Slovenia’s greatest walk

Trace the Alpe-Adria-Trail

The Alpe-Adria-Trail is a superb 750km hiking route, stretching from the peaks of the Alps to the shore of the Adriatic. Starting from the foot of Austria’s highest mountain, the Grossglockner, it winds through Carinthia, before crossing the Karavanke into Slovenia – where it takes in a great, sweeping section of the Julian Alps, Triglav National Park and the Soča Valley. It spends several days jumping back and forth between Slovenia and Italy, exploring the Karst region and the Goriška Brda wine region, to end in Muggia on the Adriatic coast. The Alpe-Adria is the perfect way to experience the breathtaking scenery, rich culture and delicious food and wine Slovenia has to offer at a slow pace.

Explore the Alpe-Adria-Trail for yourself with this interactive map as it winds its way through Slovenia. Let's take a walk...

E22: Baumgartnerhöhe – Kranjska Gora

Distance: 21.6km
Time to walk: 8 hours

You can see the Karavanke mountains, which run along the border between Austria and Slovenia, for several days before you reach them. The Alpe Adria Trail enters Slovenia by way of a spectacular ridge walk, following a trail along the crest of the Karavanke with jaw-dropping views on either side, before descending to the small town of Kranjska Gora, one of the main gateways to Triglav National Park.

Cultural highlight: Zelenci Nature Reserve

Set among reed beds and meandering streams, the small lake at the heart of this wetland area is the most incredibly vivid blue-green colour. The source of the Sava Dolinka river, the lake can be reached by wooden boardwalks, and is fed by underground channels which you can see bubbling up from the lakebed.

Epic view: Srednji vrh

As in introduction to the Julian Alps, the view from Srednji vrh is as good as any you could hope for. Standing here among open pastures beside an idyllic cottage, the Martuljek Group faces you across the Sava Valley, rising in a great amphitheatre of pyramid-shaped peaks, above a sprawl of rock and forest.

Must-try refuel food: Krapi

These delicious traditional dumplings are a specialty of Rateče, a small village near Kranjska Gora, and have a filling of curd cheese, polenta and a hint of fresh tarragon.

E23: Kranjska Gora – Trenta

Distance: 22.6km
Time to walk: 8 hours

This superb hike takes you over the 1,611m Vršič Pass, and comes with fabulous views of Prisojnik, with its rock window and distinctive cliff which looks strangely like a human face. From the cluster of mountain huts at the pass, the trail leads down into the upper reaches of the Trenta Valley, passing the source of the emerald green River Soča, and into the heart of Triglav National Park.

Cultural highlight: Russian Chapel

This small wooden chapel beside the road leading up to the Vršič Pass was built during WW1, in memory of Russian prisoners of war who were killed during an avalanche, while working to build a military road over the pass, intended as a supply route to the Isonzo Front.

Epic view: Lake Jasna

Viewed on the map, this small manmade lake just an hour’s walk out from Kranjska Gora seems an unassuming little place. But the view across the lake towards the majestic peaks of Razor and Prisojnik, which you’ll find reflected in its surface, is absolutely sublime. While you’re here, bear in mind there’s a fantastic, two-Michelin-starred restaurant beside the lake, Milka.

Must-try refuel food: Gorenjski želodec

This traditional cured sausage made with ground pork and millet, is a speciality of the Upper Savinja Valley in northern Slovenia.

E24: Trenta – Bovec

Distance: 21.3km
Time to walk: 6 hours 30 minutes

One of the finest sections on the entire Alpe Adria Trail, this stage follows the exquisitely beautiful River Soča – along riverside paths, across open pastures, through patches of forest, and taking in the unforgettable Soča Gorge. The Soča is deservedly popular for kayaking, and also has some good spots for swimming.

Cultural highlight: Explore Bovec town

The pretty little mountain town of Bovec makes for a wonderful spot to linger for a rest day, surrounded by dramatic mountain peaks including Mt Rombon and the sinuous, fin-shaped Svinjak. Visit the restored WW1 bunkers and trenches at Rabelnik, take the cable car up Mt Kanin, and make a detour up the Koritnica Valley to Fort Kluž, which stands above a narrow, sheer-sided gorge.

Epic view: Soča Gorge

Between Trenta and Bovec, the Soča passes through a spectacular gorge – some 15m deep and less than 2m wide at the top, the river twisting through its depths between sculpted cliffs, pierced by shafts of sunlight. As well as seeing the gorge itself, make sure you stop where the river widens out below the lower end of the gorge, which is a popular place for swimming.

Must-try refuel food: Bovec cheese

Bovški sir is a delicious cheese from the area around Bovec, made with milk from the local breed of sheep, with PDO status.

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E25: Bovec Drežnica

Distance: 25.1km
Time to walk: 7 hours 15 minutes

This stage continues following the river Soča, before climbing to the village of Drežnica. Not far away, the small town of Kobarid is home to an excellent museum covering local WW1 history – and also to one of the best restaurants in Slovenia. This is the three-Michelin-starred Hiša Franko, where legendary chef Ana Roš (voted third best chef in the world) creates an unforgettable fine dining experience, with an emphasis on local seasonal ingredients.

