Kranjska Gora and Julian Alps - places to seeJune 28, 2020
Kranjska Gora is a small mountain town in Slovenia surrounded by the Julian Alps, and it's the best starting point for many hikes in Triglav National Park and also for a hike to the Slovene highest mountain Triglav (2864 m). If you love an active vacation, Kranjska Gora is an ideal place for you. You can go biking or mountain biking, take a hike in the mountains, conquer the highest Slovene mountain or simply enjoy the beautiful nature and views on various easy walks in the valleys and woods of the Triglav National Park.
Hiking is a well-developed sport in Slovenia since the late 19th century. At that time, the first mountain huts and ski slopes were built. Hiking paths are well maintained and marked, so it's very easy to go on a self-guided hike in Slovenia. Still, you should be aware of your surrounding, be well prepared and equipped and always let somebody know where you are going - sudden storms or thick fog in the high mountains have surprised and lead of the track also well-experienced hikers.
Even though you might not be an extreme sports enthusiast, Kranjska Gora is a great place to enjoy with family and kids too, as it offers rich cultural and historical background, natural beauties, waterfalls and lakes and easy hikes to the mountains or walks in the valleys - read more about all the things to do in Kranjska Gora bellow.
Kranjska Gora a Julské Alpy – tips for trips around
If you are unlucky on the weather, you can still enjoy a visit to local museums and other historical and cultural places. What to do in Kranjska Gora when it rains:
Russian Chapple in the path to Vršič - wooden chapel built in the First world war by Russian prisoners.
Slovene mountain museum in Mojstrana – an exhibition of the history of Slovene mountaineering
Liznjek and Kajžn house – typical slovene houses and etnographic museums in Kranjska Gora and Rateče.
Ski center Planica – the center of ski training s and also a place of the international championship in ski jumps. There is also a museum, restaurant, and zip line.
Alpen village – is built in the winter in Christmas times, it's a beautiful Christmas market with local products sold in beautiful small wooden houses.
There are many easier hikes around Kranjska Gora for which you don't need special equipment or hiking stamina. The beautiful nature of Triglav National Park and the Julian Alps can be enjoyed on every step you make. Here are a few easy trips around Kranjska Gora to enjoy with your family:
One of the highest waterfalls in Slovenia. It has 2 parts - the bottom one is 52 m high and is approximately 20 minutes walk from the road (steep forest path). You can also walk behind this waterfall and enjoy really beautiful views and a slight shower, be careful though as the path is very slippery. The upper waterfall is smaller, only 16 m high and you will need to do some more steep hiking (15 min), but it's also very beautiful and you will have more peace and quiet up there.
You can head to this waterfall by foot, by bike or by car from Mojstrana (parking is very small). By the road is also a small mountain hut for some refreshment. The road from Pericnik waterfalls continues to mountain hut Aljažev dom in Vrata Valley, where many demanding hikes start. Therefore, the visit to this waterfall can be combined with some whole-day trip to the mountains. (technicaly demanding hikes to Kriški podi, Razor, Škrlatica, Bovski Gamsovec, Križ, Triglav…)
This beautiful half-day or whole day trip to Martuljek waterfalls will excite all nature lovers. It starts at a small parking spot in Gozd Martuljek village (leave the main road by the bridge) and to the first waterfall, it's maybe 1 hour of slow and easy walk on a nice forest path. The whole time you are following the Martuljek river and can enjoy the view of other small waterfalls and high rocks around you.
The second waterfall is another hour of walking, this time on not very well maintained and marked path, which elevates all the way up to 1150 m. It's physically a bit more demanding and you need good shoes, but no other special equipment is necessary. The last few meters to see the waterfall, you must climb some rocks, but the path here is secured by iron steps and ropes. Then you cross a small bridge and get ready to stay breathless. There is also a way to get right under the waterfall, it's short but comparable to mountain ferratas, therefore, I don't recommend it to people without climbing experience. The view of the waterfall is better from the bottom anyway...
Zelenci lake and Nature reserve
Beautiful Zelenci lake is located right by the Podkoren village, there is a small parking from which leads a short path through a low forest (10 min). The lake is a part of the swamp nature reserve and is home to many birds and plants. Its typical green color comes from springs of fresh cold water streaming from many layers of chalk-stone.
This little lake doesn't freeze in the winter, it has a constant whole-year temperature of 6°C. You can admire the views of the lake with mountains in the backdrop reflecting on its surface from a wooden bridge and a small viewing tower. It's forbidden to swim in the lake due to fragile natural habitat!
This artificial double lake on the way to Vrsic pass is an ideal place to rest after a day full of activities. The water is very cold, but also refreshing during hot summers. You can walk around the lake, rent a SUP board, or jump into the cold water from a three-storage tower. There is also a massage path and a bar where you can enjoy a drink or an ice-cream.
