This hike will blow your mind: Golica and endless fields of Narcissi, Exploring Slovenia

This hike will blow your mind: Golica and endless fields of daffodils

Golica is often called the “mountain of daffodils”, and for a good reason; in mid-May, the long slopes are carpeted with wild narcissi in full bloom, making the scenery look pretty otherworldly. If the first at the foothills of Golica start budding somewhere in late April or early May, the whole slopes of the Western Karawanks bloom a few weeks later. For many, a trip to the slopes covered with daffodils is a once-a-year experience, yet the stunning vistas attract not only the locals but tourists as well.

This hike will blow your mind: Golica and endless fields of daffodils, Slovenia, narcissi, narcise
All photos by Exploring Slovenia.

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Hiking to Mt. Viševnik with my dad

The most beautiful mountain for everyone: Viševnik

While I’m sure you’re better at maintaining quality-time contact with your parents on a regular basis, I must admit that hasn’t been my greatest priority the last couple of years {or a decade if I’m totally honest}. Nevertheless, yesterday I called my dad, to whom I also owe my first hiking memories, and invited him to some father-daughter bonding in the mountains. Sharing the same genes, he immediately dropped all other plans and readily agreed. The route I selected to fit my not-the-youngest-of-fathers? Viševnik. It’s one of the most easily accessible high peaks above Bled with stunning scenery and breathtaking views of the Julian Alps and Triglav.

Hiking Viševnik, Slovenia, above Bled

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Mountain biking Osorščica, Lošinj

Active seaside holidays on the Croatian islands of Lošinj and Cres

It’s been a most incredible week but now all that is left are a couple of photos and a big numbing heartache. Arghh. I simply love Lošinj and Cres. I love the lonely beaches, the clearest and bluest waters, dusty paths permeated with the smells of Mediterranean herbs, and the most delicious food. The best part? It’s an outdoor paradise that combines both wild and secluded, as well as comfortable and friendly. As almost a local, I give you my top four trips on these Croatian islands you absolutely shouldn’t miss out if you’re more into wild adventures.

Hiking Televrin, Lošinj, Croatia
At the top of St. Nicholas. All pictures by Exploring Slovenia.

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A mountaineer on the way to Golica, Slovenia

In search of wild daffodils on Golica, a picturesque mountain in the Karawanks

Known for endless fields of wild white daffodils, Mt. Golica is particularly popular in late April and early May. In fact, I fully subscribe to the April visits, and, guilty as charged, have never hiked it in another month before. This time, though, I was too early for the daffodils, but was compensated with equally incredible views of not only Slovenia and Triglav, but as far as Austria’s Grossglockner.

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My other Instagram top photo spot over Lake Bohinj at Vogar.

Where to hike for that Instagram view of Lake Bohinj: Vogar

It’s been a month since I spent a weekend at Lake Bohinj and did quite a memorable morning hike above the lake. Although my list of top hiking places at Lake Bohinj includes five options – Vogar, Komna, Rudnica, Peč, and Studor — Komna proved the best option under given conditions (foggy up to 1,400m). This weekend, though, our little family returned back to check the view from Vogar, 1,054m, and as it turned out, it easily qualified as my Instagram top pick for a panoramic view of Lake Bohinj.

My top Instagram photo point over Lake Bohinj from Vogar. Slovenia
My top Instagram photo point over Lake Bohinj is definitely the panoramic view a few minutes from the Kosi Hut at Vogar. Even on a cloudy day like this, your photos will be amazing.

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Bogatin mountain hut

Winter fairytale weekend in the Alps: Kališče, Komna, Vogel

As I sit in front of my laptop thinking about my weekend adventures, it just seems like an experience from another world and dimension. City is home and sun-lit mountains my usual weekend escapades. There are moments, though, when I wish it was the other way around, and seeing perfectly snow-covered mountains above Lake Bohinj up close just makes my heart ache for more {with a sunny weekend ahead I just might return!}.

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Triglav: finally getting it right

There’d been several attempts this year to conquer it, but failed (remember Ski touring below the Triglav North Face, Climbing Triglav in spring and The third try?). Not by much; yet still standing at the top of the second of the two highest peaks doesn’t quite measure up to that sweet feeling of actually reaching the summit, does it? A fourth attempt based on a spontaneous idea from a day before surprisingly succeeded. Not only succeeded, but it excelled so greatly it can be easily placed on my top five hikes of all times!

Triglav: finally getting it right

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On our way back down from Stenar, we bumped into this carefree Alpine ibex.

The Slovenian Alps are so much more than just Triglav: Križ & Stenar

Triglav as seen from below Stenar
It’s been repeated so many times that we’ve all started to believe it. The mantra “you’re not a true Slovene until you’ve conquered Triglav” drives the nation, anyone from small kids to older hikers, to the 2,864m (9,396 ft) mountain, which quite truthfully isn’t by far an easy climb (remember Climbing Triglav: the third try?). The tourists, too, are flooding the mountain, especially during the summer. Truly folks, it’s beautiful, but, quite frankly, there are mountains in Slovenia just as beautiful, if not even more so, without a continuous line of eager climbers winding their way to the top.