 Cultural highlight: Visit the village of Drežnica

The small mountain village of Drežnica sits on an open hillside below a soaring wall of mountains, culminating in 2,244m Mt Krn. Drežnica is known for its vivid Shrovetide carnival traditions, where local unmarried men cavort about the village dressed in sheepskins and elaborate wooden masks, which they carve themselves.

Epic view: Boka waterfall and Bovec panorama

The Boka waterfall comes spurting out of a cliff before free-falling 106m into the rocky valley below, followed by a drop of another 30m. The highest waterfall in Slovenia, it can be seen from the trail itself – or for enhanced views, make a short and worthwhile detour up to a viewpoint closer to the falls.

 Must-try refuel food: Frika

Don’t leave the Soča valley without trying frika – a great mouthwatering wedge of sliced potatoes fried with local Tolminc cheese (something like a tortilla with no eggs).

E26: Drežnica – Tolmin

Distance: 23.2km
Time to walk: 9 hours

From Drežnica the trail climbs to the small chapel on Mt Planica, built by Italian troops during WW1, then descends past the Kuhinja mountain hut to rejoin the river Soča, finishing in the town of Tolmin.

 Cultural highlight: The Javorca monument

During the First World War the front line between Italy and Austria, the Isonzo Front, lay along the Soča Valley – and remains of this conflict still lie scattered along the valley floor as well as on the slopes and mountains above. One of the most beautiful is the Memorial Church of the Holy Spirit at Javorca, in the hills above Tolmin. This wooden church is reached by a long flight of stone steps, and has slender, painted columns inside, along with foldout wooden panels inscribed with the names of the fallen.

Epic view: Triglav National Park and Soča valley

Here on the edge of Triglav National Park, at its lowest elevation, you’ll find the beautiful Tolmin Gorges, at the confluence of the Tolminka and Zadlaščica streams. Along with all the rushing water, you’ll find narrow cliffs pierced by galleries, and the so-called ‘bear’s head’ – a gigantic triangle of rock wedged between two cliffs and suspended above the stream.

 Must-try refuel food: Tolminc cheese

Tolminc is a full-fat hard cheese from the high pastures above Tolmin – delicious on its own, and an essential ingredient in frika.

E27: Tolmin – Tribil Superiore

Distance: 19.3km
Time to walk: 7 hours 30 minutes

From Tolmin, the Alpe Adria crosses the Soča then climbs gradually through forest to the Kolovrat ridge, with its spectacularly restored series of First World War trenches, before descending into the upper reaches of the Val di Natisone in Italy. Rifugio Solarie, just below Kolovrat, is a popular mountain hut which makes a perfect place to stop for lunch.

 Cultural highlight: Tolmin Museum

Housed in a former mansion, the Tolmin Museum is the best place to go to learn more about the history and archaeology of this part of the Soča valley, from the Stone Age to the 20th century. The museum also overseas the exceptional finds from the Bronze Age archaeological site at nearby Most na Soči, which are exhibited there.

Epic view: Kolovrat Mountain

The Kolovrat ridge forms the border between Slovenia and Italy, and was heavily fortified during WW1. At the Kolovrat Open Air Museum, you’ll find an extensive and hugely impressive system of well-restored trenches, bunkers, and gun emplacements, which snake their way across the hillside and which you can walk through on your way up to the peak of Na Gradu.

Must-try refuel food: Soča trout

The river Soča is famous for its trout – and you’ll find grilled trout gracing the menus of many restaurants in the area.

E29: Cividale Breg Pri Golem Brdu

Distance: 13.2km
Time to walk: 4 hours 15 minutes

From UNESCO-listed Cividale dei Friuli, the former Lombard capital, this section of the Alpe-Adria passes through wine country (Colli Orientali del Friuli DOC), before crossing back into Slovenia at the River Idrija. From here it ascends to the tiny settlement of Breg Pri Golem Brdu, which stands on a low, wooded hill above the river, overlooking the surrounding countryside.

 Cultural highlight: Breg village

Breg, as it’s known among friends, is a quiet little place, where you can enjoy a lazy afternoon following this short stage admiring the view, soaking up some of the excellent local wine, and visiting a couple of churches. The Church of St Helen is typical of this region, with a simple portico, and a prominent campanile, while the nearby church of St Andrew has the earliest frescoes in the Brda region, depicting scenes from the Life of Christ.

Epic view: Viewpoint outside Breg

Along with all the vineyards, and of course the so-called Devil’s Bridge by which you leave Cividale, the best viewpoint on this section of the trail is the info point just outside Breg, which overlooks the vineyards on the Italian side of the river Idrija.

 Must-try refuel food: Dried salami, homemade bread and olive oil

Enjoy local salami and other cured meats along with crusty home made bread and deeply flavoured olive oil.