A female hiker enjoying Velika Planina, Slovenia #centralslovenia

Instagram photo tips from the Velika Planina InstaMeet

It’s not very often you get the opportunity to hang out with a large group of photographers as good as this pack of Instagrammers. Last weekend, I got a chance to talk with @IgSlovenia, @VisitLjubljana, and @DomagojSever, and learn from the best landscape Instagrammers of the region. Lessons learned? Quite a few actually, but let’s get down to five for now.

InstaMeet, hosted by @IgSlovenia and @VisitLjubljana, on Velika Planina
Say “štrukljiiii”! Our InstaMeet group right in the middle of the shepherds’ settlement on Velika Planina. Picture credit: Zavod za turizem, šport in kulturo Kamnik.

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A beautiful photo of Kamniško Sedlo, an Alpine meadow in the Slovenian Alps

Photographers’ favorite mountain route in the Kamnik-Savinja Alps: Kamniško Sedlo

Somewhere far away from the city bustle, nested among towering mountain peaks, an enchanting green meadow stretches speckled with colorful flowers, and right in the middle of a green patch there is a friendly mountain hut. On its sunny terrace in totally relaxed vibes, a bunch of eager mountaineers share their bold climbing stories over barley porridge called ričet and cold beer while soaking in epic views of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps. That’s Kamniško Sedlo.

A woman hiker jumping with joy on an Alpine meadow

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Cycling from Ljubljana to Jezersko,Jezersko by the lake, exploring Slovenia

Cycling tips from Ljubljana in spring

Spring is here! Well, at least the loud chirping of mating birds, warm sun, smells and aromas, colorful little flowers and budding trees, and I’m sure it won’t be long until the landscape turns completely green. Definitely my favorite time of year {although I might say this for every turn of season}. The most fitting sport during the early spring? Cycling, definitely. So, here are five of my favorite cycling tours from Ljubljana.

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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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Ice climbing in the Hell Gorge

It doesn’t get cooler than this: ice climbing in the Hell thirty minutes from Ljubljana

Ice climbing has never been my thing. Ever since the climbing accident ten years ago, I’ve steered myself away from the vertical and kept my step safer on the trail instead. A few weeks ago, though, the news arrived about frozen waterfalls in the Hell Gorge near Ljubljana; being such a rare sight I decided to duck out of my comfort zone and join my friends the next morning for an ice-climbing session in the Hell.

Ice climbing in the Hell Gorge

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The stunningly beautiful scenery from the top.

When you seek a relaxing workout only to find perfection: Šmarna Gora for sunrise

I have a confession to make. I don’t do CrossFit, Zumba, fitness, cardio boxing, boot camp, anything of the kind actually. My usual workout begins right there under a lonely hill to the north of Ljubljana. With its 366 m of elevation, Šmarna Gora is everything I need to stay in shape. The best time to go? Definitely morning.

Šmarna Gora for sunrise

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Storžič from the trail to Bašeljski vrh; photo by Exploring Slovenia

Training mountain trail near Ljubljana? Visit Bašeljski Vrh

Both a demanding and picturesque mountain trail not too far from Ljubljana which you could actually squeeze into an average hectic workday? I’m talking about a 10-km trail with 1,144 m elevation gain (and drop) that’s technically easily accessible all year round and starts just 33 km from Slovenia’s capital. It’s called Bašeljski Vrh.

Storžič from the trail to Bašeljski vrh; photo by Exploring Slovenia

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Cycling to Kamniška Bistrica and exploring the hidden pearls on the way; 39.6 km (24.6 mi), 4 h, 535 m (1,755 ft) ascent. Ljubljana – Gorge Predaselj – the source of the Kamniška Bistrica river – torrent Krvavec.

Cycling to and exploring the glacial valley of the Kamniška Bistrica

June is the month when the summer hiking season usually starts, since the mountains would have dropped the white blanket by then. This year, however, the never-ending rain and almost daily afternoon thunderstorms have been constantly messing with our hiking plans, and instead made big mountains even less manageable than during the colder months. I have managed, however, to switch my focus to cycling lately and it’s been just as fun.

One of the most memorable trips was a 40 km or 25 miles long tour to Kamniška Bistrica, a glaciated valley at the foothills of the Kamnik – Savinja Alps, which was actually a nice combination of cycling, hiking and – the most adventurous of all – exploring new grounds off the beaten trail. In fact, the tour was so nice, I have done it twice in the last three weeks, both times with my family, who eagerly joined in for the last part – climbing big rocks up a dry mountain torrent Krvavec.

Cycling to Kamniška Bistrica and exploring the hidden pearls on the way; 39.6 km (24.6 mi), 4 h, 535 m (1,755 ft) ascent. Ljubljana – Gorge Predaselj – the source of the Kamniška Bistrica river – torrent Krvavec.
Cycling to Kamniška Bistrica and exploring the hidden pearls on the way; 39.6 km (24.6 mi), 4 h, 535 m (1,755 ft) ascent. Ljubljana – Gorge Predaselj – the source of the Kamniška Bistrica river – torrent Krvavec.

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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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Šmarna Gora for sunrise

Sunrise hunting on Šmarna gora

It’s nice to have a favorite mountain. Cozy, even. Having outgrown a mere physical activity, its visits resemble more to active social events since you meet the same people every day, while also the trail seems like an old friend with its same familiar challenges on every single step. The half-an-hour standard timing makes Mt. Šmarna gora a favorite daily excerise not only for me, but also for others living in Ljubljana or somewhere nearby. If I usually prefer late afternoon hikes, I decided today to trade those for an early sunrise ascent. It was worth it.

Early sunrise on Šmarna gora

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Sledding down Šmarna gora, Ljubljana’s popular hiking destination

I don’t know about you, but this is the most wonderful time of the year for me and my family. When the first snowflakes begin to fall, we all crowd by the window and watch how the snow slowly turns our little world into a white wonderland. Then, we all dress up like snowmen and hurry outside to do just another crazy thing. This time, it was sledding right from the top of Ljubljana’s favorite hiking destination, Šmarna gora. Let’s take a look.

At 2,195 ft (669 m) and a little less than a 1,000 ft (303 m) elevation gain, it is a popular hiking destination for the locals and tourists visiting Slovenia’s capital.

Šmarna gora (Smarna gora) seen from Stanezice.
Šmarna gora (Smarna gora) seen from Stanezice.

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