The photography guide to Slovenia Triglav National Park
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Triglav National Park photography guide

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Introduction

Triglav national park is Slovenia's only national park. Its name comes from Mount Triglav (2864m), the highest peak of Slovenia. Most of the Julian Alps are within the park, including the highest peaks, alpine valleys, mountain lakes and rivers. People and nature have coexisted here for centuries and traditional pastures are well preserved in this part of the Alps. 

Photographers will find plenty of treasures in Triglav national park at any time of year. In this guide you will find a variety of locations, including:

  • Easy shots (from the mountain pass, roadside, lake shore..)
  • Some more challenging locations that require hiking
  • Iconic churches and traditional shepherds’ huts
  • Dramatic mountain views and beautiful lakes with mountain reflections
  • More intimate scenes good for capturing wildflowers, rivers and waterfalls

If you are visiting this part of Slovenia it is worth checking out two other guides, Soča river valley and Lakes Bled and Bohinj. 

Most popular Triglav National Park photo spots


Where to stay

Photographers want to stay close to shooting locations and in Julian Alps there are three main places one can choose as a base. 

Lake Bohinj. This is a great place to explore the area around the lake, the waterfalls and rivers. It is also a good base to start hiking to places like Valley of the seven lakes or even a multi-day climb to Mt Triglav. This area is also great for autumn colours.

Kranjska Gora. This is one of the most popular ski resorts in Slovenia and is also very popular in summer for hiking. Vršič pass is very close to Kranjska Gora and is the perfect base for hiking to some to the most popular mountains in the Julian Alps. You'll also have Zelenci Springs, Martuljek Falls and the Vrata Valley nearby. 

Bovec. This little town is very popular with outdoor enthusiasts who come to the area to enjoy whitewater rafting, kayaking, paragliding, flyfishing and of course hiking. This is another excellent base from which to explore the Soča river valley, nearby mountain passes and waterfalls. Autumn colours can be amazing here as well. 

Mountain huts. There are some incredible mountain huts high in the Julian Alps. Whilst not as fancy as some of the private lodges in the Dolomites, these huts offer everything you need for an overnight stay in the mountains; hearty food, warmth, accommodation and information. Keep in mind that in high season the most popular huts need to be reserved in advance. Many of the huts will only be open in summer months - June to September. There are only a few that are open year round.

While the above options are the most convenient, it's easy to explore Triglav national park from other popular places such as Lake Bled, Kobarid, Tolmin, Kranj or even from Ljubljana.


Hiking

Hiking in the Triglav national park is one of the most popular things to do and it combines wonderfully with photography. 

There is a  wide range of hiking trails and they are all well marked. There is a clear distinction of levels of difficulty so you will know what to expect. Via Ferrata trails are more demanding and require special equipment, but are great fun to do if you are well-prepared.

It’s advisable to check online resources prior to your hike to learn what to expect. Whilst PhotoHound can show you precise photo spot locations and trails are well marked, it is still advisable to have a topographic map with you. The resource is Hribi.net website (hiking-trail.net in English) with comprehensive descriptions of all hiking trails in Slovenia and beyond.

Mountain gear is recommended even if you’re only doing light hiking. Proper boots (preferably water resistant), hiking clothing, gloves and cap (in summer too!), a wind and rain proof jacket are a must. Hiking poles can be very useful if hiking long distances and crampons and ice-axe for snow conditions. A head lamp is highly recommended for photographers. Most of the gear can easily be purchased in any tourist town, but expect to pay premium prices (unless you hit it lucky with the sales!).

In winter access to the mountains is limited. Unlike the Dolomites in Italy, there are not so many ski resorts and gondolas in the Julian Alps. There are still plenty of nice hikes in the valley and mountain plateaus for the adventurous. 


Seasons & When To Go

The best season to visit the Triglav national park for photography is autumn, roughly from mid to end of October. This is usually prime time for the yellow larch trees and reddish beech trees. Autumn also gives you a more moody atmosphere with morning mists, low sun and more peace and quiet in general. Autumn is considered off-season in Slovenia - hotels and mountain huts are closed, there are fewer restaurants open.

