The Karnische Höhenweg (the ‘Carnic High Route’) stretches along the Austrian border with Italy for 150 kilometres. Its shorter and official name is “KHW 403” but it is better known as part of the “Peace Trail” (the “Friedensweg” or “Sentiero della Pace”).
The name “Peace Trail” is related to the fierce fighting that took place between Austria and Italy here in the mountains during the First World War. Hikers will still see remains of the fortifications which were built by the soldiers to protect themselves from the weather and the enemy during that conflict.
The starting point for the high route is in Sillian in East Tyrol. The destination is Thörl-Maglern south of Villach in Carinthia. There are eight to eleven daily stages in between, depending on whether walkers wish to complete the entire length of the trail.
The first section runs through high alpine terrain to the ‘Bergsteigerdorf’ of Mauthen. (The title ‘Bergsteigerdorf’ is given to a selection of mainly Austrian mountain communities which are renowned for their mountaineering history and option. There are a number of them along this route.)
The second section of the trail is a lot more relaxing and heads mainly over extensive alpine pastures and through forests.
There are huts for refreshments and overnight stays along the entire route. For overnight stays it is advisable to book in advance.