what are the Dinaric Alps?
New visitors to Green Slovenia might expect to find very beautiful Alps here and you will not be disappointed.. in fact we have 4 Alpine regions, 3 traditional Alps with each one just an hour's drive from the Lodge..
But there is also a 4th Dinaric Alpine region of smaller, greener, very beautiful rolling mountains and these start with the very mountain in our back garden.. Nanos..
The Dinaric Alps stretch for about 700 km from South Western Slovenia across the Balkons down the Adriatic coast.. We are very lucky here at the Lodge to be surrounded by Dinaric peaks in every direction!
We wanted to bring these very local Dinaric peaks together in one blog to give you an idea of the number of fab different mountain hikes you can do around here.
Exploring and knowing a little about these mountains are a great start to unlocking the secrets of this amazing Green Karst region..
Even if you don't go up one, they circle the Lodge like a clockface, so it is handy and fun to know which peak you are admiring from the ground..
There is very little scrambling or climbing required in the Dinarics.. It is mainly hiking here up through green forests, with fantastic views from the tops! But if you do like a good scramble, then there are plenty of leaky limestone Karst rocks everywhere to have a go on!
Give yourself at least half a day for any of these local peaks, but some can be conquered quicker and others take longer, (especially Sneznik)! It all depends on your time, but what is the point of hiking up a mountain if you don't enjoy the views!
Where we have already written a Secret Place to Visit article about that particular mountain, then we include a link for you to click on for more info, but now, grab your hiking stick and water bottle, as here below is a brief intro to just some of our favoutite local Dinaric peaks and the Green mountain adventures you could enjoy!
Slovenia's last mountain before the Mediterranean is a huge rock barrier, 12km long and 6km wide.. It controls the weather, the history and the geography around this part of central southern Europe!
There are numerous hiking paths all over Nanos.. it is like a big green city. From the top you can see Venice on a fresh clear day and you can usually see over the other side into the green Vipava Wine Valley and the Adriatic sea from the top plateau.
Nanos is such a big lump of rock, you can see it from Piran by the sea or from any of the other 3 Alps.. the long green dragon's tail or "nose" (as it translates) shape is very distinctive.
This is where the Dinaric Alps start and therefore the massive Dinaria Way hiking path also begins here.. the even longer St James way Pilgim path also goes along Nanos, but we do not need to tell you that for every themed trail around here, there are dozens & dozens of other local tracks to explore!
Nanos forced the Romans and every other European empire to march past it on their way from central Europe to Rome and this is another key reason why the Lodge has such a sensational location here for our guests to explore Slovenia, as Nanos is a key focal point in the excellent motorway system.
And if you like, you can still follow that old Roman road through our little village of Landol and out towards Nanos! Or how about jumping on an E Bike from the Lodge over Nanos to the Vipava Valley?!..
We call this peak "Stairway to Heaven" as it is a steep hike up to the top.. a bit like going up a huge green staircase.. but the views from all angles are amazing!
You can see this mountain from our car park and once you know to recognise it as the highest peak in that particular chain, it seems to pop into view time and again as you go exploring around here!
This mountain is only 12 minutes drive from the Lodge and the views are quite sensational going up. At the top you can see out to the Julian Alps and Triglav, Slovenia's highest mountain.
You can also see across to Witches Mountain 1,114m (Slivnica), direction Ljubljana, another beautiful mountain hike we would tip to get amazing views over the entire 40 sq km Cerknica Disappearing lake..
We have found a few different ways to hike up St Lawrence and there is a great stone track that can also be E Biked directly from the Lodge via Predjama castle, up through some tiny villages and then doing a loop of the mountain peak..wow!
Sveti Trojica 1,106m (the Church of the Holy Trinity)..
You can see this big church nestled on top of a mountain directly from the Lodge.. It sits serenely above the 17 Disappearing Lakes of Pivka and can be the focal point for a Green adventure to this very secret 140 sq km nature park!
Just 20 mins from the Lodge would get you to the start of a Green hike around the Peteljinsko lake, the second largest of the 17 disappearing lakes and one of many gateways to the St Trojica mountain hike.
Be sure to try to ring the church bell when you get up to the church and watch out for gliders whizzing past as this mountain is used as a major turning point for them!
