OverviewDinaric mountains start on the NW with several moderately high mountains, rising from broad, mostly forrested plateaus. The group of Trnovski gozd is most towards the NW, next to it, in the typical Dinaric direction - towards the SE - is stretching the group of Nanos. Its most characteristic mountain already has its page here on SP, unfortunately stagnating over the last years, but the whole mountain group offers much more. So, here I'd like to present a short overview. As these mountains are, except of the main summit, less attractive for visiting, allow me to mention on this page also a few other highlights of the area. At the end, mountains are not just peaks, but also their valleys, rivers, underground world and historical and cultural heritage as well. And in that broader aspect this is a great mountain group.
The summit of Nanos is besides Snežnik the second most famous mountain of Slovenian Dinaric mountains. Its characteristic dome is guarding one of the most important gates where the main traffic from European inlands goes towards the Adriatic sea - Postojnska vrata. Thousands of years this mountain is directing not only people traffic but also the cold "burja" wind which blows there from the continent towards the sea with its strongest force in average more than 40 days per year. Nanos is so characteristically seen from the south that it was serving as an orientation point even to sailors, reaching into some 50 km remote Trieste bay. It offers many nice hikes, biking tours, even short climbs in its crags. But that's more or less all why somebody enthusiastic about mountains would come to this areas. Other elevations of the group are only a bit lower, but none of them so imposing. Many are covered with woods, offering not much views around. What remains attractive with them is unspoiled nature and solitude. For skiing, these mountains are less attractive. The grassy slopes of Nanos are oriented towards the south and burja wind always spoils good conditions for skiing.
The Character of MountainsAs other Dinaric mountains, also the Nanos Group is made of limestone. In the eastern part it is mostly from the Jurassic era, on the west, the main massif of Nanost is almost predominantly from the Cretacious era. Parts of the area (Javorniki on the north and the southern slopes of Sv. Lovrenc are made of Triassic dolomite. On the south and west, the mountaneous area is lowering on Eocene flysh zones.
Almost all water, falling on the surface, disappears into the ground, forming the best examples of karst phaenomena. Water sources are only in the valleys, where the limestone layers are bordering to flysh. On karst fields, such as Pivška kotlina and Planinsko polje even bigger rivers disappear underground, showing up tenths of miles away, usually as rivers with different names. Underground is a totally different world. Rivers are confluencing there, forming tenths of kilometers long caves and deep canyons. Postojnska jama, one of the most famous and beautiful caves in the world, is more than 20 km long, for public visit only some more than 5 km are opened - and yet, that's supposedly the longest publicly opened cave system in the world.
On the surface of those mountains you will see mostly endless forrests. The exception is only the S and SE side of Nanos, where the slopes are grassy, steep and rocky. Due to forrest exploitation the high plateaus are criss-crossed with a dense network of forrest roads. To visit the area, don't miss to take a good map with you!
From Ancient TimesStrategic position of Postojnska vrata (pass) caused that south of Nanos in the past many peoples were migrating and trading. But strategy aside, near Postojna (Betalov spodmol) even evidence from paleolythic time (as much as 300.000 years back) was found. In pre Roman times near today's Šmihel supposedly there was Metulum, the capital of Iliric tribe named Japodi. Their era was ended with ancient Romans. From the times of Romans there is a lot of archeologic evidence around Nanos. At that time a trade route over Hrušica was popular, actually representing the shortest direction from the coast towards Emona and Poetovia. Still today you can see the remains of Roman limes (defence wall with watchtowers) and on Hrušica pass tables teach you about the artefacts, seen on the site. And finally, on the SW border of Nanos mountain supposedly a big battle was fought. On the 6th and 7th September, 394, near the Frigid river (supposedly nowadays Vipava) a big clash happened between Teodozij, the emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire and Eugenij, the ruler of the Western Roman Empire. With Teodozij winning, Christianity prevailed also in at that time still barbaric Western part of Roman empire.
The Summits and Tours
Plesa, 1262 m
This summit is not the highest on Nanos, but far the most attractive and popular. It rises on the very south of the big dome of Nanos and so offers sweeping views towards the E, S and W. Due to its exposed position it hosts telecommunication devices, bringing signals to a big part of southern Slovenia. Pleša (="Baldy") can be reached by many attractive marked paths and also a narrow, at the end quite steep mountain road. Almost on the top also a mountain hut stands. Below are only a few route itineraries, al others are coming from more far away or are not marked.
1. From Razdrto, 575 m - direct south route. This is a medium demanding hike up (T3), steep and partially protected by a cable. We start on a parking place by the highway. At first we follow marks by a mountain road, then right by the marked path. It ascends over a meadow and through the woods to the place where the path branches. Our direct variant goes right up. After crossing screes, the path soon reaches a rocky edge, around which a bit exposed ledge goes. This passage is protected by a cable. Then the path continues steeply and soon over a rocky slope a chain helps us. Above is a nice panoramic place from which the path continues left and then up by an open terrain. Also here some additional care is needed, especially if the slopes are wet or icy. High above the path gets less steep and soon branches. The straight branch goes over the top, the right one around and to the hut. 1 h 45 min.
2. From Razdrto, 575 m - by St. Hieronim. This is an easy hike up (T2). We start as on #1, but on the crossroads continue straight. Over meadows and later through the woods the path keeps crossing the slopes up, all the time towards the NW. After reaching the slanted summit plateau, we find ourselves already above the cute church of St. Hieronim. There the path turns right and continues paralelly to the road on top. 2 h 20 min.
