Slovenia - Mountain Walking - August - September 2015
I spent a very enjoyable 23 days walking in the mountains of
Slovenia. I started from the city of Maribor and first crossed the
Pohorje Plateau, and then made my way to the very rugged
Kamniško-Savinjske Alpe. Then over some smaller peaks to the
Karavanke Alps, and next to the Julian Alps. All of this walk was
along good tracks, although some of the steeper and exposed
sections has assistance in the form of steel pegs and cables. All
nights were spent in either mountain huts (kočas or doms) or
hotels or hostels in the valley towns. Meals and other
refreshments were available at those locations and the only food I
carried was some bread, cheese and salami for lunch and a few
other items of snack food.
The route I followed for the most part was the Slovene
High Level Route (Slovenska Planinska Pot or Transverzala).
This route is very well described in a Cicerone Guidebook
"Trekking In Slovenia" by Justi Carey and Roy Clark (2009). In
addition my friends Ashley and Kendy Burke walked a long section
of the Transverzala in 2010 and were very enthusiastic about it.
Ashley has well
documented their walk on his
website. Ashley's photos were great inspiraion for my
trip. He also went out of his way to answer my queries. I
thank him for his very generous help.
"Don't be in a hurry. Stop. Listen. Feel."
Page 1 - Maribor - Pohorje
Plateau - Slovenj Gradec
Page 2 - Slovenj Gradec - Solčava
Page 3 - Solčava - Kamniško-Savinjske
Page 4 - Kamniško-Savinjske Alpe -
Page 5 - Zgornje Jezersko - Tržič
Page 6 - Tržič - Karavanke Alps
Page 7 - Karavanke Alps - Mojstrana
Page 8 - Mojstrana - Julian Alps
Page 9 - Julian Alps - Bohinjsko Jezero
I used these maps -
All 1:50,000 scale, Planninska Zveza Slovenije. I bought the first
map from the Tourist office at Maribor, and the other three at a
bookshop in Slovenj-Gradec.
- Kamniško - Savinjske Alpe
- Triglavski Narodni Park
site has a map of the whole Transverzala, with a gpx file that
you can download.
All mountain accomodation was in mountain huts known as koča or dom,
that are owned by the Planninska Zveza Slovenije. The hut keepers
also provide food and refreshments. I am a member of the Austrian
Alipne Club and this provided a discount for the accommodation part
of the bill. In the towns in the valleys I stayed in hostels, hotels
or Bed and Breakfast places. All were good and on many occasions the
local tourist office was very helpful with accomodation advice and
bookings. I found I spent about €30 - €35 in the lower huts and €50
in the higher huts each night (afternoon drinks, dinner,
accomodation and breakfast). It is possible to book the huts in
advance - but I never did this. I did find huts booked out on some
occasions - probably due to special events eg a birthday party.
Quite often however, I was the only overnight guest staying in the
hut. Most visitors only called in for a meal or drink during the
day. Huts were always busier on weekends (Saturday night).
Food and Drink
The huts provide quite good meals - but the choice is often limited
(which is fair enough given their location). Common meals are
Goulash (beef stew), Ričet (Barley stew - often with meat), Jota
(Boiled sausage with sauerkraut), Thick vegetable soup, Pasta such
as Spaghetti Bolognaise). All meals are served with a bowl or bread.
Breakfast - I mainly had bread with jam and coffee and/or tea. Tea
is often very sweet fruit tea. The local beer is excellent.
The main brands are Union and Laško. I particularly enjoyed the
For lunch, I carried a small loaf of bread and cheese and salami.
Chocolate for snacks. Orange drink powder.
I took a small Lonely Planet Phrasebook (Central European) - which
had a brief but useful Slovene section. I found most, but not all
hut keepers spoke reasonable English. English seemed to be a
lot more spoken than German (Eg Austrian hikers I met spoke in
English to the hut keepers - evn in huts on the border). The only
Slovene I learnt were essential words like "Pivo" (beer).
For hikers - the following is useful -
kot or dolina - valley
vrh - summit or high point
sedlo - saddle
slap - waterfall
voda - water
planina - alp or open clearing
I cashed up on Euros from ATM's in Vienna and Maribor. There were
ATM's in many of the towns I passed through - eg Slovenj-Gradec,
Solčava, Mojstrana. Most of the mountain huts only accepted cash.
I carried all my stuff from Australia with me - including spare
clothes, camera batteries and chargers, cables etc. I found I could
recharge my batteries in all the towns and some of the mountain
huts. All the towns had wifi available in my accommodation - which
was useful to keep in touch with friends, weather forecasts etc.
Some stuff I carried -
Pack - smallish backpack
Sleeping Bag - I carried a 500 g bag and did use it a bit, but most
huts had blankets.
Inner Sheet (silk) - I used this in many mountain huts although
quite a few had linen.
Water bottle - essential in the limestone country with little
surface water. A 1.25 PET bottle was sufficient. Many huts had taps
where you could fill your bottle. Or you could use springs. I had to
buy bottled water twice.
Clothes - I mainly walked in shorts and a light shirt. A hat was
very useful. I also used a light fleece and sometimes long pants.
Once or twice - light gloves and a beenie. I also carried a
Patagonia Nanopuff jacket whcih I wore around the huts. I never used
a down vest I carried. I wore Salomon hiking shoes and light Darn
Tough socks ( 2 pairs - which I alternated every few days). 2
thermal tops (one 1 next time), Rain jacket - useful, overpants -
used a bit, should have been used more!)
Trekking poles - very useful (Helinox)
Gadgets - Camera (see below), Kindle - very useful in the evenings
in the huts when no one spoke English, iPhone (useful when wifi was
available) - and I had the openstreet map for Slovenia loaded on
(using the map.me app), iPod nano, GPS (Etrex - very seldom used),
very small radio - seldom used (no English language stations that I
could pick up)
Harness and Via Ferrate self belaying device - never used on this
trip (but could have been essential if I had varied my route)
Very small first aid kit, toiletries. Suncream - used in the high
Swiss army knife, spoon and cup (the scissors on the knife were
useful for trimming fingernails etc)
Light pack cover (used a bit)
Emergency shelter - small cuben fibre tarp (not used)
The weather I had was mixed. Most days were fine and excellent
walking weather. I had some very wet days - best spent in the
shelter of a hut. I had some very hot days in the high mountains -
and it was hard to find shade. When wifi was available I could get a
weather forecast (I had pre-bookmarked locations like
this using the Norwegian Weather Service) - these forecasts
were generally reliable and very useful.
I carried a Sony Nex 7 with 18-200 and 10-18 mm lenses. This was a
good combination. I carried 5 batteries (but could have got by with
2 due to recharging possibilities). I carried a few filters - but
rarely used them. I carried a very small tabletop tripod (Gitzo
GT531 - about 600 g with RRS ball head) - I used this a bit but
probably not enough to justify its weight. Lens tissues and brush.
Slovenia is a small country with a population of about 2 million. It
is a very beautiful country. About 2/3 of it is still covered by
forests. The land seems well cared for - both the forests and farms.
Many of the houses in the mountain districts are decorated by
flowers, like in Switzerland. Many houses have good gardens - both
flowers and vegetable gardens. All the people I met were very
friendly and went out of their way to welcome visitors. Public
transport (mainly trains) was good.
A lot of the locals enjoy mountain walking (1 in every 25 people is
a member of the Planninska Zveza Slovenije (Alpine Club. Also it is
quite common to see people walking in the mountains with their dogs.
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