Strolling the Alpe-Adria Path – 750kms via Austria, Italy and Slovenia

The Alpe-Adria Path is Europe’s latest lengthy distance mountain climbing route and runs for 750km from the foot of the Grossglockner (at three,798m Austria’s highest mountain), into Slovenia and ends in Italy, close to Trieste on the Adriatic coast.

Alpe Adria - Signpost at the Pasterze Glacier, Austria

Alpe Adria – Signpost on the Pasterze Glacier, Austria (c) Rupert Parker

It’s divided into 37 each day levels, every round 20 km, though it’s potential to do the whole thing in a month it’s higher to do it in sections – Austria has 22 levels, Slovenia has 5 and the final ten combine Slovenia and Italy. There’s additionally a Round Route which connects Austria, Italy and Slovenia in seven days.

I’ve solely obtained eight days, so resolve to pattern essentially the most attention-grabbing bits. I begin initially in Carinthia, Austria and catch the publish bus from Heiligenblut as much as Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe, a brief 30 minute journey. There had been thunderstorms in a single day and dusted the Grossglockner with a overlaying of snow.

Pasterze Glacier, Austria

Pasterze Glacier, Austria

Pasterze Glacier, Austria (c) Rupert Parker

The Pasterze Glacier, the longest within the Japanese Alps, gleams within the morning daylight and my first steps on the path are down a steep path to the Sandersee, crammed with meltwater. The trail is properly marked and, after crossing one other lake, the Margaritze Stausee, I’m again within the valley approaching Heiligenblut, my start line. It’s taken me round 5 hours and has been a pleasing morning’s stroll.

I’m now transferred by taxi to Mallnitz from the place I sort out Stage 7 subsequent day.

Groppensteinschlucht gorge, Austria

Rabischschlucht Gorge Waterfall, Austria

Rabischschlucht Gorge Waterfall, Austria (c) Rupert Parker

The path follows the Mallnitzbach stream because it plunges via the Rabischschlucht gorge in a collection of waterfalls. It’s nice underfoot and I’ve the path all to myself. That modifications as I enter the adjoining Groppensteinschlucht gorge, a preferred route for day trippers. There’s an entrance price, and I’m stepping into the wrong way to most individuals. They’re actually not pleasant and don’t return my greetings. One particular person even tries to inform me it’s a technique solely.

The partitions of this gorge are a lot steeper than the earlier one and a system of walkways has been grafted onto the rock so that you’re suspended in mid-air for many of the journey. You don’t actually need a head for heights however two previous males inform me on the prime that it’s too harmful to proceed. I feel they’re somewhat over estimating the hazard and there are beautiful views of the assorted waterfalls.

Danielsberg Hill, Austria

Herkuleshof, Austria

Herkuleshof, Austria (c) Rupert Parker

The stage ends within the village of Obervellach, however I plough on, climbing up the facet of the Möll valley to an nearly completely conical hill, the Danielsberg. It’s been a sacred web site for over 6000 years, first for the Celts, then the Romans and the Catholic Church of St. George dates again to the 12th century. My pilgrimage ends within the Herkuleshof, initially a 19th century looking lodge however now a captivating inn with glorious meals.

Valbruna, Italy

Monte Lussari, Italy

Monte Lussari, Italy (c) Rupert Parker

That’s the tip of my time in Austria, a disgrace since there are a complete of 22 levels. As an alternative I’m whisked to Valbruna in Italy the place I sort out Stage four of the Round Route. This a significant ski centre and, certainly I might simply take the cable automotive up. As an alternative I climb steadily on a stony four×four monitor, gaining over 1000m, to the village of Monte Lussari. The chapel here’s a main pilgrimage vacation spot as a 14th century shepherd found a statue of the Madonna when he was trying to find his sheep. Most individuals simply come for lunch and benefit from the spectacular views.

Kranjska Gora, Slovenia

Kranjska Gora, Slovenia

Kranjska Gora, Slovenia (c) Rupert Parker

Subsequent day, I jump over the border into Slovenia and begin Stage 23 in Kranjska Gora. It’s Saturday and the city is full of bike owner and hikers, all eager to get a style of the Triglav Nationwide park, the one one in Slovenia and one of many largest in Europe.

Vršič Cross, Slovenia

Vršič Pass, Slovenia

Vršič Cross, Slovenia (c) Rupert Parker

I’m going to be tackling the Vršič Cross, at 1611m the very best cross within the Julian Alps, and the street as much as it was constructed by Russian POW’s throughout WW1. Many had been killed in an avalanche and there’s an Orthodox Chapel midway up, constructed of their reminiscence.

