Purple Trail on the Via Alpina

The Purple Trail of the Via Alpina system is one of the four “connectors” branching off the main arterial Red Trail. The incomparably gorgeous Purple Trail has 66 stages through three countries; many of them quite short compared to the other trail colors. the Purple Trail begins in the very center of the high Slovenian mountains, forking off from the east of the Red Trail of the Via Alpina and goes past the magnificent Mount Triglav before descending into one of the most beautiful glacier valleys anywhere in the world, Vrata. The Purple Trail is also a complete tour of the Eastern Limestone Alps, from the Karawanken to the Allgäu before meeting up with the Austrian mountains.

Far off the beaten paths of some of the other Via Alpina segments, the Purple Trail is strewn with some of the very best in terms of cultural destinations that the Via Alpina has to offer. In Bavaria it traces the course of the “Maximiliansweg”, which is the famous path through the Alps that King Maximilian II took in 1858. The trail visits other related tourist sites, such as the fairytale-looking castles of Bavaria constructed by Maximilian’s son, King Ludwig II. The Purple Trail is rich in religious monuments as well, especially from the Baroque and Rococo periods, like for example the Abbey of Seckau, the Abbey of Admont, and the United Nations’ designated World Cultural Heritage site at Hallstatt-Dachstein.

As noted above, the trailhead of the Purple route is located in the sole national park and protected area of Slovenia: the Triglav National Park. Triglav is home to several absolutely unique geographic features like the So?a River and three magnificent waterfalls: the Savica, Peri?nik and the Boka.

Take special note: unlike the other trail sections of the Via Alpina, camping is NOT recommended on the Purple. In fact, it is entirely prohibited in the protected Triglav National Park! On the Purple Trail your accommodations are almost always the use of the system of mountain huts; there are at least 170 in Slovenia alone. These huts are usually open for hikers from the beginning of June through the end of September – but of course it is highly recommended that you confirm that the particular mountain huts you are interested in are open before starting your journey on the trail. At lower altitudes, some of the huts are open year-round; on the other hand, some are open weekends-only outside of the busy main summer season. During the peak months of July and August, one should definitely make reservations, especially for huts in the popular Julian Alps. Besides offering a warm place to stay the night, the huts also have food and drinks at quite reasonable prices.