A popular hiking destination for a daytrip from Ljubljana.
It’s International Women’s Day today and I wrote an opinion piece about it 2 years ago that I will keep pushing into your virtual faces until it’s no longer relevant, but today I wanted to share some photo impressions from Sveti Jakob nad Katarino hill.
The name means St. Jakob above Katarina, because Katarina (645 m), Grmada (899 m) and Sv. Jakob (807 m) are a popular trio of hills for casual hikers close to Ljubljana and Sv. Jakob has a church on top. Now, you may or may not know this, but Ljubljana, my hometown, is actually located in a basin and surrounded by gorgeous Alpine mountains. On a clear day you can almost see across half of Slovenia and I can’t tell you how many childhood memories I have of being amazed at the ethereal mountains rising up behind the apartment blocks opposite our family flat. Even now when I live in a different suburb of Ljubljana, I find myself pausing to admire their beauty on my way to work. Particularly on foggy winter days it almost looks like the mountains are floating above the city and it’s crazy.
Anyway, the other day my boyfriend and I went for a Sunday hike to Sveti Jakob nad Katarino hill and the weather was gorgeous. In fact, it was even too sunny for the photos to turn out right, but the views in person were amazing. You’ll just have to take my word for it, because I admit these late winter brown foliage photos aren’t the most picturesque, but we could already see bits of spring coming in and there were spring crocus flowers everywhere. Fun flower fact, spring crocus is actually a saffron flower, but it’s not the spice saffron flower, because that’s a crocus species that blooms in autumn.
The hikes up to each of the three hills I mentioned are all on easy, marked trails and take between 1-1.5 hour each. You can do all of them together within about 5 hours if you’re feeling sporty, but I’m not much for hiking and my post Covid fitness isn’t quite up to scratch yet. However, in terms of effort and reward, any of these hills are great value for sweat – the trails are easy and only steep on some parts and you’ll get a gorgeous 360° view of the surrounding mountains, as well as a bonus authentic experience of the Slovenian countryside on the way. So, if you’re a casual lazy hiker like me, this is the daytrip from Ljubljana worth doing, because the other popular hiking destination in Ljubljana, Mt. Saint Mary (664 m), is steep as hell and even more crowded.
Impressions from Sv. Jakob nad Katarino hill
Know before you go: To start your hike to Sv. Jakob and the other hills, you can either drive to Topol pri Medvodah, a small village with a parking lot, or take bus no. 51 to Polhov Gradec, which is in zone 2 and will you 1.75€ one way (as of March 2021, find more bus information here). These hills are quite popular with the locals during the weekend, so I’d recommend going on a week day instead, which is also when you’ll have more frequent bus connections. Although there are some nice restaurants in the area, you would do well to bring some water and snacks or even have yourself a picnic. Also, goes without saying, wear proper shoes even if you’re just going up a small hill.
Last but not least, I couldn’t finish this post without showing you a kozolec, the Slovenian traditional hayrack. This type of farming structure with a vertical drying rack is part of Slovenian national heritage and is traditionally used for drying grass or corn for animal feed. You’ll see them in all shapes and sizes allover Slovenia and some of the double ones with roofs almost look like houses on stilts. They’re a signature feature of our countryside and personally I think they’re adorable and should not be taken for granted.