Guide to the Slovenian mountain trail
The Slovenian mountain trail is the longest hiking path in this wonderful country. Hiking is a very common and favorite sports activity among Slovenians. Not only that, according to some statistics, hiking Slovenian mountains is becoming a trend among foreign tourists as well.
If you have visited Slovenia before, I challenge you to explore the country in a different way – by hiking the Slovenian mountains and discover its natural beauty. Spending your holidays among untouched nature with well-marked trails, enjoying spectacular views, passing picturesque scenery and spending nights under the stars in camps or mountain huts where it is offered traditional Slovenian food. The trail is an excellent opportunity not only to experience the natural beauty but also to discover cultural sites, signs along the way, flora and fauna and admire the architecture. Knowing that the path leads you by waterfalls, streams, rivers, the most beautiful views at sunset or early morning dawn – all this magic enriches body and spirit. Sounds great, right? I promise you will be rewarded with wonderful experiences!
There are many mountain trails you can explore in Slovenia but the most popular long-distance trail is Slovenian Mountain Trail. This trail is also a first hiking trail in Europe (from 1953). The entire trail is 499 km / 310 miles long and takes about 30 days of hiking. It’s a diverse trail that connects mountain peaks with hills, forests, lowlands, valleys, green Karst and the Slovenian coast. This trail covers most of the Slovenian mountain ranges including Pohorje, the Julian Alps, the Kamnik-Savinja Alps and the Karawanks (which separates Slovenia from Austria) and Triglav – Slovenia’s highest peak. The trail connects 55 mountain huts, 23 peaks and 5 towns.
What makes this trail interesting and worth experience is that it crosses a variety of terrains from forests, valleys, meadows and rocky peaks. Another advantage is that the country is safe and there is a lot of accommodation along the way where you can rest.
Interesting facts about the trail
Trail distance: 499 km / 310 miles
Walking time: at least 30 days
Difficulty: The difficulty of the trail varies – from easy, difficult and very difficult. Certain parts are more demanding, others are easier. Furthermore, some sections require more experience in hiking mountains while others not and can be done by ordinary hikers.
Direction: The route begins in Maribor and ends at the Debeli Rtič on the Adriatic Coast.
Highest point: 2,864 m / 9,396 ft (Mt. Triglav)
Lowest point: 18 m
Mountain huts: 55
Start: Spodnje Radvanje, Maribor (278 m / 912 ft)
Destination: Debeli Rtič, Ankaran (19 m / 63 ft)
Mark: the trail is well-marked by means of the Knafelc blazes (white dot with a red circle around it and an Arabic number 1).
Best time to hike the trail: May – September
Slovenian Mountain Trail Stages
Before you investigate more about the hiking trail, take into account that the order you choose is insignificant. You can start your trail in the middle of the route, at the beginning or at the end. In other words, the route generally starts in Maribor and ends in Ankaran, but you can make it vice versa (starting in Ankaran – on the coast and ending in Maribor).
Section 1 – Pohorje and the north-eastern section
The Slovenian Mountain trail begins in the town of Maribor from where you ascend to Pohorje hills (60 km / 37.28 miles mountain chain). You will walk through nice forest until you reach the next town – Slovenj Gradec. From there climb the hill Uršja gora.
Section 2 – The Kamnik-Savinja Alps
Climb Smrekovec – the first Alpine ridge on that trail then 2,000 m high Mt. Raduha, which is considered as very demanding part of this trail so far.
You will have to descend the Savinja river valley and later climb Ojstrica and continue to Planjava. The trail climbs to the highest peak in the Kamnik-Savinja Alps – Grintovec. This section includes a lot of peaks above 2,000 m / 6,561 ft. Storžič, the last peak in this section, provides stunning views.
Section 3 – The Karawanks mountain range
The trail continues to Stol – the highest peak in the Karawanks and then along the mountains to Golica.
Section 4 – The Julian Alps
You will pass above the village of Mojstrana, where the Slovenian mountain museum is located. The village also represents the entrance to Triglav National Park. The trail starts being more demanding where you climb the mighty Mt. Triglav, with a height of 2.864 m / 2834 ft. It continues to Slovenia’s highest hut and the most visited hut in Triglav mountain range – Triglav Lodge at Kredarica. At the very top stands the famous Aljaž Tower. Triglav is the Slovenian highest mountain and national symbol. How do you get to Triglav National Park and how long does it take to climb it? It takes two days to climb it but if you are in a very good physical condition you can make it in one day. After that, you pass high mountain lakes to Vršič and continue to the Franja Partisan Hospital near the small town of Cerkno. From there the trail ascends to Krn which offers gorgeous views along the way.