Winter can be amazing as well, with snow covered mountains, forests and frozen lakes. Many places are surprisingly easy to access due to excellent road service. Make sure you have winter tyres and snow chains in your trunk.  If temperatures are low for an extended period, many waterfalls will freeze over and sometimes it is even possible to walk to the Lake Bled island!

Spring is arguably the least interesting season for photography - at least until the trees and meadows turn green. It’s possible it will still be snow covered in May, so it pays to be prepared for winter conditions and have warm clothes, proper shoes and snow chains in your car. Mid to late May is usually nice and, if lucky, you can find the first of the wildflowers. Daffodils are the flowers of the season.

Early summer is another beautiful season to visit the Julian Alps. June and early July are particularly good with the wildflowers in bloom and before the summer crowds arrive. Mountain pastures are at their most beautiful at this time of year. Keep nature in mind and be careful when photographing flora and fauna. Most mountain huts will already be operational by mid June. There will still be patches of snow in the higher altitudes which can work well for photography but is sometimes tricky for hiking.


Responsible Photography

Triglav national park is predominantly an Alpine environment - one of the most fragile habitats in the world. This said, there is a lot of human intervention already, mountain huts, ski resorts, chairlifts, hiking trails, roads, towns and villages, mountain pastures. There are relatively few pockets of true wilderness and most of it is hard to access.

The last thing that nature needs there is more impact from us photographers. So let’s respect the principles of Nature First, and remember to follow PhotoHound’s Responsible Photography principles.

Some specific tips that apply in Triglav national park; many spots in this guide are located in alpine meadows where cattle graze in summer, or on ski slopes in winter and on hiking trails in summer meaning there is already a lot of impact on nature for different reasons and activities. At times this means it can be okay to go a little bit off the trail for photography where common sense applies. For example it certainly is not okay in spring / summer to walk into a field of wildflowers and trample them down even though in winter you might venture onto the snow covered meadows.

Swimming or washing cutlery or clothes in wild alpine lakes is strictly prohibited. This can bring harmful microorganisms or too many nutrients into the water which could destroy the fragile balance in the lake.

Drones are strictly prohibited in Triglav national park. Please set a good example and do not fly your drone in the park, however inviting this might be.


Top picks

Best mountain peaks for photography. These are very strenuous but technically not too demanding.

  • Mt Mangart - great for sunrise and night photography
  • Mt Prisojnik - fantastik ridge and 360 views on Slovenian peaks
  • Mt Razor - direct view on the north wall of Mt Triglav. On clear days one can see the highest peaks of the Dolomites!

Medium difficulty hikes for great views. These only require decent fitness levels and a basic sense for navigation.

  • Valley of the seven lakes. The most fairytale valley in Julian Alps. Beautiful mountain lakes. Recommended to stay overnight.
  • Lipanski Vrh. A small peak above Pokljuka plateau. Very amazing views on Mt Triglav, especially at sunrise and if there is fog in the valley.
  • Slemenova Špica. Best in autumn - a beautiful hike among yellow larch trees and amazing views on jagged mountains around.

Rivers and waterfalls. For photographers who enjoy photographing water, Triglav national park really delivers. Some of the must visit places are Peričnik waterfall (autumn and winter), the upper stream of Soča river, Mostnica river and Šunik water hurst.

Whatever you decide to visit and photograph - spend at least 5-6 days in Triglav national park. You will definitely want to come back however long you spend there!


Links

https://www.tnp.si/
Triglav National Park official website
http://www.hiking-trail.net/
Comprehensive directory of hiking trails and recent conditions
https://www.bohinj.si/
Lake Bohinj tourism website
https://www.photohound.co/guide/lakes-bled-and-bohinj
Photohound's guide to Lakes Bled & Bohinj
https://www.photohound.co/guide/soca-river-valley
Photohound's guide to Soča river valley
https://www.soca-valley.com/
Soča river valley tourism website
https://kranjska-gora.si/
Kranjska Gora official website

Curated By

Luka Esenko Admin
I love travelling with Neja (my wife), Brin and Fran (my little boys) and of course my camera.
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