Hiking and mountain huts in Slovenia

Hiking is a very popular past time in Slovenia. One might even go so far as to call it a national passion and none more so than here, where I live, in the Gorenjska region, home to the Karavanke and the Julian Alps.

There are over 170 mountain huts in Slovenia and many people base their trips to the mountains around visiting one of the huts. The huts vary in their style, accommodation and the food and drink on offer. However, at the very least there is always a cup of warming local tea and some type of soup or stew available.

Whilst the food varies from hut to hut, typical food found in most of the Slovene mountain huts includes ‘jota – a thick soup containing sauerkraut, and potato, ričet – a thick soup containing pearl barley and vegetables – usually these soups can be ordered with meat (sausage or other pork meat) or without (for vegetarians) and various types of sausage. For something sweet, the staple offerings include ‘jabolčni zavitek – apple strudel and/or ‘palačinke – pancakes. The food is pretty standard throughout the year, its isn’t seasonally adjusted, often due to the constraints of getting the food to the huts and the limited storage facilities within so even in the height of summer be prepared for steaming hot soup and comfort food!

Talking of food, you know you must be eating too much pizza when you actually end up having a pizza named after you, as I now have! Pizza Adele, as seen below, now features on the new menu at one of my favourite restaurants, Pizzeria Ema in Srednja vas pri Bohinju, where they have HUGE pizzas. I probably should add that I didn’t eat the whole thing – half lasted until the next day! Give it a try if your passing!


Woops, went slightly off topic there – back to mountain huts! Češka koča, located in the KamnikSavinja Alps, above Jezersko, has a very different appearance to the other mountain huts in Slovenia, due to it having been built by the Czech Branch of the mountain association, hence the name Češka koča, meaning Czech hut. It was officially opened in 1900 and has been renovated several times since then, but still retains its original appearance.    


There are a number of options for reaching Češka koča. Together with 2 friends, we took one of the 3 paths which begin at Ravenska kočna (1080m) and climbs up to the hut at 1542m. The path is marked with the usual red and white circular markations and is easy to follow. The path begins rather steeply up through the forest and later, in places there are wooden ladders and a few exposed sections where this is steel cable to assist, but it is well secured and is not technically demanding.

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From the hut, there are also a number of other tours that can be made, such as to hut Kranjska koča na Ledinah or to the peaks of Grintovec, Kočna or Skuta. However, all the paths from here are rated as ranging from partly to highly demanding and should therefore only be undertaken by experienced and well-equipped hikers.

This coming week, Lambergh Chateau and Hotel in Dvorska vas, near Begunje are hosting 2 events. On Tuesday its the Pool Party featuring night swimming, music and cocktails whilst on Friday, they are holding a Chateau Dinner. The theme for the 5 course dinner, with matching wines, is honey and there will additionally be music, storytelling and a visit from the Radovljica Beekeeping Association. More information about the hotel and their events can be found here – http://www.hotel-lambergh.com/en/

The ‘Kriva jelka’ Path and sweet treats ahead!

As regular readers of my blog will know, I love being outdoors; hiking in the mountains, cycling, running etc. Having lived here for over 6 years now, and spent a large part of that time outdoors,  some might say I know a lot of the paths and the terrain around Radovljica and the surrounding areas better than some of the locals. Indeed,  its not been unknown for me to be taking a friend or two along with me to places they have never been before. I’m told I’d make a good guide – tour guide that is, not a Girl Guide!

I was therefore delighted when, for a change, a friend recently told me about a path which I’d never even heard of before – the circular walking path ‘Kriva Jelka‘, which is part of the ‘Udin Boršt’ forest. Of course, I immediately took it to task to check it out. The path is named after the bent over (kriva) fir tree (jelka), planted by the local tourist association, which replaced the original tree around which bandits used to gather.