4. From Strane, 664 m - by St. Bric. This is an easy hike up (T2). From the village we follow the road and later marked cart road towards the NW and then W. The path goes comfortably up through the woods, until we reach the crossroads. Towards the right there's only 5 min to the cute church of St. Bric, certainly worth a visit. From the church we descend back to the crossroads and from it continue left, in the SW direction by the broad path, always crossing the slopes up. Higher we reach the point, where towards the right another marked path branches - going on the forrested plateau and further on Suhi vrh. But we continue straight and soon reach the open slopes with nice views down in the valley. After another light ascent the path starts crossing the summit plateau - all the way to the mountain hut and the summit of Pleša. 2 h 15 min.
5. From Furlan hut, near Abram farm, 900 m. This is an easy hike up (T1). We all the time follow panoramic mountain roads and comfortable marked paths over the slanted plateau towards the SE. 2 h.
Suhi vrh, 1313 m
7. From Strane, 664 m - by St. Bric. This is an easy hike up (T2). As in #4 till the crossroads just below the church and then towards the SW till the path branches. We take the right branch and ascend at first more steeply, then quite comfortably in the northern direction, gaining enough altitude to reach the web of forrest roads, coming over the plateu from the north. Following the marks we go past a forrest house, continue some 500 more meters and finally deter right from the road. In the last 50 meters the ascent through the woods is again more steep. 2 h 30 min.
8. From Vojkova Koča, 1240 m. This is an easy hike up (T2). You reach the hut as described in itineraries of Pleša. From there you continue across the plateau towards the NE. The path is comfortable and well marked, going just a bit up and down. So you reach the crossroads, where the path right descends to Strane (see above #4), but we continue left, on the road and further by it past the forrest house on top. 1 h 30 min.
Gradiska Tura, 852 m.
This elevation would be completely insignificant, but the NW slopes of Nanos are getting in the area above Vipava town very steep and rocky. Also higher crags appear there, so also climbing is possible and over those rocks an attractive ferrata goes. The crags are oriented towards the SW. The trailheads are in Gradišče, above Vipava, 250 m. Below, two routes are described, the third approach is a longer one, coming up on the plateau from Vipava town (2 h).
Some more than 20 routes are described. They are from 30 m to 250 m high and their difficulties are between 4b to 7a and on UIAA scale from III to VI+.
Link (in Slovenian language): http://www.plezanje.net/climbing/db/showCrag.asp?crag=842
Vipavska Bela Climbing Area
This is a quite popular set of crags along the creek of Bela, which encircles the narrow Nanos group on the western side. The valley is accessible from the road which connects Col with Ajdovščina. Besides sport climbing it is also a nice area for hiking and getting refreshed in ponds with clear water.
There are more than 100 short (up to 20 m high) sport climbing routes in limestone, graded up to difficulty 8c+.
Link (in Slovenian language): http://www.plezanje.net/climbing/db/showCrag.asp?crag=640
Javornik (nad Crnim vrhom)
This is a forrested summit, which however hosts a lookout tower from which we have a nice panorama across the hilly Slovenia and beyond. SE below the summit, on 1156 m, Pirnatova koča (hut) stands. Both the hut and the summit can be accessed by many marked paths from all sides (at least 5 or 6 of them). They are all easy, crossing the woods and meadows of the massif. The hut can be also reached by forrest roads which offer quite nice biking possibilities. The option which connects Hrušica with Črni vrh crosses Javornik massif and we can choose many different return options.
Sv. Lovrenc, 1020 m
|The summits north of Studeno village are the highest elevations in Hrušica subgroup. Still they hardly reach over 1000 m of altitude. All of them are easily accessible by grassy slopes and are also connected by a marked path. A direct marked path also ascends Sv. Lovrenc from Studeno village (1 h 20 min). The views are opened only towards the south. While Nanos group is not much attractive for tour skiing, these summits are a bright exception. In normal winter they offer very nice downhills up to almost 500 meters of altitude difference. Their slopes are just properly inclined and it is enough that only some 30 cm of snow cover the grass. Special descriptions of hikes and ski tours are not needed - they are just evident when we reach Studeno.|
Other Landmarks and Places Of Interest
This is a high passage on the ancient Roman road, which once connected Aquilea (on Adriatic coast) with Aemona (today Ljubljana) and further forts at Danube river. Later to the post station and fort a long defence wall (limes) was added. It was named Claustra Alpium Iuliarum, and was protecting Roman empire from attacks of barbaric tribes. Today a modest archeologic parc is arranged in Hrušica - Ad Pirum.
Postojnska Jama - Postojna Cave
Many books are written about the cave of Postojna. It is one of the most beautiful karst caves in the world, and the first among big caves, which was arranged for tourist visit. Actually it is a more than 20 km long system of many caves, which were created by Pivka river and its tributaries. The cave was discovered already in 1818, but human presence in the cave is evidenced from even a more distant past. Already in 1884 the cave got electrical lighting and today a little train carries tourists through the first few kilometers. Annually, more than 500.000 visitors are recorded. They can admire very rich decoration and also a few endemic species of cave fauna (like proteus anguinus - a small, blind amphibian). Even if some other caves in Slovenia are even more magnificent, Postojnska jama is certainly worth a trip. The tourist site in English: http://www.postojnska-jama.eu/en/
Mountain HutsIn the broad massif of Nanos there are 5 mountain huts, among which actually only Vojkova koča near the summit of Pleša has some importance for hikers. Others are more or less only restaurants where one can get food and drink.
When To Visit?
|In winter, the forrested plateaus are covered with quite thick snow blanket. In those times more or less only the panoramic Pleša is visited by tourists. As said, for skiing only the grassy summits above Studeno are more interesting, the narrow Nanos massif only rarely has good conditions. The area is most beautiful in late spring and early summer (rich flora), but then often weather can be less stable and visibility less clear. Autumn is in Slovenian mountains always nice for hikes and climbs.|