As my travel companion is a mountain biking fiend, we travelled from Ljubljana to the Petzen area in Austria which only took a couple of hours. We were there to try out the longest flow trail in Europe which was apparently out of this world! While we have great trails in New Zealand, we certainly do not have anything of this length. The recommendation is if you are close to the area and you are a keen mountain biker it is definitely worth the trip. You can hire bikes and body armour on site.
We decided to stay a couple of nights in the area and found a hotel close to the lake at Klopeiner See. It is a cute little area designed for families and retirees so if this isn’t you, it might be worth staying somewhere else. As it was, it probably wasn’t our speed but it was really hot so lounging on the hotels private beach (dock) in one of the deck chairs under an umbrella is not too much of a hardship. The lake itself is deep and clean and you can buy a myriad of inflatables in the township. It is easy to wile away a day but make sure that you have food or snacks as a number of the restaurants and eateries in town are closed until 5.30pm.
This area was an interesting interlude for us, driven by a want to trial the flow trail and be able to swim so a win win really.
After leaving Salzburg and spending time in the Austrian Alps hiking and mountain biking, we headed to the Dolomites to do some Via Ferrata climbing. The Dolomites (or Dolomiti to the locals) are a mountain range in northeastern Italy. They are a truly spectacular group of mountains.
We were last in the Dolomites 14 years ago and both loved climbing the Via Ferrata’s so were pretty keen to return. A via Ferrata is a steel cable which runs along a climbing route and is periodically fixed to the rock. Using via ferrata gear ( harness, helmet, lanyard with carabiners and gloves, climbers can secure themselves to the cable, limiting any fall. The cable can also be used as an aid to climbing, and sometimes there are also iron ladders, pegs, carved steps and even bridges.
There are opportunities to hire guides, hike/climb with small group tours or plan out your own routes using information from the Tourist Centre or books. As we had a guide last time, we felt fairly confident in having a go ourselves. It was as spectacular as I remember and we had a great time.
For anyone interested in mountain biking in the summer, there are also numerous trails to enjoy which can be accessed via the gondolas and chairlifts which take you wherever you would like to start!
If you are unlucky to get bad weather, there is plenty of delicious food to be tried ( strudel is always good) and they have also set up really interesting museums around the area which explain the significance this area had in World War 1.
There are lots of places to stay in the Dolomites area. We stayed in Arabba, but Corvara and Cortina also have restaurants, outdoor gear shops and small minimarts for anything you might need.