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Best Winter Hikes in Slovenia

Snow-caped mountains are always a sight to see and there is no better way than seeing it up close. The feel of snow and ice creaking underneath your feet, the clean mountain air, the sound of silence, the sky turning light-pink when waiving the sun goodbye. There is no experience that can compare to winter in the mountains. As you already know, there is no lack of mountains in Slovenia and here are our top 10 picks of beautiful (and safe) hikes you can do if you find yourself in this lovely country in the midst of winter.

Velika planina

This idyllic pasture needs no introduction, but despite it being quite empty and silent in the winter without the cows mooing around and the shepherds offering you fresh cheese or sour milk, we actually like it best when it is completely covered with snow. When the trees are barely standing under the weight of snow and the cold winds make for some stunning sculptures from the signposts covered with frozen snow, it becomes otherworldly. Add the cute sheperds` houses with roofs of white and the cute church on the top of the hill and you got yourself a true winter fairytale experience. And we did not even mention the perfect view of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps in the background.



The hike from the Kranjski Rak parking lot is short and not very steep and if you are not feeling capable you can always choose to go up with the chairlift from Kamniška Bistrica. There is also a mountain hut Domžalski dom opened on the pasture, where you can enjoy a warm meal and drinks. Absolute winter paradise! Check this post for more pictures.

Ratitovec

This is another short, although steeper (but not dangerous at all) climb, a favourite among the locals, only a 45-min drive from Ljubljana. You can park in the village of Prtovč and follow the signs for Ratitovec "čez Razor". The path ascends through the forest and quickly gets you into a rocky world and finally the top of the mountain, full of interesting rock formations and more importantly, a magnificent view of the majority of Slovenian mountain ranges, including Julian Alps with Triglav in the middle. Here you can also enjoy the warmth and good food of the mountain hut that tends to be open during weekends also in the winter - a perfect place to relax and wait for the sunset that brings the most beautiful colours, which make it absolutely worth it to stay on top for a little longer. Check this post for more pictures.



Trupejevo poldne

Located just across from the Julian Alps above Kranjska Gora, this peak offers stunning views of the mountains across the valley, the beautiful Špik being the most remarkable one among them. On the other side of the mountain you can also see the Austrian valleys of Klagenfurt and Villach.



It takes a bit more effort to find the way up and also the hike itself is a bit longer (at least 3 hours there and back). You also have to check the latest avalanche report for the region as the slopes towards the top are pretty steep. But those who will get to the top, particularly early in the morning, will definitely not regret it.

Mangartsko sedlo

It is hard to put in words what we feel about this magical mountain area, which just might be our favourite spot in Slovenia in general. An absolute must-visit in any time of the year. There is an old, windy and slightly dangerous narrow road leading all the way up the Mangart pass and it is something you simply have to experience if you ever get the chance to do it. In the winter though, the road is not cleaned and the Mangart pass becomes a desolate area with very few visitors, which is exactly the reason to go there. On foot, the road makes for a very straightforward and safe ascent and the tunnels on the way create an even more interesting experience with thousands of icicles hanging from the ceilings. The views on all sides are stunning and you immediately forget about the 8-kilometre ascent you made in one direction. When we were there (linkipinky), the snow was too soft and thick to make it all the way to the top without being in real danger, but we would go there again in a heart-beat. Check this post for more pictures.


Vrh Korena

This one is very close to Velika Planina and you can get very close to it on a mountain road to Planina Jezerca that lies on the east side of Krvavec ski-resort (the closest and most popular ski-resort to Ljubljana). You can leave your car there and follow the signs for Planina Koren and Vrh Korena and you should reach it in around 2 hours hiking through beautiful pastures surrounded by snowy rocks. You will also be able to spot Velika Planina across the Kamnik valley underneath on the way there. But nothing prepares you for the sight you suddenly see once you reach the top of the climb. All the main Kamnik-Savinja Alps summits on the reach of a hand. If you manage to stay there for the sunset, you will be in for a treat! Check this post for more pictures.



Kompotela

You can merge this hike with the one to Vrh Korena as it is the neighbouring peak, only 20 minutes away, offering almost the same view from a slightly different angle. We jumped from one to another to keep ourselves warm while waiting for the sun to set.

