The step-by-step guide to the Juliana trail in Slovenia

Explore Slovenia’s Julian Alps along the Juliana Trail, where culture, multi-sport adventure, history and majestic landscapes await.

The Juliana Trail is a circular long-distance hiking route that takes you around the eastern Julian Alps or the entire Triglav National Park.

Photograph by Getty Images
By Alex Crevar
Published 10 Mar 2023, 16:20 GMT

There’s little mystery about the priorities of the 168-mile, 16-stage Juliana Trail. The circular route, which circumnavigates Triglav National Park in Slovenia’s mountain-strewn northwest corner, aims to connect trekkers to the Alpine locales that have become synonymous with this Central European nation. And like Slovenia generally — a country with a raft of green accolades including being the first certified by international sustainability organisation, Green Destinations — this trail, opened in 2019 with the aim to focus on low-impact travel as hikers visit many of its greatest hits. 

Start your hike in Kranjska Gora, one of the country’s most famous ski resorts and a key venue on the skiing world cup circuit. From here, at the junction of the Karavanke Mountains in the north and the Julian Alps to the south, head east along the Juliana Trail. At the end of the first stage, in Mojstrana, visit the Slovenian Alpine Museum, where photos, archives and gear offer a taste of the country’s love affair with hiking and mountaineering. 

The trail continues east for two easy-to-moderate stages until, on stage four, it turns west to the shores of glacial Lake Bled. Bled is famous for the cliffside Bled Castle, dating to the early 11th century, and the lake’s picturesque island, where you can visit the Church of the Mother of God, rebuilt multiple times during the past millennium. 

Next, the path enters the boundaries of Triglav National Park, where you’ll have breathtaking views of Mount Triglav, the park’s 9,396ft-high namesake. The trail then reaches another tectonic and glacial body of water, Lake Bohinj, the country’s largest natural lake. In the town of Bohinjska Bistrica at the end of stage seven, treat yourself to an overnight at Sunrose 7, an, 18-room, hiker-friendly boutique hotel with a spa built in 1890. 

As you round the southern end of the loop at stage 10, the emerald-green Soča River makes its first appearance in the town of Most na Soči. A source of cultural and historic pride — and sporting inspiration — for Slovenes, the river acts as your guide through the town of Tolmin to Kobarid. Here, visit the Walk of Peace Visitor Centre and the next-door Kobarid Museum to learn about the region’s role as a frontline during the First World War. Before leaving town, refuel at Hiša Polonka, which serves home-made food (and beer) crafted from local ingredients. 

Continue along the Soča to Bovec. Slovenia’s outdoor adventure capital is an ideal place to take a break and trade in your pack, boots and trekking poles for a kayak and paddle. The next stage takes the route back into Triglav National Park, under the supervision of mighty peaks such as the 8,789ft Mount Mangart, before crossing the Italian border. Overnight in the town of Tarvisio, a skier’s paradise in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region, before the final stretch and completion of the Juliana Trail’s loop back in Kranjska Gora.

Four more trails to explore

1. Juliana Bike
This seven-stage, 180-mile mountain bike route loops around the boundaries of Triglav National Park, visiting many of the Julian Alps’ most beautiful locales.

2. The Slovenian Mountain Trail 
Established in 1953, the country’s oldest and longest hiking route covers 383 miles and takes in 23 peaks over 43 stages.

3. Bike Slovenia Green
This 150-mile cycle route starts in Kranjska Gora, taking in the lakes of Bled and Bohinj before following the Soča River to the Italian border and ending on the Adriatic coast.

4. Walk of Peace
This 136-mile, 11-stage hiking trail, following the Soča River, has turned what was a bloody frontline in the Great War into a trek dedicated to peace, unity and remembrance.

How to do it

May to June and September to October are the most ideal times to visit Slovenia and tackle the Juliana trail. It takes 102 hours to complete, and accommodation, custom tours and luggage transfers can be booked at Hourly buses connect Ljubljana to the trailhead in Kranjska Gora in just under two hours.

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