Section 5 – South-western section
This section covers forests and karts wonders. After climbing Nanos and Slavnik, you will start with a slow descent to the coast, where the Slovenian mountain trail ends. You will be able to admire here the sunny Slovenian beaches.
An important part of your long-distance hiking trail is also having a roof over your head during the night. Along the way, you will find 55 mountain huts – this is your only option when you are in the mountains. Huts are divided into three categories, depending on their altitude/accessibility. I. and II. category are located on the higher altitude and more expensive. They offer a dormitory where you sleep next to each other or 2-8 bedrooms. usually no shower is available. III. category sometimes offer a shower.
Note that wild camping is forbidden in Slovenia.
A price for a twin room is 27 € per night (non-member of Alpine Association of Slovenia) and 18,90 € per night if you are a member of the Alpine Association of Slovenia. Bedding is usually not included in the price and is 2,5 €.
Mountain huts not only offer accommodation but also food and drinks. Food offering in huts varies, but usually, you will find local traditional food. Very common is “jota” (a thick soup containing sauerkraut, and potato), “ričet” (a thick soup containing pearl barley and vegetables) and various types of sausage. typical desserts are “jabolčni zavitek” (apple strudel), pancakes and “štruklji” (boiled rolls of filo pastry with various fillings).
Prices for food and beverage may not be cheap but it’s understandable if you think that some huts have no cable car access, so goods are delivered by helicopter.
Some prices of food and drinks:
- Pasta with meat 7,5 €
- Goulash 8 €
- Tea 1,8 €
- coffee with milk 2,3 €
- water 0,5 L 2,2 €
For a full list of mountains huts please check : https://en.pzs.si/vsebina.php?pid=58
Equipment needed list
The list of essential hiking gear is as follows:
Backpack: Choose wisely what you need on your adventure and pack as little as you can. A lighter pack will make your hiking easier even in the most demanding section of the trail. Read more here about the best hiking backpack for big guys
Hiking footwear: Footwear is the most important item in your hiking adventure, so invest in some good hiking boots. Personally I prefer waterproof footwear and those with a high neck for extra neck support. Read more here about What to pack in a hiking backpack.
Climbing equipment: A trail diary where you collect the stamps of completed stages, a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, helmet and self-belaying kit (for very demanding trails), GPS, compass, a map of the trail, a guidebook, cellphone.
Hiking clothing: Avoid cotton or denim materials and choose lightweight synthetic materials instead. Dress in layers to stay warm, dry and comfortable. Take a waterproof/breathable jacket, hiking trousers & shorts made of good stretch fabric (light, breathable, quick-drying), warm hat, gloves, wool socks, lightweight pullover, long underwear, sunglasses.
First-aid Kit: It is an essential part of your hiking equipment. Some things that should include are wound coverings, blisters, pain relief medication, gauze pads, etc.
Emergency contact info: take with you a piece of paper with all the information about emergency and any other medications you may need.
Before heading out to the Slovenian mountain trail
- The trail demands a high level of physical preparation. Do plenty of day hikes and some pre-trip hikes.
- Check the weather forecast and prepare yourself for any kind of weather.
- The water in the mountains is clear and drinkable.
- Check when huts are open and contact each mountain hut if necessary as most of them are closed during the winter months, others are open only at weekends during low season.
- Make sure to make a reservation for your accommodation in advance as the popular huts usually are often fully booked.
- By joining the AAP (Alpine Association of Slovenia) and as their member you will allow staying at all of the mountain huts along the trail at a reduced price. Membership also includes a 24/7 assistance in rescue abroad.
- Take a bag for your rubbish to protect nature untouched.
When to go
When planning your adventure, one of the first things is to know when is considering the right moment for your hiking trek. Take into account that winter is very cold and in the mountain many times snowy. You want to avoid winter months and choose a period of the year when the weather is warmer, the routes are clear from snow, and when there is less probability for rain. The most recommended time is between May and September. Note that mountain huts are only open from July to September.
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