Slovenia: Julian Alps Trek

“In all things of nature there is something marvelous.”

Aristotle

Known as “Europe in Miniature” due to its tiny size yet varying landscape, Slovenia is only half the size of Switzerland but is filled to the brim with stunning peaks, lush forests, rushing rivers, flower-filled valleys, and charming mountain villages.

Formerly a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until WWI, Slovenia may be a “young” in global terms of being an independent country but it has an incredibly rich and complicated history and culture that its citizens are deeply proud of. On our 6-day hut-to-hut trek adventure, we will venture through the Julian Alps, which are located in the northwestern corner of Slovenia and nestled snugly between Italy and Austria (within yodeling distance of each!)

We begin our journey in the picturesque town of Bled and end in the small capital city of Ljubljana – in between we will be hiking each day in Triglav National Park along breathtaking ridges, between impressive peaks, and along aqua-colored alpine lakes and rivers. Each day will present itself with a different mileage and altitude – though we stay just under 8,000 ft (so you should not have to worry too much about the effects of altitude). The first and last nights of the trip are spent in wonderful hotels and for the three nights in between, we’ll stay in huts high up in the mountains with stunning views. Pack a sturdy pair of hiking boots and your sense of adventure, and join us on this unforgettable trek!

Details

  • Cost Per Person: $3,150
  • Optional Single Supplement: $400
  • Private Tour Minimum: 5
  • Activities: Hiking
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Guides: TBD

Other Info: Single supplement applies only to our hotel nights (Nights 1 & 5).
For an extra charge (pending availability) you can dine at Hisa Franko - one of the top 100 restaurants in the world, whose chef Ana Ros, was named World's Best Female chef in 2017!

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Trip Highlights

  • Stay in alpine huts amidst the breathtaking peaks, lakes, ridges, and valleys of Triglav National Park.
  • Explore one of Slovenia's most extraordinary natural wonders, the Vintagar Gorge.
  • Spend an afternoon walking around Lake Bled, including a visit to its famous castle and island
DAY 1: Arrival – Ljubljana – Bled

Welcome to the Slovenian Alpine fairytale. You have the option of meeting your Zephyr guides at Ljubljana airport (LJU) this morning or in the lobby of our host hotel, 30 minutes away in Bled (we can book extra nights for you if you’d like to arrive earlier). After brief introductions, we will depart for an exploratory walk to the Vintgar Gorge, one of the most extraordinary natural wonders in Slovenia. Be sure to bring a rain jacket as we will be walking on boardwalks through narrow and dramatic ravines, above the rushing Radovna River. We return back to Bled to visit the medieval Bled castle, followed by lunch on your own and an optional Pletna boat ride or walk around the lake. We’ll have time to refresh and change clothes before gathering for a welcome dinner at our hotel, with fabulous views of Lake Bled.
Today's walk: 2 - 3 hours on flat boardwalks and flat path around lake 

DAY 2: Bled – Stara Fužina – Sedmera Triglav Lakes Hut (elevation 5,528 feet)

After a 30-minute shuttle to the town of Stara Fužina near Bohinj Lake, we will begin our approximately four-hour trek to the Seven (Sedmera) Lakes Valley. Our route passes high altitude pastures and traverses the Valley of Seven Triglav Lakes, with 6,600-foot peaks on your left, the vast green mountain plateau of Komna on your right, and tiny lakes of different shapes and colors that gave inspiration for their names: Brown, Green and Kidney Lakes. You can take your time and go at your own pace. Once we arrive, we’ll drop our daypacks, claim our beds (we will spend two nights at this cozy mountain hut in rooms with one to three other people), have our dinner, and relax in the incredible alpine setting, just under the towering mountains. You'll sleep in one of the most beautiful high altitude alpine valleys just at the foothills of Mt. Triglav, Slovenia’s highest peak.
Today's hike: 5.3 miles, with approximately 2,200 feet of elevation gain

DAY 3: Loop hike near Sedmera Triglav Lakes Hut

We have breakfast this morning at our hut before packing our lunches into our daypacks and heading out for a loop hike with spectacular above-the-treeline vistas. We are staying in the same hut tonight, so we can offer two hikes of different lengths, depending on how you (and your feet!) are feeling today. In either case, you will be surrounded by beautiful scenery and alpine flowers of all colors that are the best remedy to regain one’s strengths – Zois bellflower, Carniolan Lily, Erica, Gentian, with some luck we may spot even Edelweiss.  We break for lunch at a mountain hut along the trail and reconvene at our hut to enjoy a well-deserved dinner. And yes - beverages of all kind (including local beer, wine and schnapps) are available!
Today's hikesOption 1 - 6.4 miles with approximately 1,200 feet of elevation gain / Option 2 - 9.8 miles with approximately 2,500 feet of elevation gain

DAY 4: Sedmera Triglav Lakes Hut – Krn Lake Hut (elevation 4,543 feet)

