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Hiking the Invisible Border

KARST PLATEAU | ITALY, SLOVENIA
Trip Highlights

Top three reasons to hike the Invisible Border

  • Trip Highlight

    Cross national borders along footpaths and cart tracks

  • Trip Highlight

    Take in magnificent views of the Adriatic coast and the city of Trieste

  • Trip Highlight

    Explore the depths of the Škocjan Caves, a UNESCO heritage site

At the top of Italy, just at the border with Slovenia, Trieste boasts rich Austro-Hungarian history, a very long coastline, and plenty of marvelous sights in its vicinity, such as Prosecco, a village known to all wine lovers for the eponymous wine. Less than 20 minutes southeast from Trieste is Val Rosandra Natural Preserve covering a surface area of about 746 hectares with two geologically very different sides and plenty of stunning panoramas over the Gulf of Trieste. The 120ft waterfall and ruins of a Roman aqueduct also adorn the footpaths through the valley leading toward the Slovenian border. Not far away lies the Škocjan Caves Regional Park, a system with its unique natural values — renowned for its exceptional archaeological finds, pioneering explorations of the Karst underground, and rich natural and cultural heritage. Lipica, a nearby village, is one of the main tourist centers of the Karst region known as the origin of the beautiful white Lipizzan horses!

Season

April through mid-October 

Nearest city

Your adventure begins in Trieste, IT

Duration

3 days

Skill level

Intermediate to advanced

Itineraries

Book this adventure

3-Day Hike Along the Invisible Border

3 days

Italy and Slovenia share centuries of history and cultural heritage, and with a help from your guide, you can travel and enjoy the best parts of it! This 3-day hike takes you from Trieste to Val Rosandra, Škocjan Caves, Lipica, Divača, and Prosecco. Explore the local culture, see the famous Lipizzaner horses, and enjoy the spectacular panoramas along the way. This hike will leave you breathless and wanting for more — the area has so much to offer! Let your guide show you the hidden gems and exceptional nature of Italy and Slovenia and make the most of your trip to this historical part of Europe.

Trip Highlights

Itinerary

Day 1: Rosandra Valley Natural Reserve and old railway towards the Karst plateau

Panoramic view of Rosandra Valley Natural Reserve

Begin your journey by heading inland along the ancient salt path once used by merchants on their way to Trieste’s salt flats. The path travels through a valley and offers splendid views of the Rosandra stream with its 35-metre high waterfall and its 21 natural pools! Pass an ancient church and old mills before reaching the remote village of Botač and the border between Italy and Slovenia. Begin the ascent towards the Karst plateau along the former Austro-Hungarian Trieste-Hrpelje railway and follow the panoramic route.Enter Slovenia along the Gročana border path on the slopes of the highest mountain in the Karst plateau, Kokoš, and reach the Karst plateau, arriving in the village of Divača where you’ll will spend the night.

Day 2: The World Heritage caves and grassy meadows

Skocjan caves

After a hearty breakfast, set off towards the Škocjan Caves and discover the magical underground world of the Karst. This natural spectacle was declared a UNESCO heritage site in 1986. Itts imposing stalactites and mysterious rock formations cannot fail to inspire wonder. Explore this extraordinary underground canyon and walk over a bridge suspended almost 50 metres above the river below! Take a lunch break before continuing your hike along gentle paths lined with numerous dry-stone walls, and reach another wonder of the Karst: the Lipica stud farm, home of the famous Lipizzaner horses that have lived here since 1580. Spend the night in a hotel within the equestrian park.

Day 3: Discover Lipica and the Karst plateau

Lipizzan horses

Spend a part of the morning exploring the Lipica stud farm, walking along unpaved tracks in the shade oak groves and visit the oldest stables in Europe. Continue your hike towards Lipikum — interactive museum dedicated to these majestic horses. Make a quick detour to the nearby valley of Our Lady of Lourdes, a unique shrine nestled in a Karst sinkhole dating back to the 19th century. You’ll soon return to Italian soil and reach the end of the plateau, overlooking the Gulf of Trieste. Hike along the panoramic Napoleonic road with splendid views over the Adriatic and the city of Trieste. To finish up this unique adventure, join your guide in Prosecco from where you’ll be transported back to the centre of Trieste.

Things to know

Things to know

Covid measures in Slovenia and Italy

57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity. 

We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re travelling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Slovenia and Italy, please refer to the Republic of Slovenia and the Italian Ministry of Health websites.

Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

What’s included?

What you get on this adventure:

  • An experienced, local rock-climbing guide with extensive knowledge of the area
  • 3 days of hiking 
  • Meals (2 breakfasts and 3 packed lunches)
  • Accommodation in double rooms
  • Transportation from and to Piazza Oberdan, Trieste
  • Entrance fees and permits

What’s not included:

  • Meals not mentioned above (2 dinners)
  • Transportation to Italy
  • Accommodations prior and after the trip
  • Luggage transfer (additional fee in amount of $70)

How fit do I need to be?

This three-day hiking adventure is ideal for hikers with excellent fitness and mobility. The hike is 46km (29 miles) long and takes 3 days to finish – you can expect 5 hours and about 17km (10 miles) of walking per day with up to +800 meters (2625ft) in elevation. Keep in mind, the weather in summer can be very hot and you’ll also be packing a daypack filled with water and other things you’ll need throughout the day.

What do I need to bring?

Here’s a list of the equipment you need to bring:

  • Day pack large enough to carry all the items listed (around a 25-40L bag)
  • Hiking poles — optional
  • Water bottle or hydration bladder (2L capacity)
  • Lightweight hiking boots or shoes
  • Spare clothes for layering
  • A sweater or sweatshirt (inside the caves, the temperature is a constant 12°C all year round)
  • Waterproof rain jacket
  • Sunhat
  • Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
  • Headlamp or flashlight
  • Sunglasses
  • Camera — optional (but recommended)

Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season. Layers are best and don’t wear jeans.

