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Hiking in the Julian Alps

Hiking in the Julian Alps, Slovenia

The Julian Alps (Julijske Alpe in Slovene and Alpe Giulie in Italian) are a mountain range that stretches from Northeastern Italy into Northwestern Slovenia. Forming part of the Southern Limestone Alps, Julijske Alpe is not the highest range in Europe, but it’s certainly one of the most spectacular. Some hikes reward you with idyllic scenes of high alpine pastures. Other trails spoil you with striking angles of Mt. Triglav (e.g. Viševnik).

Hiking in the Julian Alps can also be very challenging. Make sure you have the proper equipment and take necessary precautions as you traverse steep scree and crumbling limestone terrain. 

In this Julian Alps hiking guide, we’re presenting our favorite day hikes as well as hut-to-hut hikes. If you’re interested in long-distance trekking, you’ll find additional resources at the end of this post. Because these mountains are mostly contained to the borders of Slovenia, most of the hiking trails pertain to hiking on the Slovenian-side.

Rules for Visiting the Julian Alps

Slovenia’s Triglav National Park encompasses most of the Julian Alps range. There’s no entrance fee for entering Triglav National Park. However, there are a few attractions within the park that require a small fee, including Tolmin Gorge and Slap Savica. While you’re visiting the Julian Alps, you’re also visiting Triglav National Park. So, please keep these important rules in mind:

  • Respect the habitats of animals and plants. Picking flowers is prohibited.
  • Camping outside designated areas is not permitted. Wild camping is illegal.
  • Take all garbage back with you down to the valley. Leave no trace.
  • Triglav park trails are only allowed for hiking, not for mountain biking.
  • Bathing in mountain lakes is strictly prohibited.

When to Visit the Julian Alps

July, August, and September are the best months for alpine hiking in the Julian Alps. Depending on the length of the winter, it’s also possible to hike in May and June at lower elevations. We hiked across the Julian Alps in July and experienced great conditions. We also re-visited in mid-May and experienced unstable weather and lots of snow. In May, we were able to hike to 1500 m but there was still a great deal of snow on the trail.

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Best Hikes in the Julian Alps, Slovenia

Julian Alps Hiking Guide Overview

  • Julian Alps Hiking Map
  • Where to Stay in the Julian Alps
  • Best Hikes in the Julian Alps
  • Long Distance Trekking in the Julian Alps
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Julian Alps hut to hut hike, Slovenia

Julian Alps Hiking Map

The Julian Alps are located in the northwestern corner of Slovenia. You can explore these mountains from many different towns and villages, including Kranjska Gora, Trenta, Kobarid, Bovec, Ukanc, Stara Fužina. The highest peak in the Julian Alps is Mount Triglav, 2864 m.

We recommend Sidarta’s Triglav 1:25 000 Map, or the Kompass Julian Alps 1:25,000 Hiking Map for hiking in the Julian Alps.

 
Julian Alps Trails
Hiking in the Julian Alps - A guide to the best hiking trails in the Julian Alps

Where to Stay in the Julian Alps

Kranjska Gora

Kranjska Gora is an alpine resort town and a great base for exploring the Northern Julian Alps. From Kranjska Gora, you can summit the mighty Mala Mojstrovka (2332 m), Prisank (2547 m), Jalovec (2645 m) and Špik (2472m). Many of these hikes begin at Vršič Pass or Tamar Valley (accessible from Planica). If heart-pounding hikes aren’t what you’re after, you can hike the easy to moderate trails to Slemenova špica, Planica valley, or Martuljek waterfalls.

We recommend staying in Youth Hostel Nika (budget), Boutique Skipass Hotel (mid-range), or Jasna Chalet Resort (luxury).

Look for accommodation in Kranjska Gora.

 

Lake Bohinj

To explore the heavenly Seven Lakes Valley and the charming high alpine pastures of Lake Bohinj, we recommend staying in Stara Fužina. We highly recommend Majerca Hotel and Restaurant, a handsome boutique hotel in Stara Fužina. Surrounded by fields and facing the Julian Alps, the hotel’s pastoral setting is effortlessly romantic and relaxing. We especially loved eating breakfast and dinner in the hotel garden.

