Triglav National Park (Triglavski Narodni Park) covers nearly all of the Slovenian section of the Julian Alps, a total of nearly 85,000 hectares and is centered around Mount Triglav (2864m). It is popular for its outdoor adventure possibilities, numerous gorges and waterfalls, and the spectacular Lake Bohinj.
Triglav National Park borders Italy in the west and Austria in the north. It attracts over two million visitors annually. The park includes 25 settlements, with a total population of 2,352, most in the town of Ribčev Laz. Tolmin Gorges are the lowest and southernmost access point to Triglav National Park and an extraordinary natural feature.
The first proposal to protect the area around Triglav came from Prof. Albin Belar in 1906. However, it was not until 1924 that the Alpine Conservation Park was established in the valley of Triglav Lakes. In 1961, the Triglav National Park was founded and in 1981, the borders were expanded to their current locations. In 2003, Triglav National Park was included in the UNESCO MaB (Man and Biosphere) network.
The park is home to many plants and animals. The park's most revered animal is the chamois, of which only 2,000 exist. Legend tells of the the Zlatorog, the golden-horned chamois that live on the mountains. Other wildlife includes ibex, marmot, golden eagles and the brown bear, although most animals stay away from humans and animal sightings are rare. Common plant life includes the Julian poppy and the purple Zois bellflower. Most plants are protected.
Vintgar Gorge, in the northeastern corner of the park, is a 4.5km walk from Bled. Kluze Fortress, in the southwestern corner of the park is a 3.5km walk from Bovec. Pericnik Waterfall, in the northern section of the park, is a 6km walk from Dovje-Mojstrana.
Buses run hourly from Ljubljana to Ribčev Laz and Lake Bohinj (Bohinj Jezero), in the southeastern corner of the park . The buses stop in Bled and Kranj. The 30km journey from Bled takes 45 minutes. Schedules are available online .
Many of the outdoor adventure agencies based in Bled run sports-based excursions to the park.
- Vintgar Gorge, (A 4.5km walk from Bled, in the northeastern section of the park). Open to the public only during summer. features a wooden footbridge path (dating to 1893) running for 1600 meters along the Radovna River, terminating at the Šum waterfall.
- Lake Bohinj (Bohinjsko Jezero). Pronounced BAW-heen. Beautiful lake surrounded by the Julian Alps.
- Pokljuka Ravine, (7km walk or bus ride from Bled, in the same direction as Vintgar Gorge, past the villages of Gorje and Krnica). 2km long and 40m deep, carved into limestone by water flowing from the Pokljuka glaciers, the only reminder of which is the Ribščica stream, a tributary of the Radovna River.
- Savica Waterfall, (West of Lake Bohinj, a 45 minute walk west of the Hotel Zlatorog, alternatively take one of 6 daily buses). April-October: 8am-6pm. 60m high waterfall and a must-see. Climb up a series of zig-zagging steps to the top of the gorge. Very popular tourist attraction. €2.
- The Source of the Soca River.
- Kluže Fortress, (6km northeast of Bovec). Imposing picturesque fortification positioned above the deep gorge of the Koritnica River.
- Mostnica Gorge, (1km north of Stara Fuzina, just Northeast of Lake Bohinj, over the Devil's Bridge). This smoothly carved ravine is 1km long and 20m deep, with hundreds of circular hollows known as river mills. Be careful if it is raining. The 21m Mostnica Waterfall (Slap Mostnica) is an additional 40 minute walk through the fields to the north. €2.
- Church of St. John the Baptist, In Ribčev Laz. July & Aug 9am-noon. Tiny church, but includes some of the most brilliant frescoes in Slovenia, many painted by the Master of Bohinj. The exterior frescoes, however, are barely discernable. Dates to the 13th century. Wooden porch paved with river stones form the date 1639.