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Hiking in an abandoned ski resort: Zelenica

I prefer hiking alone. It’s the only space and time when I do exactly what I want. It’s also the way I perceive mountains when there is nobody there but me; it’s perhaps more adventurous and thrilling, and I definitely feel deeper and more wholesome, connecting to the nature with all senses. That’s why I was overly excited the other day to find a few hours just for myself alone and went hiking in an abandoned ski resort Zelenica.

A highly popular ski resort in the 70s and 80s, particularly so as shopping in richer Austria back then was just a short drive away, Zelenica used to be a perfect spot for professional training and recreational skiing. While it progressively declined over the last two decades, it still operated for some years until permanently closing in 2012. But the fun thing about an abandoned ski resort? The ski runs are still there for winter backcountry skiers, while hikers enjoy in easily accessible surrounding high mountains all year round. Not too crowded though, which makes it even more appealing.

The trail towards Zelenica above Ljubelj
At 10.30 AM light rain and misty fog and not a soul anywhere on the horizon.

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Almost at the top of Mali Triglav.

Climbing Triglav in spring can be tricky

It was one of those situations when you seek spring, only to find harsh winter conditions in the mountains which resemble more to those expected in January and not in the mid-May. The weather this week has been mostly rain, bringing snow in the high mountains. Lots of it. Although snow conditions were anything but stable due to a very thick layer of new snow, our team had been planning an ascent of Triglav for this particular weekend for a long time and thus decided to give it a go regardless of the situation. Anyway, one could always turn around if conditions turned too bad, right?

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Ljubljana hiking marathon: from sunrise to sunset

Whether you’re visiting the city for a few days or you live there, here is a list of top hiking places in the European Green Capital of 2016, Ljubljana, which you can easily do separately, one per day, or combined in a day-long hiking marathon doing altogether impressive 31 km and 760 m elevation gain.

Sunrise on Šmarna Gora
If you want to start your day with a bit of exercise and stunning panoramic views, then this 2,195-ft (669 m) hill is ideal for you. You will do a little less than a 1,000 ft (303 m) elevation gain in approximately half an hour if you are normally fit. So plan the start of your ascent accordingly to catch the first sunrays at the very top (exact time of the sunrise in Ljubljana). Trust me, as hard as it is to wake up in the still of the night, it’s an experience worth the effort.

Sunrise on Šmarna Gora is an overwhelming and unforgettable experience that invigorates the body and mind. Photo by: Gregor Medved
Sunrise on Šmarna Gora is an overwhelming and unforgettable experience that invigorates the body and mind. Photo by: Gregor Medved.

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Hiking Mt. Begunjščica, the most popular mountain in the Karawanks

There are days when I need a challenge and days when I just need to take it easy, relax, even meditate in a way. That’s how I pick mountains. I usually turn in for the night with a ready backpack, but no real plan where to go the next day, only to make one during my morning ritual. If it seems impossible to decide in the evening, it all clears up in the morning. My Wednesday pick two weeks ago was no different.

I woke up early when others were still sound asleep, an hour before my actual alarm. I set out in complete darkness and drove towards the mountains. Since the snow was still fresh from the day before, the greater risk of avalanches outweighed my wish for a true adventure. My safest bet, thus, was Mt. Begunjščica, a 2,060-m or 6,760-ft mountain in the Karawanks range, also called a mountain of a hundred ravines. I figured it would make a great winter escapade; nothing technical, just pure pleasure.

It’s a 20-minute drive from Bled to the start of the Begunjščica trail.
It’s a 20-minute drive from Bled to the start of the Begunjščica trail.

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Off the beaten path in Mt. Viševnik

It was one of those grey winter days when you need a big push to even consider going out into the cold. Just the same and just like every weekend, I showed no mercy. Equipped with sleds and skis for the kids, I packed everyone into the car and we drove to the mountains that we love so much. Our plan was to go crazy on one of the very few slopes in Slovenia still covered in snow. Well, my plan was to sneak away and hike in the real mountains. So we set off for Pokljuka, a recreational center 20 minutes from Bled with sledding for the kids, Nordic walking for my husband, and a number of easily accessible 7,000 ft peaks for me.

Although it was January, the otherwise completely white Pokljuka greeted us in green colors. Fortunately, at least one slope gave us a bit of hope for possible sledding fun, and as soon as it began, I was off to Viševnik, a 6,726 ft (2,050 m) mountain with great panoramic views over the roof of Slovenia, Triglav, and the Julian Alps.

Viševnik is the most popular mountain in Slovenia at over 6,500 ft (2,000 m).
Viševnik is the most popular mountain in Slovenia at over 6,500 ft (2,000 m).

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Storzic: my first real hike after six years

Storzic, Dec. 2, 5026 Ft / 1532 m elevation gain, 6 hours car – top- car. At 2132 m / 6994 Ft high it is one of the highest mountains in the Slovenian Kamnik-Savinja Alps.

I used to hike mountains all the time, on weekends, after work, during holidays, or whenever there was an opportunity. Now, times are a bit different. With two little rascals on my back, we prefer small hills rather than great peaks, and even those usually turn into long and tiring daily trips. This time, I took a day off work, dropped the kids in day care and school, and started off to one of my favorite mountains, Storzic. It felt amazing.

Driving to a small village called Mace, where the hiking trail to Storzic starts.
Driving to a small village called Mace, where the hiking trail to Storzic starts.

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