Alpe Adria Trail is a long distance trail, that starts in Austria from the foot of Grossglockner and finishes in Muggia in Italy. The trail has a total distance of 750 km, 37 stages and passes through 3 countries, Austria, Slovenia and Italy. The trail, also known as ” The Garden of Eden” is not only a scenic trail, but also a cultural and historical experience.
The Soca Valley was the scene of the greatest battle between Italian army and Austro- Hungarian military during the First World War. Along the magical scenery, the emerald of river Soca and majestic Julian Alps, many caverns, trenches, cemeteries are silent witnesses of the famous Isonzo Front from 1915 to 1917.
Alpe Adria Trail, Slovenian Stages
This post describes walking Alpe Adria Trail in Slovenia, which has 8 stages from Stage 23 to Stage 30, starting at Kranjska Gora and finishing at Smartno. From Julian Alps with its highest mountain pass Vrsic, the trail meanders along Soca River, follows the Walk of Peace and finishes in Brda region with its rolling hills and numerous vineyards and churches. Each stage has a different scenery with its unique beauty. The trail is of moderate difficulty and walking through the Slovenian villages was an absolute joy. I was impressed with the accommodation and the Slovenian cuisine.
Stage 23 Kranjska Gora to Trenta
The total distance of this stage is 19.4 km, with a duration of 8 hours.
Total ascent is 918 meters and descent is 1108 meters. This is a beautiful stage but not always well marked.
Hiking this stage takes you to the highest mountain Vrsic and pass Vrsic of Julian Alps. Starting at Kranjska Gora, you walk past Jasna Lakes and then along the forest trail.
Reaching the Russian Chapel, the trail will ascend to the summit of Vrsic which is at altitude of 1, 688 m.
The Russian Chapel was built in 1916- 1917 in the memory of Russian prisoners who died in the first World War buried in a large avalanche whilst keeping the strategic road clear for the Austrian army.
Close to Vrsic summit is the view point to Ajdovaska deklica which is a natural carved face of a maiden in the rock. From the pass the trail descends to Soca Source. We got lost on this trail, ignoring a red arrow which pointed to a small path turning left and descending down. Eventually we returned back and took to the right trail. Running late we missed the detour to the Soca Source and went directly to Trenta.
Stage 24 Trenta to Bovec
This stage has officially a total distance is 21 km , our track is 24.85 km and it takes 6 hours. Total ascent is 325 meters and descent is 489 meters.
This stage follows the Soca trail and is a scenic, tranquil walk. The trail follows the Soca River from Trenta to Bovec, crossing footbridges, passing though meadows and forests. Soca River trail starts at The Soca Source, where the river springs from a cave. The river is of a beautiful green color with stunning gorges. The trail is marked Soska Pot. Approaching Bovec, the river becomes wider and is popular with water sports, rafting, kayaking.
Bovec is situated in Soca River valley close to the border with Italy. Bovec was part of First World War Isonzo Front where 1.5 millions soldiers perished.
Stage 25 Bovec to Dreznica
Distance of this stage of Alpe Adria Trail is 22 km with an ascent of 410 meters and descent 336 meters.
The hike is described of medium difficulty and it takes 7 hours to 7 hours and 30 minutes.
From Bovec, the trail continues following the river through the Bovec Valley.
After 4 km, follow the signs post to Virje waterfall a magic place worth a visit. The Virje waterfall is 20 meters wide and 12 meters high. The drop of water creates a deep green pool. Virje waterfall was the setting for the movie The Chronicles of Narnia Prince Caspian. Returning from the waterfall continue the track for most of part along the river.
After approx 16 km you start ascending to reach Dreznica under the mountain Krn. During the First World War, Dreznica was completely destroyed except the small church which survived. The main church in the village was built on the older site and was dedicated to Sacred Heart. During the Second World War Dreznica was an important centre of Slovenian Partisan Resistance.
In 1947 Dreznica was included in Slovenia and annexed to Yugoslavia.
