A brief history of hiking and biking in Slovenia
Most Slovenians take good advantage of the playground their country has offered them. Most of them do multiple sports but among the most popular are sports in nature. That is not surprising since the possibilities are endless. Two sports have a special place in their hearts - hiking and biking.
Hiking in Slovenia goes way back in history. Due to the terrain in the alpine regions hunters have searched all the hidden parts of the mountains and valleys. They have done multiday treks over the Alps and established first improvised mountain huts. Soon, they started to guide tourists and adventurers into their kingdom. In 1778 four brave men have summited Slovenia’s highest mountain, Triglav. But the mountains had to wait until the end of the 19th century for people to start to visit them regularly.
In 1893 Alpine Association of Slovenia was founded. Soon after, Slovene Mountain Rescue Association was established and to the present day, it is one of the few in the world that still provides free service to everyone in need, based on volunteering. Rough Slovenian Alps were made more accessible to people with establishing marked paths and securing dangerous parts. The ridge to Mount Triglav was widened and secured. Today they say that you are not a true Slovenian if you haven’t climbed Triglav. Hiking slowly evolved into alpinism, with important men like Henrik Tuma and Julius Kugy exploring first faces and walls. It grew very popular with its peak in the 80s, and ever since Slovenia belongs to the peak of world alpinism and sport climbing.
In present-day, Slovenia has something to offer to anyone - easy low altitude trails, longer endurance hikes, multiday hut to hut treks, scrambling the unmarked paths, climbing via Ferrata and so on. Many routes are most enjoyable with a professional local guide. There are lots of them in Slovenia and they do a fantastic job they love the most. Heck, they can even take you over the famous Triglav North face.
But mountains, playing such an important role in the life of Slovenians, cover only part of the country. Why not use the second favourite Slovenian sport to do so - riding a bike. Slovenian mountains are only very high and inaccessible in some parts. Mostly they are welcoming and low angle, and perfect for mountain biking. It’s not rare to see a Slovenian pushing pedals up to Pokljuka Plateau as high as possible, only to leave the bike there and continue on foot to the top of some 2000er and be home for lunchtime.
Slovenians are experts in the so-called Bike&Hike. Combining those two activities makes it double the fun and opens up much more possibilities. Want to see some sights and the view? No problem. And even though both are leg-powered, a bit different muscles work, so if you get tired of cycling, you will be surprised how fresh you will feel walking.