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Biodiversity in the Julian Alps

Alongside charming towns and villages, beautiful landscapes and picturesque views, the Julian Alps is blessed with an incredible range of biodiversity. To maintain this level of biodiversity and the natural ecosystem that surrounds it, the Julian Alps are a world-renowned sustainable tourism destination. This is why a key focus of the Julian Alps’ latest tourism strategy is on how tourism can benefit the environment and the local communities.


The Julian Alps is home to a diverse range of flora which bloom in a magnificent array of colours. Despite winter’s snowy conditions the purple and violet Alpine snowbell (Soldanella alpina) still finds a way to blossom. As winter draws to a close and the snow begins to melt, it is replaced with verdant meadows and a number of different alpine flora such as:

  • Gentians (Gentiana sp.)
  • Carniolan lily (Lilium carniolicum)
  • Sun Rose (Helianthemum nummularium)
  • Beaked Lousewort (Pedicularis rostratocapitata)
  • Black Vanilla Orchid (Nigritella nigra)
  • Carnation (Dianthus sp.)
  • Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus)
  • Alpine Butterwort (Pinguicula alpina)
  • Edelweiss (Leontopodium alpinum)


 Uncover the intertwined existence of man and nature at the International Wildflower Festival in Bohinj. The festival takes place each year in May and June and is a celebration of the exceptional floral richness of the area. Bohinj is home to over 1000 different plant species and wildflowers play an important role in the region’s cultural heritage. The festival is a reminder of the unique natural environment in Bohinj which is a paradise for flower lovers and botanical experts.

Visitors can take part in botanical tours, events, and culinary experiences dedicated to the region’s wild plants. Cultural events related to the floral theme range from art exhibitions and music evenings to beekeeping. Head to local restaurants to see how chefs have creatively combined aromatic flowers into traditional dishes for delicious results.


One element of the Julian Alps’ biodiversity that makes it stand out is that it also occurs in the valleys and at lower altitudes. The meadows, forests and wetlands already harbour a huge variety of plant and animal species.


Across the Julian Alps you will find an endless variety of animals, in Triglav National Park alone there are over 7000 species! Some of the fauna you may be lucky enough to see include:

  • The largest inhabitants of the Julian Alps’ mountains are the chamois and ibex. The chamois are smaller in size but there are significantly more of them wandering the mountains. During the summertime you will find the chamois high up on the rocky terrains whilst in winter it will shelter in the dense forests or even the valleys. Chamois are sociable animals and can often be found in groups. In Slovenian folklore a mythical golden-horned chamois known as Zlatorog roamed Mt. Triglav, this is why the Julian Alps’ are sometimes referred to as the Kingdom of Goldenhorn!
  • Alpine salamanders can be difficult to spot as they predominantly stay safely hidden away from predators in the smallest of cracks, crevices and cavities. In order to see one of these little creatures you will have to be out in the early morning or late at night when air is humid and moist, they have also been known to appear during the day after a rain shower. The alpine salamander has successfully adapted to the natural environment and uses its black skin to attract the sun’s heat even during the cold winters.
  • If you see holes in the earth scattered around you then there’s a good chance that you’re around alpine marmots! The alpine marmot was reintroduced at the end of the 20th century and can now be found burrowed throughout the meadows of the Julian Alps. During the winters alpine marmots will be hibernating deep beneath the surface in dens up to 5m deep, hidden away from predators and the harsh environment. If you are visiting the Julian Alps during the spring or summer you may see marmots collecting supplies to survive the winter.

These are just a few of the fauna you may see on your visit to the Julian Alps, there are thousands more just waiting to be found!


Tucked away deep within the forests of Triglav National Park is the Pokljuka Plateau and the unique ecosystems of the peat bogs. These bogs are dense wetlands covered in layers of peat and overgrown with mosses. The peat bogs have been built up over thousands of years and now offer the perfect environment for rare plants, birds and insects to thrive. In the Julian Alps’ peat bogs you will find dragonflies, butterflies and water beetles. Plants have evolved to suit the environment of the blog by being able to catch and consume these animals or combining with fungi to absorb nutrients, to maximise water retention they have developed thick waxy leaf surfaces or extensive root systems.


Sustainable tourism is becoming increasingly popular and Slovenia was the first country in the world to have been, in its entirety, declared a Green Destination of the World. The Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism certifies destinations and businesses with sustainable tourism principles. Many destinations within the Julian Alps have been recognised for their environmental efforts. Bohinj was the very first destination in Slovenia to receive a prestigious platinum label, the highest award available, whilst other destinations in the Julian Alps including Bled, Brda, Kranjska Gora, Radovljica and the Soča Valley are all proud owners of golden labels. Look out for the Green Scheme label and make your stay as sustainable as possible.


Individual accommodation providers throughout the Julian Alps are also continually striving to become holders of international sustainability labels. Certified accommodations are marked in the Julian Alps' accommodation searcher and their acquired labels are listed in the detailed descriptions. The Julian Alps support these sustainable accreditations and are pleased that accommodation providers also see the benefits of sustainability.


In the post-pandemic landscape, the Julian Alps have been reimagining what tourism ‘success’ truly means. For 2022 the Julian Alps unveiled a new vision for tourism with a Biosphere-led destination strategy. This exciting destination strategy is moving away from the measurement of tourism numbers and overnight stays, focusing instead on how tourism can benefit the environment and the local communities.

Three key strategic goals for post-pandemic tourism in the Julian Alps Biosphere Reserve are: 

  • Increased resistance, added value and responsibility of tourism for sustainable development
  • Establish tourism as a generator of sustainable transformation of the local economy with new forms of reporting measurements
  • Stronger contribution to maintaining the natural and social environment

This new strategy envisions tourism as a central generator of sustainability, with long-term positive effects on nature, community and identity, and an even greater commitment to sustainable development, quality of life and respecting local communities.

Responsible for this content
The Julian Alps  Verified partner