Vremscica is yet another very special mountain with so many views and one of the easiest hikes on this list, with a gradual path to the top.
It is called "Weather" mountain as it marks the line between the Continental and Mediterranean climates.. in fact, the path is the line, so one side of the path can be warm to sit and enjoy your sandwiches when the other side can be a bit nippy!
You can access Vremscica from different paths on both sides of the mountain.. the continental side near Pivka in the Green Karst, with a designated car park or the Mediterranean side in the Teran wine region, near Senozece.. we know some lovely restaurants on both sides for after the walk!
Mt Sneznik 1,796m (Snow Mountain)
This is the largest non Alpine mountain in Slovenia and you can usually get a great view of this volcano shaped monster from the guest balcony at the Lodge!
It is called "Snow Mountain" as it so often has snow at the peak. It is actually about 40km "as the budgie flies" from the Lodge, some days the air is so crisp and clear you feel you could reach out and touch it!
This is the wildest and most remote of our local mountain tips.. Sneznik has some of the oldest forest in Europe on the slopes and some of the cleanest measured air quality in the world.
We absolutley love Sneznik castle 45 mins from the Lodge and this side of the mountain.. Croatia is directly on the other side.. Between these two are the only forests in Europe with ALL the big three forest mammals.. Wolves, Lynx and Bears, but don't worry they have no interest in meeting you!
This is the very best mountain for sea views over the Adriatic and despite the height it is still a mountain you can gradually hike up!
The 3 Peaks.. Srednja Gora (Middle Mountain) 1,275m, Sveti Duh (Holy Spirit) 1,221m and Krizna Gora (Cross mountain) 1,162m..
This is a great recommended local hiking day out to do three different peaks in one day along an easy to follow forest track with a hidden WW1 bunker and a very pretty church on top of Cross mountain where you really must have a go at ringing the bell!
There are a lot of trees up here on this trail and coming down one of the peaks you just have to follow red circles marked on trees and kind of run and skip down the hill, grabbing onto the trees for balnace and descending through the thick forest.. it is epic fun!
The last descent down a narrow hillside path tested the nerves of the vertigo challenged member of the Lodge team, but there was no choice but to conquer the fears and get a big feeling of achievement at the end of the hike.
You can see these mountains from the Lodge in the distance to the right side of Nanos and they look so far away!
But there is a fab forest road to drive on up near Predjama castle that is a short cut and you reach Podkraj in two shakes of a dragon's tail, ready for this 4-5 hour hiking adventure.
Javorniki 1,220m (Maple mountain)
This is the highest peak along the big chain of green forested mountains behind our local town of Postojna. It is really thick with forest and has a maze of forest tracks and roads that you could explore all day on the bike or by car and easily get lost!
The views from up here back to Nanos are fantastic and this mountain range is really perfect for getting out on the E Bike and exploring!
From the Lodge you can see a little white dot in the green forest above Postojna and this is known as the Koce or cottage.. a pub with great views over the Postojna valley to Nanos..
This is a very popular hike with Postojna townpeoples that you could also do and would be another great cycle from the Lodge on either E Bike or a regular mountain bike.. and the KOCE is a great marker on the way to Javorniki!
Even though there are cafes or restaurants on top of some of these mountains, we also recommend having at least some nuts or sandwichwes with you in case they are closed.. but when open, these mountain top cafes offer some hearty local options and a good sausage soup to help restore your energy for the hike back down!
You can see ALL these mountains from the Lodge!
If you imagine a clock face with the Lodge in the centre and then you step out of our front door onto the cafe terrace, Nanos is in the WEST and would totally dominate 3 to 5 o clock!
The SOUTH EAST volcano-like snow topped peak of Sneznik would be at 11 o clock, Sveti Trojica church would be 10 o clock, in the EAST Javorniki is 9 o clock and NORTH EAST is St Lawrence at 7 o clock. The three peaks are clear to see in the NORTH WEST at 5 o clock and Weather mountain is in the SOUTH WEST off at 2 o clock!
Once you know the look of these different local Dinaric mountains, there are so many geographic twists and turns in the local green Karst nature here that they can often be handy navigation tools to help find your way around here on your Green adventures!