Slovenia may be modest in size compared to some of its European neighbours, but it boasts an astonishingly diverse landscape. Much of this topographical richness stems from its location at the crossroads of central and southeastern Europe. Bordered by Italy, Austria, Hungary, and Croatia, Slovenia absorbs geographical characteristics from each. As a result, not only does it have a sliver of Mediterranean coastline touching the Adriatic Sea, but it’s also endowed with an imposing Alpine region.
Further diversifying its terrain are the northeastern lowlands, and expansive Pannonian Plains. And if that’s not enough, the southern region of Slovenia, specifically the area between its capital Ljubljana and the Mediterranean, is a geological marvel known as the Kras region. Here, the terrain is riddled with spectacular karstic features: subterranean rivers, deep gorges, and captivating caves.
But for those who are fascinated by towering peaks, the real question remains: what about the mountains in Slovenia? It’s noteworthy that a staggering 65% of Slovenia’s terrain is mountainous. This includes two significant mountain ranges: the Alps and the Dinarides, both of which include some of the tallest mountains in Slovenia. So, without further ado, let’s take a ‘peak’ at these colossal landforms.
Standing proudly as the tallest among Slovenia’s highest mountains is Triglav, soaring approximately 9,395 feet above sea level. Triglav isn’t just the pinnacle in Slovenia but also reigns as the apex of the Julian Alps. Nestled in north-western Slovenia, near the Italian and Austrian borders, this peak is ensconced within Triglav National Park, which covers four percent of Slovenia’s expanse. This park, one of Europe’s eldest, first received protection in 1924 as the Alpine Conservation Park. Significantly, Triglav was the loftiest peak in Yugoslavia before Slovenia achieved independence in 1991.
Triglav’s summit features the iconic Aljaž Tower, a metal structure serving both as a storm shelter and a triangulation point. The tower’s origins trace back to 1895 when Jakob Aljaž, a priest, erected it after purchasing the mountain’s summit, later donating it to the Slovene Alpine Society.
The genesis of the name “Triglav” remains enigmatic. While some attribute it to the mountain’s distinctive appearance from the southeast, others connect it to ancient deities believed to reside at its peak. A significant portion of the Julian Alps is encompassed within Triglav National Park, with its second-highest peak, Jôf di Montasio, located in Italy.
Škrlatica, known historically as Suhi plaz or “Dry Avalanche,” is a rugged mountain in the Julian Alps. With its summit at 8,990 feet above sea level, it’s second among the highest mountains in Slovenia. It’s also the third highest in the Julian Alps as a whole after Triglav and Italy’s Jôf di Montasio. Located in the province of Gorenjska, It derives its name from the word “škrlat”, signifying “scarlet”, a nod to its northwestern rock face that glows with a reddish-purple hue at sunset.
Mangart, also known as Mangrt, is another jewel among the Julian Alps. It stands tall on the border between Italy and Slovenia within the bounds of Triglav National Park. Reaching up to 8,789 feet, Mangart is the third tallest among the mountains in Slovenia.
The Julian Alps
Several of Slovenia’s highest mountains proudly stand within the limestone karst terrain of the Julian Alps and the Triglav National Park. Noteworthy among them are Visoki Rokav, Jalovec, and Razor, reaching up to 8,681 feet, 8,677 feet, and 8,533 feet above sea level, respectively.
Among the biggest mountains of Slovenia, Grintovec stands out as the tallest outside the Julian Alps. Located just 20 miles north of the capital, Ljubljana, near the Austrian border, Grintovec also holds the title of the highest peak in the Kamnik–Savinja Alps, with an altitude of 8,392 feet.
Gracing the border between Slovenia and Austria, Stol or Veliki Stol rises to a height of 7,336 feet. As the highest mountain in the Karavankas range, which spans a whopping 75 miles, it’s an impressive sight to behold. Stol’s Slovenian side boasts dense spruce forests, bushy pines, and higher elevations covered in grass.
Veliki Snežnik deserves a mention as the tallest non-Alpine peak among the biggest mountains of Slovenia. Nestled in the Snežnik plateau, it towers at 5,892 feet above sea level.
The Biggest Mountains of Slovenia
Slovenia, though compact, boasts a treasure trove of majestic peaks. From the Julian Alps to the Dinarides, the mountains in Slovenia present a landscape that’s as diverse as it is grand, solidifying its reputation for having some of the highest mountains of not only Slovenia itself but indeed Europe as a whole.