As a country full of hiking enthusiasts and mountain lovers, Slovenia has a rich tradition connected to mountain lodges. They’re a widespread cultural landmark in the Slovenian mountains because mountaineering has long been a popular activity among Slovenians.
There are 179 mountain lodges in Slovenia providing a place for hikers to spend the night before conquering the next peak on their route. 53 of these lodges are located in the Julian Alps and the Triglav National Park, including 10 bivouacs and 18 huts that are not accessible by a vehicle.
The lodges offer only the basic comfort, which is exactly what’s keeping them authentic. Most lodges don’t have showers and drinking water because the karst landscapes surrounding them consist of soluble rock that prevents the formation of surface bodies of water. This means that all the water needed in the huts has to be transported from the valley. The lodges located on higher altitudes have to have all their supplies (including bottled drinking water) brought to them by helicopter.
Despite these restrictions, all the cottages offer a basic menu of hearty Slovenian dishes like stews, sausages, and delicious strudels. And filling your belly with some good food to keep your motor running is the most important thing when it comes to long outdoor physical activities like hiking. As any hiker can tell you, all that fresh air really makes you hungry!
Nowadays, mountain lodges enable easier ascents of high peaks and provide stopping points on hut to hut hiking tours, but in the past, these lodges provided an often very necessary shelter due to poor traffic connections and non-existent weather forecasts.
Most mountain lodges inaccessible by vehicles are only open during the summer season. The start and end of the season depend on the weather so the date differs each year, usually they open sometime in May or at higher altitudes in June, and close by the end of September. Outside of the summer season, mountaineers can find shelter in the so-called winter rooms, which are included in practically all the mountain lodges in Slovenia, or bivouacs. Due to the high number of hikers during the summer season, it’s advisable to book your stay in the cottage several weeks in advance, especially if you’re looking to visit the mountains during the weekend.