Hiking in Triglav National Park, Slovenia

Triglav National Park
Sean McLachlan

We’ve been talking about Slovenia for the past week here on Gadling. It’s got everything you’d expect from a European country: beautiful architecture, medieval churches and castles, world-class museums, a distinct cuisine … but every European country can boast these things. What really sets Slovenia apart?

The countryside. The Julian Alps take up a large part of the country and are full of incredible trails for all levels of hiking ability. You can stroll around Alpine lakes or slog up sheer mountains, have a picnic by an emerald stream or explore remote valleys. Add to this the fact that Slovenia is considerably cheaper than other Alpine countries and you have a hiker’s dream.

The best place to see Slovenia’s nature is Triglav National Park. Slovenia’s only national park takes its name from the country’s highest mountain. Triglav is 9396 feet (2864 meters) tall and offers a challenging climb. Sadly, I went too early in the season to make it up there. It was still snow bound and dangerous without proper equipment.

Instead, I picked an easier but scenic hike to Savica Waterfall. Part of one of the many streams that feeds Lake Bohinj, the largest lake in the park, the waterfall cascades down a steep cliff some 256 feet (78 meters), making it the tallest in the country.

%Slideshow-636%Setting out on a typically rainy day (Ljubljana gets twice the annual rainfall of London), I passed the tranquil Lake Bohinj, a serene alpine lake with fine views of the mountains. Several little chalets and B&Bs sit around its shores, making it a convenient place to base yourself. It’s much less touristy than Lake Bled and has the advantage of actually being located inside Triglav National Park. Lodging can also be found in the many villages scattered throughout the park.

Getting on the trail, I worked my way through a dense forest. The trail, like most in the country, was clearly marked. It was also nearly abandoned. Granted it was raining, but this was one of the most popular hikes in the country and it was already on the cusp of the high tourist season. Except for central Ljubljana and Lake Bled, Slovenia is surprisingly undervisited, yet another advantage to this lovely country.

While the rain hardly let up for the entire day, in one way I was grateful for it. Low clouds rolled over the mountaintops, making for a constantly changing scene. At times all but the verdant slopes would be hidden from view, and then the clouds would suddenly lift and the snowcapped peaks would glint in a brief patch of sunlight. Clouds lingered in the steeply cut valleys, rising like curtains between the forested ridges.

The trail crisscrossed an Alpine stream that was a bright, stunning shade of green. Passing by a few farms set amid fields full of yellow wildflowers, the trail began to ascend. After a rough mile or two it ended at a vista point overlooking the waterfall.

When I first got there, the clouds were hanging low and the water looked like it was spouting from the sky itself. Then the clouds broke up and I could see where the waterfall was cutting through the top of a cliff high above. Savica waterfall is set in a narrow cleft in the side of a mountain, and looking out you have a good vantage point to see several other mountains.

As I headed back the clouds finally broke up for good. The sky cleared and I got to see the Julian Alps in all their glory. I only wished I had more time in Slovenia to explore more of them.

Check out the rest of my series, “Slovenia: Hikes, History and Horseburgers.”

Coming up next: Eating and Drinking in Slovenia!

10 Of The World’s Most Breathtaking Waterfalls

waterfalls One reason many people love to travel is to see some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes. Furthermore, one element in nature that travelers can’t seem to get enough of is waterfalls.

From South Africa to Asia to Europe and everywhere in between, you’ll be able to find beautiful and unique waterfalls in all shapes and sizes. There are blood-red waterfalls in Antarctica, glacially formed falls in Iceland and waterfalls that flow from 3,212 feet high in Venezuela, to name a few.

To see some of the world’s most beautiful waterfalls, check out the gallery below.

[image via Paleopod]

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15 Bizarre Natural Wonders

turkey Here at Gadling, we love finding the quirkiest, most bizarre and out-of-the-ordinary aspects of travel from around the planet. While we’ve told you about some of the world’s strangest natural wonders before, there are just too many unworldly aspects in nature to uncover in one list.

Have you ever witnessed hot pink lagoons littered with feeding flamingos in the desert? Or enormous frost-covered trees that look like menacing monsters? How about waterfalls so red they look like blood? There are no limits to what you can find when you begin to roam the Earth.

To help make your next trip a little more unique, check out 15 bizarre natural wonders in the gallery below.

[image via Brocken Inaglory]

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Video: Kayaking Down Waterfall

Kayaking is an activity I find to be largely leisurely. I might once in a while push myself a little harder than usual while kayaking. I might even break a sweat. But I certainly don’t ever kayak down a waterfall. Perhaps I’d try it if I felt mostly safe, but what these guys are doing in the above video doesn’t strike me as remotely “safe” – although I’m sure they’re taking all kinds of precautions. It sure is fun to watch, though. This video is shot and edited well. I found it on the Eddie Bauer Vimeo page, which appears to have zero traffic, more or less. Despite the lack of promotion, this video is both informative and inspiring. Kudos to these kayakers – I envy their apparent disregard for death.

Liquid Skills Freestyle Kayaking

Video: An ultra high resolution look at the American Southwest

Time lapse photographer and filmmaker Tom Lowe has been working on his new and innovative creation for over two years now. The video is actually a clip of his soon-to-debut film, TimeScapes, which showcases the beauty of the American Southwest using Canon RAW and Epic Red still cameras. Because the movie was filmed and edited at 4K resolution, which is four times greater than regular high definition, the moments and places really come to life on the screen.

Watch sunsets at Salton Sea, coastlines, Redwoods, and waterfalls in Big Sur, and meteor showers at Bristlecone take on a life of their own as firefalls, eclipses, cultural dances, lakes, mountains, starry skys, concerts, and unique landscapes are shown like never before.

To see a stunning preview of what’s to come, as well as hear music by John Stanford, check out this video:


TimeScapes 4K from Tom Lowe on Vimeo.