Book your stay at Majerca Hotel and Restaurant.

Look for accommodation in Stara Fužina.

Alternatively, you can also stay on the other end of the lake in Ukanc. This tiny settlement is a great base for hiking to Mount Volgel and exploring the Southern Julian Alps. Hiša Erlah is a very welcoming B&B in Ukanc, very close to the beach. As a guest, you can borrow their SUPs and Kayaks for free.

Book your stay at Hiša Erlah.

Look for accommodation in Ukanc.

 

Kobarid

Kobarid is a small town on the Soča River, south of Bovec. It’s the ideal base for exploring the Southwestern Julian Alps and the Soča Valley. You can hike to the summits of Mount Krn (2244 m) and Krasji vrh (1773 m).

We recommend staying in Tourist Farm Kranjc, which is located in Koseč, a small hamlet above Drežnica in the Municipality of Kobarid.

Look for accommodation in Kobarid.

Koča na Planini pri Jezeru, Julian Alps Hiking Trail

The Best Julian Alps Hiking Trails

Viševnik Day Hike, Julian Alps Hiking Guide
View of Mount Triglav

Viševnik Peak

Viševnik (2050 m) is a mountain peak in the Julian Alps, easily accessible from Pokljuka. This popular summit in the Julian Alps can be done in half-a-day or less. From the top, you’ll have a spectacular view of Mount Triglav, Bohinj Valley, the Southern Julian Alps, Mali Draški, and the Rjavina ridge. Hike here early to see the Bohinj Valley awash in the early morning light.

Learn More: Viševnik Hiking Guide

Trailhead: Rudno Polje (1347 m), Pokljuka
Distance: 3.2 km one-way / 6.4 km return
Difficulty: Easy but steep
Elevation: 703 meters ascending / descending
Time Needed: 1:30 – 2 hours one-way

 
Climbing Mount Triglav, Julian Alps Hiking Guide

Climbing Mount Triglav

Mount Triglav (2,864 m), the highest peak in the Julian Alps, is a bucket-list hike for every Slovenian hiker. If you’re planning on hiking to the summit, read our Mount Triglav Hiking Guide.

There are several possible ascension routes. We recommend using Cicerone’s The Julian Alps of Slovenia to figure out which approach works best for you. The hardest route (for experts only) is the Bamberg route up Triglav’s North Face. The easiest approaches are from either Krma Valley or from Pokljuka. 

We hiked to Mount Triglav from Pokljuka and 90% of the hike was actually quite easy. The final 1:30 hours from Dom Planika to the summit involves some scrambling, hiking along a protected climbing route (via ferrata), and highly exposed passages. High alpine hiking experience is a necessity to safely summit mighty Mount Triglav.

Learn More: How to Hike to Mount Triglav the Easy Way

Difficulty: Varies based on the route.
Time Needed: 2 Days (13-14 hours hiking)

 
Dvojno Jezero, Seven Lakes Valley, Julian Alps Hiking Trail
Dvojno Jezero

Triglav Lakes Valley

Triglav Lakes Valley, also called Seven Lakes Valley, is a wildly enchanting destination in the Julian Alps. As the name suggests, this glacial valley is defined by a string of seven lakes.

There are several different approaches to Triglav Lakes Valley, including the route starting at Koča pri Savici, accessible from Ukanc, and the one starting at Planina Blato, high above Stara Fužina. 

We recommend hiking to Triglav Lakes Valley from Planina Blato. It’s easier and you’ll amble across some of the loveliest alpine pastures above Lake Bohinj, including Planina pri Jezeru, Planina Viševnik, and Planina Ovčarija. 

