Hiking in the Slovenian Julian Alps

It’s been an awesome week of fantastic hiking in a truly beautiful part of the world. The legs were rather tired when I arrived back at the hostel last night and it hurt a tad to climb stairs but I’m feeling all good today.

Before making my way to Bohinj, a basin within the Julian Alps in north-western Slovenia, I spent a day at Lake Bled. You might well have seen the postcard of an island church on a lake with a castle perched on a 130 m hilltop in the background and then mountains  behind that … well, that’s Lake Bled. I spent Monday wandering around the lake and enjoyed great views from two viewing points, one of which was where the below picture was taken. It really was a great few days with gorgeous weather, a fantastic hostel (they even provided slippers as you had to leave your boots at the door), and delicious cream cake. I later read actually that the cream cake is the symbol of the city.

After a few fantastic days in Bled, I made my way via public bus to Bohinj and after finding a hostel I immediately set off hiking (I can happily recommend the hostel  – Hostel Pod Voglom). Bohinj is surrounded by the Julian Alps on 3 sides and I planned to base myself here while the weather played ball. The 1st hike up Radnica gave me a fantastic view of the lake while the 2nd was of the lake and the town itself. Paragliders take off from the 2nd mountain I climbed and after a solid afternoon’s hiking, I wished I could have flown off the mountain vs. having to walk down!

The view from the top of Radnica
The view from the top of Radnica

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI was hiking again the following day, this time heading through the forest from town and then up Mt Sija. While the weather was perfect for hiking, being neither too cold not too warm, the visibility was non-existent and I had to unfortunately abandon the plan to also climb Mt Vogel. I always prefer to hike in a group but there were few people around and I hadn’t met anyone at the hostel. Nevertheless, that night over a bowl of hearty soup, I decided I would head up Mount Triglav in the morning; at 2,864m the highest in both Slovenia’s and the Julian Alps and a two day trek.

Day one turned out to be a VERY long day, more so since I got very lost  – a  solid 2km’s of climbing should have taken roughly 6.5 hours though I made it closer to 8 after taking a wrong turn. It was quite scary being alone, especially in  very misty weather and I was quite tempted at times to turn back. I eventually met fellow hikers, which was very welcome, and enjoyed chatting with them about the English country cricket scene as we walked. After a few hours, they decided to turn around as they were only doing a day hike and I was faced with a decision whether to continue alone in cloudy weather.

I decided to push on and as I rounded a corner to a little hut the sun came out, the clouds parted and I got my 1st glimpse of Mount Triglav. It’s as if the spirits knew how knackered I was feeling and that I needed a boost.

Finally a break in the clouds - Mount Triglav
Finally a break in the clouds – Mount Triglav

From this hut it was another 700m, and what felt like a very long two hours, to Kredarica, the hut some 300m below the peak where one overnights before a morning summit attempt. Thankfully the weather was now playing ball and I had fantastic views as I made way up, finally arriving at the hut a tired, cold and sore man. My hands were painfully sore as they thawed out inside the hut and I was told to stick them in my hair to warm up. Everyone had a good laugh at the demonstration I was given when they saw how much hair I had while one bald guy joked he would be stuffed if he was told to do the same!

I was off  early the next morning as I knew a long day’s hiking lay ahead of me. I set off just before 8 (sunrise was only 7.30) and after climbing for around 80 mins, I was atop the highest mountain in Slovenia. The climb is very steep but the chains they have most of the way up make it very doable. The view from the top was gorgeous and with clear skies and stunning weather, you could see for miles. We were way above the clouds on the one side while the other sides gave you a fantastic view of the Julian Alps.

Standing above the clouds atop Mount Triglav

I then made my way down through the Seven Valleys with 2 Slovenian guys I had met at the hut. It was a solid 10 hours of walking all in all and a brilliant day. The weather was incredible with not a cloud in the sky and the scenery just beautiful, especially in the Autumn colours.  It was also varied as we made our way from dry mountains, to lakes and trees and onto thick forest.

Making our way back through the Seven lakes
Gorgeous Autumn colours

I’m now sitting back at reception waiting for a bus to the capital, Ljubljana, and I’ll make plans from there. After a week’s hiking, I look forward to a few cold beers!

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