The Via Alpina is a network of trails traversing the Alps all the way from Trieste on the Adriatic to Monaco on the Mediterranean. It was established in 2005 to create a single cohesive route out of the countless existing trans-Alpine paths. The main artery, known as the Red Trail, is some 2400 km (1500 mi) long, broken down into 161 manageable stages as itt weaves its way back and forth across the borders of all the Alpine countries.
The summit trail along ridge of the Carnic Alps in eastern Austria has been integrated into the Red Trail. It was the front-line between the Austrians and Italians in World War I and, in the 1970s the supply paths used by the troops were linked up and given the symbolic name of the "Carnic Peace Trail" in remembrance of the devastating loss of life here - as many soldiers died from freezing weather conditions as were killed by the enemy. Easily as beautiful as anywhere else in the Alps, the Carnic Peace Trail is one of the less touristy sections of the Via Alpina.
You enter a timeless country of traditional villages and flower-strewn pastures, make hair-raising 750m (2500 ft) ascents and scramble across the valleys, wash in sparkling mountain water and wake each morning in a different mountain hut but to the same inevitable tinkling of cowbells and chorus of moos. A hike through the Austrian Alps really is the perfect way of getting away from it all - walking through some of the world's most beautiful scenery, spending the night in the shelter of spartan but adequate mountain huts, and living on th staple alpine diet of cured ham and un-pasteurised cheese, you cannot fail to be satisfied.
WHEN TO GO
June to September
TIME IT TAKES
A week (four months for the whole Via Alpina)
Lienz - beautiful historic town.
Traces of trenches, battery positions and bivouacs rom World War I.
Outstanding natural scenery.
YOU SHOULD KNOW
The Carnic Peace Path is not technically difficult and requires no climbing equipment, merely sure-footedness and a good level of fitness. In July and August you will be hard to put to find yourself walking completely alone. Hordes of trekkers flock to the Alps at this time of year.