Learn More: Hiking to Triglav Lakes Valley from Planina Blato

Trailhead: Planina Blato
Destination: Koča pri Triglavskih jezerih (1684 m)
Distance: 7.6 km one-way
Difficulty: Easy-Moderate
Elevation: 704 m ascending, 166 m descending one-way
Time Needed: 3:30 hours one-way / 7 hours return

If you want to extend this hike, here are a few options:

  • Continue hiking up the valley to the lake Veliko jezero (Jezero Ledvicah), 1831 m.
  • From Veliko Jezero, you can continue hiking up the Triglav Lake Valley to the mountain hut Zasavska koča na Prehodavcih (2071 m). This will take an additional one hour (2.8 km).
  • If you want to overnight in the Seven Lakes Valley, you can either spend the night in Koča pri Triglavskih jezerih (1684 m) or Zasavska koča na Prehodavcih (2071 m).
 
Pogačnikov dom na Kriških podih, Hiking in the Julian Alps
Pogačnikov dom na Kriških podih

Pogačnikov dom na Kriških podih Mountain Hut

Pogačnikov dom na Kriških podih (2050 m) is a mountain hut with mindblowing views of Trenta Valley. Positioned on the karst plateau of Kriških podih, this stunning hiking destination is all about limestone peaks, small alpine lakes, and, if you’re lucky, ibex. This is a challenging ascent, as the total altitude gain is 1450 meters. You’ll wind up steep hairpins as you gain elevation. Shortly before reaching the mountain hut, you’ll pass by the alpine lake Spodnje Kriško jezero, which is one of three lakes on Kriških podih.

Trailhead: Bend 50 on the Vršič pass road (close to Trenta village) / Zadnjica
Distance: 8.1 km one-way / 16 km return
Difficulty: challenging
Elevation: 1450 meters ascending
Time Needed: 4 hours one-way / 7:30 – 8 hours total

You can also hike to Kriških podih from Vršič pass (8.4 km, 6 hours). For details, read Day 2 of our Triglav National Park Hut to Hut Hike. If you approach Kriških podih this way, it’s best to overnight in the hut. The next day, you can descend to Trenta Valley, or you can tackle nearby peaks like Stenar (2501 m), Križ (2410 m), and even Škrlatica (2740 m)

 
Planina v Lazu, Julian Alps Hiking Trails

Bohinj High Alpine Pasture Loop

This romantic loop trail in the Julian Alps delivers fairy-tale-like scenes that seem too magical to be real. There is some work involved though. We recommend starting in Planina Blato, which is accessible from Stara Fužina via a toll road. From Planina Blato, follow signs to Planina v Lazu. You’ll find the clearest trailhead and signage, just down the road from the parking area at Planina Blato (which you passed driving up).

The forested trail to Planina v. Lazu (1560 m) isn’t remarkable. But as soon as you arrive, all that hard work will have been worth it. It takes almost 2 hours (3.6 km) to ascend the 480 meters to the ridge above this splendid high alpine pasture. When you’ll arrive, you’ll have an almost birds-eye view of Lazu dotted with herdmen huts.

The trail continues through the wooden huts and slowly down to Koča na Planini pri Jezeru (1453 m), which takes one hour. This is the same mountain hut described in the above hike. From here, it’s another hour back to Planina Blato.

Trailhead: Planina Blato (1147 m). There’s a 12 EUR toll fee to drive from Stara Fužina to Planina Blato.
Destinations: Planina v Lazu (1560 m) and Koča na Planini pri Jezeru (1453 m)
Distance: 9.3 km loop
Difficulty: moderate
Elevation: 413 meters ascending / descending
Time Needed: 4:30 hours

 
Tamar Mountain Hut, Planica Valley, Hiking in the Julian Alps, Slovenia
Tamar Mountain Hut

Planica Valley and Dom v Tamarju

This easy walk through Planica Valley to the mountain hut Planinski dom Tamar (aka Dom v Tamarju) is something for everyone. As you hike along a wide path through the valley, you’ll see info boards explaining various geological occurrences. There are also carved tree trunks that create visual pathways to various peaks in the Julian Alps. At the mountain hut, you can order a drink and something to eat.