There is big a parking by the lake, which is though usually full. You can also walk from Kranjska Gora on a path leading by the Pisnica river (15 – 20 minutes).
Ajdovska deklica rock formation
One of the most peculiar artworks created by nature itself is located on the way up to Vrsic pass. The stone face „Ajdovska deklica“ (Ajda girl) is visible on the north face of Prisank mountain (also called Prisojnik) and is best visible from the viewpoint at mountain hut Poštarska koča na Vršiču and also from the mountain hut Erjavčeva koča.
Legend says, that a pheasant girl Ajda forecasted a hunter to kill Zlatorog (a fable mountain goat with golden horns). Other Ajda women became mad about this prophecy and turned the poor girl into a rock.
Biking path to Italy (to Laghi di Fusine)
A Biking path from Mojstrana or Kranjska Gora all the way to Italy and the beautiful Laghi di Fusina (or further) has replaced old trails and is therefore safely distant from the main road. There are rest stations and playgrounds by the path which makes it suitable for people of all ages. From Mojstrana to the lake and back it's only 53 km.
Tamar Valley (from ski center Planica)
Tamar is a beautiful glacier valley offering amazing views at the surrounding mountains. It's easily accessible and therefore the most visited valley in Triglav National Park. This is a place where many demanding hikes and climbs start, although just the walk from the parking in Planica to the mountain hut in Tamar is beautiful.
Park by the ski center Planica and head on the maintained gravel path towards the mountain hut Tamar. The path leads in the shadow of the trees and is very short (30 min - 60 min with little children). Next to the mountain hut is a small playground and of course some refreshments too. Tamar Valley is suitable to visit all year round, also in the winter (small crampons might be useful).
Krnica Valley (from Jasna lake)
Another easily accessible valley in Triglav National Park is Krnica Valley. A gravel path leading from Jasna lake on the shores of Pisnica river (passing hotel Erika) will lead you within 1 hour to the mountain hut in Krnica, which is surrounded by breathtaking views at Skrlatica, Roglica, and Dovski Gamsovec mountains. Here you can also start for demanding hikes at Srlatica, Razor, and Prisojnik.
To prolong this short walk, you can head further to mountain hut Mihov dom on the road to Vrsic. There is a little elevation before you reach the mountain hut. You can then return on the asphalt road, making shortcuts through the serpentines. Count with additional 2-3 hours and be aware of the cars.
Srednji Vrh (from Gozd Martuljek)
Srednji vrh is a little hill in Karavanke mountains, right above the village Gozd Martuljek. It offers amazing views at the Martuljek mountains, dominated by mountain Spik. You can reach this hill by car or walk on a forest path from Gozd Martuljek.
Srednji vrh is a start point for several other hikes (Trupejevo podne, Vošca, …) though you can visit it just for the views and the amazing pictures you'll make here. You can also walk back to Kranjska Gora through grass and woods (marked walking path). A bit above Srednji vrh, on the way to Trupejevo podne, there is a small dairy farm Pr' Hlebanju worth visit. They have homemade cheese, milk, yogurt, and other local products.
Vršič mountain pass
Vršič mountain pass is a great place to admire the Julian Alps. It's a start point of numerous demanding hikes, but many people go up here by car or bikes just for the views and short walk around. Here are some short walks you could make:
- From mountain hut Mihov dom to mountain hut Erjavčeva koča - 1 h 30 min
- From mountain hut Mihov dom to mountain hut Koča na Gozdu - 45 min
- From mountain hut Erjavčeva koča to mountain hut Poštarski dom - 35 min
- From mountain hut Tonkina koča to mountain hut Poštarski dom - 50 min
Slemenova špica (1911 m)
Start the hike to Slemenova Špica from Vršič (1h 15 min) or mountain hut in Tamar (2h). From the top, you'll see the ski jumps in Planica and other peaks above the Tamar Valley. The most beautiful view is on Jalovec mountain form a small lake under the top.
From Jasna lake, from the bridge over Pišnica, leads an easy marked path, which 3 hours later ends on the top of Ciprnik. From there you can enjoy views at Martuljek mountains on the east and mountains Jalovec, Ponce and Mojstrovka on the west. In clear weather, you can also see Karavanken mountains, Dobratch and the Austrian Alps with their three-thousand peaks. One hour before reaching the top of Ciprnik, you can have a break and some refreshment in a mountain hut Mojčin Dom na Vitrancu (1555m), which is also a great hiking destination itself.
Peč - Tromeja (1508 m)
Peč (also Tromeja), Monte Forno in Italian, or Dreiländereck in German is a 1508 m high mountain on the borders with Slovenia, Austria, and Italy. From the top you will get amazing views at the Julian Alps, Gailtal Alps, Gurktal Alps, and Western Karavanke. Start the hike in Ratece village, you will reach the top approximately in 1 hour and 30 min.
