Discover Rilke Trail

Almost 2 kilometers long, the Rilke trail between the villages Sistiana and Duino showcases incredible views of the Adriatic Sea and the enchanting Duino castle perched on a rock, seemingly defying gravity. It’s not accessible with a stroller, but even younger kids can manage it.

Rilke Trail

Let’s do Rilke Trail

The decision to chose Rilke Trail, Sentiero Rilke in Italian, located in the Province of Trieste in the Northern Italian region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, comes out of the blue. While we are driving down the Slovenian Primorska highway, listening to Katty Perry’s swishing towards the Slovenian coast. Before I mention it to my husband, I pull out my mobile and Google it. I’ve heard of this trail over the cliffs, but I knew no specifics and wasn’t even sure I remembered it right.

After confirming there is in fact such a trail, offering incredible views of the Gulf of Trieste, while not too challenging, we crossed the Italian border and drove to the town of Sistiana – the starting point of the trail. We passed the lively center of the small village and took a turn to the left as if we were heading down to the beach. We stopped at the Sistiana’s Info Point, located next to the Camping Village Mare Pineta.

Be aware that the parking is very limited there, it might be challenging to find a place during sunny weekends, as all the reviews mention how busy it can get. We were lucky to find a spot, but then we were visiting on a particularly windy day.

‘Wows’ from Sistiana to Duino

You could start your walk in Duino, but most begin in Sistiana and we did the same. Soon we could soon see the reason why this trail, named after the famous German poet Rainer Maria Rilke was so popular. He lived as a guest of the princes Thurn and Taxis at Duino Castle. In his Duino Elegies, which the visit inspired he wrote: “Being here is splendid.” We couldn’t help but agree.

The second we started we had the sky touching the cerulean sea on our left and pine trees swaying in the wind on our right.

To spice up the already interesting and almost entirely flat trail, there were bunkers from the WWI and WWII along the way. But even though it’s flat, it’s not suitable for strollers.

And with all the interesting things along the way, we reached the lovely Duino Castle perched on the rock in no time. The Castle of Duino was built in the 14th century on the ruins of a Roman military outpost. It is open for visitors, but we had other plans, so we turned around and headed back the same way.

The essentials

Where to park: park at the Info Point in Sistiana

How long does it take: it’s almost 2 km one way, but it goes by very fast, since the trail is flat and the views are such a distraction

Any refreshments along the way: there was a Refugio Rilke, but it was closed, the sign said it opens again in March.

Suitable: for young kids too, but watch them, the trail is easy, but there are rocks and tree roots, so if you aren’t paying attention you could trip and fall.

Not suitable: for strollers.

What to see: the entire bay of Trieste, WWI and WWII bunkers, Duino castle, beautiful Karst fauna.

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