500 million years, or walking along peace trails

No doubt the most popular activity for holiday-makers is hiking. Every summer people will hike just as far as their legs will carry them. Carinthia’s Natural Arena offers all kinds of landscape for this. 26 themed trails ensure that not just walking is involved, but all sorts of experiences as well.

Hiking is fun. And even more so when there are exciting things to see and do along the way. In Carinthia’s Natural Arena on a relaxing hike one can learn about geology, herbs, mills, fish and alpine flowers. The network of trails across the region covers a total of 1,000 kilometres.

How about using, for example, one of the five geo-trails, which document 500 million years of geological history? On the Nassfeld in June and July the blue wulfenia carinthiaca can be found in bloom, a relic of the Ice Age only found in this area.

The trails on the Plöcken Pass are an object lesson in how a united Europe could grow out of previously hostile countries. Where, from 1915 to 1917, the Front ran and umpteen thousand soldiers died in agony, there are now “peace trails”. These hikes through a unique open-air museum lead to stone markers showing the Fronts and the battlefields that were fiercely fought over. All this became possible due to the involvement of many volunteer helpers who secured and marked the trails.

How about a tour to the amazing Lesach valley - on the “mills trail” or Mühlenweg Maria Luggau along the Trattenbach or a circular hike round the natural mineral spring at Kraftquelle Radegund, during which a visit is paid to the little 11th century church of St. Radegund?

When kids discover the mountains, many parents reach the limits in their legal responsibility to care for their children. However, in the children’s rock climbing practice area in the Lesachtal valley, Kötschach-Mauthen and on the Nassfeld there are experienced mountain guides. They show young mountaineers how to tread and climb safely, how to handle ropes and pitons and how to return from the mountain safe and sound. After such a basic course, the kids can then show their parents how well they can move on the many climbs. Of course adults should rely on the mountain leaders as they discover with them the dangers and beauties of the “via ferrata”.

Anyone wanting something less alpine but no less attractive should perhaps put on their mountaineering boots to set out on a section of the European Long-distance Trail, called Carinthian Altitude Trail KHW 403 here. It can be walked either as a tour lasting several days, with overnight stops in mountain lodges, or in short sections.


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