A hike with a view: Keeping the south-side of the Dobratsch in full sight
Today you move out of the Dobratsch’s orbit to pass through a string of charming little villages, each separated from the other by around half an hours’ walk. Even though much of today’s route leads through inhabited areas, you are always surrounded by a beautiful rural landscape. Starting out from Nötsch, you head away from the Dobratsch until reaching Feistritz-an-der-Gail / Bistrica na Zilj. The mighty, ancient linden tree in the village square is an integral part of the region’s Slovenian cultural legacy, which is actively celebrated in these parts – for example in the form of the annual Štehvanje – a folkloric, horse-mounted jousting game. Opposite the linden tree is the Hotel Alte Post – a 16th century inn that has become a meeting place for the region’s two cultures. The earliest documented mention of Feistritz dates back to the 16th century. In 1348, a major landslide from the Dobratsch turned the local farmland into marshlands – prompting the village to evolve into the horse-breeding centre of the Gail Valley.
As you continue to Achomitz/Zahomec, you pass one of Carinthia’s oldest roofed wooden bridges; this is followed by the slightly elevated Göriach/Gorje, whose late-gothic church is well worth a visit: built in 1478, it features a large fresco of Saint Christopher, a high-altar and a 16th-century Crescent Madonna; both the church and adjacent vicarage are listed buildings. Next, you head to Hohenthurn/Straja vas (Path No 1) which, 2000 years ago, would have been passed by a Roman road. The next village you get to is Gailitz/Ziljica with its listed stone bridge over the Gailitz river. If you let your gaze wander into the distance, the Dobratsch’s craggy southern flank makes for an impressive sight, as do the wild rocky peaks of the Julian Alps. On the last section of today’s trek, this is replaced by the stark aesthetics of an old industrial site. Your landmarks along this stretch are the listed Shot Tower of Gailitz, followed by the beautifully renovated monastery and historic village centre of Arnoldstein.
Level of difficulty: easy
Hiking time: 4.5 hours