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Unknown Friuli – a new Eurohike destination

The development of our walking tour “From the Alps to the Adriatic Sea”
Hiker on a hiking trail

Friuli is, admittedly, a relatively unknown region in Italy. Even the region's full name, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, means very little to most Alpine walkers.

So, what exactly makes this region so exciting? Why should you consider a walking tour in Friuli-Venezia Giulia? We take you along on the development process of our new hiking tour "Friuli - From the Alps to the Adriatic Sea".

Hiker on a hiking trail

Friuli is an unbelievably beautiful and diverse region that stretches from the rugged, rocky Julian Alps down to the Mediterranean-like Adriatic coastline. It is filled with so much natural beauty that it rendered even me speechless.

Exploring a new destination

Developing a new tour - a real challenge

Developing Friuli as a new walking destination for Eurohike was a real challenge. While there are many local footpaths and wonderful areas in the mountains and valleys, there are no complete or premium long-distance walking trails whose signs can simply be followed.

And let me tell you—the exploratory phase to create this tour was very strenuous, even though it was also very beautiful and enriching.

The first time I was there was in July, so it was high summer. Because of the high temperature, the Tagliamento River became my best friend. I always found a suitable spot there to cool off!

Tagliamento river with mountains in the background

The most beautiful places in Friuli

On my exploratory journeys I experienced numerous thunderstorms, heavy hailstorms and even a mini tornado. Bushes, spider webs, insects, very steep climbs, closed paths, and endlessly lonely walking trails made life difficult. Alternatives had to be found. However, I was able to have remarkable encounters and get to know wonderful viewpoints, fantastic paths, and idyllic places.

As a result, I have picked out the most beautiful corner of this region. They combine to create a journey full of diversity, variety and surprising highlights.

View of Collio valley with town

Recording the route

I returned to Friuli in the autumn to finalise the route and descriptions. The colour of the foliage and the scent of the last-autumn flowers was simply wonderful. At this time of year, it was fortunately not as hot anymore, but the contrast to the weather at home was still huge. There was already grey fog lying around the Eurohike office in Obertrum, but here in Friuli, I was still hopping into the warm Adriatic sea and walking in the sunshine in short sleeves. What a way to work!

I walked from Tarvisio, very close to the Austrian border, to the Holy Mountain of the Three Nations, Monte Lussari, the Queen of Europe. There is a 14th-century chapel at the peak of this mountain, where pilgrims from Slavic, Romance, and Germanic-speaking areas meet. This is truly an amazing place. The cable car made the ‘mountain climbing’ much more comfortable for me.

Church on Monte Lussari

A region full of contrasts

I continued on a speedy journey by transport taxi through the deeply cut canal valley to Venzone, which has a medieval circular wall, a great start to the stage! I climbed up through white gravel to the summit of Monte Cumieli, my personal favourite place, because there I saw the vast lowland plateau ahead of me, reaching right down to the sea.

I said goodbye to the rugged Julian Alps along the flank of Monte Cuarnan. I walked along a panoramic path with views of the Alps to the impressive castle of Artegna and took the train to Udine, a cultural city full of sights and a lively centre.

I experienced an exciting contrast to the mountains on the stage in the Collio wine region. Here, I walked through lovely vineyards and sleepy villages. I stayed overnight in Gradisca d’Isonzo, one of Italy's most beautiful places. As I toured through the centre, the blue river shone at me.

Town centre of Venzone

Highlights in the development of the tour

As I reached the coastal path towards Trieste, I had to stop, my mouth hanging open. Suddenly, I was standing on a rocky viewing platform directly above the sea! The high path along the cliffs was challenging, and I had so much fun that I scarcely noticed how close I was getting to the castle and harbour in Trieste. It is hard to get enough of here!

As a mountain enthusiast, I found the last stage's most significant highlight: the loop walk in Val Rosandra. The name implies something gentle and mild-manner, but the nature reserve is a remote valley with steep cliffs made of white limestone, rugged valley sides and challenging high-level paths. Here, I even took a little detour over the border into Slovenia. I climbed the summit of Monte Stena and wandered through the tunnel of a former mountain railway line. At the very end, I took a break in the lowest altitude Alpine club hut in the Alps; Rifugio Premuda attracts hikers with Italian specialities at just 80 metres above sea level, yet within the mountains.

Mountain scenery near Tarvisio

Work, enjoyment and culture

Finally, I visited the legendary bathing site "El Pedocin” in Trieste and bathed with the locals in a protected area separated from the sea. It was a real cultural experience!

Of course, drinking coffee in the typical bars of the official “coffee city” of Trieste and a pizza in Tarvisio are also part of the agenda, as is a visit to the cathedral in beautiful Gemona and a glass of wine in the Collio area. After all, a walking holiday with Eurohike should combine walking with enjoyment and culture.

Duino Castle on the Gulf of Trieste

My conclusion

"What did I enjoy the most? That I can’t say exactly. I think I enjoyed the variety!"

Who do I recommend this journey for?

I recommend visiting this region, particularly in the spring and then again in autumn because it is a little quieter and the climate is more pleasant. The countryside is idyllic all year round!

This holiday is highly recommended if you are looking for somewhere exotic, off the beaten track, and don’t want to go where everyone else is. Here, you will hardly hear a word of German or English; you will wander through areas with no tourist buses, travel with the locals on regular trains, see regular students, and sit with regular Italians in regular cafes or bars. The cost of coffee in Trieste is probably only a fraction of that in St Mark’s Square in Venice or on the shores of Lake Garda.

Hiker at a viewpoint with Lago di Cornino in the background

"On the way from the Alps to the Adriatic, in one week of walking, you will get to know Friuli in a way that car drivers and bus travellers will probably never experience. On foot, you can collect a seemingly unending number of colourful, fragrant and impressive experiences and unforgettable incidents. Get going – Friuli is waiting for you!"

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