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Hiking is a way of life in Europe. Thousands of miles of trails criss-cross the continent, traversing the undulating terrain over high passes and dipping into valleys. People who live in the mountains have long maximized the terrain to sustain their livelihood and connect villages by walking paths. It is no surprise, then, that new official routes are regularly being developed to maintain this aspect of mountain culture.
The Alpe Adria Trail is one of Europe’s newest long-distance hiking routes, and has been designed to end at well-located accommodations with easy access to iconic regional cuisine. We hike the highlights, beginning at the foot of Austria’s Grossglockner in an area that Austrians refer to as "the Garden of Eden." The route continues into Slovenia’s Julian Alps, known for pristine mountain lakes and rivers. And finally, we cross into wine-growing regions, before ending in Trieste, Italy, on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. Experience three different countries connected by a shared Alpine culture, each of which offers spectacular scenery that will leave you with unforgettable memories.
Salzburg to Heiligenblut
We meet our guide for a briefing at 8:30 am in the lobby of the Sheraton Hotel in Salzburg before departing for Höhe Tauern National Park. Our journey takes us into the mountains along the High Alpine Road, one of the most picturesque Alpine roads in all of Europe. While the total transfer time will be about 90 minutes driving, we stop along the way to learn how the road was built, stretch our legs on short walks, and take in the stunning vistas — including the 360-degree views from the Edelweissspitze, the highest accessible point on the road.
After lunch (and perhaps, a dessert of fluffy Kaisershmarn), we continue to the charming little Alpine hamlet of Heiligenblut. Here, we have time to rest, enjoy the onsite sauna, or explore the village before gathering for our celebratory welcome dinner this evening.
National Park LodgeHeiligenblut, Austria
Located in the center of town and featuring panoramic views of the Grossglockner and nearby mountains, the National Park Lodge is built in a traditional chalet style typical of the region. Enjoy wood-accented interiors, a restaurant and bar, and a traditional Austrian spa.
Grossglockner & Pasterze Glacier
Following a hearty breakfast, we set off for the Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe information center and the official starting point of Alpe Adria Trail. The visitor center was named for the Kaiser, a great fan of the mountains, after he hiked to that spot from Heiligenblut to marvel at the Grossglockner — Austria's highest peak — in the mid-19th century.
After taking in the panoramic view of the tallest mountain in Austria ourselves, we hike down to Pasterze Glacier, the oldest remaining glacier in Austria. The descent is steep, on a mix of rocky singletrack trail and large steps. Hiking poles may be helpful here. At the bottom, we enjoy views of the glacier and a hike along the base of the Grossglockner, then return to Heiligenblut in the afternoon. Once again, there is time to walk around the village and enjoy the amenities of our lodge before dinner.
This morning, we transfer south to Millstatter Lake and the adjacent resort town of Millstatt. In the hills above town, we first stop at Lammersdorfer Hut, known for their local delicacies. After enjoying a taste of their cheeses and cured meats, we follow a dirt trail through idyllic cow pastures to Garnet Gate, where we are rewarded with a beautiful vista above the fjord-like lake. We continue our hike along the Path of Love and end back at Lammersdorfer Hut.
This evening, we enjoy the accommodations of Naturhotel Alpenrose, a very unique and relaxing place. This family-run hotel makes their own delicious pastries and strudels, and we have time this evening to enjoy the patio and sauna. Please note this hotel does not have Wi-Fi, which may allow you to have a brief digital detox.
Naturhotel AlpenroseMillstatt, Austria
This family-run hotel above Lake Millstättersee is surrounded by lush meadow, gardens, and forest. The property was built and is operated with a nature-oriented philosophy; food is grown nearby by local farmers, there is no Wi-Fi, and the building was constructed using locally-sourced, sustainable materials.
