The Julian Alps are located in the most south-eastern part of the Alpine arc. The massif sits at the border between Slovenia and Austria and is the largest and highest in Slovenia. In 2003, it became the Julian Alps Biosphere Reserve – a world of unique nature, landscapes with snowcapped peaks, and traditional cultural heritage.
The Triglav National Park is one of the oldest ones in Europe and it spans mostly the eastern part of the Julian Alps. The highest peak of the massif – Triglav (2864m) is a national symbol and a challenge for every climber. However, many other 2000-metre high peaks are a source of pleasure for every traveller.
Mountain huts spread all over the range and offer good accommodation and meals for trekkers. The possibilities to combine a hut-to-hut trek in the Julian Alps are countless. The most popular ones undoubtedly feature an ascent atop the Triglav summit. But there are other treks that, aside Triglav, bring you to the most hidden places of the Julian Alps.
1) The Julian Alps Peak Walk
This 5-day trek takes you to the most popular places in the Julian Alps, including the famous Bled and Bohinj Lakes (the beginning, respectively the end of the trek). During the first days, the trail passes dense fir forests, verdant mountain pastures, and traditional mountain villages. You’ll get the chance to admire incredible alpine scenery as well as meet local shepherds and cheese makers. On the second or third day (late afternoon or early in the morning), you can optionally climb the highest Slovene mountain, Mount Triglav, following a 400-metre via ferrata and a narrow ridge equipped with steel cables. From the foot of Triglav, the route descends along the scenic Triglav Seven Lakes Valley and eventually reaches the slopes overlooking the Bohinj Lake – the largest lake in Slovenia. During the trek, you sleep in mountain huts or small shepherd cottages, eat typical Slovenian food, and taste home-made honey brandy or blueberry schnapps (borovnica). The trek requires a reasonable fitness level (6-7 hours of walking and 1000 metre ascents daily).
2. A circuit on the North Face of Triglav
The most difficult, challenging, and impressive routes to the top of Mount Triglav are via its North Face Wall (or simply called ‘the Wall’) – a huge 1000-metre high and 3000-metre wide limestone wall. As it is one of the biggest in all the Eastern Alps, the ‘Wall’ is popular especially for Alpinists but there are a few easier via ferratas that are suitable for a two-day trek (ascend on the first day, descend on the second day). This two-day circuit on the Wall starts and ends near the Aljažev Dom Hut (1015m), where the amazing North Face stands imposingly at the edge of the Vrata Valley.
The Bamberg Route winds its way up on the right corner of the Wall through narrow glens and abrupt rock cliffs. It is recommended to climb this route only as an ascent (during the first day) since it’s very exposed and includes some pretty vertical sections (all of them safely secured with steel cables). The Čez Prag route is the most popular and easy via ferrata on the Wall and because of this, it’s recommended as a descent back to the Vrata Valley on the second day. The route crosses the Wall on its left side and the most difficult part comes somewhere in the middle – a 15-metre almost vertical climb with cables and footholds carved into the stone. During this trek, you will sleep in the mountain hut of Dom Krederica (2515m) at the foot of Mount Triglav. The trek is suitable only for very experienced adventurers (especially the section on the first day – Luknja Pass to Triglav).
3) The Julian Alps Haute Route Trek
The Julian Alps Haute Route is one of the most preferred mountain trails in the Julian Alps as it summits some of the highest peaks of the massif (Prisojnik, Razor, Bovški Gamsovec, Triglav itself, and Prehodavci). The six-day trek starts from the village of Gozd Martuljek village in the Tamar Valley, climbs 2000-metre-high mountains (including the imposing Triglav), and then descends along the magnificent Seven Lakes Valley to the shores of the Bohinj Lake. The route follows varied terrain, from peaceful beech forests and serene glacial lakes to rocky, vertical passages equipped with via ferrata cables.
The most difficult part of the trail is on the third day when you climb mount Triglav and need to overcome exposed passages with magnificent and unforgettable views. Both mountain huts and budget accommodation (B&B) are available along the trek, where you find can food and drinks too. The trek is suitable for very experienced hikers (especially the section in the second day – Luknja Pass to Triglav) and it requires approximately 7 hours of walking daily.
4) The Grand Traverse: from the North to the South of the Julian Alps
Traversing the Julian Alps from the North (the Sava River) to the South (the Soča River) is a great way to experience a wide range of terrain and also lesser known places. This 4-day trek starts in Mojstrana or Kranjska Gora and climbs to the foot of Triglav via the Čez Prag Route or along the Krma Valley on the first day. Optionally, you can climb Mount Triglav the second day early in the morning, then descend toward the calm waters of the Bohinj Lake via the narrow Mostnica Gorges. This is the most popular part of the trek as most hikers head on towards one of the routes atop Triglav.
The last two days of the trek, you get the chance to experience the medium-high mountains of Bohinj. Climb or take the cable car up to Mount Vogel, from where you have panoramic views of the Bohinj Lake – the largest one in the country. The last descent through the Tolmin Gorges will complete this Grand Traverse in the small town of Tolmin. During the trek, you sleep and eat in mountain huts or shepherd cottages and also experience the process of cheese making in one of the traditional villages nearby the Bohinj Lake. The trek requires a reasonable fitness level (6-7 hours of walking daily) and has no steep climbs or technical difficulties – unless you decide to challenge yourself to summit Triglav or choose the Čez Prag Route on the first day of the trek.
5) The Walk of Peace
The Walk of Peace connects the First World War heritage sites from the Alps to the Adriatic Sea, summing 320km altogether (15-20 days). The trail consists of different sections that vary in length and difficulty but each section can also be hiked separately in one day. On its way, the trail passes the upper Soča Valley in the Julian Alps – a mountain area that was the scene of war battles along the Isonzo Front. Undoubtedly, this is the most scenic and trekked section as it crosses an idyllic area of the Julian Alps, with alpine scenery and panoramic views. It runs along the emerald Soča River, through unspoiled nature in medium-high mountains, alpine pastures with sheep and goats, as well as war trenches and bunkers. The trek is suited for all fitness levels (15-20 km/day), while a range of accommodation and dining options are available in hotels and restaurants in the towns en route.