When you arrive at Lipizzaner Lodge you will see the same mountain view that persuaded us inside 10 seconds that this was the perfect spot for our guesthouse. Our local Nanos mountain is 1,313m high and there are several ways to the top, depending on your time and agility. From the plateau at the top you can see Venice on a good clear day, but also across to the Italian Dolomites, the Adriatic sea, to Croatia and back across the Postojna valley into the heart of Slovenia.
There are many ways to go up this last Slovenian mountain before the Italian coast. You could cycle up or take one of many different hiking routes. There is also a cafe up top for refreshments.
Slovenia is blessed with 3 Alpine regions, being the Julian Alps, the Kamnik Alps and the Karavanka Alps. All are stacked with big mountains and there are also some smaller, really pretty peaks in the south. The highest non Alpine peak in the south is called Šneznik (Snow Mountain) (60 mins) and at 1,796m is usually snow capped. You can see this mountain clearly from some of our windows, balconies and outside terraces. This peak is a very popular hike with Slovenians and an excellent viewing point down to the coast.
Lipizzaner Lodge is pretty much surrounded by mountains, with many exciting mountain hikes to try. St Lawrence, (10 mins) at 1,019m, dominates the view from the Lipizzaner Lodge car park and stables. We call this climb the "Stairway to Heaven", as the hike from the bottom is like going up a massive staircase, but from the top you get an amazing view of our Postojna valley and up to the Julian Alps, where Mt Triglav (3 Heads), Slovenia's highest peak at 2,864m, stands.
To get a great view of Europe's biggest disappearing lake Cerknica, (please see our "lakes" section), there is a lovely walk up Mt Slivnica, aka Witches Mountain, (25 mins) 1114m. There is a mysterious witches cave at the top of this mountain and the hike up is relatively steep to start with, but very popular with the locals. You could combine this walk with a visit to the lake itself, or maybe go on to explore Europe's oldest forest nearby?
There are many other local mountains topping 1,000m, each offering something different for your day out hiking. Some have cafés, but all have incredible vistas to reward your efforts. From nearby Caven (25 mins), at 1,242m, for example, you get a view out over the beautiful Vipava valley, which is one of Slovenia's many wine growing regions, but also look out for the paragliders who "hang around" up here at your elevated eye level!
You can drive in one direction from the Lodge up through the forest using an excellent, secret stone road to get to a beautiful mountain plateau with great vistas and a really great stop off with a walk that takes you to the Okno, (window), (35 mins), which offers a beautiful 45 minute hike to a 7 x 5 metre high natural stone window overlooking the Vipava valley from 1,100m up.
The mountains around the pretty Alpine village of Kobarid (90 mins), saw the biggest and bloodiest mountain battles in human history during the first world war and have lots of forts and trenches still preserved for you to visit as you weave up and down the mountains.
Close by is Slovenia's highest road at 2,072m on the way to the top of Slovenia's 3rd highest peak, Mangart, (120 mins), 2,677m. This is a great option if you want to drive into the clouds. (Another great way to see the Alps by car is to take a day trip from the Lodge to Slovenia's Alpine lake region, (60 mins) but you can read more about that in our "Lakes" section).
Our local guides will be happy to accompany you wherever you want to explore, or we can give you the directions and you go off to explore for yourselves. If you fancy some real mountain climbing, then a professional mountain guide Rock, (yes Rock!) will be delighted to take you on more challenging days out.
One of the very best loopy day trips from the Lodge is to go over the stunning Vrsic pass (1,611m) and back around to the Lodge via the lakes.. what a day! We really recommend this long daytrip driving adventure from the Lodge completing a loop up through the Soca valley along the most beautiful river in Europe and into the Julian Alps, going over the amazing Vrsic pass and then returning to the Lodge past lake Bled and Ljubljana..
The options for stop offs on this particular trip are too vast to mention, but we enjoy helping you choose specific places to visit along the way that fit in best with the kind of natural beauties you enjoy the most.
And you really need to know about Big Meadow Mountain, (Velika Planina), aka "Heaven on Earth"(90 mins). We are used to being pleasantly surprised when we go to see a new place, not yet visited in Slovenia, but wow, wow and more wows. Put this mountain at the very "top" of your list! You go up in a very scary cable car and then hike 30 minutes more (or take the ski lift up) to the top plateau at 1,666m, with amazing views across the clouds to the Kamnik Alps and over the whole of Slovenia.
You can even see all the way back south to Nanos. What is more, there is a "hobbit-like" village on the plateau with wooden cottages and cows grazing. When the clouds are silently floating past you can really feel you are in a very special place!
The best description we have for this place is "Heaven on Earth" because it is so calm and beautiful up here, with a different feeling, not quite planet Earth. The only activity for the summer is making cheese and it is a really wonderful day out, perhaps combined with a visit to Slovenia's main botanical Arboretum or a visit to the wonderful nearby castle town of Kamnik (60 mins), with pretty river flowing through and a jolly good shopping street.
The two photos above are of the Karavanka Alps surrounding the picturesque lake at Jezersko. We know a really nice drive into and out of Austria around here to fully appreciate this little known mini region. And below you can see some photos of the secret café in the mountains above the amazing Tolmin gorge. There are steps and lovely secluded forest tracks all the way up to this little known café, but when you are here you cannot fail but to enjoy the beauty of Mt Krn (2,244m) and the view down into the Tolmin valley.