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, 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 our windows in the RelaxRoof and our main balcony. This peak is a very popular hike and viewing point for Slovenians.
In fact, Lipizzaner Lodge is 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. 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, (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 a trip into Europe's oldest forest?
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 Caven (30 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 up using a stone forest road and along a beautiful mountain plateau on the way to Caven from Lipizzaner Lodge and there is another lovely stop off and walk that takes you to the Okno, (window), (35 mins), which offers a beautiful 45 minute walk to a 7 x 5 metre high natural stone window overlooking the 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. 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 visit Slovenia's Alpine lake region, 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. 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 loop day trips from the Lodge is to to do the circle up the soca valley to go over the stunning Vrsic pass ad back around to the Lodge via Bled.. what a day!
And last, but certainly not least, 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 place at the "top" of your list! You go up in a very scary cable car and then hike 30 minutes more to the top plateau at 1,666m, with amazing views across the clouds to other mountains and over 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.
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 rather good shopping street.