HIKING TOUR · SELF-GUIDED

Trekking the Karawanks

Hiking the Less Traveled Ridge-Line Trail

Hut-to-hut Hiking on Slovenia-Austria Border Ridge

KARAWANKS · SLOVENIA-AUSTRIA BORDER · UPPER CARNIOLA REGION

Embark on this gorgeous and diverse hiking traverse of one of the longest mountain ranges in Europe – a 120 km long Karawanken range.

It is a pure hiking pleasure from east to west, mostly on the Slovene-Austrian border, crossing the off-the-beaten-path hiking trails, and staying in small friendly mountain huts with the best sunset & sunrise views!

If we compare this trip to the hikes in the Triglav National Park, you can expect: fewer fellow hikers, a higher percentage of locals, less rocky terrain, and views all over western Slovenia & Austria’s Carinthia.

Walking on Mt. Stol above Lake Bled, Slovenia

Day 1: Arrive at the foothills of the Karawanks

*Reach a small mountain village of Krize independently or fly into Ljubljana Airport. We’ll arrange your airport transfer.

Surrounded by all three high-mountain chains in Slovenia; a bit distant, but already spectacular Julian Alps, the western ridge of slowly descending Kamnik-Savinja Alps and the magnificent Karawanks behind them, Krize is a picturesque mountain village and a great base for day hikes all over the Slovenian Alps.

Depending on the time of your arrival, you can explore the area and warm up for the upcoming hiking adventure. Your friendly host will point out a few scenic hikes in the area or you can visit one of world’s best known geological treasures, the Dovzan Gorge, where you can in less than two kilometers walk through 40 million years of our planet’s history.

In contrast, you can just relax, do your final preparations for the hike and fill up your supplies of chocolate bars, nuts and dehydrated fruits.

Overnight: nice 3* family-run B&B in Krize

*Let us know if you will need transfers or a car rental and we will adapt the itinerary & pricing.

 

Day 2: Hike the baron’s secret trail

Drive your car to the end point of the hike in the morning and get a transfer by your host to the trailhead at Ljubelj WWII concentration camp Memorial park.

Start by following a well-trodden unmarked trail through a nice forest and past a lovely church of St. Anna. Just before reaching the border with Austria, you will continue on a scenic trail built by the famous baron Born’s family, primarily for hunting purposes of their noble guests. A gravel and rocky trail takes your through a series of short tunnels to the southern slopes of Mt. Begunjscica and to a friendly alpine farm at Prevala Saddle. Take a short break, try fresh dairy products or their famous “štruklji” – cottage cheese dumplings.

From here on, the scenic trail bites into the steep slope and does not level out until you reach the long panoramic ridge which takes you to the summit of Begunjscica, where you’ll be rewarded with astonishing views towards the Julian Alps and the rest of the Karawanks. Descent west and soon spot your mountain hut just below.

If you went for seconds on the “štruklji”, you might prefer to take the easier route out. From the Prevala Saddle, follow a marked trail into a lush forest and enjoy astonishing views all around. Enjoy the serenity and reach a mountain hut at an amazing location with views towards Mt. Triglav and Lake Bled.

Hiking option 1: 8 km / elevation gain +1000 m, -650 m / approx. 6-7 hours, over Mt. Begunjscica
Hiking option 2: 7 km / elevation gain +650 m, -80 m / approx. 4-5 hours, easier route
Overnight: mountain hut (private rooms) with shared bathrooms

 

Day 3: Through the very heart of Karawanks

Walk over high alpine meadows and plateaus and through moon-like high mountain cirque, with views to the highest peaks of the Karawanks. At first you are hiking on the edge of the tree line and on carpets of lush grass and flower fields, whereas the second part of the trail is on rough rocky terrain with some steeper scree sections.

If you still feel strong enough and the weather serves you, gather strength for a 15 min final ascent to the highest peak of the Karawanks, Mt. Stol. Your reward will be breathtaking vistas all around you, to the Julian Alps and even some profound mountains in the Austrian Alps.

Hiking: 8 km / elevation +1050 m, -550 m / approx. 5-6 hours
Overnight: mountain hut (private rooms) with shared bathrooms

 

Day 4: The prettiest ridge of the Karawanks

Continue west just below the main ridge of the Karawanks, enjoying views of the Upper Sava Valley and the Julian Alps. You will cross different kinds of typical karst surface to reach the ridge trail that will take you just below Mt. Vajnez. For a proper morning warm-up, make a detour and summit it over its grassy southern slopes.

Follow the ridge trail and walk through pine forest, alpine meadows, past hunter’s cabins, and alpine farms, to amazing spots with stunning views on both sides of the ridgeline. A gentle forest trail will bring you to a popular mountain hut where you spend your last night of the trek.

Hiking: 14 km / elevation +300 m, -890 m / approx. 5-6 hours
Overnight: mountain hut (private rooms) with shared bathrooms

 

Day 5: Morning colors at Mt. Golica

Beat the alarm clock and do a sun-rise hike to one of the most popular Karawanks peaks among locals, Mt. Golica. At the end of May, its slopes are white – not because of snow, but because of snowy white daffodils. When you reach its summit over a few rocky switchbacks, you will be rewarded again with astonishing views towards the mighty Julian Alps and the High Tauern in Austria. Return to the hut for a well-deserved breakfast and a big cup of coffee.

Descend across the friendly western slopes towards the Rozca Saddle and further down to the pretty village of Planina pod Golico. You will mostly walk along comfortable forest trails and enjoy the views towards the Upper Sava Valley below you. Enjoy this alpine fairy tale, it’s your last day here!

Once you reach Planina pod Golico walk to your car and continue with your journey to your next destination.
*If you would like to spend another night in the guesthouse in Krize, let us know and we’ll arrange a transfer from the end of the hike.

