Slovenia in April; Hiking in the Julian Alps.

Julian Alps from Lake Bohinj, too much snow for May, too much snow for hiking

More than a Yodeler Loves his Alps.

pop quiz: the lyric above is from what song and artist? clue: Babe and Sid must always wear night time attire when Broadway transfers to celluloid.

We are regulars on the ski scene of Austria and being keen hikers in the Tirol and the Dolomites. So, it seemed a bit strange that we’d not been hiking in the Julian Alps of Slovenia.

As very reluctant campers; too old for all that! we’ve previously toyed with the idea of a campervan. Also being reluctant to shell out £000s without having stayed in one, it seemed a bit strange that we hadn’t.

This year we have ticked both these off in a single trip: Hiring a campervan from Slovenia Campers to go hiking in the Julian Alps.

Bled Castle, Slovenia, Julian Alps in the backbround. View from a distance is the best one!

The weather was not on our side, by the end of May the snow should have gone and spring flower meadows should be adorning the lower slopes. Nope, raining at campsite level, snowing on the tops. Locals we spoke to said they’d not seem as much snow as low down for a generation.

Undeterred; we had wheels, we set off on a tour of Slovenia instead of venturing up into the Julian Alps. Highlights included…

  • Postojna Caves – Amazingly large caverns with stalagmites, stalactites and all manner of rock formations; go early to avoid the crowds. Tour starts with a 5km underground train ride; just like a James Bond villain’s lair.
  • Predjama Castle – Medieval Castle built into a cliff face by Slovenia’s cherry throwing Robin Hood, Erazem Lueger, who was killed whilst sitting on the loo.
  • Vipava Valley – The wine producing region of Slovenia. Tasted several bottles of young reds at 4-5 euros a bottle; very palatable.
Vipava wine, sold directly from the barrel in local shops, surprisingly good
  • Piran – Slovenia has a minuscule amount of coast line, but what it has is described as the best-preserved Venetian port outside Venice. The vantage point of the city walls opens up fabulous views of the red-roofed peninsular.
Piran penisular, best Ventian port outside Venice
  • Lake Bled – Apparently no trip to Slovenia is complete without a gondola trip to the island in the middle of Lake Bled. We avoided it, it was like Bowness on steroids, hundreds of coach parties with a two-hour Lake Bled stop over. We hiked further afield and enjoyed distant views of the Lake and its island.
  • Ptuj – We headed East to this spa town to get out of the rain; spent two days lounging around the indoor swimming pool and eating in delicious restaurants instead.
  • Ljubljana – Dropped off the campervan and spent three nights in the capital before flying home. The city centre is tiny, old and lovely; a couple of pedestrianised streets running either side of the river that contain wall to wall, back to back cafes, restaurants and bars. The centre is very bike friendly and has a bike scheme where you can hire a bike for an hour at a time for one-euro, that’s one-euro total NOT per hour!
Ljubljana, Slovenia, the dragon city

We’ll definitely return to Slovenia to go hiking in the Julian Alps. But for now, we have memories of an amazing Slovenian campervan tour.

pop trivia: The lyric is from ‘There Once was a Man’, this is from the soundtrack of the 1957 musical, ‘The Pyjama Game’. The film starred Doris Day (Babe) and John Raitt (Sid). Doris Day was the original RomCom leading lady. She starred in a host of movies throughout the 50s and 60s, she died in May 2019.

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