Snežnik (or Veliki Snežnik) is the highest mountain of southern Slovenia. A bare summit, which rises above the land of bears, wolves and lynxes offers excellent view - from Kvarner Bay (Rijeka) and Slovene sea all the way to the Alps and Ljubljana. There is a little mountain hut just below the summit. The popular starting point is a lovely hamlet of holiday houses (Sviščaki) and the majority of hikers ascend directly to Veliki Snežnik, but you can also make a much less visited detour across Mali Snežnik.
Starting point: On the main road through Ilirska Bistrica pay attention to a poorly visible signpost for Sviščaki, which directs you to the left (if you are coming from Postojna). Simply follow the main road and the signposts for Sviščaki for about 20 km. Park at a large parking lot next to a crossroad to Snežnik or Mašun just in front of 'Planinski Dom Na Sviščakih' mountain lodge; the road to here is plowed in winter (around 1250 m).
Description: From the mountain lodge at Sviščaki cross a meadow in the direction of a signpost for Snežnik. Walk past holiday houses and follow the markings. Higher up you will merge with a road for a while and by a small chapel turn right onto a forest path. This marked path is quite popular and quickly traced after snowing, so orientation should not be a problem. The path gently ascends through the forest at first and later you come to an area full of dwarf pines and already spot the summit of Veliki Snežnik. The view is more beautiful with every step, but the higher you are, the stronger usually the wind is - some kind of a 'trademark' of Snežnik. When the weather is nice, the view from the summit reaches from the Alps all the way to Croatian islands. There is a large 'open cave or karst shaft' a few meters east from the summit. Be careful!
If you wish to make this tour circular, you can return to Sviščaki across Mali Snežnik, which is rarely visited during winter. Go down the path of ascent to a saddle between Veliki and Mali Snežnik, then proceed on the ridge westwards. You begin to descend faster after Mali Snežnik, walk on the left side of another large 'karst shaft' (careful!) and before long you reach the forest. Slowly turn towards south-west and arrive to a road (not plowed in winter). Here turn left and follow the road all the way to the chapel above Sviščaki, which you have passed on your way up. You can return to Sviščaki from the chapel down a lovely path past a cute panoramic point. This path is well marked with white-blue markings and leads you back to the starting point in a gentle descent.
Highest point/summit: Veliki Snežnik: 1796 m
Duration: Sviščaki - Veliki Snežnik: 2 h Veliki Snežnik - Sviščaki (across Mali Snežnik): 2 h Total: 4 h
Skiing: Usually we ski from the summit down the described path of ascent. Once you come into the forest and the footpath crosses the road, turn right and return to Sviščaki along the road (not plowed), which gently descends throughout. Skiing from Mali Snežnik down the described path of descent is possible too. Skiing difficulty: 1 Skiing duration: ca. 45 min
Snežnik (iz Sviščakov)
Snežnik (or Veliki Snežnik) is the highest mountain of southern Slovenia. A bare summit, which rises above the land of bears, wolves and lynxes offers excellent view - from Kvarner Bay (Rijeka) and Slovene sea all the way to the Alps and Ljubljana. There is a little mountain hut just below the summit. The popular starting point is a lovely hamlet of holiday houses (Sviščaki) and the majority of hikers ascend directly to Veliki Snežnik, but you can also make a much less visited detour across Mali Snežnik.Snežnik (iz Sviščakov)
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