Slovenian Mountains Attract Over 1.4M Hikers a Year
Ljubljana, 18 August - Slovenian mountains attract more than 1.4 million visitors annually, among them more than 315,000 Slovenians who are regular hikers, data from the Alpine Association of Slovenia (PZS) show.
The busiest are the weekends, especially the past two, mangers of mountain hostels report, hoping for more such peak season weekends by the end of the month.
Given that the most popular hiking trails and huts may get really crowded during weekends in July and especially in August, hikers are recommended to visit the mountains on a weekday.
According to the PZS, a lion's share of visitors are from Slovenia and an increasing number of them spend most of their annual leave in the mountains.
The turnout in recent years and in recent days in particular shows that Slovenians remain a nation of mountaineers and hikers.
Mountain hiking is in fact the most popular form of exercise and sport in Slovenia and as many as 2.8% of the population are members of the PZS.
Domestic visitors come in greatest numbers in August, while most foreigners visit Slovenian mountains in July.
The latter come from various parts of Europe and elsewhere, most of them from the Czech Republic, Croatia and Austria, as well as Germany, the Netherlands and the UK.
Most of the hikers are well equipped, or better every year. However, many of those who only visit Slovenia's peaks once or twice, in particular the highest peak Triglav, often wear inappropriate footwear or lack helmets and other protection.
Slovenian mountains claimed 28 lives in 406 accidents last year, with the death toll between 1912 and 2012 at 1960, data from the Mountain Rescue Association shows.
Mountaineering societies manage 176 mountain huts, shelters and bivouacs offering a total of 6,000 beds.
Slovenia boasts a network of 1,661 way-marked paths in the length of more than 9,000 kilometres and 78 long-distance trails.
The summer mountain hiking season spans between 15 July and 15 September. Last year's season saw a record number of visitors with 90,000 overnights registered at mountain huts.