Final yr, I walked a choice of this path however missed out on some of the stunning elements in Carinthia. That’s a adequate motive to return to Austria, full a few sections and discover the Lake District.
The Alpe-Adria Path 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.
READ ALSO: Strolling the Alpe-Adria Path – 750kms by Austria, Italy and Slovenia
Lake Millstätter See
I fly into Klagenfurt within the early night and take a taxi switch to Millstätt. After round an hour, we crest a ridge and all of a sudden Lake Millstätter See is unfold out beneath me, hemmed in by excessive mountains with snow nonetheless seen on the distant peaks. At over seven miles lengthy, it’s solely Carinthia’s second largest, however is the deepest, plunging to 146m. So clear that they are saying you’ll be able to drink it, and it’s filled with freshwater fish.
Essentially the most well-known is the Reinanke, belonging to the salmon household, prosaically identified in English as White Fish. It entered the lake on the finish of the final ice age from the Arctic sea, and other people have been consuming it ever since. I
t fed the Benedictine monks within the Millstatt Monastery and within the 19th century the Bacher household have been chosen to provide the Imperial court docket in Vienna. Their descendants nonetheless have the precise to verify their nets each morning and convey within the fish for lunch.
I’m staying proper subsequent to lake within the charming Resort See-Villa, inbuilt 1884, and one in every of various nation homes constructed to cater for aristocrats once they began coming right here from Vienna within the 19th century.
The resort has been within the fingers of the Tacoli household for the final 40 years and it reveals within the environment friendly approach they run it. The restaurant has tables on the water’s edge, a pleasant alternative to watch the lake in its many moods. It’s surprisingly heat, since no glacial mountain streams drain into it, and temperatures can attain 25°C in summer season. I get into the routine of a each day morning and night dip.
What they’re selling right here is peace and quiet, with the German slogan Zeit zu zweit, though the English Time for Two doesn’t fairly have the identical ring to it. For those who’re a pair, nevertheless, a desk for 2 on a pontoon in the midst of the lake, is a romantic possibility – every course is delivered by boat.
You can too keep in one in every of seven Biwaks, scattered across the lake, a form of luxurious bivouac in a picket shed. Inside there’s a big double mattress and home windows within the roof so you’ll be able to observe the celebrities as you drift into sleep.
An early morning vintage rowing boat journey, throughout to the unspoilt south facet of the lake, is a chance to admire the fish within the crystal clear waters, with birdsong the one sound.
Motor boats are restricted and you’ll fortunately swim throughout the lake with out concern of being mown down. E-biking can be fashionable and a circuit of the lake is a pleasing method to spend a morning. Being Austria there are many cafes on the way in which providing draught beer, sausage and cheese and, in fact, Apple Strudel.
I’m right here for sterner stuff and the part of the Alpe-Adria Path that I missed runs excessive above the lake on a ridge at 2000m over the Nockberge Mountains. It’s a little bit of slog up the street from Seeboden, on the lake, to the Pichlhütte, however then I’m on a grassy path. The climb continues till I lastly attain the summit of Tschiernock, at 2088m, topped with a big cairn and an enormous cross. The lake lies beneath and there are super mountain views proper throughout to the Grossglockner within the far distance.
Now it’s a straightforward ridge stroll over the Hockpalfennock and Tschierwegernock peaks earlier than descending steeply to the Alexanderhütte for lunch. They make their very own cheese and butter right here, with milk from their cows outdoors munching high quality grass. Their speciality is Arnica butter, as yellow because the flowers the cows eat, and excellent to accompany their Harber Kas, a dry sturdy curd cheese, extra like a powder. For the hungry hiker, it tops a thick layer of the butter masking selfmade black bread.
That is gasoline for yet one more climb on the Weg der Liebe, or Stroll of Love, marked by inscriptions and quotations and a wall the place individuals can write their very own tales. It crosses Millstätter Alpe at 2091m earlier than reaching the large Garnet Gate, its steel body studded with the purple gems.
The bottom spherical right here is filled with them they usually’ve been mined for hundreds of years. After the summit of Granattor, simply forward, it’s downhill all the way in which again to the lake at Döbriach.
Subsequent day I spend the morning enjoyable on the Badehaus, a brand new spa advanced proper by the lake. The sauna ease my aches and pains from yesterday’s climbing, earlier than a refreshing dip within the lake waters. I’m nonetheless eager to style the white fish so I’m going to the Familienhotel Publish in Millstatt the place the household has had the Emperor’s permission to place their nets within the lake for 150 years. After all the Hapsburg Empire collapsed on the finish of WW1, however I’m nonetheless privileged to get his portion – and excellent it’s too.
FLY: Austrian Airways flies to Klagenfurt from London Heathrow by way of Vienna.
GUIDE: The Alpe-Adria Path – Climbing within the Backyard of Eden is a complete on-line useful resource and you’ll obtain a helpful App that will help you discover your approach.
The Bradt Information to the Alpe-Adria Path has detailed details about the path, together with lodging and eating choices.
Go to Carinthia has details about the area.
Milstätte See has details about the lake.