In the small country of Slovenia, where hiking is one of the most popular pastimes, mountain huts are all over the country. To locals, they are a great source of national pride. To hikers, they are a popular hiking destination or a well-needed resting point on the way to surrounding peaks.
The first hut under the Slovenian Mountain Association was built in 1893. Nowadays, they manage 161 lodges that provide food and shelter to more than 1,5 million yearly visitors to our mountains. With the Julian Alps being the most popular hiking area in the country, 43 lodges are located there, along with 10 bivouacs.
Because lots of lodges are not reachable by car, the comfort they can provide is relatively basic, but the service is cosy and authentic. The accommodation they offer is mostly in dormitories and usually a few private rooms. The karst landscape that surrounds them consist of soluble rock that prevents the formation of surface bodies of water, so most high-altitude ones don’t have drinking water and showers. The huts that are not reachable by car have to get all the supplies by helicopter transport.
Despite these limitations, the huts all offer a menu of traditional Slovene dishes like different stews, Carniola sausage and tasty “štruklji”. Meals are not meant only for replenishing your energy – The food is so delicious that some choose a hiking destination solely based on the culinary delicacies they offer.
These days, huts are used mostly as resting places for easier ascents to high peaks or as stopping points on hut to hut hiking tours. In the past, because of poor traffic connections, mountaineers couldn’t go on one-day tours and had to wait out the weather because of the non-existent forecasts. Mountain lodges were an essential shelter for them to wait for the right day to ascend the peaks.
Most mountain lodges inaccessible by vehicles are open only during the summer season. The time they open their doors is usually when most of the snow around them melts. Somewhere from May to June, depending on the altitude of the hut. The same goes for the end of the season, as the high mountain huts close sooner. Outside the season, mountaineers can find shelter in bivouacs or the so-called winter rooms – unlocked rooms separate from the hut, usually similar to bivouacs.
Mountain huts in Slovenia are very popular, so we advise you to book your stay several weekends in advance.
As a country full of hiking enthusiasts and mountain lovers, Slovenia has a rich tradition connected to mountain lodges. They’re a widespread cultural landmark in the Slovenian mountains because mountaineering has long been a popular activity among Slovenians.
There are 179 mountain lodges in Slovenia providing a place for hikers to spend the night before conquering the next peak on their route. 53 of these lodges are located in the Julian Alps, including 10 bivouacs and 18 huts that are not accessible by a vehicle.
The lodges offer only the basic comfort, which is exactly what’s keeping them authentic. Most lodges don’t have showers and drinking water because the karst landscapes surrounding them consist of soluble rock that prevents the formation of surface bodies of water. This means that all the water needed in the huts has to be transported from the valley. The lodges located on higher altitudes have to have all their supplies (including bottled drinking water) brought to them by helicopter. Despite these restrictions, all the cottages offer a basic menu of hearty Slovenian dishes like stews, sausages, and delicious strudels. And filling your belly with some good food to keep your motor running is the most important thing when it comes to long outdoor physical activities like hiking. As any hiker can tell you, all that fresh air really makes you hungry!
Nowadays, mountain lodges enable easier ascents of high peaks and provide stopping points on hut to hut hiking tours, but in the past, these lodges provided an often very necessary shelter due to poor traffic connections and non-existent weather forecasts.
Most mountain lodges inaccessible by vehicles are only open during the summer season. The start and end of the season depend on the weather so the date differs each year, usually they open sometime in May or at higher altitudes in June, and close by the end of September. Outside of the summer season, mountaineers can find shelter in the so-called winter rooms, which are included in practically all the mountain lodges in Slovenia, or bivouacs.Due to the high number of hikers during the summer season, it’s advisable to book your stay in the cottage several weeks in advance, especially if you’re looking to visit the mountains during the weekend.