The thing about Slovenia is that every settlement, no matter how small, has its own favoured hill where everyone goes to get their weekly (daily?) dose of exercise. And what Šmarna Gora is for Ljubljana, Planina nad Vrhniko (Eng.: Plateau above Vrhnika) is for Vrhnika. And that’s exactly how I learned about it. My colleague and friend, who happens to live in Vrhnika, invited me and my family to a few-hour hiking adventure on his favourite hill, then freshly covered by a thick blanket of fluffy snow. To put it mildly, it was extraordinary, even for a high-mountains junkie like me.
A winter fairy tale and stunning scenery above Vrhnika
As fog lingers among the busy streets of Ljubljana, a small town on the south-western edge of the Ljubljana Moors and its embracing rolling hills lure young families, trail runners and other adventurers for a nice day in the sun. One of the most visited hills above Vrhnika might be small in size but totally and utterly captivating.
Combine sightseeing and the outdoors
A small town just 20 km from Ljubljana, easily reachable by public transport (more information on city buses), Vrhnika, has a lot to offer, like various exhibitions and museums. When you go for a hike, I suggest you make it a half-day trip and combine it with a short dip into Vrhnika’s history.
Finding the trailhead
At 733 m, Planina nad Vrhniko offers many trails, anything from short and easy to moderately difficult and long. If you start in Vrhnika, your best choice is to follow signs for ‘Zavetišče na Planini nad Vrhniko’, which start by the last traffic light post on the road towards Logatec. From there, it’s only 433 m of ascent and about one hour to the top.
Incredible views from the top
The one thing you’ll not want to miss is to climb up the 22-m observation tower, built in 2008 as a replacement for its 16-m predecessor. As it peeks out of the forest, it allows for 360-degree scenic views, which can turn pretty epic on a clear day.
Soak up the mesmerising views from the observation tower and see as far as the Julian Alps along with Mt. Triglav, while short winter days usually end in incredible sunsets over the Kamnik-Savinja Alps and the Karawanks.
Food and drink
While there used to be an old mountain hut at the top, its keepers tore it down at the beginning of 2017 and are now building a completely new lodge which will soon open its doors. Until then, keep in mind to bring snacks along as the only thing they serve at the moment is hot tea and some packed goodies like chips. Enjoy!