Just like many tourists from around the world visit Japan in the spring, when the well-known cherry trees are blossoming, Slovenia has something quite similar to offer. And not that you can adore cherry blossoms in the air, you can literally lay down around the flowers and get the best feeling on the world.
Slovenia offers many diverse types of landscapes and it is well connected with marked roads, so the blossiming ideas described below are the easiest to reach by car or our campervan. You can reach all destinations with public transport as well, but in that case you will need a little bit more time, energy and patience.
We selected three hills in different regions of Slovenia, where during spring hikers, tourists and nature enthusiasts go crazy to watch the wonderful blossoming of Slovenian traditional flowers. As we are aware of the nature heritage protection we kindly ask you to not pick up the flowers and just respectfully enjoy the wonderful views.
Take only pictures, leave only footprints!
GENTLE DAFFODILS ON GOLICA HILL
Our first suggestion is Mt. Golica (1,836 meters), where you can adore wonderful white Daffodils (called “narcisas” in Slovenian language).
The best time to see the Daffodils bloom on Mt. Golica is in May, but in the lower meadows (between villages), you can admire them in April already.
By the way, the "national" polka song “Na Golici” (eng. On the Golica hill), composed by Slovenian national music legend Slavko Avsenik and arranged by his also-a-legendary-brother Vilko Ovsenik, was first recorded in 1955. The song is considered the most played instrumental tune in the world and has been covered for more than 600 time all over the world!
Gentle white daffodils in a fairytale surrounding.
How to reach Golica and how difficult is the hike?
Golica is a 1,836 meters high peak in the western Karavanke above Jesenice. Going with a public transport you can easily reach Jesenice with a local bus or train from Ljubljana, but because Golica is further up in the hill, we suggest to rent a car or our campervan or anpther option ... make friends who own a car.
Driving from Ljubljana, leave the highway at the first exit for Jesenice (Jesenice-vzhod (east)), follow the sign towards the hospital and when you reach it, turn right up the hill (follow the sign for “Planina pod Golico”). After 4 kms you'll arrive to the village where you can park and start hiking. Another option is to continue driving till you reach a parking lot before the “Savska Caves”. At that point you'll need to continue by foot and follow the mountain marks (red and white circle).
The path will lead you through the woods and after about one hour you'll start to hike in the meadows, where the beautiful views begin to unfold; you can see Ljubljana basin on the left and high Julian Alps with highest Slovenian mountain Triglav on the right side.
Soon you'll reach a little cottage on the Golica hill (1,582 metres) where you can strenghten yourselves with some traditional Slovenian mountain food. If you have some energy left, continue hiking (for better views and even more Daffodils) up to the very top of Golica (about 30 minutes more). The path can be done on an easy level, it is well marked and is an appropriate mountain trip for families with kids and dogs.
photo credit: Miro Podgoršek
photo credit: Aleš Krivec
“PURPLE RAIN” – CROCUSES AT VELIKA PLANINA or AT MARTINJ VRH
You can admire a mesmerizing purple carpet of saffron crocuses bloom on the well known tourist destination in Slovenia, Velika planina, but we have a suggestion for an even more local experience, just keep on reading.
Velika Planina, arguably the biggest and oldest shepherds’ settlement in Europe that remains active up to date, is a hiking paradise for families, photographers, and those who seek a relaxing day out in unspoilt nature. Each year the flowers, called spring crocuses (Crocus Vernus), native to the Alps, Pyrenees and Balkans, start to appear in spring when the snow melts. A sight you'll never forget!
photo credit: Gita
A seasonal treat that delights visitors and photographers from all over the world!
We definitely suggest you add Velika Planina to your road trip itinerary, but if you're looking for an even more local experience, Martinj Vrh is a place to visit!
Martinj Vrh (632 metres) is often a starting or in-between point for hikers, but for a nice afternoon trip, you can do “just” the Martinj Vrh.
Crocuses on Martinj Vrh.
Martinj Vrh is a settlement of independent farms above Selška dolina in the Municipality of Železniki, a small town located about 32 km northwest from Ljubljana. As it is a small town, the easiest way to reach the place is by car or a campervan, but it is quite well doable also with a bus.
How to reach this place with a public transport?
From Ljubljana take a bus to Škofja Loka (37 minutes, 3€) and there transfer to a local bus (direction Češnjica) for another 20 minutes. From there, you can reach Martinj Vrh in two hours walk by foot (7.8 km), just follow the signs or ask local people, everyone knows the springy purple photogenic Martinj Vrh.
How to reach this place with a car/campervan?
It's a lot easier with a car/campervan - from Ljubljana take a highway or a regional road towards Škofja Loka and from there just follow signs for Železniki. Once there, head southwest to Podrošt/Češnjica and then follow signs towards Martinj Vrh. From Železniki to Martinj Vrh it will take you about 15 minutes ride (9 km). Once there, park a car, choose a meadow and enjoy the views! As there is no mounitain hut at the top, we suggest you bring drinks and snacks (but always remind to pick up your trash!). The trip is appropriate for families with little kids.
photo credit: Nina Lozej
Did you know? Lonely farms on the Martinj Vrh are scattered over ridge, terraces and quays. In the years 1941 - 1945, Martinj Vrh was one of the most important bases of Gorenjska Partisans. In 1944 the headquarters of the 31st Division operated in the settlement. Over the Martinj Vrh, goods were transported from Gorenjska to Cerkljansko (basin south from Gorenjska) and in the opposite direction, ammunition for Gorenjska Partisans. The German units tried to prevent the activity of the partisans and frequent clashes took place in the vicinity of Martinj Vrh.
“SOME MORE PURPLE RAIN” – “EASTERFLOWER” AT BOČ
Another “hilly shade of purple” can be seen in Styria region and the south-eastern part of Karavanke, on mountain Boč.
Mt. Boč has two peaks, which are five minutes apart. At one peak, there are transmitters (restricted military area). In the other, a 20-metre lookout tower has stood since 1962.
Mountain Boč, also known as “Styrian Triglav”, is 978 metres high and besides the panoramic views, you can admire a rare and protected type of mountain flower here, Greater Pasque Flower, also known as the “Easter flower” (Pulsatilla Grandis). But to be honest, most of this flowers bloom at the summit, not on the meadows around. You will, however, find other things below the summit. Mountain hut Dom na Boču (698 metres) and mountain hut Velikonočnica (658 metres) are reached by an easy, 1 hour and 20 minutes hike from Zgornje Poljčane parking lot. On the saddle there is also the Information Center of the Landscape Park.
Greater Pasque Flower, also known as the “Easter flower” is a rare and protected plant.
Delicate and beautiful easter flower.
Hiking up and down: Driving from Ljubljana towards Maribor, exit the highway at Slovenske Konjice and follow the road towards Žiče, Loče and Zbelovo, until you reach Poljčane. At the crossroad, turn right towards Zgornje Poljčane and turn left up the hill in the crossroad until you reach the parking lot.
From there, you need to hike up the marked road. After about 300 metres you'll see fields, vineyards and some houses. From there, continue your hike in the woods; just follow the road and marks until you reach Dom na Boču, where you can try some delicious mountain food. To reach the Velikonočnica cottage, you need to continue hiking in the way of a Church of St. Miklavž- but before you reach the church, turn right and walk a little bit downhill, in the way of the purple “Easterflowers” fields. On the left side, you can admire the Dreveniška hill; follow the woody road, which is unfortunately not that well marked and keep the right side along the cottage houses and soon you'll reach the sign for a mountain cottage Velikonočnica (658 metres).