- Climbing Mount Triglav. Mount Triglav is the 2864m high "Three-Headed" mountain found on everything Slovenian ranging from the national flag to Laibach's LP Krst pod Triglavom (Baptism under Triglav). While you don't need any climbing skills to ascend it, you should have no fear of heights or steep parts and you should trust your grip. Starting from the nearest mountain hut, the easiest route to the peak will take less than a day. There are many steep parts but everywhere there are cables and metal handles to hold on to. As on all mountains, the weather can be viciously changeable, with temperatures alternating between +30 and -10°C, even in summer. The routes to the top are open only between June and October, and ascending with a guide is, while not legally mandated, very advisable due to the labyrinthine route. Most climbers spend two nights on the route, although fitness nuts have been known to complete it in a single day.
- Vogel Cable Car Ride. May-mid Oct 8am-6pm. Ride up to the Ski Hotel at 1537m in 5 minutes. Offers great views of the lake and the reflections of the surrounding mountains, and possibly Mount Triglav. The optional walk down takes 2 hours. When at the top, spend some time to hike around the nearby ski slopes. €9 single €13 return.
- Mountaineering. Mountains of medium height include are Jelovica (Talež), Pokljuka (Galetovec, Lipanca), Mežakla (Jerebikovec) and Karavanke (Ajdna, Roblek under Begunjščica or Dobrča)
- Canyoning. Triglav National Park has several picturesque gorges.
- Rafting. Popular at the Soca River
- Kravji Bal (Cows Ball), near Hotel Zlatorog. Mid-September. Celebration of the return of the cattle from the pastures. Includes folklore events, live music, and a lot of drinking
Outside of the settlements, the mountain huts usually sell refreshments.
In Ribcev Laz, many of the hotels have restaurants.
- MK Pizzeria, Ribcev Laz (near the tourist office).
- Gostilna Rupa, Srednja Vas 87. Closed Mondays. One of the best restaurants in the park, specializing in pork and fish. Live music on Thursdays.
- Gostilna Mihovc, Stara Fuzina 118 (near the Alpine Dairy Museum).
Better accomodation options are located in the nearby towns of Bled, Dovje-Mojstrana, Kranjska Gora, and Bovec.
Mountain huts offering simple meals and accommodation are scattered about the national park. Reservations are strongly advised in peak season. Camping is prohibited in the park.
- Apartments Bohinj - Mavrica, village of Stara Fužina, ☎ +386 45 746 555 ([email protected]), . Two bedroom apartments with kitchens that can accommodate 4 or 6 people. There is a common room and free internet downstairs. July-Aug and Christmas/New Years €85-129, other times €53-93.
- Bohinj Hotel, 17 Triglavska cesta, Bohinjska Bistrica, ☎ +386 8 200 41 40, . All rooms are designed with warm natural materials and high standard equipment and offer a magnificant view towards Julian Alps.
- Hotel Bellevue, Ribcev Laz 65 (perched on a hill 800m north of Hotel Jezero). Agatha Christie stayed here and commented that the lake is far too beautiful for a murder.
- Hotel Jezero, Ribcev Laz 53 (50m from the water). The most prominent hotel on the lake. Pool, sauna, and fitness center. Popular restaurant with great food.
- Pension Kristal, Ribcev Laz 4 (at the entrance to the village).
- Hotel Pod Voglom, Ribcev Laz 60 (On the southern shore of Lake Bohinj, 2km walk from Ribcev Laz, near the Church of the Holy Spirit). The cheapest option around. Rooms in the main building have shared shower facilities.
- Pension Rozic, Ribcev Laz 42 (100m east of the tourist office). Rustic rooms but comfortable. Restaurant with good meat dishes.
- Hotel Zlatorog, Ukanc 65 (On the western shore of Lake Bohinj). Dreary rooms but free use of the pool.
When hiking, always check weather conditions . In case of storms, seek shelter in mountain huts. You should have proper equipment for hiking, including hiking shoes, helmets, clothes (with warmer clothes in backpack even in Summer!). Use of ropes and belays is advisable for ferratas.
In case of emergency, call 112 or contact nearest mountain hut.