Spectacular sunrise hike above Ljubljana: Šmarna Gora

by Jerneja Fidler Pompe

A lonely hill to the north of the city, Šmarna Gora is not only one of the most popular hiking destinations in Ljubljana, but also a place for great photography, spectacular views, food, and relaxation. The most fascinating time to visit? Definitely morning.

Why sunrise?

While those 366 m of elevation are worth the effort regardless of when you go, it’s the sunrise that really brings out the true magic. If I had to describe it with one word? Spectacular. You stand there at the top of Šmarna Gora still a bit sweaty and out of breath, watching the first sun’s rays peek from behind the horizon with an explosion of colors dancing in the sky, and feel privileged. Privileged to have the front-row tickets for the nature’s finest spectacle. I guess it’s true that the best things in life are free.

  • Why sunrise?
  • Why sunrise?

"I love Šmarna Gora at sunrise. I love the colors, the people, and the unique vibes that fill the air with radiating energy. It just touches me in a way very few other things can. It’s my one hour of the day that keeps me sane and my body healthy."

Plan your hike

To start your day with a bit of exercise and incredible panoramic views on this 669-meter hill, try planning your ascent to catch sunrise at the very top (exact time of sunrise in Ljubljana). If you’re normally fit, you’ll need approximately 30 – 40 minutes for the hike, while you can add an extra 30 minutes if you’re traveling by bus from the city center. That means leaving your room about 1.5 hours before the predicted sunrise would be the preferred plan. No need to bring you own food, though, as the Ledinek’s Inn at the top opens early and offers tasty traditional dishes and pastry.

Getting there

Although there are as many as fifteen trails going up to Šmarna Gora, the most easily accessible trail starts in Tacen, the northern part of the capital Ljubljana. Therefore, if you’re staying in the city center, you’ll be taking the no. 8 bus and get off at the “Tacenski Most” stop. Number 8 bus service starts operating as early as 5.19 AM (from Bavarski Dvor in the center) and leaves every 20 minutes or so. More information on city buses.

Finding the trailhead

That’s the easy part. Once at the “Tacenski Most” bus stop, just cross the road to the parking lot and then follow the red-white circular markings that should lead you all the way to the top. But no worries, there are always people going up kind enough to show you the way.

  • Plan your hike
  • Plan your hike

"The magic begins while still on the trail, while the Kamnik-Savinja Alps make a spectacle of their own on nice days like this."

Hiking with kids

Why not? Technically speaking, the trail is easy, so if you’re lucky enough to have kids who walk uphill even before the day has started properly, then make sure you go for it (though “lucky” is a bit questionable when speaking of early risers… :). Although I’ve hiked Šmarna Gora with my own kids several dozen times with their early beginnings when still in diapers, we haven’t tackled the ‘sunrise’ project yet. As passing on my love for hiking is a long-term process, I wouldn’t want to kill it right in the beginning, would I? Plus, the sunrise hike is so stunning and special that my wish is to experience it with the ones who appreciate it in much the same way as me.

  • Hiking with kids
  • Hiking with kids

"Hopefully, your Šmarna Gora at sunrise turns out as magical as it has for me."

Jerneja Fidler Pompe

An adventurer, a dreamer, an explorer. A real mountain enthusiast. A blogger.

More about Jerneja Fidler Pompe

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