About a year ago I discovered the European Peace Walk (EPW) whilst listening to a podcast about the camino and my initial reaction was somewhat similar to that of fascination. Amazed that one could wander through four countries by foot over two weeks, with likeminded people, on a shoestring budget was never something I ever thought to be possible. I was hooked on the idea.
A year later, I find myself boarding a three hour bus ride from bustling Budapest to the small town of Lenti, Hungary, famous for the delightful thermal baths, to begin the walk with nine other adventurers.
My EPW was a mix of emotions.
Bad (torrential) weather mixed with nettle bushes, mixed signals and detours made for a tumultuous ride. I have to admit, four days in and I came dangerously close to throwing in the towel.
Having completed the walk, like so many before, I have come to forget the challenging parts. The memories of muddy shoes and stinging nettle have fallen to the wayside and the visions of never ending countryside, vineyards and laughter over sumptuous red wine rise to the top of my mind.
This article is really just about the nuts and bolts of the walk. Where, what, how long and how much. If you are interested in walking the EPW (take a listen to this podcast where I was recently interviewed by The Australian Hiker podcast), or would like some more information, don’t hesitate to get in touch. So, let’s get into it!
Day 1. 26th May Budapest, Hungary to Lenti, Hungary
Arrival in the early afternoon mean’t time to enjoy the natural hot springs. We meet the gang and head to bed early for the adventure to finally begin. We stay at Hotel Denis (I’m in a single room), after hearing about Hotel Denis while planning for so many months, it’s finally a relief to put a face to the name.
Expenditure: 21,295 HUF
Day 2. 27th May Lenti, Hungary to Zasadbreg, Croatia – 27.7km
Heavy rains, confusing directions, a double espresso and some tiny strawberries to nibble on along the way. We stay at a guesthouse/vineyard, in twin-share.
Expenditure: 41 EURO
Day 3. 28th May Zasadbreg, Croatia to Varazdin, Croatia – 21.6km
Many open fields, again more strawberries, finally an espresso at 1pm (far too late), more heavy rains, a plenty. We stay at a hotel, I take a single room. Expenditure: 410.60 KUNA
Day 4. 29th May Varazdin, Croatia to Klenovnik, Croatia – 26.2km
(8am-1pm) (13km for me.) Taxi from Grado
Wet feet by 9am. I hobble into Greda, sit at the bakery and called a taxi. We stay at a guesthouse (dorm style).
Expenditure: 17 KUNA + 41 EURO
Day 5. 30th May Klenovnik, Croatia to Krapina, Croatia – 29km
(Left at 8am – arrived Plavi9 at 11:30am) (16km for me)
Snacking on wild strawberries on the side of the road, a moveable feast indeed. It’s mainly bitumen, with a few dirt paths through the forest, passing a lot of vineyards. We stay at a hostel (dorm style).
Expenditure: 6 EURO + 111 KUNA
Day 6. 31st May rest – day trip to Zagreb
We stay in Krapina again at the hostel. I consume a lot of cherries, they’re so cheap and it’s not even Christmas!! (it’s rare to find cherries in abundance at other times of the year.)
Expenditure: 488.88 KUNA
Day 7. 1st June Krapina, Croatia to Zagorska Sela, Croatia – 30.1km
The woods and the wheat blowing in the wind and then there’s this. (yes this was actually the path.) I am covered in sting’s from nettle. Tonight we sleep in a four hundred year old house (dorm style.)
Expenditure: 30 EURO
Day 8. 2nd June Zagorska Sela, Croatia to Brezice, Slovenia – 33.1km
(8:30am from border – 5pm)
Drenched by 9:30am, but not from rain, from sweat. The path is so steep you could put your hands out and crawl. We walk past vineyards all morning. We stay in a youth hostel (dorm style.)
Expenditure: 28.5 EURO
Day 9. 3rd June Brezice, Slovenia to Lubljiana, Slovenia – 2.8km
It’s an easy walk to the train station before we arrive in Ljubljana. (I stay in a youth hostel, in a twin room for the next three nights.)
Expenditure: 146.31 EURO
Day 10 & 11
Sightseeing side trip – 4th and 5th June in Ljubljana, we visited Lake Bled and explored the city. The wine in Slovenia is unreal. They are producing a lot, and exporting none of it (very little if any) so you know you’re drinking the best in the country!
Expenditure: 51.687 EURO + 34.77 EURO
Day 12. 6th June Lubljiana, Slovenia to Bistra, Slovenia – 26.1km
We walk out of Ljubljana along mostly bitumen in the morning, then fields, forest and then lots of puddles to trudge through. Only four of us out of sixteen complete today’s walk, I’m chuffed. We stay at a beautiful hotel next to this river pictured (dorm style.)
Expenditure: 36.96 EURO
Day 13. 7th June Bistra, Slovenia to Postojna, Slovenia – 33.6km (detour to 37.6km)
A hard day constantly crossing the motorway back and forth all day. The bridge is closed, so we make a detour, adding four kilometres to the day. The picture was taken on a short detour off the highway, sadly it only lasted one kilometer. We stay at a youth hostel (dorm style).
Expenditure: 44.60 EURO
Day 14. 8th June Postojna, Slovenia to Gornje Kosana, Slovenia – 24.7km
Beautiful gravel path before the forest section which was peaceful but seemed to last forever! The picture is of a hunting hut, one of many we’ve seen along the walk. The wine here cost one euro a glass, it’s a delight, one of my most enjoyed stays, the food was great too! We stay at a guesthouse (dorm style).
Expenditure: 43.8 EURO
Day 15. 9th June Gornje Kosana, Slovenia to Ocizla, Slovenia – 31.3km
(6:30am-3pm) (22km for me)
Steep, rolling hills, the river and climb section was great, pictured above! I finally get a coffee after 17.5km!!! Needless to say I was a grumpy walker for the whole morning. We opt for the caves tour instead of walking the final kilometers on road, in the midday sun, so we call our host for a pick up. We stay at a guesthouse (dorm style).
Expenditure: 71 EURO
Day 16. 10th June Ocizla, Slovenia to Trieste, Italy – 18.5km
A morning in the forest before a ten kilometre gravel bike path through the outskirts of the city before finally arriving through the labyrinth of streets and make it to the fountain in time for lunch. What a ride!
The total day’s walking: 12
Total distance walked: 330 kilometers
The total cost: $1,083 AUD ($63 AUD per day)
Our total in group: 10 people
Bag transferred: 2 x times
Weight of bag: between 10-12kgs
Who I walked with: 2 x Australian couple, 2 x Czech couple, 2 x Irish men, 2 x Brazilian women, 2 x Australian women (myself included)
After the EPW, Moo and I travelled to Umbria, where I recuperated for the next two weeks!
Have you walked the European Peace Walk?