I started to write this post about half year ago, and I wanted to make it so perfect that I never got to finish it. Ooops. But my excuse is that Slovenia is such an extraordinary jewel of Europe, and this region I’m telling you about in this post is not the most well-known one, so I wanted to create the perfect introduction to it. Well, you decide how much I succeeded, but here comes everything we did and loved in Slovenia’s Logar Valley.
Where is it?
The Logar Valley (Logarska dolina in Slovene) is a glacial valley in the Kamnik Alps, close to the border of Slovenia and Austria. Though it’s only 1.5 hours drive from Ljubljana, it’s definitely off the usual tourist path: Ljubljana, Lake Bled, Triglav National Park or Postojna Cave.
We missed it on our first visit to Slovenia, but last summer we spent an unforgettable long weekend hiking there. Mainly hiking, because it’s a hikers’ paradise! With lovely waterfalls, challenging trails, even more challenging via ferratas and astonishing panoramas, educational trails for kids, it offers something for everyone. It’s one of the most beautiful valleys we’ve seen on our hikes around Europe.
And if you’re not a hiker, you can still have an enjoyable visit, because…
Scenic drive: the Solčava Panoramic Road
There’s a pretty scenic drive that took us around the region: the Solčava Panoramic Road. Don’t even ask us to choose between the scenic drive through Triglav and this one. Just do both, they are worth it. 🙂
We started the Solčava Panoramic Road in the village of Solčava. After walking up to the tiny Church of St. Mary of the Snows, we headed towards Podolševa – northwards on the green route if you check the official map. The road was often narrow, some sections were not even paved (though they were obviously working on that), so we drove slowly. We stopped quite often to take in the views, anyway.
We were surrounded by enormous white granite peaks. The large green meadows were covered with millions of wildflowers. The whole landscape was just so pristine and wonderful! Occasionally, we saw smaller farms, otherwise it was just nature and us (and a few other tourists, very few…).
Our favorite viewpoints along the panoramic road was the Church of Holy Spirit (in Podolševa), the Kogel, Bukovc and Matkov kot lookout points. It took us about 3-4 hours to drive all the way around, including the stops and all the pictures I took of the colorful wildflowers. We arrived to the entrance of Logar Valley at the end of the drive.
The Logar Valley
Logar Valley is actually just one of the three glacial valleys in the region (Robanov Kot and Matkov Kot are the others), but it’s the only one you can drive through. In case you enter by car, you need to pay an entry fee.
You can choose to walk or bike, too, there’s a flat path all the way in the valley. This time we chose to drive and stop at different parkings to enjoy the views. We saved the time for some more challenging hikes…
Short hike to Rinka Falls
Late afternoon we reached the last parking at the end of the valley. That was where our first hike started: the path towards Rinka Falls.
90-metres tall Rinka Falls is a spectacular sight as it drops against the grey and orange rock wall. There’s a bar at the falls that’s built high on the rocks and can be accessed by stairs. It looks very cool, doesn’t it?
It’s a 15 minutes steep uphill hike to reach Rinka Falls from the parking. Since we wanted to hike more, and summer days are long, we decided to continue on the trail upwards. It took us to Frischauf Hut on Mount Okrešelj, and it was quite scenic all the way (quite steep, too). That was the point to turn back so that we could get back to the parking before it gets dark.
You can check this map for the exact route – you will also notice, the trail leads even further into the heart of the wilderness.
Adrenaline rush: Ojstrica peak
We planned a challenging hike for the following day. That plan truly succeeded: the hike to 2350 meters high Ojstrica peak was probably the most challenging we’ve ever done in the Alps.
The day before we mentioned our plan to conquer Ojstrica to our host, and we got an admiring and worried look and a “Wow, you really picked a tough one”, followed by a “Be extremely careful there”. A bit embarrassed, we asked back whether it’s not a via ferrata, but a normal hiking trail. (We avoid via ferratas, because we like feeling the hard ground under our feet. Nor we have the equipment.) “No, it’s not a via ferrata. But still be careful.” – was the answer.
So we started that 5 kilometres long hike towards Ojstrica the next day. It was estimated to be completed in 5 hours, just one-way, so we assumed it will be very steep all the way. It was. Even steeper. But the real challenge was the last kilometer. It was basically rock climbing supported by chains. Our feet barely touched ground at some sections. That’s the reason we’d only recommend this trail to experienced hikers who are in good physical shape – and don’t have a fear of heights.
With that said, the trail was amazing all the way. Whenever we stopped for a short rest (and we did quite often as we got higher), we were amazed by all the surrounding peaks and the view of Logar Valley below us.
However, we didn’t reach Ojstrica peak in the end. We were not far when a hailstorm arrived. It was built up very suddenly in the middle of the hot summer day, and we were sure we don’t want to be at a peak when caught by it, so we quickly turned back. Still, the trail towards Ojstrica was beautiful and challenging – a perfect example that it’s not only the peak that’s worth it, but also the path that takes us there.
On the Slovene-Austrian border: Mt. Olševa
Our hike for the third day was shorter and easier: conquering 1929 meters high Mt. Olševa. We found it challenging at some sections, but it was not nearly as steep and dangerous as the path towards Ojstrica.
We stopped at a large cave, Potočka zijalka (Potok Cave) on the way, and saw even more caves and other impressive rock formations later – though they were unreachable from the trail. The views were the best after we reached the saddle. This saddle is right on the Slovene-Austrian border, and it leads to Olševa peak. After eating our chocolate specifically packed for this peak (there should be a chocolate for every peak, right?), we returned on the same way.
Where we stayed
We haven’t even tried booking accommodation in the Logar Valley. Except for a few hotels and guest houses, there’s not much there. Even though the region is not too busy with tourists, you probably won’t find available rooms in the valley on a random summer weekend. Besides, accommodation is cheaper outside of the valley, so we looked for it in small villages in the area.
We ended up booking a room in Rooms Pevc & Hostel in Ljubno ob Savinji. This cosy hotel is half an hour drive from the entrance of Logar Valley. The staff was very kind and helpful, breakfast was also included in the price – it was simple, but delicious.
How many days do you need?
It’s a number between 1 and infinite. 😛 Seriously, while the drive through Logar Valley and some short hikes will fit in one day, hiking opportunities are endless. We spent 3 days there and were sad to leave so soon. But it made us love Slovenia even more than before – if such thing is possible, since it was already one of our favorite countries in the world.
Have you ever been to Slovenia? What did you like the most?
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