The path begins in Zgornje Duplje at Camp Trnovc, which is just a fifteen minute drive from Radovljica. Previously I had never been to, or even heard of, this small family run campsite so it was a great find. It is set in a peaceful location, in the middle of a large meadow, with space for up to 50 campers, tents or trailers and is surrounded by woods and a river. Next door, the owners also run the Trnovc Tourist Farm (Turistična kmetija Trnovc) where, upon prior reservation, home-cooked meals can be enjoyed. There is also a small reception area, with a pleasant shady seating area, where drinks and ice-creams can be bought – a welcome reward after the walk, and where you can get further information and a map for the walk. More information about the Camp and Tourist Farm can be found here – http://www.trnovc.com/ and about the walk here (only in Slovene – http://www.grascina-duplje.si/zz%20kriva%20jelka/



There is an information board at the start showing several options to make a longer or shorter route and path is well marked throughout with a small fir tree on the wooden markings (as seen below). In addition to the Kriva Jelka itself, the path also passes a number of points of interest including the Manor House (graščina) and Vogvar’s House, a heritage protected monument, in Spodnje Duplje and the Kras Cave entrance (kraška jama) in Zadraga.



This coming week, time permitting, I plan to attend a concert by the Carmen Manet Choir, which will take place on Tuesday 17th September at 7pm in the Radovljica Mansion House. Entrance is free. I previously attended a concert by the same choir back in …….. and thoroughly enjoyed their renditions and mixture of classic and modern songs with a twist. You can also listen to a clip of them on my previous blog from January 2013 entitled ‘Shovels Ahoy!’.

I also intend to visit the 2nd Festival of Honey, taking place on Saturday 21st September, at the Gorenjska Beekeeping Centre( http://www.cricg.com/) in nearby Lesce. The event programme kicks off at 10am and includes lectures, presentations, honey themed cookery workshops and a market – ideal for someone with as sweet a tooth as I have!

Actually, it’s going to be a busy one because next weekend its also the Sweet Festival (Sladka Istra) at the coast in Koper. This is one of the largest events of its kind in Slovenia and is a heavenly mixture of all things sweet. Ok, its a bit of a drive to get there but I usually make a day of it – stop somewhere enroute to walk, probably Nanos, weather permitting, take a stroll along the coast to Izola and enjoy the more temperate coastal climate for a change. To be followed by lots of sweet delights! More information can be found here and of course I will be writing about it next week too  – http://www.sladka-istra.si/sl/

Radovljica and Beekeeping

Beekeeping in Slovenia is hugely popular. According to statistics, there are around 8,000 beekeepers which, for a population of just 2 million people, equates to around 4 beekeepers per 1,000 inhabitants.

The reason I am writing about this today is that I was once again reminded of the importance of bees when I saw the trailer for a new film, ‘More than Honey’, which has just been released and is now showing in cinemas in the UK. It looks well worth a view. I have sent the link onwards within Slovenia in the hope that maybe someone will consider bringing it to audiences in Slovenia too. In the meantime, you can watch the trailer here – http://www.morethanhoneyfilm.com/

Radovljica, where I live, is home to not only the Apiculture Museum (that’s beekeeping to you and me), housed in the Radovljica Mansion (seen below) but also the Gorenjska Beekeeping Centre where, on Saturday 21st September, the Festival of Honey and Day of Honey Cuisine will take place. The event, which begins at 10am, will include lectures, presentations and honey themed cookery workshops, as well as a market selling honey related products and an accompanying entertainment programme. More information about the Museum of Apiculture in Radovljica can be found here – http://www.muzeji-radovljica.si/4m_cebelarski/4cebelarski_uvod-en.html


Radovljica is also ideally suited for hikes into the surrounding Julian Alps and the Karavanke range. I spend a lot of my free time hiking, and am particularly fond of the Karavanke, which are literally on my doorstep. At this time of year, I often make a trip to the peak of Dovška Baba (1891m) which stands above the village of Dovje. The views across to the village of Mojstrana, the Vrata valley and its surrounding high mountains, including Triglav, are simply stunning. 


