One Holiday: Two Countries
Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 27 Apr 2022
We all know that mixing together the right travel ingredients produces a magical trip, but exploring two countries in one holiday makes for a double helping of enjoyment. This year we have two tours which offer exactly this combination of cultures: our Slovenia and Friuli tour in June and our Austria and the Dolomites tour in July. In both cases we cross the borders into Italy on foot on remote mountain passes where there are no passport offices and no customs or Covid checks. Moving from one country to the next in this way could not be easier and ensures a very memorable travel experience.
Slovenia and Friuli - Level 4 Hike - Start Ljubljana, Finish Venice
16th to 24th June 2022 and 15th to 23rd June 2023
Slovenia, often referred to as "The Sunny Side of the Alps", is a tiny, beautiful, green country on Italy's north eastern border. It is characterised by a rich diversity of geographical landscapes including Alps, cave systems, Mediterranean coastline and pristine turquoise lakes and rivers. Our tour explores the picture-perfect area around Lake Bohinj and the Triglav National Park, as well as the fascinating town of Kobarid which was the backdrop of fierce fighting in World War 1. We cross the border between Slovenia and Italy on foot at Mount Matajur at 1648m from where we can see the mountains of Slovenia and Austria and all the way down to the coast near Trieste in Italy.
This brings us into the Italian region of Friuli which, after 500 years under Austrian rule, only became part of Italy after World War I. Given its complex history and its location bordering Austria, Slovenia and the Adriatic Sea, it is perhaps unsurprising that this is a region with a very distinctive local cuisine. The perfect climatic conditions for vines around the hills of Collio means that Friuli also happens to produce some of Italy’s finest white wines. The blend of history, cultures, jaw-dropping landscapes and culinary traditions makes this a fascinating itinerary for keen hikers and it has been one of our most popular routes for over ten years. At the end of the tour we say goodbye to guests in Venice and many extend their trip and take the opportunity to explore the city.
Austria and the Dolomites - Level 5 Hike - Start Innsbruck, Finish Verona
9th to 17th July 2022 and 8th - 16th July 2023
Our tour here explores the area of western Austria known as the Tryol which is home to the country's very best ski slopes. At the centre of the region lies Innsbruck, which, under the rule of the Habsburg dynasty, became the administrative and cultural capital of the whole Tyrol region. We explore the delightful village of Hopfgarten before moving on to the the Hohe Tauern National Park. We follow the Grossglockner High Alpine Road, one of the most fascinating panoramic roads in Europe, and stay in the lovely mountain village of St Jakob in Defereggen at 1390m. We leave the Defereggental Valley to cross between Austria and Italy on foot at the Passo Stalle at just over 2,000m, with unbroken views of the mountains on both sides of the border.
This brings us to the Italian region known as the Alpine South Tyrol – or Alto Adige in Italian, Südtirol in German - which lies at the feet of the Dolomite mountains. Once part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, the region was annexed by Italy at the end of World War 1. The blend of cultures is ever-present, revealing itself in Austrian-influenced frescoed wooden chalets, scarlet geranium-filled window boxes and lashings of apple strudel. Locals speak Italian, German and a small percentage, the local Ladin dialect. For outdoor and foodie enthusiasts, the region is a dream, ideal for skiing and snowboarding in winter, hiking and biking in the summer. The breath-taking Dolomite mountain scenery is UNESCO world-heritage listed and the area also offers superb wines and a unique cross-cultural cuisine. At the end of this tour we finish in Verona and many guests take time to discover the city and its world-famous summer opera festival.
We have a few spaces available on both these itineraries for this year so, if you're keen to make a last-minute booking and get back to exploring some fascinating parts of Europe, get in touch now!