possible to get to all these hikes on the local bus.
Many of the Triglav National Park trailheads start from the village of Stara Fuzina, near Lake Bohinj. You can get here by taking a bus from Lake Bled to Lake Bohinj. From the lakeside bus stop, it’s a 15 minute walk up to Stara Fuzina and then follow the signs. The trails are marked with an icon of a person hiking.
To reach the trailhead for Stol, take the bus headed to Jesenice from Lake Bled and get off at Moste or Potoki. The Maps.me app is very useful to find the trailhead for this hike.
Things You Should Know:
- Make sure you check the weather forecast before you go as many of these hikes will be treacherous in rain and storms. Rapid changes in the weather can also occur in the mountains so pack accordingly with warm clothing and wet weather gear in case.
- Most peaks and hiking trails in Slovenia have mountain huts. These are used by hikers as a rest stop or many locals head up here simply to enjoy a meal and drink with some great views. The mountain huts are open during from late spring to early autumn. In most cases on the trails, I was able to refill my water bottle at the huts but bring at least 2 litres of water on any long hikes just in case.
- Many locals hike with trekking poles but it’s easy to find a stick in the woods if you’re not carrying any poles.
- Be prepared for snow above 1500 metres if you’re hiking in spring.
- Accommodation in the area is easily found at Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj. Most of the accommodation in the Lake Bohinj area is in the village of Stara Fuzina – a 15 minute walk from where the buses from Bled drop you off.
- If you want to hire a car, you’ll need to get it from Ljubljana as there’s no car rental agencies in Bled or Bohinj. You’ll have to pay for parking at many trailheads especially those located at Stara Fuzina and near Savica Waterfall.
- You’ll need to bring cash for any entrance or parking fees and if you plan to eat at the mountain huts.
- English is widely spoken in Slovenia.
- Make sure you download the Maps.me app and the Slovenia map to your phone before heading off on your hike. I referred to my map a lot to find trailheads and ensure I kept on the trail.