This board helps you to share your walking route experiences in England and Wales... or overseas.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

One Foot in Austria, the Other in Italy

One Foot in Austria, the Other in Italy

Postby Blokewithastroke » Sun Oct 09, 2016 2:16 pm

Date walked: 26/07/2016

Time taken: 5

Distance: 15 km

1 person thinks this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

The Val Pustertal is an interesting place. To the south you have the Dolomites. To the north, west and east you have the more traditionally shaped mountains of the Alps. Along the bottom of the valley, between Dobbiaco/Toblach and San Candido/Innichen you will find the start of the River Drau/Drava. This river wends its way eastwards, crossing the border between Italy and Austria for a journey of 465 miles, before eventually arriving at the River Danube near Osijek in Croatia.

We arrived in Dobbiaco/Toblach on Saturday after an interesting train journey (supported by a replacement bus service!) from Amsterdam. This led us into two excellent days of walking - an introductory day on which we walked on the northern edge of Dobbiaco/Toblach, followed by the following day on which we walked along the mountain-side of Mount Haunold to San Candido/Innichen before returning back to Dobbiaco/Toblach along the valley bottom. For the next day we were ready for something slightly more serious! On inspecting the small guidebook that the holiday company had provided us with, we decided to go and climb the trail to the top of Monte Elmo/Helm. By doing this, we would be giving ourselves a chance to extend the number of 'other' countries (apart from the UK) we had visited in our lifetimes - this would be the 19th country, if you are at all interested (no?, I quite understand!). Now, you might say that we had already been to Austria, given that we journeyed through the country on the train through the Brenner Pass. However, at no point did we stop - see? Having passed through Austria without a chance to set foot there on terra firma there was no way in which it could be truthfully said that we had visited this great nation at some point in our journey. The beauty of Monte Elmo/Helm is that it stands at the meeting of the Sexten valley and the Val Pustertal - you cannot miss it - and follows the border between the two countries for some distance. So... it was decided that we definitely must go!

The following morning we started our walk by travelling on the excellent local bus service to the foot of the cable car at San Vito/St. Veit, just to the south-east of Sexten/Sesto. We caught the cable car which took us steadily upwards to a restaurant at 2041 m above sea level. From here, we walked along a very well prepared path eastwards, accompanied by several other people keen to walk to the top of the mountain!
DSC00731 (800x600) (2).jpg
The start of the walk.

After about a mile, we veered to the left and headed upwards to a small hut at the top of the mountain, which I understand, used to be a customs' house. From here, I could see why. The views from here were simply breath-taking! It was easy to see the comings and goings of road and rail traffic heading eastwards and westwards into the far beyond.
DSC00735 (600x800).jpg
My wife with a view down to Austria behind her.

Our walk took us south-eastwards, eventually arriving at the Sillianer Hutte at 2447 m. As we walked along, we soon joined the border between the two countries - Italy to our right and Austria to the left. It was possible to stretch our legs with one foot in Italy and the other foot in Austria.
DSC00734 (600x800).jpg
The border with the Sillianer Hutte - in Austria - in the distance.
DSC00736 (600x800).jpg
A border stone - again, with Austria to the left and Italy on the right.
DSC00737 (600x800).jpg
An Austrian way-marker sign.
DSC00739 (600x800).jpg
Looking back north-westwards to Monte Elmo/Helm.
DSC00740 (800x600).jpg
My wife adopting a slightly funny pose with the Sexten Dolomites in the background.

We arrived at the Sillianer Hutte in time for a welcome cup of coffee and/or a very nice beer - you take your pick! Whilst we sat there - along with several dozen people who had arrived either from the Austrian side of the border or the Italian side - it started to rain. Fortunately, the rain didn't last too long. However, at this point we decided to leave the crowd and to carry on our walk. We soon left people far behind. We left the border just below Obermahdsattel and walked steadily downwards until we came to a small piece of level ground. At this point we headed eastwards before again resuming our descent down to another small café, the Monte ga Klammbach/Klammbachhutte. There was not much to photograph at this point - apart from these horses. Horses? This was quite strange to see - especially given that we were 2200 m above sea level and more-or-less in the middle of nowhere!
DSC00741 (800x600).jpg
Horses. A slightly strange site!

We carried on our descent, walking through coniferous woodlands and heading under another small cable car, before eventually arriving on the outskirts of the village, Moso/Moos. The sun had come out again, leading to a marvellous afternoon. Slightly weary, we descended to the village and caught the local bus service back to Dobbiaco/Toblach. On our way, we congratulated ourselves - and Monte Elmo/Helm - for completing a marvellous walk, which we could thoroughly recommend to any people interested in walking along the border between two very different countries!
Posts: 52
Munros:4   Corbetts:2
Joined: Oct 19, 2014

Re: One Foot in Austria, the Other in Italy

Postby ChrisW » Fri Oct 14, 2016 6:06 pm

Great stuff BWAS, :clap: there's always something a bit special about reaching a location where you can stand in two different countries at the same time or even two different counties/provinces or states, I don't know why but it does add something.

19 countries and counting is quite the list...have you got a target number or are you just ticking along :thumbup:
User avatar
Posts: 4940
Munros:18   Corbetts:5
Sub 2000:6   
Joined: Jan 25, 2011
Location: Cochrane- Alberta - Canada

1 person thinks this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

Walkhighlands community forum is advert free

We need help to keep the site online.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by setting up a monthly donation by direct debit?

Return to Walk reports - Outside Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 15 guests