Trailhead: Planica Nordic Centre. There’s a 2.50 EUR fee to park at Planica Nordic Center.
Destination:
Planinski dom Tamar
Distance: 3.8 km one-way / 7.6 km total
Difficulty: easy
Elevation: 170 meters ascending / descending
Time Needed: 1 hour one-way / 2 hours return

 
Bovški Gamsovec Summit Hike, Julian Alps Hiking Trails
Bovški Gamsovec

Julian Alps Hut to Hut Hike

This 4-day hut to hut hike across the Julian Alps is a custom route we put together. It strings together many of the hikes outlined above in one really epic trek. You can read all about this hike in our Triglav Hut to Hut Hiking Guide. At the end of the guide, you’ll find several variations for longer and shorter treks in the Julian Alps.

Trailhead: Vršič pass
Distance: 40 km
Difficulty: challenging
Time Needed: 4 – 5 Days

If you need help figuring out what to bring for a hut to hut hike in Slovenia, read our personal hut to hut hiking packing list.

 
Slemenova Špica, Julian Alps Day Hike, Slovenia

Slemenova Špica

Slemenova Špica (1911 m) is an alpine pasture and lookout point set amidst the dramatic Julian Alps. From Vršič pass, follow signs towards Sleme. After 30 minutes, you’ll reach the saddle Vratica (1799 m), where the trail splits. To hike to Sleme, head right (45 minutes). After another 30 min, you’ll reach a junction. You’ll see a path to the right signed Grlo that heads to the Tamar mountain hut. Stay to the left. Keep your eyes peeled for another trail intersection. You’ll want to head right. If you continue on the main trail, you’ll end up at the Slatnica saddle. When you arrive in the high grassy meadow of Slemenova Špicayou’ll have panoramic views of the Southern Limestone Alps.

Trailhead: Vršič pass (1611 m)
Distance: 2.5 km one-way / 5 km return
Difficulty: moderate
Elevation: 300 meters ascending
Time Needed: 3 hrs total

 
Mount Vogel, Best Hikes in the Julian Alps

Mount Vogel

Mount Vogel (1922 m) is a popular hiking destination in the Julian Alps, because of its proximity to Lake Bohinj and its accessibility.  The hike to Vogel begins with a swift cable car ascent to Vogel Ski Resort, where you’ll have dazzling views of Slovenia’s largest lake and the high peaks of the Julian Alps, including Mt Triglav.

Trailhead: Vogel Cable Car mountain station (also called Rjava Skala) / Ski Hotel Vogel
Distance: 11.2 km Loop
Difficulty: moderate
Elevation: 732 m ascending / descending
Time Needed: 5 – 6 hrs total

Learn More: Hiking to Mount Vogel

 
Fusine Lakes, Julian Alps Hiking Trails
Fusine Lakes

Fusine Lakes

If you venture to the Italian-side of the Julian Alps, definitely visit the striking Fusine Lakes (Laghi di Fusine), which are a short drive from Kranjska Gora. You can drive directly to the Upper Lake, park and walk around both lakes. This is a splendid way to spend half a day.

Learn More: How to Visit Laghi di Fusine

Julian Alps Hiking Guide - Best Trails in the Julian Alps- - Triglav Lakes Valley

Long Distance Hiking in the Julian Alps

Trekking in the Julian Alps

Alpe Adria

The Alpe Adria Trail is a 750 km long distance route that connects Austria (Carinthia), Slovenia and Italy (Friuli-Venezia Giulia). The trail is broken up into 43 states. Stages 23 and 24 traverse the Julian Alps of Slovenia.

 

Via Alpina

The Via Alpina spans about 5,000 km and is broken up into 352 states. It stretches across seven alpine countries, including Slovenia, Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Italy, and France. This long-distance hiking route is made up of sub-sections: Purple, Yellow, Green, Blue, and Red trails. The Purple route goes through the Julian Alps.

