Hiking the Juliana Trail – Slovenia’s Newest Long-Distance Trail
Beyond Triglav – going the distance in Slovenia’s Julian Alps
The Juliana Trail is an outstanding new long-distance hiking route through the breathtakingly beautiful Julian Alps in Slovenia, which makes a 270km circuit around the country’s highest and most iconic mountain, Triglav. Intended to reduce overcrowding and trail erosion on Triglav, the Juliana encourages visitors to stay longer and explore the surrounding area (which after all is equally beautiful, even if it is a few metres lower than that mountain’s 2,864m summit), with an emphasis very much on slow travel and sustainability.
Hiking the Juliana Trail in Slovenia takes 16 days, or can just as easily be walked in two weeks – a couple of the route’s 16 stages are short enough that they can either be added to the preceding or following stage, rather than being used as a shorter ‘rest’ day, if preferred. There is also a huge amount of scope for side trips – in many cases less than an hour off the main trail – to a nearby waterfall, gorge, viewpoint, nature reserve. A further four stages, consisting of an optional four day extension into the neighbouring Goriška brda wine region, were added shortly after the official launch of the trail – bringing the the total length to 330km/20 stages. In 2021 the Juliana Trail won the award for Best European Tourism Project in the BGTW International Tourism Awards (nominated by yours truly).
I have been hiking in Slovenia for more than 20 years – including many trails which are included in the Juliana – and wrote the first guidebook to hiking the Juliana Trail, for Cicerone. I returned to Slovenia in September/October 2021 to walk/re-walk the whole of the Juliana Trail in one trip. You’ll find photography from the Juliana Trail here.
If you’re interested in commissioning me for an article on hiking the Juliana Trail or photography from Slovenia, please get in touch.
Sustainable outdoor tourism in Slovenia
As well as avoiding Triglav itself, the route of the Juliana Trail takes in several less well-known areas – which has the obvious benefit of spreading the revenue generated from outdoor and adventure tourism further than a two-day blitz on the country’s highest summit. Furthermore each stage was designed to be accessible by public transport (after all, isn’t it better not to bring a car into a national park?). More visitors using public transport, including local bus services, has the additional benefit of helping keep those local services alive for locals to use.
Juliana Trail Photography
Clockwise from top left: Lake Bohinj; Zelenci Nature Reserve near Kranjska gora; St Peter’s Church above Begunje; trail markings on the Pokljuka plateau. Photos (c) Rudolf Abraham