Another hearty breakfast will be served this morning at our hut before we say goodbye to this lovely place and begin trekking for approximately 8 hours toward Krn Lake (where we can rest our weary feet in the soothing alpine waters after our day-long hike). We will begin our day by hiking on the ridge of Komna Plateau. Limestone rock accompanies us on the right and left, with spectacular views towards the glacial Bohinj Lake. This is the home of magical white chamois buck called the Zlatorog who holds the keys to the golden treasure and as the legend says, lives in these mountains, known to the locals as the “mystic kingdom of the golden horn.” This is also where, during World War I, Italian and Austro-Hungarian troops battled at the Isonzo Front (which set the scene for Ernest Hemingway’s novel A Farewell to Arms). This wild area is home to beautiful mountain flowers and high-altitude farming - perhaps you will want to stop and try some of the local sheep cheese along the way! Dinner tonight will be at our mountain hut.
Today's hike8.6 miles, with approximately 1,600 feet of elevation gain

DAY 5 – Krn Lake Hut – Soca Valley

Today is our last day of hiking in this phenomenal landscape. We begin our four-hour descent into the Soča Valley, where a van will be waiting for us at the bottom for a short 30-minute drive to our hotel in the adventure town of Bovec to enjoy the comfort of our rooms and relax our weary legs at their spa. Or, if you have energy, we can book you in for optional “on your own” activities – we recommend a whitewater rafting trip on the gorgeous Soča River! Tonight, we raise our glasses and celebrate our accomplishments with a special farewell dinner.  (Note, groups have the option to enjoy a culinary extravaganza at Hisa Franko, voted among the 100 best restaurants in the world and owned by the world's best female chef of 2017, Ana Ros. This is based on availability and will incur an additional charge.)
Today's hike3 miles and approximately 180 feet of elevation gain (2,500 feet of loss)

DAY 6 – Soca Valley to Ljubljana

On our final morning, you can choose to sleep in, or explore the cute town of Bovec. We will  shuttle everyone back (two hours) to the town of Ljubljana or to the airport, where we will say our farewells. You can then catch your flight home or continue on to your next destination.

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Trip Accommodations

Night 1 >> Hotel Triglav / Bled

This four-star boutique hotel is family owned and offers stunning views of beautiful Lake Bled with its romantic island and the mountains beyond - a perfect setting to get some rest before our first big day of hiking.

Nights 2 - 4 >> Sedmera Triglav Lakes Mountain Hut (2 nights) and Krn Lake Mountain Hut (1 night)

For the next few nights, we will be staying in dorm-style rooms that accommodate 2 - 6 people in rustic lodges surrounded by incredible mountain views. See our Daily Itinerary for details.

Night 5 >> Hotel Sanje Ob Soci / Bovec

After a few nights in huts, our last night is spent in a cozy yet modern hotel with a friendly staff and well-appointed rooms.

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Arrival & Departure

We will meet you either at the Ljubljana airport (LJU) or in the lobby of our hotel in Bled. There are no direct flights from the United States but there are a number of connecting flights through major European cities. Because of this, we do recommend that you fly in the day before to recover from your travels and ensure you meet us on time.

The tour ends with a late morning shuttle back to Ljubljana where you can catch your flight home or extend your trip.

What's Included
  • Depending on group size, a local guide or guides will accompany each trip and if the trip reaches 10 people, a Zephyr trip leader will also be added.
  • We will be staying in dorm-style huts with two to six bunks for several nights of the tour. Double occupancy lodging is included for our hotel night stays where we will pair you with another guest of the same gender. You may pay the optional single supplement to have your own room for the hotel nights only (Nights 1 & 5).
  • All meals included except lunches on Day 1 and Day 5.
  • All your transportation is included once you meet your guides on the first day.
  • All group activities are included.
  • NOT INCLUDED Beverages, 2 lunches, desserts, gratuities to your guides, personal expenses, and travel to and from the destination. Activities on Day 5 (spa services, river rafting, etc.) are not included.
Weather

The average high temperature in September in Bled and Ljubljana where the tour starts and ends is 68 degrees, while the average nighttime low is 49 degrees. On the mountain, temperatures drop quickly – as much as five degrees per 1000 feet of elevation gain – so be prepared for cool days and cold nights higher up. We will provide you with a complete packing list.

Accommodations

Due to the nature of this tour, we will be staying in a different location each night. Our first and last nights will be spent in charming hotels. While on our trek, we will be hiking from hut to hut. Each hut will offer dorm-style sleeping arrangements and a simple but sufficient breakfast.

Special diets

We truly try to accommodate everyone’s meal preferences on every trip, but we are limited by what the huts have to offer for meals and may not have options that fit every special diet, every time. We would recommend bringing your own snacks or supplemental food so that you ensure that your needs are met.  There are usually vegetarian options everywhere, but meat is a staple, as are potatoes, bread and grains - so low-carb diets can be difficult here!

Changes to Your Itinerary

While everything under “What is Included” will remain the same, the actual restaurants, hotels, and activities listed in our itineraries are subject to modifications. Changes that are out of our control are common – a restaurant closes or loses its awesome chef, a winery changes its visiting hours, a hotel gets remodeled, a road or trail undergoes construction. You are entrusting us to create an outstanding vacation for you and so it is possible we may take the liberty of making necessary changes (even at the last minute, during the guides’ scout trip) to the itinerary that will improve your overall trip experience.

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