Hiking the Juliana Trail in Slovenia

The Juliana Trail is a 170 mile footpath that travels around Triglav National Park. It is a cultural and historical trail that also offers breathtaking views. If you are looking for a trail that will give you the experience of the Slovenian countryside without the hassle of carrying a tent, then this is a great trail for you! I personally only hiked sections 5 and 6 (From Lake Bled to Lake Bohinj)

Overview of the Juliana Trail

The trail is 170 miles, but not all of those miles are the same. It is a combination of maintained trail, dirt road and paved road walking. The trail is mostly in Slovenia, but in the Northwest section, it briefly crosses into Italy.

The trail is in Slovenia, where the official language is Slovenien. But if you speak English you will get on fine. It is still helpful to know a few Slovenien terms. Greeting others on the trail, say Dober Dan. If you want to say thank you, the word is Hvala Vam

Due to the location and nature of the trail, this is inn-to-inn trekking. That means that instead of carrying camping gear, each night is spent in a hotel. Each stage will begin and end in a settlement with variable size. But in each place, you will be able to find a hotel and something to eat.

The trail is a cultural and historical experience moreso than a wilderness experience. Along the way, you have the option to visit museums or in the more remote sections, try some of the local food stuffs.

How to get to the Juliana Trail

It’s a loop, and technically you can start at any point along it. If you are starting from stage 1, then you will start in Kranjska Gora. This town is easily accessible from Ljubljana either by driving or taking a bus. If you drive, it is about an hour and a half. If you take the bus, it is 2 hours.

If you are only planning to the section from Bled to Bohinj, then transportation is a little more complicated. If you drive, then you need to be able to get back to your car afterwards. When we did it, we drove to Stara Fuzina and then took a taxi to our starting point in Bled. There is also a bus that makes this drive approximately every hour.

Navigation

The trail is relatively well marked. There are signs and markings at frequent intervals. However, the markings are not perfect. In some places, the signs are obscured by brush, in other places the markings are ambiguous.

If you don’t want to rely on the trail markings, then it is good to have the route stored in a gps.

The trail has an official app – the Juliana Trail app. This app contains helpful information about the sections as well as GPX files. I don’t recommend relying on this app, however. When your phone goes to sleep, the maps don’t cache and if you go to check where there is no service, you may not be able to access the gps.

Instead, you should download the sections off of the app and load them into CalTopo or some other mapping application that does a better job caching the files.

Where to stay

This is inn-to-inn trekking and the stages all begin and end in settlements with at least one hotel option. There will be intermittent places to stay in between.

If you just do sections 5 and 6, you will start in Bled. Bled has plenty of places to stay at all budget levels. It is quite a large resort town with plenty of restaurants and Airbnbs. We opted to splurge in Bled and stayed in the Adora Luxury Hotel. This hotel was exceptionally nice.

Stage 5 officially ends in Goreljek on Pokljuka. This is a very small settlement and mostly a holiday community. There is a Sport Hotel in Goreljek, but for some reason it is unavailable to book on Booking.com. This is a big hotel and a ski resort.

If you continue 5 miles, you can find a place to stay in Gorjuse. This is where we stayed, at a place called Alpine Homestead. This was a great place to stay, but be aware that if you visit in the off season, it is only open on weekends.

Finally Stage 6 ends in Stara Fuzina. This town is basically right on the shores of Bohinj and as a result is quite large as well. There are more options than in Goreljek and Gorjuse, but still fewer than in Bled. We stayed in Hotel Majerca. The food here was really great and the views were amazing as well.

What to Bring

You do not need to bring a complete wilderness kit on this trek, you will be fine with just a few things in a day pack. Here is what we brought:

  • Ponchos
  • Mid Layer jackets
  • Base Layers
  • 3 Liter Camelbak (Though you will be find with 1 or 2)
  • Extra Pair of Socks
  • Running Shoes
  • Snacks

Additionally, I brought some Camera Gear for photos and video. If you are interested in the gear I brought it is as follows:

  • DJI Pocket
  • Fuji xt20 with 23 mm lens
  • Peak Design Travel Tripod and Camera Clip
  • DJI Mavic Mini

Final Thoughts

The Juliana Trail is a truly unique experience. It lets you visit the highlights of Slovenia while also taking you off the beaten path. If you are looking for a more wilderness or alpine experience, there are many trails in Triglav National Park that will take you to some spectacular places. But if you are looking for a more low-key and cultural experience, the Juliana Trail is probably what you are looking for.

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