Stage 26 Dreznica to Tolmin
This stage of Alpe Adria Trail has a total distance= 22.1 km
It takes 8 hours with an ascent of 734 meters and descent of 1088 meters.
This section of the trail follows the former military path, before descending to the River Soca and reaching the town of Tolmin. The walk is marked Pot Miru which means Walk of Peace.
From Dreznica is a strenuous ascent to Planica. On Planica the Italian military chapel was build by Captain Celestino Bes in memory of Italian soldiers that have been killed in First World war. The Italian chapel Bes, under Krn is decorated with an eagle with open wings, the symbol of alpine Italian army. The inscription on the entrance is Consolatrix Afflictorum means “the Comforter of the Afflicted”. From Planica you descend to Krn and then Tolmin, which is the largest town of the Soca valley.
Stage 27 Tolmin to Tribil Superiore
Total distance of this stage of Alpe Adria Trail is 18.9 km with a duration 7 hours and 30 minutes.
Total ascent is of 1291 meters and descent of 852 meters.
This route takes you to rolling hills and valleys, on historical path of First World War with numerous trenches, forts and caves. On this walk you reach the starting point of Kolovrat Historical Museum. On the ridge of Kolovrat, you pass the border from Slovenia to Italy.
The ridge of Kolovrat offers panoramic views over the Julian Alps. Crossing the border, you descend on the Italian side to the village of Clabuzzaro. From here, you follow the road and then the CAI trail 747 towards village of Rucchin. The trail continues through forest, uphill to Mount Cum. I found this ascent more difficult than the one to Kolvrat. From top of Mount Cum you descend to Tribil di Sopra.
Stage 28 Tribil Superiore to Cividale
Distance of this stage is 23.4 Km. It takes 7.30 hours with an ascent of 616 meters and descent of 1126 meters.
From Tribil di Sopra you walk through meadows and chestnut woods to reach the Marian Sanctuary of Castlemonte, from where you descend towards the city of Cividale del Friuli. On this stage it rained and we preferred to take at times the road instead of the path.
Stage 29 Cividale to Breg pri Golo Breg pri Golo Brdu
Distance is of this stage of Alpe Adria Trail is 12.9 km with a duration of 4 hours.
A flat walk with an ascent of 301 meters and descent of 281 meters.
This is a short easy stage which involves some road walk. You can take advantage and visit the city Cividale del Friuli which is declared UNESCO World Heritage.
Piazza Del Duomo is the historical centre and next to it is The National Archaeological Museum, known for medieval archaeology and Lombard art. The Lombards led by Albion migrated in 568 into Italy. Cividale del Friuli was the first city to fall to Lombards. The small Oratorrio di Santa Maria in Valle is one of the oldest examples of Lombard architecture.
Stage 30 Breg pri Golem Brdu to Smartno
The last stage of Alpe Adria Trail has a distance 25km, and a duration 8 hours, with an ascent of 699 meters and descent of 623 meters.
This stage takes you through the wine growing area, with rolling hills, vineyards and orchids and old villages.
On top of the hill there is a church surrounding by the village houses. The route begins in Breg pri Golem Brdu, passes through villages Vrhovlje pri Kozbani, Fojana, Dobrovo to finish at Smartno.
Dobrovo Castle was built in 17th century in Renaissance style. It has a restaurant and a good stop for a coffee and a meal. The route is long but not difficult. Arriving at Smartno is worth a visit through the medieval village with its houses surrounding St. Martin Church
In conclusion, walking the Alpe Adria trail is a track of superb variety of natural views, from mountains to rolling hills, spectacular rivers and lakes and old medieval villages to historical sights of First World War. We enjoyed the trip very much and hopefully we can complete the whole Alpe Adria Trail in the future. The accommodation in Slovenia and the food was of very good. A special mention was the tourist farm Breg in the small village of Golo Brdo where the food was excellent and very fresh, home made.
The trail is in good condition but is not always well signed. Also using GPS to record the track, I have noticed that the GPS signal was lost especially in the alpine area.
More information you can find at http://alpe-adria-trail.com
There is also an application Alpe Adria Trail which can be downloaded for free.