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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 within 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. No permits are needed to hike in Triglav National Park. And, 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

Late June, 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, and the Lake Bohinj villages of Ukanc and 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
Veliko Špičje Ridge, Julian Alps, Slovenia

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

There are three main settlements around Lake Bohinj: Stara Fužina, Ribčev Laz, and Ukanc.

Stara Fužina

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.

Look for accommodation in Stara Fužina.

Ribčev Laz

Ribčev Laz is a settlement along Lake Bohinj, next to Stara Fužina. With its central location and easy access (bus from Bled and Ljubljana), Ribčev Laz is a perfect base.

Check out the new, modern Hotel Bohinj, which opened in July 2021. The hotel is located only 100 meters from Lake Bohinj.

Book your stay at Hotel Bohinj.

Ukanc

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 Vogel 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.

Planini Pri Jezeru, Julian Alps, Slovenia

The Best Julian Alps Hiking Trails

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

Viševnik Peak

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

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 peak, 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

 
Climbing Mount Triglav, Julian Alps Hiking Guide

Climbing Mount Triglav

Difficulty: Varies based on the route.
Time Needed: 2 Days (13-14 hours hiking)
Essential Gear: A climbing helmet like this women’s helmet and this men’s helmet.

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

 
Triglav Lakes Hut, Seven lakes Valley, Julian Alps

Triglav Lakes Valley

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

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

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).
 
Špičje Ridge Trail, Julian Alps, Slovenia

Veliko Špičje

Trailhead: Planina Blato
Distance: 27.6 km circuit
Difficulty: challenging
Time Needed: 2 days / 12:30 hours without breaks

This demanding route combines the gorgeous Seven Lakes Valley with the riveting Špičje ridge.

Learn More: Veliko Špičje Ridge Trail

 
Pogačnikov dom na Kriških podih, Julian Alps, Slovenia
Pogačnikov dom na Kriških podih

Pogačnikov dom na Kriških podih Mountain Hut

Trailhead: Vršič Pass
Distance: 8.4 km one-way
Difficulty: challenging
Time Needed: 6 hours one-way

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.

We hiked to this mountain hut from Vršič pass on 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)

For more route options, check out hribi.net.

 
Planina v Lazu mountain pasture in the Julian Alps
Planina Lazu

Bohinj High Alpine Pasture Loop

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

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 arrive, you’ll have a birds-eye view of the Lazu mountain pasture dotted with herdsmen 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.

 
Tamar Mountain Hut, Planica Valley, Julian Alps, Slovenia
Tamar Mountain Hut

Planica Valley and Dom v Tamarju

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 out-and-back
Difficulty: easy
Elevation: 170 meters ascending / descending
Time Needed: 1 hour one-way, 2 hours return

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.

 
Bovški Gamsovec Summit Hike, Julian Alps Hiking Trails
Bovški Gamsovec

Julian Alps Hut to Hut Hike

Trailhead: Vršič pass
Destination: Lake Bohinj 
Distance: 43.4 km point-to-point
Difficulty: challenging
Time Needed: 4 Days
Essential Gear:

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.

Learn More: Triglav National Park 4-Day Trek

To learn more about staying in Slovenian huts, read How to Visit a Slovenian Mountain Hut and Hut to Hut Hiking in Slovenia.

 
Slemenova Špica hike in the Julian Alps

Slemenova Špica

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

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 Vratica (1799 m) mountain saddle, 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.

 
Mount Vogel, Best Hikes in the Julian Alps
Mount HiVogel

Mount Vogel

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

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.

Learn More: Hiking to Mount Vogel

 
Lago di Fusine Superiore, Julian Alps, Italy
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

Veliko jezero, Seven Lakes Valley, Julian Alps, Slovenia

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.

Buy the Guide: Slovenian Mountain Way / Slovenska Planinska Pot


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.

 
Bovški Gamsovec to Luknja, Triglav National Park Hut to Hut Hike, Julian Alps
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You can walk to Monte Specie from the Prato Piazza/Plätzwiese plateau in Braies/Pragser Tal Valley.

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These hikes span across multiple ranges in Trentino, Belluno and South Tyrol. 

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You can hike up to this lake directly from Cortina d‘Ampezzo, but the fastest ascent route starts at the Ponte di Rocurto trailhead, which is located along SP638 - halfway between Pocol and Passo Giau.

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