Hill Walking in Ireland ¦ Hiking in Ireland – Hilltoptreks

Walking in Wicklow

Sally Gap on The Wicklow Way

Now, I know, I may be biased but I think Ireland is a great place to take a walk or a hike. For such a small island, it offers a huge variety of landscapes to explore. With coastal routes to mountain climbs and child-friendly trails. Nowhere is too far from the start point of a good walking route so we encourage you to boot up and step out!

Most visitors to Ireland will land in Dublin City on the East coast of the Island. Within just over an hour later you could be in wilderness in the Wicklow Mountains. Scattered with rolling hills and high mountains, dense woodland, steeped in history, sprinkled with native flora and fauna. Known as “the Garden of Ireland”, Wicklow is an enchanting place to get lost in – be it for a day or week.

On the Wild Atlantic Way, along the Western Coast of Ireland, you are spoilt for choice! There are more strenuous way-marked trails in the world but few are as spectacularly beautiful as The Dingle Way in Co Kerry. The Mount Brandon range (1000m) dominates the peninsula. It was also voted by the National Geographic as one of its top five most scenic hikes on earth. Incidentally, N.G. also describes the Dingle Peninsula as ‘the most beautiful place in the world’. It is a natural, open air museum with something ancient and interesting around most corners!

Walking in Connemara

The Devil’s Mother on the Western Way.

The Western Way brings you through Counties Galway, Mayo and also passes through Connemara. It has a wonderful remoteness, wilderness and isolated feel at times.  It combines all that is hauntingly beautiful about the west coast of Ireland and The Wild Atlantic Way.  It is Ireland’s largest tract of land without a through road so it is not very crowded to say the least. Connemara has a strong association with traditional Irish culture and contains the largest Gaeltacht (Irish language speaking area) in the country. It was drastically hit by An Gorta Mor – The Great Hunger – in the 1840’s and it has never recovered in terms of population.

Lakes of Killarnet - Ireland

Lakes of Killarney on the Kerry Way.

The Beara Way is a very interesting trail, half in Kerry and half in Cork! The roads are narrow and no buses can get past the village of Adrigole so it is off the beaten path. For this reason it can be difficult to get to for most tourists and attracts lots of artists and crafts people.  The presence of the warm Gulf Stream makes it a rich marine environment. The qualities of the waters off the Beara Peninsula are a Grade A standard and the region’s traditional maritime culture is as strong as ever. The ruggedly beautiful landscape of the area is breath taking with stunning waterfalls and valleys. There is also splendid heritage trails and walks, historic copper mines and mountains. Many visitors to the area have commented that life progresses at a different pace.

Our stunning Atlantic coastal scenery comes with some caveats to Mountain Safety. Our mountains may not be very high but the changeable weather can come as a surprise. Always be prepared with waterproof jacket and trousers, walking boots plus warm layers, hat and gloves.

A warm and dry hiker is a happy hiker!

 

hut-to-hut-hiking-slovenia

Hiking – Slovenia’s National Pastime

When the sun is out, so are Slovenians. The countryside of this small yet exceptionally diverse country is made for hiking, and that’s exactly what the population of this subalpine jewel does.

hut-to-hut-hiking-sloveniaEvery weekend if possible. Yes, you could say practically every Slovenian hits the hiking trails any opportunity they get. And who can blame them? With almost 10,000 km of marked mountain trails and more than 181 mountain huts, shelters and bivouacs, Slovenia is nothing short of a hiker’s paradise.

The wonderful thing about hiking is that anyone can do it. Young or old, pros or amateurs, there’s a trail out there with your name on it. The enviable network of Slovenian hiking trails stretches all the way from the Adriatic Sea, through endless fields, vineyards, forests, foothills and valleys, up to the vertical walls of the country’s highest peaks.

The Slovenian mountains are considered a national treasure. The most amazing to visit are of course the Julian Alps. It’s wheTriglav-Sloveniare one of the oldest national parks in Europe is located. The Triglav National Park. In and around this area are Lake Bled, Kranjska Gora, Lake Bohinj and the Soča Valley – probably the most scenic places in the Alps and most known in Slovenia. It’s here that you’ll find Slovenia’s highest peaks with their magnificent limestone walls, picture-perfect panoramic views, waterfalls, gorges and valleys.

Another superb hiking area are the Kamnik-Savinja Alps. Located at the northern tip of the Ljubljana Basin, this mountainous region is known for the fairy-tale herdsmen village on Velika Planina, Slovenia’s largest meadow, and the incredibly picturesque Logar Valley with its educational nature trails.

Then there’s the rest of the country. Covered in lush forests, expansive fields and a seemingly endless collection of hills and valleys, Slovenia is a land begging to be explored on foot. Anywhere you go there’s a forest path, goat-track, mountain pass, or countryside lane leading into the beautiful unknown. In the southwest, the wind-swept Karst Plateau with the Nanos Hill reigning over the coastal region and the wine growing hills of Goriška Brda.

In the northeast, the Pohorje Massif, a gorgeous hilly area with a fantastic network of hiking trails invites avid hikers from near and far. In the southeast, Bela Krajina or “White Country”, with its pristine nature and clean rivers Krka and Kolpa, is a popular hiking area.

One of the main perks of hiking in Slovenia is that you can get from one region to another in under two hours. Road connectivity is excellent and accommodations are in their plenty. Regardless of why or how you’re visiting the country, there’s always a splendid hike to be had in the nearby countryside. Even larger urban areas are surrounded by unspoilt nature, so no excuses!

A ridiculously cool Slovenian tradition you simply have to partake in undoubtedly hut-to-hut hiking. It’s a super fun way of Velika Planina huts-Sloveniadiscovering the mountainous world and the treasures it holds. Hiking from one mountain hut to another is a lovely social experience one can share with fellow hikers. There are 178 mountain huts sprinkled all over Slovenia, each with its unique setting.

Few things are more rewarding than eating a hearty authentic alpine meal and resting your weary bones after a day-long hiking adventure. But be warned, hut-to-hut hiking is very popular in this part of the world, so unless you’re going on a guided tour, it’s highly advisable to book your hut way in advance, especially during summer’s high season.

To make a very long and winding and exciting hiking story short: If you’re ever in the neighborhood do go and explore Slovenia’s incredible outdoors. Hiking over here is more than just the unforgettable panoramic views and healthy exercise. It’s about socialising, saying hi to strangers in the mountains, pointing people in the right direction, making merry high up in mountain huts, learning about the local culture, etc. So stop mooching about and go for a hike!

Hope to see you on a hot Alpine tea or cool Slovenian beer in the mountains soon.