Stage 01: Warmbad Villach - Bad Bleiberg

DRG-ET01

Stage 01: Warmbad Villach - Bad Bleiberg

Stage description

Ancient paths: Hiking through a landscape shaped by 1500 years of history

The first stage of the Dobratsch Circular Trail takes you from the outskirts of Villach to the gentle slopes of the Dobratsch – and then on to the remote, high-alpine Bleiberg Valley. As well as traversing an almost untouched natural landscape, you will gain fascinating insights into the rich history of Villach’s landmark mountain. The Trail starts at the Kärntner Freiwillige Schützen Park in Warmbad Villach. Even on the first section (Path No. 19) of today’s route, you pass several places of interest. These include the Eggerloch (‘Egger Hole’) – the area’s largest karst cave with a length of 700 m – as well as the Tscheltschnigkogel hill, where you can see the remainders of a settlement from the Late Antique period. From there, you follow forest paths and logging roads (Path No. 229) to the north-face of the Dobratsch, where you might like to stop off at the Hundsmarhof alpine inn – a listed farmhouse with a history of providing hospitality that spans generations. Next, you make your way to Heiligengeist (Path No. 22) where you are met with stunning views over Villach. Now follow the signs for about an hour ascending to the "Jägerrast" (path no. 291 and 290). Here at 1.360 m above sea level you have reached the highest point of the entire Dobratsch circular hiking Trail - from there you descend to Hüttendorf, the former miners' settlement in the shade of the mountain's peak, whose unique character and unusual architecture will make you feel as though you’ve entered a different world. By the time you reach today’s destination of Bad Bleiberg, you will have gained a true sense of this remarkable area and its archaic charm.

Level of difficulty: medium
Hiking time: 6.5 hours
Distance: 20.2 km
Ascent: 829 m
Descent: 426 m