 

Slovenian Mountain Trail

This 28-stage Slovenian long-distance trail begins in Maribor, crosses the Pohorje Hills, Kamnik Savinja Alps, Karavanke Alps, Julian Alps, and ends at Debeli Rtič on the Adriatic Sea. It’s marked by Knafelc blazes and the number 1. We hiked a section of the Slovenian Mountain Trail in the Kamnik Savinja Alps and it was very challenging. Specifically, we hiked this route: Koča na Kamniškem sedlu – Turska gora – Zoissova koča na Kokrskem sedlu – Grintovec – Češka koča na Spodnjih Ravneh – Zgornje Jezersko.

You can read about it here: Kamnik-Savinja Alps Hut to Hut Hike

 

Juliana Trail

A new 270 km long-distance hiking route around the Julian Alps was established in April 2019. The Juliana Trail begins and ends in Rateče, at the Slovenian – Italian border. Stage 1 continues in the direction of Kranjska Gora. The route will be divided into 14 stages.

 
Triglav National Park Hut to Hut Hike, Julian Alps - best hikes in Slovenia

Slovenia Travel Resources

@moonhoneytravelers
  • Happy Thanksgiving! This year, I’m grateful more than ever for my health and safety, my friends who are like guardian angels, the dawning of a new chapter (I’ll tell you about this soon), and Kati - the kindest and the most loving and non-judgmental human I know.
  • Seceda, Italian Dolomites.

Seceda is one of the most popular destinations in the Italian Dolomites, partially because it’s so easy to get to. There’s a cableway connection from Oritsei in Val Gardena, which means you don’t have to hike more than 10 minutes to get to this viewpoint.

A more interesting approach to the Seceda ridgeline is from the Resciesa Plateau. Starting in Ortisei, take the Resciesa funicular up to the plateau and descend to Malga Brogles in Val di Funes. From the hut, you can ascend to Seceda via the Panascharte notch or the Mittagscharte notch.

Another option, is to forego a cableway ascent altogether and hike from “the bottom.” Starting at the Praplan car park above Santa Cristina, hike to Seceda via Baita Gamsblut and Rifugio Fermeda. You can make this a circuit hike by combining the ascent to Seceda with the summit to Monte Pic (highly recommended).

You’ll find more details on these two Seceda hikes on the blog (link in bio).
  • A month ago, we re-visited the Dolomites, intent on seeing the changing colors and hiking as much as humanly possible. In preparation, I spent hours pouring over Tabacco trail maps, charting out new routes to hike.

Alas, the weather didn’t care about my thoughtful planning. In fact, the conditions were so dreadful, we cancelled the first four days and the final five. When we did arrive, we were welcomed by a blanket of snow. After a few dry days, we experienced another storm leaving us knee-deep in snow for the next six days.

This trip obviously didn’t go as planned. But, the silver lining was our accommodation. Bad weather isn’t so bad when your hotel has an integrated wellness & sauna area, or an in-house patisserie.

As we’ve learned more than once, the weather is often unpredictable in the Dolomites. Our recommendation is to choose a lovely place to stay, so your time spent inside is just as enjoyable as your time outside.

We’ve summarized our favorite hotels in the Dolomites (link in bio), based on five independent trips. Take a look.
  • Only gratitude, relief and joy today.
  • Sunrise in the Karwendel Mountains.

The weather forecast predicted early afternoon thunderstorms, so we woke up extra early and started hiking at 5:30 am. Seeing the sunrise as we crested the Mandlscharte was like entering heaven.

After a long and difficult 9-hour stage, we arrived at @solsteinhaus in rain. Luckily, the thunder never came.

The highlight of this incredible day was meeting @clarazijlstra and @jaqi_sta - two brilliant and talented women who radiate passion and warmth! Hope to see you both again! 💛💛💛
  • Italian Dolomites Tip:

Skip Lago di Braies (Pragser Wildsee) and Lago di Sorapiss and hike to Lago di Coldai instead for a crowd-free alpine lake experience.