Hiking the Alps on the Via Alpina will take you through eight countries and more mountain scenery than you can shake a stick at. We speak with long-distance hiker and author Brandon Wilson about planning for and doing the Via Alpina.
The full Via Alpina is a combination of tracks passing through Slovenia, Austria, Italy, Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, France and Monaco. With all those big-name, highly-visited countries, you might expect the ways to be filled with hikers. Not so, according to traveller Brandon Wilson.
Brandon is the author of Over the Top & Back Again: Hiking X the Alpsand, in our interview, discusses some of the funny points and nerve-wracking moments of the trip along with plenty of inspirational and practical advice for hiking the Via Alpina.
The Via Alpina
Slovenia, Austria, Italy, Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, France and Monaco are all very different countries but they are all connected by the Alps. Surprisingly, if you time it right, the whole walk can be completed with no specialist climbing equipment … although proper preparation and hiking gear is obviously going to be necessary. Parts of the track are often used as day-walks or for overnight trips, but there are also areas where you won’t see more than a handful of people a day, even in summer.
While climbing gear isn’t needed, a certain level of experience is expected from those that hike the Via Alpina. You are hiking in mountains and weather may change with little warning, tracks can be effected by weather or slides, and the style of track may change quite quickly as well. Food tends to be bought directly from the mountain houses or in villages along the way. This allows for ultra-light hiking … something you’ll be glad for after climbing a mountain or two every day!
You can read more about our interviewee Brandon Wilson at his site, Pilgrim’s Tales or buy Over the Top & Back Again: Hiking X the Alps on Amazon. To listen to this episode, hit play above or check in iTunes, Stitcher or Soundcloud.