The natural parks in the Alps are the perfect place to spend a weekend in contact with nature.

Lush forests, flowering meadows, crystal-clear lakes and majestic glaciers. A few hours drive from the city there are hidden amazing natural environments.

To reach lovely places to admire splendid views there is no better way than to leave the car at home, take one of the rail lines leading up to the Alps and then walking along a mountain path.

Grab your backpack, put on your boots and start to discover 5 Alpine protected areas, strictly by train, bus and foot.

In the coming weeks I’ll tell you all about my experience of trekkers and, for each of these proposals, I will give you some suggestions for an unforgettable summer that I experienced firsthand.

1. On foot and by train in the Triglav National Park, Slovenia

Alps in Triglav National Park
Photo by Andrea Pasqualotto

Within the national symbol of Slovenia, which with its 2864 meters is the highest peak of the Julian Alps, Triglav National Park offers strict rocky landscapes dotted with clear lakes. The valley of the seven lakes is the most important access to the southern sector of the park, where it is not difficult to see one of the most dense colonies of ibex, the undisputed king of high altitudes.

The protected area can be reached by taking the line that leads from Nova Gorica to Jesenice, a stretch of the legendary transalpine railway, built at the beginning of ‘900 by the Austro-Hungarian Empire to connect the port of Trieste with the rest of Europe.

2. Hiking in the Belluno Dolomites National Park, Veneto

Hiking in the Belluno Dolomites National Park
Photo by Andrea Pasqualotto

The Dolomites are known by all mountain lovers, but few attend the wild southern sector, the first we find rising from the plains. An authentic treasure of biodiversity of international value, the Schiara group, the mountain overlooking the town of Belluno, is also home to the final stretch of the Alta Via 1 of the Dolomites.

Going by train from Padua or Venice, in a couple of hours you can reach the town of Belluno, from here by bus you go into the Ardo valley, the starting point for some interesting hiking trails.

3. Car-free holiday in the Stelvio National Park, Trentino

Car-free holiday in the Stelvio National Park, Trentino
Photo by sarabrag, via flickr

It has just turned 80, it is one of the historical Italian parks, but the Stelvio National Park has energy to sell and has an incredible amount of routes. The eastern sector, from the Val di Rabbi to Val Martello, offers an incredible variety of landscapes.

The Rabbi valley can be reached by taking the Trento-Malé railway line, a scenic route through the famous valleys of Non and Sole. Then you can come back in the plain by the Vinschgau railway, successfully recovered 10 years ago and now one of the symbols of redevelopment of secondary railway lines.

4. Discovering the UNESCO World Heritage Jungfrau-Aletsch, Switzerland

UNESCO World Heritage Jungfrau-Aletsch, Switzerland
Photo by Andrea Pasqualotto

The largest glacial complex of the Alps is the Aletsch, in the heart of Switzerland, closed to the north by the famous peaks of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau. The valleys that rise from Interlaken to Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen are unrivaled areas for hiking enthusiasts.

The Swiss rail network is the best example in the world of sustainable mobility for tourist use. One of the symbols is certainly the line leading to Jungfraujoch at 3454m of altitude, the highest railway station in Europe. To explore on foot the World Heritage landscape you can just take the ring Interlaken-Lauterbrunnen-Grindelwald.

5. In the train towards Appenzell, Switzerland

In the train towards Appenzell, Switzerland
Photo by Andrea Pasqualotto

The Alpstein is the last bastion of the Swiss Alps to the north, and dominates with its 2502 meters the Appenzell region, one of the symbols of Swiss rural culture. The narrow valleys carved by ancient glaciers are dotted with mountain lakes, pastures and ordered farm where for centuries it continues to produce traditional dairy.

With the Appenzell railway, from the city of St. Gallen you can easily reach the heart of the region, the starting point to reach the beautiful Seealpsee and Faelensee, and here Alpsteinarea ridges.

On the sunny slopes the snow is giving way to the first blooms, nature is awakening after a long winter rest, the green of the leaves is coloring the bare branches. Yes, summer is fast approaching.. it’s time to get ready!


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