Hike to Triglav (2864 m)
Mountain Triglav in the heart of Julian Alps is the highest Slovene mountain and therefore also one of the most popular peak to climb. On the top is standing the Aljaz Tower, built in 1895 by Jakob Aljaž, a priest from v Dovje. Today is this tower protected cultural heritage and popular photo spot (but for the love of gods, don't climb on it!). Slovene tradition says, that when climbing Triglav, every newcomer must be accompanied by already experienced Triglav conquerer, who will then give the newcomer few slaps on the sitting part, while standing right next to the tower, of course, the weapon of choice is a piece of a climbing rope. In summer months, you can often meet musicians and a beer seller on the top, who make these great experience even better.
You can hike to Triglav from several places in Triglav National Park. All paths are technically and physically very demanding, therefore, don't underestimate the preparation and your equipment (climbing belt, helmet, hiking boots, enough food and water, warm clothes, raincoat). The most popular (and therefore safest) hiking paths are from:
- Mountain hut Aljažev dom v Vratih – 6 hours
- Krma Valey – 6 hours
- Pokljuka center – 6 hours
Špik (2472 m)
Špik mountain is a dominant of Martuljek mountains and is clearly visible already from the road to Gozd Martuljek. From the top of Spik you can see all Karavanke mountains, the upper Sava valley, other Martuljek mountains, and the Julian Alps. You can get to the top on a demanding 4 - 5 hours hikes from Krnica Valley, or from the Russian cross. The shortest path is from the Krnica valley and takes 4 hours, a helmet is recommended due to falling rocks.
Mangart (2679 m)
Mangart (also Mangrt) and Mangart saddle is a highly popular mountain in the summer. The access is made much easier thanks to a road leading to the very top - as high as 2000 m. (the road access is now limited by a ramp). Mangart is one of the highest mountains in Slovenia, and on the top with a cross, you get a beautiful view on Jalovec mountain and the Italian Alps. That is when you are lucky on clear weather without a fog...
You can again choose from several hikes, though all are technically and physically demanding, the short length of the hikes make them easier. From the saddle it takes 2 hours on a Slovene (ferrata) or Italian trail, from Laghi di Fusine it's 6 hours, from the Predel bridge its 4,5 hours. Recommended equipment: helmet and climbing belt, if you take the Slovene trail. You can also visit just the saddle, which is suitable also for less experienced hikers.
Prisojnik (Prisank, 2547 m)
Prisank also called Prisojnik is a 2547 m high mountain located between valleys Mlinarica, Krnica and Suha Pišnica. From the top are amazing views at the highest peaks of Julian Alps and you can get up there from several starting point of various difficulcy and legth. The easiest path is Slovene trail, a bit harder is the ridge trail (grebenska pot) and the hardest is Kopiscarjeva ferrata (one of the hardest in Slovenia). This ferrata leads thrugh a big mountain window you can see from far distance and is full of hard climbs, narrow passses requiring crawling and exposed vertical walls, therefore climbing belt and helmet are absolutely neccesarry. For the two easier paths helmet is recomended.
Škrlatica (2740 m)
Škrlatica is the second-highest mountain in Slovenia. On the top is a cross, thanks to which it's easily recognizable when looking at from other peaks. From the top is a nice view at all peaks above Vrata valley, especially at Triglav and Dolkova spica. Škrlatica is accessible on several trails, all are very demanding and the hike usually takes 6 - 8 hours. The shortest trail starts at mountain hut Aljažev dom in Vrata valley (Mojstrana). Recommended equipment is a hiking helmet and hiking belt.
Jalovec (2645 m)
Jalovec is the sixth highest mountain in Slovenia. From the top which is steeply falling towards three mountain valleys (Loška Koritnica, Tamar and Zadnja Trenta) is opening an excellent view at the highest peaks of the Julian Alps. The starting points to Jalovec are Tamar valley or Vršič pass, both very demanding and long hikes (6 hours and more). Equipment: helmet and climbing belt.
Mala Mojstrovka (2332 m)
Thanks to relatively high altitude and easy access is Mala Mojstrovka one of the most visited peaks in the Julian Alps. From the top you can see surrounding mountains such as Velika Mojstrovka, Mangart, Slemenova špica, Ponce, and other peaks above Krnica valley, with dominants of Škrlatica and Prisojnik. Starting point – Vršič, 2 - 3 hours. Equipment: helmet and climbing belt recommended.
WARNING: when hiking demanding paths, always sign in the registration book on the top and in the mountain huts, including from where and to where you are going. This is not for statistical purposes but to make it easier to find you in case you get lost. Always have plenty of water with you, especially in the summer at least 3 liters, energetic snacks, and additional warm clothes even in sunny weather - it can rapidly change in the Alps. Don't wear sports trainers and sandals in the high mountains, that's what hiking and trekking boots are made for.
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Kranjska Gora and Julian Alps - places to see