Approximately 75 kilometers from Ljubljana, the country’s capital, on the outer edge of the Triglav National Park, the largest protected area in Slovenia covering 838 square kilometers that encompasses Mt. Triglav and most of the 400 2K+ peaks found in the country, there is a sense of contented isolation. It seems that wherever you turn there are dusty trails that wind through tall forests and eventually end up in the surrounding snow-capped peaks. Bohinjska Bistrica, a settlement of less than 1,800 people, lies cradled among 2,000-meter high towering mountains, making it a perfect holiday destination for everyone in love with hiking; mountaineers, families and complete beginners included.
Fairytale on Velika Planina is everything I love about mountain resorts: it’s remote and isolated, yet still nicely connected to the valley by a cable car or a road that ends only 45 minutes away. It has personality and all the little benefits of any other nice resort in the valley, plus you stay in pristine nature with spectacular views of sunlit mountaintops of the Alps. That’s why I was beyond psyched when the kind folks at Fairytale on Velika Planina invited me up for a few days of snowy trails and jaw-dropping sunrises and sunsets.
And did I mention dogs are allowed? Lisa and her furry buddy Hari were welcome too!
I always wanted to see the ice kingdom which the winter Mount Snežnik is famous for and possibly ski among the frozen silhouettes. You see, since the mountain is close to the sea (only 28 km), it receives more precipitation, which in combination with strong winds can build incredible ice structures on anything that sticks up the ground. Thus the lodge at the top puts on an otherworldly ice cover, while dwarf pines, which sporadically cover the highest parts of the plateau, turn completely white and resemble an exhibition of art work rather than trees. Really spectacular!
What a weird weekend. It started with big plans but ended up with nothing tangible worth bragging about. In contrast to what you must be thinking right now, no, it was still a great weekend, just very different from expected. We walked up an icy trail and we’d have been ok with that if it hadn’t been for the rain which gradually intensified into a heavy downpour. The next day, I fought with incredible amounts of soft wet snow with each step sinking into knee-or- butt deep snow. In the rain again. While I’m usually not a quitter, I quit both hikes. The only things I didn’t quit last weekend were a sunrise hike up to Šmarna gora with my doggy pal Lisa and sauna pampering with my girlfriends.
Having two kids and a puppy is super cute…for someone other than the parents. I’m one of those suckers who recently adopted a puppy. If my husband bought a house with a garden a week later, I’m dealing with it my way. I go to the mountains. Or to put it better, we go to the mountains. So, here are five hikes, friendly to kids and dogs, we’ve recently done and have kept my sanity plus entertained my whole family. I’m sure they’ll fit your family as well!
As soon as my husband and I finished work for the week, we quickly hurried towards Gorenjska and left our car in the parking below the Matizovec farm at the foothill of the Košuta massif. In fact, Košuta is the largest massif in Slovenia with its 10 km (6.2 mi) long crest and as many as 12 mountains over 2 K. The goal for the evening was to hike to Kofce, a mountain hut at 1.488 m (4,882 ft), and record a time-lapse video of the sunset in the mountains.
There are days when I wake up and just need to do something crazy, something extraordinary. With that in mind, my husband and I took a few hours off work yesterday and drove to the Ljubelj Pass or Loibl Pass, one of our favorite starting points in Slovenia for hiking and other outdoor activities. This time we choose adrenaline sledding down from the oldest road pass in Europe at 1,370 m (4,490 ft) with a 320 m (1,045 ft) downhill descent and an average slope between 10-15%. We (and by “we” I actually mean “I”) dragged the sleds up all the way to the hut, enjoyed a cup of tea on a sunny terrace overlooking white mountains in the Karawanks chain, and then sled down exhilarated like two small children. 🙂
Here is a video of our sledding adventure and a few photos of the scenic hike. Enjoy!
A week of heavy snow fall colored the mountains in white. They looked stunning, promising, even magical in a way. So we set off early in the morning for another ski-tour adventure to one of the most beautiful parts of the Western Julian Alps, the valley of Mrzle vode or as our Italian counterparts call it, Valle di Riofreddo.
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.
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.