Kranjska Gora offers many walks but this one is unmissable. In this part of Slovenia, we are lucky to live so close to Italy and Austria. We never have to go too far for a proper cappuccino or a strudel. Today, without border controls, you can easily cycle to Italy or walk to Austria.
The top of Peč Mountain is one of the most exciting borders in Europe. Known in Slovenian as Tromeja, in German as Dreiländereck, and in Italian as Monte Forno. This is the tri-border between Slovenia, Italy and Austria. The point where three different cultures and languages meet.
You can best explore this point on foot. Start your walk from Kranjska Gora, which is about 5 miles away, or take a local bus to Rateče. From Rateče it is approximately a 3-hour walk to the top of the mountain, a height difference of 646m. The walk takes you through shady forest, keeping you cool as you go, and passed mountain streams and meadows.
An hour before you reach the summit you have a choice: whether to take the shorter but steeper path that zigzags through the forest or continue on the winding cart track. Paths diverge into Italy or skirt along the Austrian border, extending your journey but providing a fascinating detour.
A hut on the Austrian side on the mountain is usually open. This is an excellent resting spot; an ideal place to grab a nice cold beer, schnapps or a strudel before returning to the valley.
When you reach the top of Peč Mountain you will discover amazing views across all three countries. To your left is the Julian Alps and the red cliffs of Dobrac on your right, the lakes of Carinthia spreading out to the west. The highest point, at 1509m, is shown by a cone shaped sculpture portraying which country you can see in each direction.
The three border area is seen as a symbol of peace and friendship among nations that, in the past, were politically divided. It is the junction of four languages – Slovenian, German, Italian and Friulian (an Italian dialect). And home to joint projects such as The Three Country Olympic Games where Slovenia, Austria and Italy competed together.
Each year, on the second Sunday of September, representatives from each nation meet at this point for an annual celebration. During the first ever event in 1979, Slovenia was a part of Yugoslavia and there was still a very strict border complete with barbed wire. This year will see the 37th anniversary of this celebration and the border has changed massively.
Today around 10,000 hikers come to the top of this mountain every year. Some still remember the times when barbed wire enveloped the mountaintop, and the annual celebration was the only day that you could meet your neighbours.
The 3-Border Point Walk is a celebration, not only of fantastic scenery and multiple cultures, but also of a fascinating history and, ultimately, freedom. It is a necessary walk for any visitor to this region.