Due to its diverse landscape, Slovenia is especially popular with outdoor and hiking vacationers. A trip to Slovenia promises adventure in countless protected nature parks, but especially in the Julian Alps, Karavanke and Kamnik-Savinja Alps in the north of the country. On the southern edge of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps is the mountain area of Velika Planina, which means big mountain pasture. The name refers to the alpine settlement, which is located there at 1600 meters above sea level. The Velika Planina plateau has been used by shepherds since prehistoric times and in the 16th century the first shepherds’ huts called Preskarjeva bajta were built. Even today shepherds drive their cows to the plateau between June and September.
I do not want to deprive you of this sight in Slovenia. In this blog post I present you my personal hike to the Velika Planina. For me, the visit to the alpine settlement was an absolute highlight on my trip through Slovenia. I hope you enjoy reading my travelogue and I’m glad you came across my travel blog.
My hike to the shepherd settlement on Velika Planina in a nutshell
If you click on a link below, you will go directly to the corresponding section of the route. It starts from the parking lot in Stahovica. The first part of the route follows a picturesque road uphill to the two churches of St. Primož and Felicijan. This is followed by a steep section through beautiful, wooded areas, which, however, always allow great views of the mighty Kamnik-Savinja Alps. Afterwards, the first traditional alpine settlement on Velika Planina is reached, which invites you to linger. The hike follows a beautiful circular route on Velika Planina and passes several small alpine settlements, cute cows, and fantastic viewpoints. The last part of the route leads downhill through great forest areas and ends with a bus ride from Smrečje v Črni back to Stahovica.
The entire hike is 17 kilometers long, but it can be shortened if you do not walk the big loop on Velika Planina. It is also possible to use the lift for one way. We needed about 7 hours with breaks for the hike. In between, the route has a significant slope, for which a good basic condition is required. During the hike there are about 1250 meters of ascent and descent. The paths are well developed, signposted and recognizable. Hiking shoes are nevertheless obligatory. There are refreshment stops on the hike. I have marked the route and all important destinations on the map.
17 km (7 h)
↑ 1260 m ↓ 1070 m
Parking lot in Stahovica
Well developed nature trails
Includes bus ride or hitchhiking
How to get to Velika Planina
Travel by car
My proposed hiking route starts from a small free parking lot in the village of Stahovica (see map). From the town of Kamnik take road 225 in the direction of Kamniška Bistrica. In Stahovica turn left into road 923 and after 100 meters you will reach the parking lot. However, due to the high number of tourists, there are many parking lots around the plateau, which are also further up in the mountains. If you don’t want to hike, there is a lift to the northwest of the plateau that will take you up.
By bus to the alpine settlement
In Stahovica, very close to the parking lot, there is also a bus stop. This is served by buses from Kamnik, Gornji Grad or Kamniška Bistrica. The ride from Kamnik to Stahovica takes 10 minutes and costs 1.30 euros. Kamnik is well connected to the transport network and therefore easy to reach by bus and train. I have marked the bus stop on the map. You can find more information on the website of the bus company.
If you want to learn more about traveling by car or public transportation in Slovenia, check out my travel blog about Slovenia.
My hike to the alpine settlement on Velika Planina
The small parking lot in Stahovica is located at about 450 meters above sea level. Directly from the parking lot a road, sometimes more sometimes less asphalted, leads uphill towards the alpine settlement. We walk through beautiful forest areas with deciduous trees, through whose treetops the morning sun shines. A warm veil of light lies over the picturesque hiking path and makes the magnificent trees appear in bright green. Contrast this with the fresh air that floats in the cool shade of the trees, making the morning mood in the Slovenian mountains perfect.
We pass clearings where we can enjoy magnificent views of the valleys in the region around Kamnik. Clouds accumulate in the mountain slopes and above them a bright blue sky greets us. On the meadows Slovenian farm workers are working with simple machines, while we change to T-shirts and shorts due to the heat and the steady ascent. There are 3.5 kilometers and 400 meters of altitude to climb to our first destination, the mountain churches of Kamnik.
Short Facts for your Trip
The main season on Velika Planina lasts from June to September. During these months cows also graze on the meadows of the plateau. We were in Slovenia at the beginning of August. The alpine settlements were full of tourists, but away from the settlements we hardly met other people. Most people go by lift. In the winter months, snow can be expected on Velika Planina and the plateau turns into a popular ski resort. On the following page you can find a climate table.
Stopover at the church of St. Primož and Felicijan in Kamnik
We reach the church of St. Primus and Felician, perched on a rock at 830 meters above sea level. The views from up here stretch far across the valleys of Kamnik to Ljubljana. We therefore decide to take a rest and enjoy the beautiful view of the Slovenian countryside.
The picturesque church of St. Primus and Felician dates to the 12th century and was a popular pilgrimage destination due to the relics of St. Primus and Felician. Inside, well-preserved wall paintings await visitors, which can be viewed by appointment at the pub. In the restaurant there is also something to eat and drink. A little higher up on the summit is the ancient church of St. Peter, which blends fabulously into the surrounding mountain landscape. The two churches are a popular tourist destination in Slovenia.
If you are looking for more hikes in Slovenia, check out these books. The books are small and handy, offer useful information about hiking and detailed descriptions of the hikes. I am sure that you will discover hiking routes that you would not find without these book.
Viewpoints on Velika Planina and Kamnik-Savinja Alps
The trail continues steadily uphill through small idyllic forest areas towards Velika Planina. On these 2 kilometers, another 400 meters of altitude must be mastered, however, the great views of the surroundings compensate. Unobstructed views of Velika Planina ahead open up. Steep rocks supporting green meadows rise in front of us, giving a glimpse of the beauty of the plateau on which the alpine settlement is located. In the distance we look at the snow-covered peaks of the impressive Kamnik-Savinja Alps.