Dobratsch

This is not a Slovenian mountain per se (at least not anymore:P), but it deserves an honorable mention due to its absolute amazingness and proximity to Slovenia. It is an isolated mountain ascending steeply over the town of Villach and you can get almost to the top of it by car. There is a very nice and wide mountains road which is cleaned during the winter and you do not have to pay anything to use it (there are fees if you visit in the summer). Once on the parking lot next to the mountain hut at the end of the road, you only have to walk another hour or so to reach the top of the mountain where you will find a huge transmitter tower, another mountain hut, a meteorological station and two of the highest churches in Europe. The older and a few meters lower one is called the Slovenian church and the newer and officially the highest church in Europe is called the German church. If you are not that into architecture and history, you will still enjoy the magnificent view of mountains in all directions. From Karawanks and the Julian Alps towards Slovenia, to Alpi Carniche and Dolomiti towards Italy, and Gurktaler and Hohe Tauern mountain ranges in Austria with the Grossglockner as the highest among them. We recommend taking your touring skis or a sledge with you as the locals do, so you can descend back quickly and have even more fun on this vast snowy mountain plateau.



Goli vrh

This one is steep all the way to the top, which you can conquer in less than 2 hours, but the view will again bring a smile to your face. This time you are facing the beautiful Kamnik-Savinja Alps from the north (Vrh Korena and Velika Planina lie south) and it is just as beautiful. The golden rule of winter hikes also applies here - wait for the sunset. The colors are simply to die for.



The starting point lies in the forest above the beautiful Zgornje Jezersko and we recommend you take a few hours to enjoy the place before conquering the mountain itself. There is a beautiful lake Planšarsko jezero you can visit and have a meal in the mountain hut next to it. Every winter they also prepare a skating ring nearby. The region may be a bit off the beaten track, but it is well worth the visit.

We saved two of the best, which are located in the heart of Triglav National Park for last. They are both reachable from the Pokljuka plateau which is a feat for hiking, skiing and cross-country skiing enthusiasts itself. And if that is not enough, there are the Bled and Bohinj lakes just underneath it, so you cannot go wrong with booking an entire week in the area just to get a taste of it. For the hikers that crave amazing views of the Julian Alps from up close, the following are our top two favourites:

Viševnik

This one is an absolute favourite among the locals and you will be hard-pressed to find yourself up there alone on any given day of the year. It offers a great view of Triglav with several peaks in between like Mali and Veliki Draški vrh and Tošc, which are also a good option to hike to, although a bit more dangerous in the winter. The hike is steep, but only takes a good hour and you can start at the Rudno polje biathlon centre. Check this post for more pictures.



Brda

The majority of people actually go to a summit called Debela peč and you can follow the same signs as the path is the same. You just have to take a left turn when you almost reach the top as this is the neighbouring peak to Debela peč. The starting point is more difficult to reach than for Viševnik as you need to drive the forest roads to a parking lot in Medvedova konta. You will need a bit more than an hour to the top or more if you have to leave your car further down in the valley because the road may not be cleaned or it is too dangerous to drive on.

Because Debela peč is usually crowded (much like Viševnik) we like to ascend Brda instead to find some peace and quiet, but we also think the view from Brda is much better as you are even closer to the main peaks you can observe from them both. To be honest, the view from Brda is definitely one of the best overall in Slovenia. Triglav and the neighbouring peaks rise like magnificent giants over the Krma valley underneath. The snow-capped mountain peaks and the sheer, naked mountain walls that almost become black due to the lack of light in the valley, make for an exceptional contrast that gives you the thrills as you are witness to something so massive and extraordinary.  Check this post for more pictures.



We hope we gave you some inspiration to explore Slovenian mountains also in the winter as they are absolutely worth the visit. But as with any other mountains covered with snow, you have to take some basic precautions. For the majority of mentioned hikes, you will need to have crampons at least part of the way (depending on the current conditions). Do not underestimate the possibility of cold temperatures or changing weather - make sure to bring enough clothes, spare socks, shirts, gore-tex shoes, gaiters, warm gloves and hats. You should also check the current avalanche conditions on the following link (linkypinky). If the mountain range you are planning to visit has more than number 2 marked, you should avoid the trip. And in general, if you do not feel safe, or get nervous or even scared of continuing, turn around. It is not worth it if you are not having fun! Mountains will wait and there is plenty of interesting stuff to do in the valleys also.

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