Russian Chapel, Vršič Pass, Slovenia

Russian Chapel, Vršič Cross, Slovenia (c) Rupert Parker

The path criss-crosses the street earlier than reaching the summit of the Vršič at 1688m, nonetheless guarded by the stays of gun emplacements. I descend to the cross and eat my sandwiches, watching the day trippers.

Soča Path, Slovenia

River Soča, Slovenia

River Soča, Slovenia (c) Rupert Parker

From right here it’s all downhill to the River Soča, and I observe it from its supply to Trenta which consists of a handful of homes and an data centre. I’m surrounded by mountains together with Mt Triglav, at 2864m the Slovenia’s highest peak and I watch the solar set as I munch pizza exterior. The Soča path continues and the emerald blue waters of the river are an efficient method to cool off. There’s rafting right here and enticing campsites line either side of the river, as I make my method to the city of Bovec. This was the situation of fierce combating between the Italians and the Austrians throughout WW1 they usually’ve restored a posh of bunkers and trenches on a hill simply exterior the city.

Brda area, Slovenia

Slovenian Vineyards

Slovenian Vineyards (c) Rupert Parker

There’s one other change of surroundings as I’m transferred to the Brda area, Slovenia’s wine centre, all gently rolling hills terraced with vines and topped by church spires. I stroll Stage 30, stopping for a wine tasting on the previous renaissance fort in Dobrovo, earlier than reaching Šmartno.

Šmartno, Slovenia

Šmartno, Slovenia (c) Rupert Parker

Its enticing slim cobbled streets are enclosed by defensive partitions and towers however I keep within the Resort San Martin, simply exterior. Right here I’m handled to a pleasant dinner with matching wine pairings and it’s the most effective meals on the path.

Rilke Path, Italy

Italy Border

Italy Border (c) Rupert Parker

I keep it up Stage 31 and after a couple of kilometres attain the frontier with Italy. There’s no manned checkpoint, simply a few indicators, and I quickly attain the sizeable city of Cormons on the sting of the Fruili plain.

Fruili Plain, Italy

Fruili Plain, Italy (c) Rupert Parker

From right here onwards the strolling is much less attention-grabbing because it’s comparatively flat. As an alternative I’m transferred to Sistiana and stroll the Rilke Path alongside the coast to Duino.

Duino Castle, Italy

Duino Fort, Italy (c) Rupert Parker

The poet hung out within the fort right here, between 1911 and 1912, and was impressed to jot down his Duino Elegies. As I stroll the limestone cliffs with the Adriatic under me, and the fort within the distance, it’s achingly stunning.

Trieste-Hrpelje slim gauge railway, Italy

The final leg is a part of Stage 36 and begins within the village of Draga Sant’Elia following the course of the previous Trieste-Hrpelje slim gauge railway, via a few tunnels. It then dips right down to a cluster of homes at Botazzo, as soon as house to a lot of water mills, earlier than following the Karst panorama of the Val Rosandra. The stream right here provided water to Trieste in Roman instances and there are the stays of an aqueduct simply earlier than Bagnoli della Rosandra.

That is the tip of my stroll, though not fairly the final level of the Alpe-Adria Path. It continues for yet one more day to the coastal resort of Muggia but it surely’s primarily on asphalt and never attention-grabbing.

Muggia, Italy

Muggia, Italy (c) Rupert Parker

I take a taxi to the ocean and soak my aching ft. On the finish of the way in which, I silently give because of the individuals who’ve been answerable for signing the route. Strolling over 750kms affords ample alternative for getting misplaced, however my path has been straight and true.

Truth File

The Alpe-Adria Path – Climbing within the Backyard of Eden is a complete on-line useful resource and you may obtain a helpful App that can assist you discover your method.

I Really feel Slovenia has details about the nation.

Carinthia the Pleasure of Dwelling has details about this a part of Austria.

Friuli Venezia Guilia has details about this a part of Italy.

In Austria, Path Angels can prepare transfers and baggage assortment and this service might be prolonged to Slovenia and Italy in 2018.

Headwater affords an Eight-night, 2-boot, self-guided, hotel-to-hotel journey departing chosen dates in July, Aug and Sep which covers a few of the route in Slovenia. Lodging is principally in four* inns (baggage transported between inns) the place company keep on a half board foundation (besides for two nights when meals usually are not included). The vacation begins from £1269 per particular person (tour solely) or £1569 (inc. return flights with Austrian Airways from Heathrow to Ljubljana, by way of Vienna).

The Bradt Information to the Alpe-Adria Path has detailed details about the path, together with lodging and eating choices.

EasyJet flies from London Stansted to Ljubljana.

Airport Switch: The Stansted Specific is the quickest method to get to the airport.

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