The Alpe-Adria Path is Europe’s latest lengthy distance mountaineering 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.
It’s divided into 37 every day phases, every round 20 km, though it’s doable to do the whole thing in a month it’s higher to do it in sections – Austria has 22 phases, 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 bought eight days, so resolve to pattern probably the most fascinating bits. I begin at the start in Carinthia, Austria and catch the put up 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
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 place to begin. It’s taken me round 5 hours and has been a nice morning’s stroll.
I’m now transferred by taxi to Mallnitz from the place I sort out Stage 7 subsequent day.
Groppensteinschlucht gorge, Austria
The path follows the Mallnitzbach stream because it plunges by way of 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 well-liked route for day trippers. There’s an entrance price, and I’m moving into the other 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 method 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 high that it’s too harmful to proceed. I believe they’re fairly over estimating the hazard and there are gorgeous views of the assorted waterfalls.
Danielsberg Hill, Austria
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 website 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.
That’s the top of my time in Austria, a disgrace since there are a complete of 22 phases. As a substitute I’m whisked to Valbruna in Italy the place I sort out Stage four of the Round Route. This a serious ski centre and, certainly I might simply take the cable automobile up. As a substitute I climb regularly 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
Subsequent day, I jump over the border into Slovenia and begin Stage 23 in Kranjska Gora. It’s Saturday and the city is filled with bicycle 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 Move, Slovenia
I’m going to be tackling the Vršič Move, at 1611m the very best go 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.
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 go and eat my sandwiches, watching the day trippers.
Soča Path, Slovenia
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 outdoors. The Soča path continues and the emerald blue waters of the river are an efficient option to cool off. There’s rafting right here and engaging campsites line each side of the river, as I make my option to the city of Bovec. This was the placement of fierce combating between the Italians and the Austrians throughout WW1 they usually’ve restored a fancy of bunkers and trenches on a hill simply outdoors the city.
Brda area, Slovenia
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 fortress in Dobrovo, earlier than reaching Šmartno.
Its engaging slender cobbled streets are enclosed by defensive partitions and towers however I keep within the Resort San Martin, simply outdoors. 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
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.
From right here onwards the strolling is much less fascinating because it’s comparatively flat. As a substitute I’m transferred to Sistiana and stroll the Rilke Path alongside the coast to Duino.
The poet frolicked within the fortress right here, between 1911 and 1912, and was impressed to write down his Duino Elegies. As I stroll the limestone cliffs with the Adriatic beneath me, and the fortress within the distance, it’s achingly lovely.
Trieste-Hrpelje slender 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 slender gauge railway, by way of a few tunnels. It then dips all the way 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 occasions and there are the stays of an aqueduct simply earlier than Bagnoli della Rosandra.
That is the top 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 nevertheless it’s primarily on asphalt and never fascinating.
I take a taxi to the ocean and soak my aching toes. On the finish of the way in which, I silently give because of the individuals who’ve been liable for signing the route. Strolling over 750kms affords ample alternative for getting misplaced, however my path has been straight and true.
The Alpe-Adria Path – Mountain climbing within the Backyard of Eden is a complete on-line useful resource and you may obtain a helpful App that will help you discover your approach.
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 presents an Eight-night, 2-boot, self-guided, hotel-to-hotel journey departing chosen dates in July, Aug and Sep which covers among the route in Slovenia. Lodging is principally in four* resorts (baggage transported between resorts) the place friends keep on a half board foundation (besides for two nights when meals will not be 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 Categorical is the quickest option to get to the airport.