Hiking in Slovenia is one of the most popular activities among locals and tourists alike. Slovenia is also very scenic and offers many photo opportunities – some of them can be nicely combined into a hiking trip. What are the most popular hikes among photographers? Here is my list of the best hiking trips in Slovenia for photography.
- Mala Osojnica hill, Lake Bled
- Peč Viewpoint, Lake Bohinj
- Velika Planina
- Slemenova špica
- Lovrenška jezera
- Mostnica river, Lake Bohinj
- Natural window at Otlica
- Mt Viševnik
- Mt Mangart
- Soča river trail
- RESOURCES to plan your hiking trip
Lake Bled is one of the most visited and most photographed places in Slovenia. The best view on the lake is also the highest – from Mala Osojnica hill. There are a couple of trails leading up, both starting from the west side of the lake. It takes about 45 minutes to the top so it is not the longest hike. On the way, one can stop at Ojstrica viewpoint which offers a different view on the lake. On top of the hill, there is a viewpoint with a small bench. The best time to go is either sunrise or sunset – both can be spectacular from up here.
Lake Bohinj, Peč viewpoint
Lake Bohinj area is one of the best places in Slovenia for hiking. There are plenty of trails of different difficulty levels. One can start a multiple-day climb to Mt Triglav or opt for a walk around the lake. Peč is a steep rock overlooking the lake and from a viewpoint there are unparalleled views on Lake Bohinj and its iconic church of St John the Baptist. The trail starts from Stara Fužina village and it takes about 30-40 minutes to the top. If starting from the lake, add another 15-20 minutes. The last part of the trail is quite rocky and this can be tricky if covered in snow – in summer this is a moderate hike.
Kamnik-Savinja Alps (Kamniško-Savinjske alpe) are less popular than Julian Alps but there are some amazing hikes there as well. My recommendation is the unique mountain pasture village of Velika Planina. In summer and winter there is a gondola that will take out most of the work and one can enjoy easy hiking on the mountain plateau. It is also possible to drive up part of the way from the eastern side. There are nice options to stay overnight here, a mountain hut or renting a remodelled shepherd’s hut. In summer one can enjoy the daily life of shepherds who offer delicious dairy products. In winter, this is a landscape photographer’s paradise. Spring can be nice too – especially when crocuses are in full bloom.
Slemenova Špica (also Sleme)
Slemenova špica is located in the heart of Julian Alps and Triglav national park. The main attraction here is the views on Mt Jalovec which is arguably the most beautiful peak of Julian Alps. In summer, there are a couple of little ponds with cool reflections of the mountain. Autumn is the best season for photographers – the golden larch trees are the main subject here. The hike is moderate, 1-1.5hours hike with little elevation gain. The start of the trail is from Vršič pass.
Lovrenška Jezera (Lawrence Lakes)
Pohorje range in the northeastern Slovenia is a popular hiking destination too. The most beautiful hike is from Rogla to Lovrenška jezera (Lawrence Lakes) which are located on a boggy plateau, about an hour hike from the ski resort. Summer is by far the best time to go. Weather is nice and water lilies are in bloom. There is also a small view tower which offers elevated views on the area. This is an easy hike with little elevation gain and well marked trail. If you stay here till sunset, you will have the place for yourself. While there, visit Rogla’s tree top walk for amazing views on the trees and surrounding hills!
River Mostnica Valley
Mostnica river is one of the hidden gems of Bohinj valley. The river has created narrow and deep gorge on its way to the valley. The hike goes along the river, crossing the banks multiple times over small bridges. It is a wild, more natural version of Vingtar gorge. In the middle of the Voje valley there is a small alpine hut offering hearty food so you don’t need to pack lunch with you. If you continue from the hut into the upper part of the valley, there is a small waterfall at the end – a nice reward for a couple of hours hike. If you are adventurous you can explore small tributaries of Mostnica for more cool places to photograph. The hike is not difficult but there are some steep and exposed places where one needs to pay extra attention. The best times to visit are late spring when there is plenty of water and trees already green and mid October when the area is full of autumn colours.
Otliško okno (Otlica natural window) is located above Vipava valley. The area is not famous for hiking, more for its delicious food and wine and strong Bora winds. But there are some rewarding hikes up here too. The ridge, north of Vipava valley is a popular “off season” hiking – when the Alps are under snow. Otlica window is a popular destination and there are easy routes as well as a long hike from the bottom of the valley. Photographers will want to be here at sunset – at certain parts of the year one can catch sunstar through the window when sun is setting. Have a sturdy tripod – in case there are proverbial Bora winds!
Mt Viševnik is not the highest peak of Julian Alps but one of the most accessible ones, especially in winter. The best way to hike up this peak is from Pokljuka plateau, not far from Lake Bled. The trail is well marked and technically not difficult. There are a few places that require some scrambling but nothing too exposed. The views on the top are spectacular. Mt Triglav seems you could touch it with your hands! Mt Viševnik can be climbed at any time of year. In winter, make sure you check for local information about avalanches. My favourite time is Autumn – there are often clouds in the valley and if lucky it seems you are on the island in the middle of the sea of clouds!
Mt Mangart is one of the highest peaks of Julian Alps and Slovenia. It is also the most accessible because there is a mountain road leading to the altitude of above 2000m. From this saddle to the peak there are a couple of hours of moderate hike. There are a few places where one needs to scramble up the trail but nothing of technical difficulty. If not experienced, make sure you take the easy, Italian route. Photographers will keep their camera ready all along the trail – the views are spectacular and reaching the peak is just a cherry on top of the cream. If you are not keen on climbing the mountain, there are amazing photo opportunities from the saddle itself. The road is open in summer and until the first snowfall.
Soča River Trail
One of the most scenic hikes in Slovenia is not about conquering the mountain peaks. Soča river trail follows the river from its source, along the most beautiful parts of its upper course. There are suspension bridges to cross, there are narrow canyons where the river is only a meter wide, there are nice pools for swimming and beautiful nature all along. Soča trail can be a one day trip or a multiple day experience – if you are a photographer you want to spend more time in his beautiful valley!
The point of this blog post is to give you ideas and inspiration. To plan your hiking trip or a photography trip to Slovenia here are some resources to look at. These will give you more value than usual travel and social media platforms.
http://www.hiking-trail.net/ – This is the most comprehensive online community for hiking and mountaineering in Slovenia and around. Every peak, every mountain hut, trail, explained in detail along with photos.
https://www.photohound.co/country/slovenia – The best photo spots in Slovenia. Ideal if you are visiting the country independently. This will nicely complement your hiking plans with photography related information about locations and how and when to get there.
https://slovenia-trips.com/ – Guided and self-guided hiking trips in Slovenia. This small, family owned tour operator is run by my friends and we share values and love for Slovenia. This is why I recommend them if you prefer travelling in a small organised group or getting your own customized private trip.
https://www.naturefirstphotography.org/ – Nature should be preserved and cherished and this is why I support Nature First Alliance and their efforts to promote responsible photography.
The above selection of hiking trips is a good start if you are new to Slovenia and have limited time. Each of these trips will give you a beautiful experience in the nature and nice photo opportunities as well. This is how I make hiking decisions. But getting the shots is never the priority, it is a nice bonus. Being out in the nature should always be the reason and a reward. Photography can complement and document this experience so we can re-live it when we are looking at the photos.
If you find this article useful, please share it with your friends and let me know what you think. Check my other Slovenia articles on my blog. Thank you!