The alpine settlement on Velika Planina
As seen in the last picture, we are approaching the alpine pasture settlement and before we see anything at all we hear the ringing of cowbells. Excited, we run panting the last meters uphill. What we see then, when we reach the summit, takes our breath away. Hundreds of cows graze freely on the lush green meadows in between wooden alpine huts. It seems as if we have stepped into another world when crossing the summit.
We walk across the green meadow, which nestles like a soft carpet over the hilly landscape of Velika Planina. The mountain air whistles around our ears and carries the ringing of cowbells to us from all directions. In the chorus of bells, we approach the alpine huts and discover a restaurant with an outdoor area. Here in the Jarški dom na Mali planini we sit down, drink local beer and treat ourselves to a delicious bean soup.
The circular path on Velika Planina
After refreshment in the restaurant, we continue walking northwest along a signposted trail. We meet more and more tourists, because we approach the main settlement of Velika Planina, which is located near the lift. Accordingly, the alpine settlement is full when we reach it. There are many sights in the settlement, such as museums, churches, or petting zoos. Cows run through the idyllic village, let themselves be stroked, and lick the sweat from our sweaty arms. Due to the hustle and bustle, we leave the alpine settlement and continue hiking along the trail towards the east.
If you prefer to travel in a group, there is a possibility to join a guided tour. You don’t have to worry about transportation, excursion planning, or food, but you can completely focus on the beauty of Velika Planina. I recommend booking a tour through Viator portal, where countless activities around the world can be booked easily and safely.
Our hike takes us past small ponds, herds of cows grazing in the meadows, and isolated alpine huts. In the distance, the majestic peaks of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps rise into the air as we explore the green-covered hills of the plateau. After a turn to the south, the trail now runs along the edge of the Velika Planina plateau, giving us a magnificent, unobstructed view of the surrounding Slovenian mountain landscape as we hike. We round the peak of Bukovec and again arrive at a small alpine settlement. Cows are lying on the side of the path, staring at us in amazement as we pass their territory.
The descent from Velika Planina
At the end of the small settlement there is a signposted trail for the descent, which goes downhill through a beautiful forest. After 2 kilometers we come to a clearing where there are two residential houses. The trail leads us directly to the property of the southern house, in whose garden an elderly Slovenian man is chopping wood. With hands and feet, he tries to explain to us how to get back on the correct hiking trail. He leads us behind his house and repeats “zigzag” in combination with an arm movement downwards. We say goodbye with a “Hvala” and shortly after reach serpentines that lead us after another 1.5 kilometers through the forest to Smrečje v Črni.
If you are looking for a travel guide to Slovenia, check out this book. I personally like this travel guide series very much. The authors give travel tips especially for individual and low budget travelers. Moreover, not only the well-known sights are described, but also more unknown places are mentioned.
The last section from Smrečje v Črni to Stahovica
Our plan is to take the bus back to Stahovica, so we make our way to the bus stop in the village. Unfortunately, we missed the last bus at lunchtime by 20 minutes and the next bus doesn’t leave for another 3 hours. Be smarter than us and be sure to check the bus schedule beforehand. However, we have no choice but to follow the road towards Stahovica on foot. We give a thumbs up to every car that passes. After 2.5 kilometers, an elderly gentleman in an old, red Fiat Panda stops. His back seat is covered with a large Slovenian flag, walking sticks lie on it, a scented tree in the shape of a naked woman adorns his rear-view mirror. After 5 minutes of driving, we arrive safely back at the parking lot in Stahovica and are glad that we didn’t have to hike that part.
Conclusion about the alpine settlement Velika Planina
In sum, the route is very beautiful, and I liked it very much. Anyone who appreciates the mountains and nature will love this hike to Velika Planina. The alternation between forest and views over the mountains makes the hike something special. However, the plateau with the idyllic alpine settlements is of course the highlight of this hike. No relevant hiking experience is needed to master the route, but respect for heights and a certain level of fitness should be present. In any case, hiking boots should be worn. The round hike is 17 kilometers long and takes about 7 hours, but it can be shortened by taking only the small circular route on the plateau. It is also possible to take the cable car and then hike only on the plateau. I was on Velika Planina in August, in the high season. It was sunny and around 25 degrees. In the winter months and into April, you can expect snow in the mountains. In addition, cows graze on the meadows of Velika Planina only in the summer. I can highly recommend this attraction. The views and nature are breathtaking, and the alpine huts transport you to another time. For me, Velika Planina was an absolute highlight on my Slovenia trip.
Hotels and accommodation around Velika Planina
The best starting point for the hike is the region around Kamnik. In the city there are sights, bus connections, supermarkets, restaurants, and many accommodations. You can find a selection of accommodations under this link* I myself stayed at the B&B Hostel Pod Skalo* and was very satisfied. We got many valuable tips and an excellent breakfast buffet.
Of course, it is also possible to stay overnight directly on Velika Planina. The accommodations are expensive and quickly booked out, but an overnight stay in an alpine settlement is certainly worth the experience. Below you will find a selection for the entire Velika Planina.
I hope you enjoyed my travelogue about Velika Planina. On my Slovenia Blog I show you other beautiful travel destinations in Slovenia and share valuable tips and experiences for your trip to Slovenia. Did you like my blog post? Was I able to help you? Then I would be happy if you recommend my travel blog, leave a comment, or follow me on Instagram. Thanks for reading and have fun on your vacation in Slovenia.
The references marked with an asterisk (*) are so-called commission links. If you click on such a referral link and buy something, I get a small commission from the provider. For you, the price does not change! I see it as a small thank you for my work and look forward to any support.