Vrsic Pass, Kranjska Gora
Today, we bid auf wiedersehen to Austria and zdravo (hello) to Slovenia! We drive up to Vrsic Pass, the highest pass in Slovenia, to the start of our hike on the "old Vrsic trail" — a historic trail used by hunters and smugglers. Flanked by larch trees, the dirt and grass path climbs gently upward toward the craggy limestone cliffs of the Julian Alps. At the top, we stop for lunch at a hut where we can savor traditional Slovenian stews and struklji — a sweet dough rolled with fruit that is still made by hand here.
Returning to Kranjska Gora, we take a short walk around the idyllic, crystal-clear Lake Jasna before transferring just over an hour to our small, family-run boutique hotel. We enjoy dinner together at the onsite restaurant, run by young progressive chefs who are part of the Jeune Restaurateurs Europe. They choose the best local ingredients of the season and include the culture and traditions of Austria, Italy, and Slovenia in their culinary creations.
Hotel SkipassKranjska Gora, Slovenia
Located at the edge of Triglav National Park in the lovely Alpine town of Kranjska Gora, the Hotel Skipass is an embodiment of warmth and hospitality. With views of the mighty peaks of the Julian Alps from the hotel, it is the ideal starting point for a hiking adventure.
Monte Lussari, Laghi di Fusine
We cross into nearby Tarvisio, Italy this morning and take a 15-minute gondola ride up to Monte Lussari, a popular ski mountain in the winter. From the top, we have a grand view of the Julian Alps as we follow the pilgrims' path to the mountaintop village.
Our hike departs from here and climbs toward Cima del Cacciatore. The rocky path is primarily uphill single track, with some exposed sections along the way. We end at the col below Cima del Cacciatore, with spectacular views looking out over the surrounding mountains and valley. Our route in reverse is primarily downhill on the same trail, and we stop for lunch before our return gondola ride down the mountain.
This afternoon we explore more of the Friuli region, transferring to the crystal-clear turquoise waters of Laghi di Fusine. Here, we walk along an easy dirt trail that circumvents the lake, with numerous photo opportunities of the idyllic landscape. Dinner is free to enjoy independently this evening, with time to explore the Alpine resort town of Kranjska Gora.
Our excursion today brings us to yet another pristine body of water — the Soca River. We hike along a trail that follows the undulating river and wends in and out of dense forest, where the sound of rushing water adds to our immersive nature experience.
Toward the end of our hike, we stop for lunch at an agriturismo known for their sheep cheese and delicious, traditional Jota stew made with sauerkraut, beans, and potatoes. Each cook has their own take on the recipe, but it is a signature dish of the region.
Our day ends at a village on the border between Slovenia and Italy, in Brda wine region, known for outstanding wine. Before dinner this evening, we have a chance to sample some local wine while overlooking the landscape where it was grown.
Valley di Rosanda to Trieste
Our last hike together will be in the Valley of Rosanda. The landscape is markedly different here than in other areas we have traversed. The lower elevation brings considerably more plant diversity and lusher vegetation.We end the more active portion of our day in the town of Trieste, which was an important hub for coffee import in the country. Nowadays it is home to the famous espresso company, Illy.
We have some time to sit back and celebrate our adventure with an espresso, Aperol Spritz, or gelato on Piazza Unita overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Our final celebratory dinner tonight will be full of fresh ingredients and authentic Italian flavors.
Hotel Excelsior SavoiaTrieste, Italy
The Hotel Excelsior Savoia remains an emblem of the majesty, sophistication and peerless style that distinguished the first grand hotels at the end of the 19th century. Overlooking the sea, this hotel is the perfect way to end our trip.
The tour ends after breakfast. There will be one group transfer to Trieste Airport.
Please note that this is a typical itinerary, and actual activities may vary due to weather conditions, local events, and to allow serendipity to play a hand in your experience. Accommodations are as outlined in the itinerary, although we reserve the right to change these or the order visited should the need arise.
Jul 3-10, 2021
Aug 28-Sep 4, 2021
$5,295 Per Person
First one reserved:$325
See single supplement policy below.
