For one of my New Year’s resolutions I want to be in nature more. I am so guilty of loving hiking but almost never going on them. So now I am on the search for hikes near Ljubljana to help me train for more serious hikes in the Alps. (I’m coming for you Triglav!)
Since we had the day off Jaka and I decided to find a hike nearby. An hour later we were off to Šmarna Gora (669 meters) which is only about a 30 minute drive from the center of Ljubljana.
This is a relatively short hike it takes about 40 minutes from bottom to the top (366 meter incline) where you will find a baroque church – which looks a lot like a castle, a delicious and toasty gostilna (which is similar to a pub in the UK), and a wishing bell. There are 15 maintained pathways so there are a few alternatives and routes to do the hike over and over again.
While it is a short hike and the elevation doesn’t look scary at first, do note that the way up can be quite steep for some inexperienced hikers or people with knee problems, as well as a steep decline on the way back. Some people did use walking sticks but majority did not and there were all ages and whole families hiking up to the top together.
If you are traveling to Ljubljana and want to try a small hike but don’t have time to trek into the Alps this is a perfect alternative. Once you get to the top you have amazing panoramic views of Ljubljana, the Alps, and even part of the Dolenjska region.
Eating at the top of Šmarna Gora
The other bonus to hiking Šmarna Gora is at the top you will find Gostilna Ledinek. Here you will find a range of traditional Slovenian dishes served in a traditional gostilna. If you have never experienced this, please do! Walking in is like going to an old friends home, the walls with old pictures, collected items from the area, room after room full of families sipping hot mountain tea called planinski čaj and keeping warm next to the krušna peč (a large furnace /oven).
I ordered the ričet which is a barley porridge boiled with beans. I prefer mine brez (without) meat. Jaka took his usual štruklji which is dough and filling rolled up together here pictured is a cheese one.
You can use Šmarna Gora’s website, which is offered in English, to see live videos of the top of the hill, weather information, and use this page for planning where to park and which trail to take.
If you are traveling via bus then take Bus Number 8 from Bavarski Dvor which starts running at 5:19am and comes every 20 minutes. Take it to the Tacenski Most bus stop in Tacen. Cross the street to the parking lot and follow the signs up!
Thank you for reading and please comment below if you know of any other hikes near Ljubljana I should take and especially your favorite places to eat!