Hiking: 9 km / elevation +370 m, -1000 m / approx. 4-5 hours

Inclusions

Exclusions

  • Arrival to and departure from Krize.
  • Meals and drinks not specified in the Inclusions.
  • Travel insurance.
  • Personal expenses.
  • Other services not specified in the Inclusions.

Optional

  • Single traveler supplement: 270 €

Activity Level 3 – MODERATE hiking

Expect to walk 5-7 hours per day, with 10-15 km (6-10 miles) in distance and up to 1000 m (3300 ft) of elevation gain on the hardest day. It might not sound much, but so far no one has ever said that it was too easy. Therefore you must be in reasonable shape and have some hiking experience to fully enjoy this tour.

What are the trails like?

Most of the trails are comfortable and wide. However, they are also uneven, sometimes rocky and narrow, with gravel, grass and forest soil surfaces. You can expect to walk over some short, steep, sometimes slippery sections, especially when wet. Some of the trails are in the shade of a forest and others are above the treeline, so be prepared for sun exposure too.

Trekking the Karawanks self-guided hiking trip can be done anytime between June and September. Mountain huts usually open in late June and close on October 1st.

What is the weather usually like?

Weather in the mountains can change a lot. On a sunny summer day it can be very hot, even above 30 deg C (90 deg F), which is a must for sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat (for shade)! If the weather is bad and windy you will need really warm clothes. Be prepared for temperatures as low as 5 deg C. This does not mean you have to bring a thick down jacket and thermal pants, but just keep in mind that it can get cold and unpleasant.

We also recommend having a thin (lightweight) layer to cover your arms, legs, and the back of your neck to prevent sunburns.

Essential read: our Best time to hike in Slovenia blog post.

First night you’ll stay in a cozy 3* family-run B&B, in double or single rooms with en-suite bathroom.

In addition, you will spend three nights in typical Slovenian mountain huts.

What are the mountain huts like?

The huts in the Slovenian Alps are quite basic, but they offer everything a hiker needs: food, drinks, and accommodation. Some of the huts are accessible only by helicopter, others have rough gravel roads leading to them. Thus food supply is limited, so expect simple menus of mountain food like different stews (vegetable or with meat), pasta, and sausages. They also sell chocolate, soft drinks, water, beer etc. The usual breakfast would be eggs, ham, cheese, butter, jam…

The huts we use on this hiking tour have dry toilets, shared washrooms, and no showers.

Expect to share a room, toilets, bathrooms, or washrooms. Rooms are from 4 to 12 beds. When available, we will book private rooms.

Miha Gantar
Slotrips founder, trip designer & guide

Miha Gantar, Slotrips' founder, trip designer & guide

I was born in Slovenia’s lovely capital city of Ljubljana but had set the avid hiker and biker in me aside for a while to study civil engineering in Germany. It was there where I met my wife, my cute Spanish girl. Together we traveled the world and finally settled in my homeland, Slovenia in 2007. Since then I have been (re)discovering the hiking trails, biking backroads, hidden natural treasures, and best dining spots all over the country. I am in love with Slovenia’s landscape, diversity, and cultural variety and will proudly show you my “backyard”.

Meet the team

“Trekking the Karawanks is spectacular!

Thanks to Miha and Slotrips I found out about this amazing trek. Every day on this hike was different and full of surprises, the views are jaw dropping and some of the best I saw in Slovenia. It was less crowded than the other places and a great finale to my adventure in Slovenia. The communication with Miha was wonderful…so if you are planning a visit, he is your guy to ensure an unforgettable trip.”

Yossi Berg
from Israel

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How do your self-guided tours work?

You will be surprised! We have done (and are still doing) a ton of work to make sure your independent active holidays in Slovenia (and across the borders) are flawless, fun, and hassle-free. With the implementation of modern technology and our extensive local knowledge, we believe we are on the right way of delivering exceptional hiking & biking experiences that you are able to enjoy at your own pace. Read more about our “self-guided added value”.

What to bring for this walking tour?

Check our recommended packing list.

Do I need a sleeping bag?

Not necessarily. The huts provide blankets and one-time-use paper sheets. However, we highly recommend bringing a lightweight cotton sleeping liner (travel sheet), because you’ll sleep better on it and avoid making unnecessary waste and help preserve some trees. 

Is luggage transfer between the mountain huts possible?

No. You will need to carry your belongings throughout the entire hiking tour. Yet your main luggage will be stored at the hotel in which you’ll stay after the hiking tour.

Do the mountain huts provide vegetarian/vegan meals?

Food in mountain huts is quite basic. There are options for vegans and vegetarians, but the selection is very limited. If you have any special dietary restrictions or needs, we recommend bringing your own snacks and treats.

Are the animals dangerous?

You can expect to encounter cows, goats, sheep and perhaps even wild animals, like deer, squirrels, marmots, birds and more. Usually, all livestock and wild animals are shy and afraid of people but sometimes you might meet a more domesticated or curious one. It might just want to get a really good smell or taste of you or your sandwich, but there is nothing to be afraid of. Sometimes they’ll stand in the middle of your trail, just staring at you without showing any interest in letting you pass. Then try to find a different place to pass them, but don’t scare them. 

In case you encounter snakes, which are just as afraid of you as you might be of them, in no case try to catch them as they might be poisonous. 

Price

470 € per person

Photos by Slotrips and STO (Aleš Krivec)

Need to make some changes to the itinerary?

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Price: 470 €
An elevation profile of 3 day Alpe-Adria trail, between Tonkina koca and Kekec Homestead
An elevation profile of 3 day Alpe-Adria trail, between Kranjska Gora and Tonkina koca
An elevation profile of 3 day Alpe-Adria trail, between Kekec Homestead and the town of Bovec

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