It is no exaggeration to say that hiking in Slovenia is a real national sport. From children to the elderly, families or solitary hikers, there is no Slovenian who hasn’t put on hiking boots at least once in their life and taken the path towards some peak or mountain refuge. There is nothing surprising in truth: green Slovenia, with its woods and mountains, really lends itself to walks and out-of-town trips.
Nature and outdoor activities therefore greatly influence the social life of Slovenians. Over the years, many initiatives have been born that combine the passion for walking and the desire to be together. These events, open to all, offer the foreign traveler an incredible opportunity to get to know local customs up close, to be with the locals, to travel along little-known itineraries of authentic beauty.
If you are in Slovenia at the right time, you like walking and you want to get to know the local culture up close, do not miss these events:
Dedicated to the Slovenian writer Josip Jurčič (1844-1881), the hiking event ‘Pohod po Jurčičevi poti’ takes place every year on the first Saturday in March. The hike takes place in the municipality of Ivančna Gorica (40km southeast of the capital Ljubljana) and runs entirely along the 12km thematic trail dedicated to the writer. The route begins in the medieval old town of Višnje Gora, then climbs to the Polževo plateau and descends to the Jurčič farm in Muljava. It is one of the most popular hiking events in the country and with even 7000 participants in the last edition held before the Covid.
This year the event, in its 24th edition, will take place on Saturday 4 March, the date that coincides with the writer’s birth date. In addition to the social aspect, the event is also interesting from a gastronomic point of view with numerous farmhouses and farms open along the entire route. In the salient points of the path, stamps will be placed on the hiking map as a reminder of the day and at the end of the route a shuttle service will be provided to the starting point of the trek. There is a contribution of €5 per participant for the event.
The Bohinj Cow’s Ball is one of the most famous ethnological events in Slovenia. Its origins are very ancient and until the 1950s it was mainly a celebration for the locals, who, together with farmers and restaurateurs, rejoiced at the end of the tourist and grazing season. It takes place every year in mid-September when the shepherds bring the cattle down to the valley after months spent in the high-altitude pastures. For the occasion, the cattle are decorated while the shepherds wear traditional clothes. Downstream, in the idyllic little settlement of Ukanc, a rich folk program is organized with traditional live music and food stalls. The cheerful atmosphere lasts all day until late in the evening. This year the event will be in its 65th edition. There is a contribution of €5 per participant for the event.
Commemorative march to the lakes of Mt. Krn
The Kobarid museum and the various mountain associations of the Soč Valley have been organizing the annual commemorative march to the lakes of Mt. Krn for more than twenty years in memory of all the fallen on the Isonzo front. This hiking event takes place over a weekend in the first half of November to celebrate the end of the First World War on 11 November 1918.
The march begins in Lepena, an Alpine resort about 15 km from Bovec and ends at the Lakes of Mt. Krn (about 2 hours of ascent) where the ceremony is held. For the occasion, the nearby alpine refuge is opened with a restaurant and overnight stay service. In addition to the historical and cultural peculiarities of the event, this day will remain etched in your memory for the splendid natural views. Generally there are also history buffs dressed in original uniforms of the time.
Odprta meja – Open border
We now move towards the Adriatic Sea, on the border between Italy and Slovenia. Here, for more than 40 years now, the Odprta Meja-Open Border event has been organized by the municipalities of Dolina (Italian side) and Hrpelje-Kozina (Slovene side), which celebrates and commemorates the permanent opening of the border which for many years separated the two nations. Its first edition dates back to 1981 when the border between the two countries was opened for a day.
The hike, or perhaps better to call it a walk, winds along the Friendship Footpath which connects the town of Bagnoli della Rosandra (Italy) with that of Beka (Slovenia). The views and the natural context are splendid with a large part of the route taking place in the Val Rosandra canyon. From a historical and social point of view, the event will offer you more than a few reflections on the impacts that the vicissitudes of the 20th century have had on these border places. To participate, keep free the last weekend of March.
Barefoot walking on Ratitovec (1.678m)
Yes, you read that correctly. Barefoot. It is among the craziest events in Slovenia and in 2022 it had already reached its 14th edition. From what we are told, the participants increase from year to year and among them there are also many families where parents and children all participate together in this crazy excursion. So far, they assure us, everyone has always climbed without problems.
Do you want to try? So keep yourself free in the second half of August and get ready to walk for at least two hours with a difference in altitude of approx. 600 meters uphill. At the end of the excursion you will be greeted by the ‘Krekova koča’ hut – often voted in Slovenia as the most welcoming alpine hut in the country. Here you will receive tea, mountain stew and a commemorative T-shirt. There will certainly be a pleasant (and a little crazy) company. The choice is yours whether to go back down barefoot or not.