Enjoying hiking holidays in the Balkans is almost like practising the local lifestyle. Slovenia and Montenegro in particular offer numerous hiking levels of various difficulties. Hiking can also be very present in Croatia and Bosnia; although beach- and cultural-style holidays predominate in Croatia, while Bosnia still faces numerous restrictions due to the fear of mines left from the war in the 1990s. That is why most of our Balkan hiking trips focus on Slovenia and Montenegro.
As a local travel agency specialised in personalised trips all over the Balkans, we organise hiking trips of different levels, for both individual travellers or groups. For those who prefer to go hiking alone, we also offer self-guided hiking trips.
When planing a hiking trip in the Balkans you should take into account that – in general – the Balkan Peninsula is quite mountainous. Therefore locals consider hiking a broader term and don’t make much of a difference between hiking, trekking and mountaineering. On a hiking trip sometimes we like to combine all three alternatives.
For a better understanding of the categorisation of our hiking levels of difficulty, we have prepared detailed explanations of the three main hiking categories: easy, moderate and difficult. What you need to know is that we do not normally measure the length of the hike with distance units (kilometres, meters), but we prefer to use time units (hours and minutes). By relying on time estimations we have a better grip at planing a hiking trip even though we do not know the inclination of each sections of the trail. This is very important as the terrain can be very diverse.
for more information on hiking levels of difficulty
Learn about the hiking levels of difficulty in the Balkans
The easy hiking level represents walking on simple trails, well marked and without potential risks. The trails marked as easy include walks with an ascent of less than 400 meters and up to 5 hours of walking.
These types of trails do not require much physical effort and usually lead through valleys, meadows and forests, although rocky grounds are not to be excluded. The paths are normally wide and well maintained, therefore we recommend them for families with young children and for people without any special physical fitness. However, be aware that the most important criteria for categorisation of hiking trips is the variability of terrain and not time length. That means that even the easy hikes can last a few hours.
An example of an easy trip is a walk to the Tamar Valley, featured in our popular summer holidays in the Alps.
The most common of all hiking levels of difficulty – moderate level – includes hiking trips on narrower and irregular paths with ascent between 400 and 1000 meters. These tours normally require between 5 and 7 hours of walking. General caution is advised as the terrain is often rocky and can be more slippery.
In the Julian Alps, these are the trails that already lead us to some of the highest peaks, where you can enjoy amazing views over the valleys below. One of the examples of trips in this category is our self-guided program Walking the Via Alpina, which represents a part of the great European route.
Hiking trails of difficult level will take you through rocky terrain of the highest mountains, which means you will gain altitude of more than 1000 meters. Duration can exceed 7 hours of walking. Parts of these trails can be exposed and occasionally require climbing. Since we are talking about physically and technically more demanding climbs we definitely do not recommend them to families with children.
In our active trips we usually combine different hiking levels of difficulty, which means it is not always easy to define a trip. They are always categorised by the level that predominates during the trip. If you look at the detailed day-to-day itinerary of each hiking trip, you can learn what is the level of difficulty for each stage.
Enjoy the unearthly landscapes of the Julian Alps
WHAT ARE THE TRAILS LIKE?
As local experts we only recommend safe and well-marked paths to our clients. The signs are standardised and can be found painted on tree trunks, stones or other visible spots along the way. In Slovenia the most common markings is a red circle with a white dot in the middle, designating all trails maintained by Alpine Association of Slovenian. At most junction you will also find signposts with directions and estimated hiking times. In addition there are also separated signs for long-distance trails such are Juliana Trail, Alpe Adria Trail or Via Alpina.
WHAT DO MOUNTAIN HUTS LOOK LIKE?
There is an extensive network of mountain huts in the Slovenian Alps where hikers can take a rest and/or enjoy a lunch. They come in form of a simple guesthouse, run by one or more employees, offering basic accommodation services alongside warm food and drinks.
If you have previously gone hiking to the Dolomites or Austrian mountains, you should be aware that accommodations over there cannot be compared with those in Slovenia and the other Balkan countries. Mountain huts in the Slovenian Alps are much more simple. In general you can ask for a private room (up to 4 or 5 people), but most of them offer larger dormitories with bunk beds.
Do not expect fresh water in the mountain huts, but you can buy bottled water to take it with you. Furthermore, most of the huts do not have showers available. We recommend you to come prepared and bring intimate wipes to clean yourself.
The food served in the mountain huts is simple and the variety is modest, but you can always get a warm meal (a soup, stew or sausage with sauerkraut). Apart from the main dishes, the huts always offer desserts and you can usually choose between two or three options. The most common ones are apple or blueberry strudel and štruklji, a traditional Slovenian dish made from dough and various fillings.
Besides mountain huts, there are also simple shelters fund in the Slovenian Alps, which are meant to protect hikers in case of sudden change of weather or accidents. They are really basic and free of charge. Take note, that these kind of shelters are not included in our itineraries as accommodation option and are really only used in higher force.
The terrain of Slovenia and the other Balkan countries is very diverse and offers endless possibilities for tourism. In various mountain ranges you will find all kinds of walks with different hiking levels of difficulty. At Ekorna we will find the best hiking trip for your tastes and abilities, whether you are looking for a self-guided or guided tour.
for more information on hiking levels of difficulty