Its a pretty steep hike up through the forest, but nowhere is it technically demanding. There are no mountain huts enroute although there is a herdsmen’s hut at the Dovška Rožca Highland, which is sometimes open at weekends, but this isn’t to be relied on. After passing the highland, it is about a further 20-30 minutes up to the peak where you are richly rewarded with views on one side of Slovenia and the other side across into Austria. However, on its northern side, Dovška Baba is highly eroded (as seen in the picture below) so one should take great care not to get to close to its edge.

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There are also hundreds of other walks in the Karavanke range which are as, if not even more, rewarding. I also like the fact the Karavanke are lesser known, and therefore less crowded, than the Julian Alps. I have written numerous times about walks there, and will of course continue to do so too.

On Saturday of the coming week, 14th September, the central event of the Langus Days Festival (Langusovi dnevi) will take place at 5pm in the village of Kamna Gorica with a fete and entertainment being provided by a local choir whilst amateur painters, who have spent the previous week at the artists colony, display their works of art.

The Dovžan Gorge

Despite still being August, there has certainly been a hint of autumn in the air this past week, with rather chilly, fresh mornings and the first mushrooms starting to appear in the forests.

Summer is, and will always be, my favourite season and I am always sad as it begins to draw to a close. However, every season must end, and autumn, if it’s a mild one, can also be fantastic for hiking and savouring the spectacular colours of the deciduous trees and surrounding nature.

I had heard that the Dovžan Gorge (Dovžanova soteska) had recently been somewhat updated with a new walking path and renovated bridges so I decided to go and check it out for myself. The Dovžan Gorge is located a few kilometres north of the town of Tržič, just a 20 minute drive from where I live in Radovljica. The waters of the Trziška Bistrica river have carved out the gorge, which is particularly known for its rich geological conditions and palaeontologic sites.

The tunnel at the entrance to the gorge, pictured below, was built on the order of Baron Born at the end of the 19th century. This effectively opened the gorge to the world as prior to this residents had to risk crossing a precarious suspension bridge, which was at the mercy of the raging waters.

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It is now possible to make a short circular walk in part of the gorge whilst the other parts lead beside the road. The circular walk, though short, is fairly challenging with ladders and steel grips here and there, so sturdy footwear is a must. This however can be avoided by continuing to walk along the road instead of crossing the river. Those wishing to go a longer walk, as I did, can continue on the road to the village of Jelendol, which is home to the Born Mansion (Bornova graščina) and is also a starting point, as seen on the sign below, for numerous walks into the surrounding Karavanke mountain range; the peaks of Veliki vrh and Kladivo, the very popular Kofce highland and the Stegovnik waterfall. There is also an Exhibition and Educational Centre, in the village of Dolina.


This weekend was Shoemaker’s Sunday uštarska nedelja) in Tržič. I usually attend the event however this year, due to car problems, I wasn’t able to make it. The event,  held annually on the first Sunday in September, is one of the largest of its type in Slovenia and brings the streets of the old centre of Tržič to life, attracting up to 10,000 visitors from all over Slovenia and neighbouring countries. The event was originally intended to showcase shoemaking in the area, with demonstrations and sales of products at bargain prices. These days however, there is a wide range of other products and stalls together with local food and an accompanying programme of entertainment.

A new exhibition, of the work of Andrej Ropret, is opening this week in the Šivec House Gallery (Šivčeva hiša) in the old town centre of Radovljica. Entrance to the exhibition, which begins on Friday 6th September, is free. More information about Šivec House can be found here – http://www.radolca.si/en/radovljica-sivec-house/

Also on the 6th September, the Lambergh Chateau and Hotel in Dvorska vas, near Begunje, are holding a Castle Dinner with gourmet food and accompanying medieval programme. More information about the event and the hotel can be found here – http://www.hotel-lambergh.com/en/