Anyone visiting Ljubljana who wants to feel like a local should climb Šmarna Gora (whose name in English means St Mary’s Mount). On fine days, particularly at weekends, this very popular hiking destination on the edge of Slovenia’s capital city can get quite crowded. In part (or above all) because of the fantastic view and the excellent gostilna (restaurant) at the summit.
It is well worth spending time here, especially on a clear day, to relax in the shelter of the little pilgrimage church and enjoy the view of Ljubljana with the river Sava, the surrounding hills and the Alps beyond. And also to indulge in a snack or lunch at Gostilna Ledinek, with a menu consisting of traditional Slovene dishes. Below the church is a children’s playground and an open-air fitness area. Before going back down the hill you can ring a bell for good luck – St Anthony’s Bell just below the summit is also known as the “wishing bell”.
A dozen routes lead up to Šmarna Gora from various starting points. We have chosen the route via Spodnja Kuhinja (“Pot čez Spodnjo Kuhinjo”) starting in Tacen, where there is a large car park (charges apply) and which can also be reached by bus. It is also known as the “Path over the Roots” – for reasons that will soon become apparent! This is the most popular route up Šmarna Gora, on which you will meet other hikers from early morning until late in the evening. The route is not exposed, but it is quite steep, with frequent tree roots on the path and some rocky sections.
From the car park follow the hiking signs to the foot of the hill. The well-maintained path leading up into the forest is initially quite steep, although it widens and levels out after the initial ascent. It then climbs a little more steeply again for a while until it traverses the slope, at which point the path climbs gently to a fork where it joins a wider track. Follow this track (past a chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary) up to the saddle, where the path emerges from the forest for a while. From here follow the comfortable macadam path to the fork. For the final ascent to the summit, you can either continue on the wide macadam path or enter the forest and take a narrower, rockier and steeper path leading past the chapel dedicated to the Holy Sabbath. We recommend going up via this path and descending via the gentler route.
Same route as the ascent
Access to the starting point
- By car (car park)
- LPP city bus (lines 8, 1B and 1D)