Hike the Alpe Adria Trail
The Alpe Adria Trail is quite simply one of the most spectacular in Europe. The full trail is around 750 km long — taking in swathes of countryside in Friuli-Venezia, Slovenia and Carinthia. But you will take a circular route that begins and ends in Tarvisio. Along the way, you’ll hike through Austria, Italy and Slovenia, making this a truly international experience.
This challenging Alpine hiking holiday is packed with a range of landscapes, landmarks and activities. Whether you’re looking for hiking holidays in Austria or walking trails in Italy, there’s something for everyone on this mammoth trail. But our particular route takes us from Tarvisio in Italy to the charming settlement of Valbruna — ending with a final farewell back in Tarvisio.
While there are some mountainous views to enjoy along the way, much of the scenery is comprised of pastures and meadows. But this well-trodden path is perfect for hikers of all abilities. If you’re not sure about your ability, here’s a short guide. Whatever your ability, there’s plenty of culture and heritage to enjoy along the way.
Tarvisio itself is a picturesque village nestled between the Carnic Alps and the Karawanks ranges. The borders of Austria and Slovenia are a short distance away, which is one of the reasons why this Alpine hiking trail is one of the most popular. This region hosts skiing excursions during the winter months, but during the warmer months of the year, it becomes one of the most popular hiking destinations in Europe.
The region is characterised by architecture from Germanic and Slavic cultures. This means it boasts an eclectic range of activities, architecture and ambiences. Despite now being in Italy, the town was once part of Austria, which is why there’s a distinctly Germanic look and feel at every turn.
Alpine huts play a leading role in the Alpe Adria Trail. You’ll get to snuggle in front of roaring fireplaces every evening and sample a range of culinary delights from Italy and Austria. And if you fall in love with the area, there’s always the option to add additional nights to your accommodation in Tarvisio.
If you’re searching for a moderately challenging hiking holiday in the Alps, you won’t find much better than this.
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*This tour is based on a minimum of two participants. Only the services mentioned above are included in the price. Single travellers should expect to pay an extra fee for single rooms in hotels. **One night will be spent in shared rooms. ***Luggage transfer covers a group of 4-5 people and only one participant has to add this service.
Learn what to bring on this tour here
Learn more about our hut-to-hut hikes in Austria
Learn how to book this Italian walking holiday here
Alp Adria Trail
This is an example of a hike in this region of Italy. Your final itinerary may be different depending on the availability of rooms at the time of your booking.
Duration: 45.5 hours
H+: 5425 m
H-: 5397 m
Day 1: Tarvisio
This exciting Alpine walking vacation begins in the charming town of Tarvisio. Nestled in the hills of Northern Italy, the settlement boasts the very best of Italian and Austrian culture and cuisine. Red-roofed cottages and the odd church spire dominate the picturesque skyline, and the way of life is rooted in centuries of history. Make no mistake; this is a beautiful place to begin the Alpe Adria Trail.
Make your own way to Tarvision by car or train, and make your way to your accommodation — usually a quaint, family-run B&B. We’ll provide you with a detailed itinerary and all the necessary information you need to get started.
Day 2: Tarvisio – Rifugio Zacchi
After a hearty breakfast in Tarvisio, the first full day of Alpine hiking begins with an interesting walk through lusciously green pastures and meadows. We’ll stick to the paths as we wind our way through the region on our way to Rifugio Zacchi.
Our accommodation for the night is a newly renovated mountain hut, which offers all the trappings of modern living. Located at an altitude of more than 1300 metres, this quaint lodge offers great views of the Giulian Alps. There’s also a traditional room service hearty, family recipes, mountain dishes and Friulian delicacies.
Length: 18.5 km
Duration: 7 hours
H+: 982 m
H-: 353 m
Day 3: Zacchi – Kranjska Gora
Following a classic Italian breakfast, we set off for another challenging day of Alpine walking. This leg takes us further up into the Alpine mountains, where we’ll pass by swathes of forestland, mountainous vistas and glacial lakes.
This leg involves a relatively challenging route of approximately 20 km. But the reward for completing it is a night in the picturesque Alpine skiing resort of Kranjska Gora. Your accommodation for the evening will be a premium resort hotel — hosting Alpine walking enthusiasts rather than skiers at this time of year.
Length: 16.2 km
Duration: 7 hours
H+: 618 m
H-: 1187 m
Day 4: Kranjska Gora – Baumgartnerhohe
Day 4 takes us on a mostly downhill Alpine hiking trail that, once again, offers some spectacular views of pastures, valleys, mountainous backdrops and glacial lakes. There’ll be plenty of photo opportunities, so don’t forget to pack your camera!
Your reward for a long day of Alpine walking is a night in the charming settlement of Baumgartnerhohe. Located around 900 m above sea level, it offers views across the Karawanken mountains, Carinthia, Lake Faaker See and Finkenstein Castle. A family-run hotel serving local cuisine will be your home for the evening.
Length: 21.4 km
Duration: 8.5 hours
Height+: 1212 m
Height-: 1090 m
Day 5: Baumgartnerhof – Villach Warmbad
Another day of spectacular vistas, cultural landmarks and challenging walking awaits you on this leg of your Alpine hiking holiday. You’ll wind your way along the paths of the Alpe Adria Trail until you reach the thermal spa resort of Villach Warmbad — located in the city of Villach.
People have been travelling to this part of the world for centuries — drawn to the area by the thermal waters that are said to possess healing qualities. After an arduous day of Alpine walking, you’ll probably be ready for a little relaxation. And there’s no better way to relax in this part of the world than with an hour in one of the natural spas. You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to Italian cuisine, too.
Length: 15.1 km
Duration: 4.5 hours
H+: 75 m
H-: 494 m
Day 6: Villach – Nötsch
Day 6 of this historic Alpine walking route takes you across the border and into another country — Austria. You’ll get to walk through yet another selection of beautiful landscapes along the way. And there’ll be plenty of opportunities to investigate the many landmarks and architectural gems in the area along the way.
They say that Feistritz an der Gail in Nötsch is where the Alps meet the Mediterranean. And that’s because there are influences from both Italian and Austrian cultures sharing the same streets. Once you’ve settled into your hotel for the evening, the rest of the day is yours. Wander the pretty streets of the town or enjoy a few well-earned drinks as you watch the world go by — the choice is yours.
Length: 19.9 km
Duration: 6 hours
H+: 222 m
H-: 157 m
Nötsch – Valbruna
The final full day of your hiking holiday in the Alps takes you from Nötsch to the charming settlement of Valbruna. Once again, Alpine views will be the backdrop for your adventure. Think The Sound of Music, and you’ll know what to expect in terms of vistas and experiences.
Valbruna is a stunning village that encapsulates the essence of Austrian architecture. Characterised by its white cottages and red-roofed architecture, this hidden gem is the perfect place to spend the final night of your Alpine walking vacation.
Length: 23.4 km
Duration: 7.5 hours
H+: 1321 m
H-: 1055 m
Valbruna – Tarvisio
Our final day involves a relatively short walk back to the place where it all started — Tarvisio. If you want a little extra time to explore the town and the surrounding areas of outstanding natural beauty, talk to us about a few extra nights in your accommodation.
Length: 13.7 km
Duration: 5 hours
H+: 995 m
H-: 1061 m
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