Written by Adele Gray, january 2018
Though, in truth, I will never be a lover of winter and snow, since moving to Slovenia in 2007 I have learnt that in winter in the area where I live – Radovljica, in the northwest i.e. the alpine area - snow is a fact of life and, to some extent, have learnt to embrace it!
As such a lover of all-things outdoors, it does curtail my outdoor activities somewhat, but it certainly doesn’t stop me getting out there, and over the years I have discovered some great places to hike in winter.
Below I have chosen some of them to share with you.
St. Peter’s church above the village of Begunje na Gorenjskem is a hugely popular year-round destination for a short hike. There are numerous paths up to the church, beginning either from near the post office or from the Krpin recreation ground. Within around just half-an-hour you are soon rewarded with fabulous views over the Radovljica plains and the Julian Alps.
A further 5 mins from the church leads to the Sankaška koca hut, with its decked terrace, magnificent views of Bled Lake, and delicious homemade food (open Wednesday-Sunday, year-round).
I often try to time my morning hikes so I can watch the amazing winter sunrises – it’s well worth the early start!
Smokuški vrh is located above the hamlet of Smokuč, between Radovljica and Žirovnica. It can be reached from any of the aforementioned paths from Begunje – as if going to St. Peter’s church, or from the village of Rodine.
For many, myself included, it’s a natural extension to a hike to St. Peter’s church, making it just that bit more worthwhile!
The path continues behind the Sankaška koca hut in the direction of Poljška planina mountain pasture. Though there are no signs to Smokuški vrh, it is a well-trodden path and easy to follow. The path branches off to the left shortly before reaching the mountain road that leads to the Žavrsnica valley.
From the top, also known as Peča (1122m), there are fantastic views, a small wooden bench and even a stash of schnapps which can be consumed on an honesty ‘pay-and-drink’ basis!
The Roblekov dom mountain hut (1672m) on Mt. Begunščica in the Karavanke mountains is among the most well-known hiking destinations in the whole country. In 2017 the hut won the title ‘Best Mountain Hut 2017’.
For many, myself included, the fact that you can’t reach the hut by car is a major plus i.e. you have to hike up to earn your view and/or tasty treat, making it all the more rewarding, not to mention peaceful and pollution-free.
Roblekov dom is accessible year-round and is actually probably even more popular during winter than in summer. The hut is open at weekends throughout the winter, and daily during summer.
I particularly love hiking to Roblek in winter to enjoy some winter sun, often finding myself above the cloud that is lingering above the valley - such a smug feeling!
Though based on its location it would be easy to assume that Dobrča is part of the Karavanke range, it actually lies within the Kamnik Savinja Alps.
There are several ways to reach the top including paths which lead from Brezje pri Trziču, Hudi graben, and Bistrica pri Trziču.
I usually choose the path from the hamlet of Slatna, which is located on the road which runs along the foot of Dobrča, from Begunje to Trzič – a mere 10-minute drive from Radovljica. The path leads up steeply through the forest, taking approximately 1.5 hours, to reach the mountain hut, Koca na Dobrči (1478m), which is open at weekends during winter and daily in summer.
The actual top of Dobrča (1634m) is a further 30-minute walk, and from there a further 10-minute walk leads to the Šentanski vrh viewpoint, which is certainly worth the effort as the views from the hut and the top are limited.
In the 10 years I have lived here, Talež, on the Jelovica plateau, has certainly been my most frequented destination, mainly because it’s the closest to home, thus there’s no need to get the car out – ideal when I’m short on time, and also because I can walk there pretty much in all weathers.
There are numerous paths up to reach the Hunter’s Lodge (Lovska koča na Taležu), which was last year completely rebuilt, including those from Lancovo, Bodešče and Ribno, from where there are magnificent panoramic views. During winter the lodge is open at weekends.
The Jelovica plateau is also a paradise for mountain biking – though I would recommend going with a guide if it is your first visit as it is criss-crossed with paths and you could quite easily lose your bearings.
written by Rebecca Svetina, January 2019
I quite enjoy the start of the new year in my (now) hometown of Radovljica. The hype of the holidays has faded and we can enjoy the frost-kissed landscape and snow capped mountains, which makes the fairytale town of Radovljica even more idyllic.