Slovenia is one of the most underrated European destinations, especially if you’re a nature lover. The country opened up a new walking route location in the northwest, a mountainous region, and it is totally unlike any other long term walking trails you might already know. It aims to cater to culture and food lovers, and it is one heck of an experience.
The Juliana Trail is 167 miles long and is a loop that takes you around the Julian Alps. It is meant to take travelers to often overlooked areas of Triglav National Park. However, forget about the tent and canned food.
Local farmers offer fresh cheese and powerful schnapps that you can sample alongside free grazing sheep and cattle as well as forests littered with historic ruins.
The route is friendly to all levels of hikers and has 16 different stages you can take. They are all pretty flat and take your through villages that are about 10 miles apart. At the end of each day on the trail, you’ll end up in civilization.
You will encounter places like Bled, a resort town which is on the shores of a glacial lake, and Grahovo ob Bači, which is a tiny settlement with a population of just 112 people. The whole route takes about 10-16 days, but you can take as long as you like.
Stages 1-3 start out at Kranjska Gora, which is just 5 miles from the Italian border. That explains Hotel Kotnik’s Pizzeria Pino, one of the oldest and most delicious pizzerias in the province.
You’ll then continue on to hiking by the riverbanks of Mojstrana and the more daring hikers can venture to summit Triglav, the highest peak in Slovenia, coming in at 9396 feet. Stay at the renovated Apartment Grad Kamen in Begunje where you’ll see the thousand year old castle Grad Kamen.
Stages 4-7 will show you some of Slovenia’s most impressive lakes, which will show you why they are known for them. Lake Bled, found under the cliffs of Bled Castle, is absolutely stunning.
Spend the night in Vila Prešeren with a restaurant that boasts increible dishes and delicious local Slovenian wine. Park Cafe nearby originated Slovenia’s famous Bled cream cake.
Stages 8-10 will take you through the hillsides along the Bača River, where you’ll get a respite from tourism and find isolated villages. Next you can explore Podbrdo, a village where you can dine on freshly caught river trout at Brunarica Slap.
Hike to Most-na-Soči and stay at the amazing bungalows at Penzion Šterk where you’ll have gorgeous views of the Bača and Soča rivers.
Stages 11-16 will take you through the final stretch of the trip. You can see Fort Hermann, which is a 100 year old fortress atop a cliff near the town of Bovec. At Letni Vrt Pr Jakču you can sample the traditional cheese and potato hash called frika.
The trail will then take you on a quick little crossing into Italy where you can visit the village of Tarvisio. Then you’ll loop right back to Kranjska Gora, thus completing your journey through the Julian Alps.