Our first day trip from Ljubljana was to Šmarna Gora. It was the only day with guaranteed sunshine, so we decided to use the opportunity to get a good view over the surrounding area. During my research for the trip I read that it is a popular destination for locals, especially on weekends. Therefore, I was a little amused when I asked the receptionist about directions for the bus and she had to look them up herself since she had never been there nor many of the other guests apparently.
Going by bus in Ljubljana
Travelling on transport in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language for the first time is always a bit scary. Luckily the receptionist explained the bus system to us. Within Ljubljana there is an Urbana card, similar to the Oyster card in London. We got one from reception but you can also buy one from the green Urbanomat machines where you also top up the card. You can use the card for two people. Just tell the driver before you swipe it.
Getting to Šmarna Gora
From Ljubljana you take Bus 8 from your nearest station to Tacen. You can find timetables here. From the centre of the city it takes, depending on traffic around 30 minutes. Prices are pretty cheap at €1.20 per person for one way. If you’re nervous about missing your station, watch out for a bridge over a river that the bus crosses just before reaching Tacen.
Going for a hike
When you get off the bus at Tacen there’s a wooden sign saying Romarska pot. Afterwards “life saving” dots lead your along path. The path leads past farms and houses until it diverges off into the forest. Just before the start of the forest, we wondered if we had made a wrong turn since there were some extravagant looking houses. There was even a house with an impressive hammock. Shortly afterwards the path reaches a clearing with a lovely view. Here is a great spot to have breakfast. As you walk through the forest you will spot several shrines. The further to the top you get there are also hand-painted stones detailing scenes from the hill’s history.
Different websites said the hike to the 662m high top would take 30-60 minutes. We are usually fast walkers but locals kept overtaking us. Perhaps we should work out more or perhaps Slovenians of all ages just seem to be really athletic. Many locals wore sportswear or just walked shirtless, which made us realize it wouldn’t be as much of an easy walk as website had made it sound. Therefore, we’d say, depending on how fast you walk and how well you do with steeper paths, plan in a bit more time.
Reaching the top
If you still aren’t out of breath by the time you reach the top, there is a workout area to get even more exercise. Close to the top there is a bell you will hear being rung from afar. The legend says that if you ring the bell three times your wish will come true. On the top you can walk around the church and get a beautiful view of Ljubljana’s surroundings. There are also little shops you can buy food and drinks from, as well as a seating area to rest. There’s also a drinking water fountain to refill your water bottle.
- Make sure you bring shoes for hiking and uneven grounds
- The paths can get crowded on weekends
- Plan in time to enjoy the view and possibly eat at the top