Julian Alps Hiking Guide, Slovenia

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 are not the highest range in Europe, but they certainly are 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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Hiking in the Julian Alps - best hiking trails

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
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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.

Where to Go
  • Julian Alps Hiking Trailheads
  • Julian Alps Hiking Destinations
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). Check out more accommodations in Kranjska Gora here.

 

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. Check out all accommodation options 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 or Stara Fužina in Lake Bohinj. We recommend Planinski dom Savica (budget), Počitniška hiša Ukanc (mid-range), or Hiša Erlah (luxury).

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. For details, read Day 2 of our Triglav National Park Hut to Hut Hike.

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: moderately difficult
Altitude Difference: 1031 m
Time Needed: 3.5 hours one-way

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

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

The highest peak in the Julian Alps, Mount Triglav (2864 m), is possible to climb. You definitely need a via ferrata kit a to reach the summit of Mount Triglav. 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 hiking 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).

Read more about Pokljuka in our Hidden Wonders of Pokljuka post.

Trailhead: Rudno Polje (1347 m)
Distance: 4.4 km one-way
Difficulty: moderate
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. Read our post on 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.

 

Julian Alps Hiking Trail

A new 300 km-long hiking route around the Julian Alps was established in April 2019. The Julian Alps Hiking 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 20 km stages. There’s no formal tourist info or marketing collateral about this hike, but we’ll keep you posted.

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

Hiking Essentials

1-Liter Reusable Water Bottle. We carry at least 1 water bottle each.

Hiking Pants. When buying hiking pants, we think flexibility and ability to shed water are two important criteria. We both bought two pairs of these Macpac Women’s Hike Tight Pants and we love them. They’re breathable and extremely comfortable in all types of weather. Bonus: you don’t need to wear a belt.

Hiking Boots for Women. If you want to invest in a serious hiking boot that will serve you well in rocky, high alpine terrain, look into buying a pair of Hanwag Tatra Light Lady GTX. These shoes have an extraordinary profile and aren’t rigid like traditional alpine boots.

Merino Wool Hiking Socks. Icebreaker makes the best hiking socks out there. Socks have lifetime warranty.

Hiking Poles. Opt for poles with lever locks (flick lock mechanism), as opposed to twisting locks. They’re more durable.

Hiking Backpack + Raincover. Ideal (light) trekking backpack: Osprey Packs Kyte 36 Women’s Backpack or Osprey Packs Kestrel 38 Backpack.

Sun Hat + Beanie

Rain Jacket. There’s always a chance of rain in the Alps. It’s essential to always carry a proper rain jacket. Kati’s North Face Venture Rain Jacket is excellent quality and truly waterproof.

Down Vest or Hiking Vest. Everyone has different preferences, but when it comes to keeping your core warm on the trail, but not overheating, vests are your best friend. Sabrina never hikes without her Eddie Bauer StormDown Vest.

Fleece (one for hiking, one for sleeping). It’s always good to have a fleece with you for added warmth. Fleece sweaters are lightweight and dry quickly. We recommend this Marmot Norhiem Women’s Sweater Knit Fleece Jacket.

Long-sleeve and Short-sleeve quick-dry hiking shirts

Edelweiss, Julian Alps, Slovenia

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@moonhoneytravelers
  • View of the English Channel from the Seven Sisters Cliffs. The chalk cliffs are very brittle and unstable. When you visit, maintain a 5m distance from the edge for your safety.
  • The hike to Bobotov Kuv in Durmitor National Park, Montenegro.
  • The spectacular Seven Sisters Cliffs in East Sussex, England. The best way to experience these white cliffs is by walking from Seaford to Eastbourne. It’s an easy 21.9 km coastal walk that’s beautiful from the very beginning to the very end. #england
  • We’re in Southern England and having a marvelous time. Our days have been rather slow and uneventful - allowing us to revel in simple joys like playing with Rosa (the dog we’re taking care of), walking in the South Downs, and listening to seagulls. #england
  • A still morning in the Julian Alps. It’s as if Mangart (Mangrt) is looking at her mirror-like reflection in preparation for the day.
  • Portugal’s impossibly beautiful southern coast. #algarve

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