Group sizes and age requirements

Group sizes and prices:

  • For this group adventure, the usual client to guide ratio is 6:1, with groups of up to 12 people. 
  • It takes a minimum of 2 people for a tour to operate. The cost does not decrease as the group grows. 

Hiking can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

Min. age requirements:

  • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
  • Minors younger than 18 may be permitted to join the hike on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.

If your group has hikers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

Getting there and meeting location

To get to Trieste, most people fly into Venice Marco Polo International Airport. From there, you can rent a car or take a shuttle service to Trieste, just an hour and a half away. Other options include flying directly into Trieste Airport or to Milan Malpensa International Airport 4 hours away.

Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet, usually at the Piazza Oberdan. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ability of the group.

Cancellation Policy

Your guide operates in Slovenia, Italy, and Austria, and therefore, all EU rights that concern tour packages shall apply.

Deposits

Upon booking, the traveller is required to pay a non-refundable deposit equal to 30 % of the total price unless otherwise specified in the program of the tour package. The remaining amount is required 90 days before departure unless otherwise specified. If the traveller fails to pay the above-mentioned sum at the agreed dates, they will be considered to have withdrawn from the contract.

Guide’s right to change the price

Your guide reserves the right to change the price as a result of changes in the exchange rate applied to the tour package in question, changes in transportation costs, based on the cost of fuel or other energy sources, and changes to the fees and charges applicable to some types of tourist services included in the package and charged by third parties not directly involved in the execution of the package (such as taxes and fees) that affect the price of the package. Your guide will communicate in writing any variations in price to the travellers, at the latest 20 days before the date of departure. If the price variation exceeds 8% of the original price amount, the traveller has the right to withdraw from the travel contract.

Cancellations and replacements

The traveler has the right, at any moment, to withdraw in writing from the travel contract. If the traveller withdraws from the contract, the organizer shall refund him within 14 days, reserving the right to withhold the withdrawal expenses/fines indicated below:

● For withdrawals made up to thirty days before the beginning of the trip: 30% of the total amount (non-refundable deposit)

● For withdrawals made between 29 and 15 days before the beginning of the trip: 50% of the total amount

● For withdrawals made between 14 and 7 days before the beginning of the trip: 75% of the total amount

● For withdrawals made between 6 and 1 days before the trip: 100% of the total amount.

If the traveler does not withdraw from the travel contract in writing before the beginning of the trip and does not participate in the trip, they is not entitled to a refund.

In the event that the traveler cannot take part in the trip, they can be replaced by another person, if the latter meets all the conditions of the chosen tour package. The transferor traveler must inform the organizer of this in writing at least 7 days before the beginning of the trip. In this case, the transferor must refund the organizer all the expenses incurred for the substitution. In the event that third parties necessary for the execution of the tour package (e.g., airlines) do not allow a booking replacement, the transferor will not be able to take advantage of the rights described in this paragraph.

Withdrawals during the trip

The traveler may withdraw in writing from the travel contract during the trip itself as well. In this case, the traveler is not entitled to a refund of the sums paid to the organizer, nor of any other expenses incurred. The following are considered a withdrawal from the travel contract: (i) during the trip, the traveler independently, without a valid cause and without the consent of the organizer, interrupts the chosen tour package; (ii) the traveler is not accepted aboard the means of transportation (air, sea, land or others) for security reasons or regulations imputable to the traveller himself; (iii) the traveler independently and with the consent of guides partially modifies the tour package.

The traveler may withdraw from the travel contract because of extraordinary and inevitable circumstances that modify significantly the performance of the tour package and must, in this case, present relevant evidence. In this event, the traveler is entitled to a full refund, from which only the expenses that the organizer incurred for the registration and the eventual participation in the tour package can be withheld. Whenever withdrawal from the travel contract for extraordinary and inevitable circumstances arises during the performance of the tour package, the organizer offers to the traveller the necessary support. In case of withdrawal on the part of the traveler, they do not have the right to a refund of the expenses such as expenses for obtaining visas, obligatory or recommended vaccines, purchase of flight, bus, boat or train tickets.

Organizer’s cancellation rights 

Your guides reserves the right to cancel the travel contract if, because of inevitable and extraordinary circumstances, it cannot perform the tour package pursuant to the provisions of the program of the package itself or the provisions contained in these terms and conditions, or if the number of travellers registered to the tour package is lower than the minimum foreseen in the travel contract. In this case, the organizer will cancel the contract and refund in full the payments made by the traveler for the tour package. The reimbursement does not include any expenses incurred by the traveller due to the cancellation of the tour package. The right to cancel on the part of the organizer may be invoked:

● 20 days before the beginning of the tour package for packages that last longer than 6 days;

● 7 days before the beginning of the tour package for packages that last between 2 to 6 days;

● 48 hours before the beginning of the tour package for packages that last less than 2 days.

In the event of cancellation on the part of the organizer, the traveler is not entitled to be refunded the expenses connected to the tour package that are not included in the price itself (such as expenses to obtain visas, obligatory or recommended vaccines, any insurance policies, or flight, bus, boat and train tickets).

Your guide reserves the right to cancel the travel contract before the beginning of the tour package or during its performance and will be entitled to request a refund for expenses/damages from the traveler, if they directly violates the provisions of the travel contract that they have signed. In particular, if the traveler has voluntarily communicated incorrect information regarding the number and the age of the participants, or if during its performance, they have modified the tour package without informing the guide.

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