Accommodations (hotels, tents, cruise cabins) are based on double occupancy. A single supplement is paid by participants who specifically request single accommodations, subject to availability. If you reserve at least 120 days prior to departure, you may be eligible for a reduced or free single supplement.* This is generally limited to the first one or two solo travelers to reserve, and the reduction is outlined in the pricing for each trip. Please note, free or reduced single supplements are not combinable with other offers or promotions.
If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we will try to match you with a roommate of the same gender. If you reserve at least 120 days ahead and a roommate is not available, you will only be charged a “forced” single supplement in the amount of 50% of the standard single supplement* (unless otherwise noted in the detailed itinerary). Single accommodations are limited so you are encouraged to reserve early!
*This may not apply to certain trips with unique accommodation arrangements. Please see specific trip information for more details.
It is very important that you realistically assess your physical condition with regard to the demands of this trip, and consult your doctor regarding any concerns. The more prepared you are for the activities, the more you will enjoy yourself. As a general guideline, we suggest regularly engaging in aerobic activities (such as walking, jogging, or cycling) in the months leading up to the trip. If you live in a flat area, try to incorporate some stairs into your workout, or use a treadmill with varying incline capability. Of course, nothing can beat training by hiking! We recommend spending consecutive days on your local trails whenever possible in preparation for your journey. Please contact us if you have any doubts regarding your physical match with this tour.
Most Convenient Airport for Arrival: Salzburg Airport, Salzburg, Austria (SZG)Most Convenient Airport for Departure: Friuli Venezia Giulia Airport, Trieste, Italy (TRS)
In an alpine environment, weather is variable throughout the day and by elevation. A warm, sunny day in the valley can be anywhere from pleasantly cool to downright brisk at higher elevations. Therefore, dressing in layers will be essential to your comfort. Rain is possible at any time, and weather conditions can change rapidly in the mountains, so having rain gear on hand is advisable. The sun is strong at higher elevations, and therefore adequate precautions should be taken to prevent sunburn, even on cool, sunny days. In general, this trip moves from higher to lower elevations, so you can likely expect warmer temperatures toward the end.
The Alpine countryside is dotted with small family farms, and food is often organically grown. Cuisine in this region is influenced by the food culture of all three neighboring countries of Austria, Slovenia, and Italy. Of course, notable regional specialities will be highlighted along the way, including wiener schnitzel and strudels in Austria, Slovenian jota stew and traditional struklji, and pasta and gelato in Italy, to name just a few. Lunches will be primarily in mountain huts, and feature soups, stews, and pasta dishes. Our evening meals are usually enjoyed at our hotels, or at some of the best restaurants in the area. Dinners typically include local cheeses and wines, pasta, fish, meat, and salads.
Please call our office with any questions or concerns about our ability to meet your needs.
Mitja's interests cover all types of terrain, from mountains and seas to rivers and ski slopes! He loves the wilderness, secret trails, and secluded bays and is happiest when surrounded by amazing landscape and good people.
Mitja has been guiding for several years in addition to working as a civil engineer. He guides in his home country of Slovenia, in neighboring countries on the Balkan peninsula, and in the Austrian and Italian Alps. When off season in Europe, he guides trekking tours in Patagonia and explores the wildernesses of Greenland and Himalayas. While usually in hiking boots or on skies, Mitja is also an avid reader and photographer, and enjoys showing guests viewpoints for great photos while on tour.
With a Boundless Journeys guide, your experience is that of friend and local adventurer. We believe strongly in working with local guides, experts in the areas to which we travel, and they hold the keys to unlocking the hidden delights of your chosen destination. Although you will never know they are at work—the mark of a truly great leader—our guides make magical things happen and add a dimension to your trip that you could not experience on your own. Over the years we have forged bonds with some of the best guides in the world, and we typically work with a small team of guides in each region. You will be informed of the guide for your trip one month prior to your departure.
Moderate hiking with some strenuous sections, 3-6 hours per day
This trip can be your own adventure by taking over one of our scheduled dates, or we can request a fresh one.
By: Katya d'Angelo
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Reserve your 2021 adventure with the peace of mind of free cancellations through December 31, 2020 (conditions apply).