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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 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 reward you with striking angles of Mt. Triglav. 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
  • Hiking Essentials: Hut to Hut Hiking Packing List
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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
  • Fusine Lakes
  • Planica - Planinski dom Tamar
  • Vrisic pass - Slemenova špica
  • Trenta - Pogacnikov dom na Kriski Podi
  • Triglav Climb
  • Rudno Polje - Planina Zajamniki
  • Planina Blato - Planina v Lazu
  • Koca pri Savici - Zasavska koca na prehodavcih
  • Stara Fuzina - Koca na Planini pri Jezeru
  • Places to stay
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.

 

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.

 

Lake Bohinj

To explore the heavenly Seven Lakes Valley and the charming high alpine pastures of Lake Bohinj, we recommend staying in the towns of Ukanc, Stara Fužina or Ribčev Laz at Lake Bohinj.

For Ukanc we recommend Rooms and Apartments Lake Bohinj (budget), Planinski dom Savica (midrange), or Hiša Erlah (luxury).

Look for accommodation in Ukanc.

In Ribčev Laz, we recommend staying at Hotel Jezero. The hotel has a very nice spa and wellness center. It also has a fantastic location: it’s a 1-minute walk to the lake and situated right next to the bus stop (to Ljubljana/Bled).

Look for accommodation in Ribčev Laz.

Koča na Planini pri Jezeru, Julian Alps Hiking Trail

The Best Julian Alps Hiking Trails

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: 16 km total
Difficulty: challenging
Altitude Difference: 1450 m
Time Needed: 4 hours one-way / 7.5 -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.

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

Triglav Lakes Valley

Triglav Lakes Valley, aka Seven Lakes Valley, is a wildly enchanting destination in the Julian Alps. As the name suggests, the valley is defined by a string of seven lakes. You can hike to the Seven Lakes Valley from Koča pri Savici mountain hut (653 m), a mountain hut that’s accessible by car from Ukanc on Lake Bohinj. Koča pri Savici is also the trailhead to the waterfall Slap Savica (20-min walk one-way). Note: there’s a 3 EUR fee to see the waterfall.

The first lake you’ll pass in the Triglav Lakes Valley is Črno jezero (1294 m), or Black Lake. Next, you’ll continue to Triglav Lakes Hut (Koča pri Triglavskih jezerih), which is situated between the lakes Dvojno Jezero and Močivec. Koča pri Triglavskih jezerih makes for a good lunch stop and day hike destination.

Trailhead: Koča pri Savici mountain hut (653 m)
Destination: Koča pri Triglavskih jezerih (1684 m)
Distance: 6.2 km one-way
Difficulty: difficult
Altitude Difference: 1031 m
Time Needed: 3.5 hours one-way (7 hours total)

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. This will take 1- 1.5 hours (2.7 km) one-way.
  • 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).
 
Koča na Planini pri Jezeru, Hiking Julian Alps
Koča na Planini pri Jezeru

Stara Fužina to Seven Lakes Valley – High Alpine Pasture Route

This 7-hour thru-hike can be done in either direction, but it’s only recommended as part of a two-day hike in the Julian Alps. So if you followed the route to Koča pri Triglavskih jezerih (outlined above) and stayed the night there, you could take this route back to Lake Bohinj the following day. We’ve outlined this route in great detail on Day 5 of our Hut to Hut Hike across Triglav National Park. Or, you can start in Stara Fužina and end your day at the Koča pri Triglavskih jezerih mountain hut.

From Stara Fužina, hike 1.5 hours (2.5 km) to Planina Spodnji Vogar (1050 m). From here, continue ascending 2 hrs 15 min (4 km) to the beautiful alpine pasture and mountain hut Koča na Planini pri Jezeru (1453 m). This is an ideal spot for lunch. From the lakeside mountain hut, continue for 40 min to Bregarjevo zavetišče na planini Viševnik. The final stretch (4.3 km) brings you to the Triglav lakes Hut in nearly 2 hours.

Trailhead: Stara Fužina, Lake Bohinj – near the Toll Booth Parking Lot
Destination: Koča pri Triglavskih jezerih, Seven Lakes Valley
Distance: 12 km
Difficulty: moderate
Altitude Difference: 1300 m
Time Needed: 7 hours

 
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 total
Difficulty: moderate
Altitude Difference: 413 m
Time Needed: 4.5 hours total

 
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 beverage or drink and enjoy the peaceful mountain setting.

Trailhead: Planica Nordic Centre. Note: 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
Altitude Difference: 170 m
Time Needed: 1 hr one-way / 2 hours total

 
Kanjavec summit hike, Julian Alps hiking trails, Slovenia
Hiking to Kanjavec Peak

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 total
Difficulty: moderate
Altitude Difference: 300 m
Time Needed: 3 hrs total

 
Bovški Gamsovec Summit Hike, Julian Alps Hiking Trails
Bovški Gamsovec

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, you’ll definitely need a via ferrata kit. 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 along Triglav’s North Face. The easiest approach is from the Krma Valley.

Difficulty: challenging
Time Needed: 2 – 3 days

 
Zajamniki Mountain Pasture, Hiking in the Julian Alps

Planina Zajamniki

Planina Zajamniki (1280 m) is an alpine pasture located on Pokljuka, a karst plateau in the Julian Alps. To reach this picture-perfect destination, head to Rudno Polje.  Rudno Polje is also the trailhead to Debela Peč and Viševnik. It’s a 2-hour hike to the high alpine pasture. After parking at Rudno Polje, walk to Planina Uskovnica (approx. 1 hour) and then continue in the direction of Planina Praprotnica to Planina Zajamniki (another hour).

Learn more about Pokljuka: Hidden Wonders of Pokljuka

Trailhead: Rudno Polje (1347 m)
Distance: 4.4 km one-way
Difficulty: easy
Altitude Difference: 67 m
Time Needed: 2 hours one-way / 4 hours total

 
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

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