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A proud, young nation, Slovenia is an adventurer’s treasure trove. The finest walks in Slovenia rival the very best in Europe. From the magnificent limestone peaks of the Triglav National Park to a Mediterranean coastline exhibiting Venetian flair, there’s so much squeezed into Slovenia’s borders.
The Julian Alps are the draw for many. The best hikes in Slovenia explore this mountainous wonderland where towering behemoths plunge down to sumptuous woodland and vibrant, open pastures. You can wander, enraptured by the staggering scenery that was described by legendary explorer Tom Longstaff as ‘a dreamworld’.
There’s plenty more where that came from; 90% of the country is at least 1,000 feet (305 m) above sea level, making it a hillwalking paradise. With trails exploring alpine foothills, regions of incredible karst geology and idyllic river valleys, there’s a lifetime of adventure to be had in Slovenia.
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Undoubtedly the best hiking trails in Slovenia are those that explore the wonderful blend of limestone mountains, lush forests and alpine meadows that is the Julian Alps. A pilgrimage to the challenging summit of country-high-point Triglav, at 9,395 feet (2,864 m), is a matter of national pride for many Slovenes. Also boasting fantastic hiking, along the border with Austria are the Karavanke, Kamnik and Savinja Alps.
One of the best things about hikes in Slovenia’s mountains is that, whilst undeniably magnificent, they are not as high as their alpine counterparts to the west. Whilst there’s stunning glacial valley scenery, there are no actual glaciers to worry about. You can reach the very highest summits, earning sensational views that are just as spectacular as the finest in the Alps. The fearsome crags rise from verdant meadows effervescent with colour. Gorgeous spruce, beech, pine and larch forests hug the lower ramparts.
The high mountain routes are strenuous; the rock is steep, often loose and you’ll need to be a confident scrambler. If achieving a spike in adrenaline can wait for another day, gentler trails in the foothills or along crystal-clear river valleys are still invigorating. Meanwhile, beauty awaits at Lake Bled, famous for its island church and incredible mountain backdrop.
Wildlife is abundant during your walks in Slovenia. Don’t be surprised if you see chamois traversing sheer cliffs, marmots whistling to each other or eagles circling in the skies. On wet days, the curious yellow and black of the fire salamander can be spotted in the beech forests.
Slovenia has three distinct climates: Mediterranean in the south west, alpine in the north west and continental in the east. The lower trails are a pleasure all year around, with gorgeous views of snow-capped mountains in winter, whilst the alpine meadows are a sumptuous rainbow of colour in spring.
In the mountains the main hiking season runs from the middle of June until the end of September when the trails are generally snow-free. There is a great network of huts, especially in the Triglav National Park, meaning a hearty Slovenian stew followed by a decent night’s sleep need not take place in the valley. During July and August, the mountains do see the occasional afternoon or evening thunderstorm. Because of this, it is wisest to set out early to attain your objectives.
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