Austria is the perfect destination for those who want to spend a lot of time in nature. No matter if you are in top shape and looking for challenging terrain, or if you simply prefer relaxed walks – there are trails for everyone, in Austria – the hiker’s heaven.
Enticing hiking terrain is found throughout Austria. Although the Alps and mountain views may be on the top of your list, there are also many beautiful natural experiences in flatter areas. Although Austrian hiking trails often are associated with cows grazing on flower meadows, beautiful rugged mountain scenery and great views, you can experience much, much more. Welcome to the Austria, the Hiker’s Heaven!
Many-sided hiking adventures
Hiking in Austria can be far more than just wandering around in nature, to stretch your legs and get some fresh air. Morevoer, in order to provide hikers with fun adventures, many theme trails have been developed. Offering hikers a deeper insight into the surrounding landscape. Many hiking routes are designed to promote local cultural, history, or local flora and fauna. Furthermore, other theme trails give you a hands-on insight of the power of water, or lets you get glimpses of wild life or simply leads you from one culinary delicatessen to the next.
For those who also want some spiritual food, Austria also offers a well-developed network of pilgrim trails. Whether you are looking for short and long trips, the selection of trails are bar none. Some of the pilgrim trails even cross the border into neighbouring countries. Either way, the range of routes is huge, and you can easily find routes suiting whatever shape you are in. There are trails for those who are well trained and mountain-savvy, but also scenic hiking trails that are perfect for families with children.
True Hiker’s Heaven
Austria has a very well-developed network of hiking trails and climbing routes. Furthermore, the country provides more than 50,000 kilometres of well-marked hiking trails. You will find an endless choice of hiking trails that are adapted to all levels. From easy roads that suits anyone to climbing trails where you need be really fit and have climbing experience. Austria is primarily a mountainous country and has more than 900 peaks higher than 3000 metres. If it’s spectacular views you are looking for, it’s no trouble to get up on even some of the tallest mountain tops, without using your legs. Even for those who are not mobile, there are a few opportunities to get out and up. Most ski lifts also operate during the summer. Furthermore, if you take the lift up, you can skip the steepest parts and spend your time hiking above the tree line.
<< Click on the images to enlarge >>
Short or long trips
There are hiking routes that only take 20 minutes and trails that will take you 10 days to complete. The so-called «Weitwanderwege» (long hiking trails) have always been popular among the most ambitious hikers. For example, there is a hiking trail, Zentralalpenweg, which takes you approx. 1200 km from Hainburg bei Donau in eastern Austria to Feldkirch in the far west of the country. Nonetheless, a long trip does not necessarily mean that you have to be a super-hiker or have experience from expeditions in the Himalayas. There are companies that organize multi-day hikes, where you enjoy the trip with a guided group, while your luggage is transported to the next stop. Along the way you will stay in mountain cabins or at hotels. Also, the long hikes are not necessarily just found in the rugged terrain. You can for example hike along the Danube Trail, which takes you long stretches along the banks of the river.
Not just alpine routes
There are routes in eastern Austria, where flat plains and rolling hill scenery dominate. Trails are ranging from high mountain walks in the western part of the country, to trips through the rolling hill landscape in the north, to wetland trips in the flatland to the east. In southern Styria you find hiking trails in a jungle like river landscape, which are far cry from hiking trails elsewhere in Austria. No matter what shape you are in or the length of trip you wish to pursue, the Hiker’s Heaven Austria has something for everyone.
There are many opportunities to enjoy the Austrian winter wonderland without skis. More and more destinations offer prepared and signed winter wander routes. Some of these are in combination with gondola or ski lifts where you can enjoy wandering in the high mountains as well. Furthermore, some parts of Austria, such as south eastern Styria and Burgenland are often without snow most of the winter and you can use year around hiking routes.
To qualify for the designation Hiker’s Heaven, there has to be sufficient infrastructure to make safe and enjoyable hiking easy. This usually is the case in most of Austria. You can get all the hiking tips you need at local tourist informations. Additionally, you find maps and route descriptions online. Many regions have interactive maps, that allows you to research and find the perfect hike. Moreover, most trails are well signposted and usually show distances both in length and time. Furthermore, the infrastructure in connection with hiking trails is usually well developed. Thus, you rarely need to look far to find neither accommodation, nor eateries.
Even if bringing your own car makes a trip very convenient, you can usually get around quite comfortable in Austria with public transport. For example, if you fly to Austria, you would still have good access to many splendid hiking areas by public transport. The rail network is good in most parts of the country and where trains are lacking, the Postbus makes up for it. As it has a vast bus network across the country.
Outdoor activities in Austria are not just about the nature, but equally much about an experiencing local culture. Besides, while hiking it’s not only important to get enough nourishment, but also to savour good local food and drink. It is rarely far between either lodging and eating places. Like in many alpine regions, Austria also has a large network of mountain cabins and lodges. Another advantage is that even smaller villages in Austria often have a bakery or deli shop where you can stock up on food for your trip. Sandwiches (semmel) with for example cold meats or cheese will only set you back from a € 1 and upwards. Often lodges or restaurants along hiking trails also offer packed lunches or even picnic baskets.
Put all the factors in this article together, and we think that we’ve a good case for designating Austria as the Hiker’s Heaven. For hiking routes and information about mountain huts, have a look at these websites: bergwelten.com, outdooractive.com and Österreichischer Alpenverein.
The highest mountain of Lower Austria, Schneeberg (Snow Mountain), with its 2,076-metre (6.811 ft) high summit Klosterwappen, offers family friendly hiking and stunning views. Only about 80 kms (50 mi) from Vienna it’s a popular hiking destination for the Viennese, as well as for travellers. Hence, I boarded the yellow and green salamander train and headed up to Schneeberg. Arriving […]
In a mountain valley far north in the state of Styria you find the holiday resort Mariazell, that is particularly suitable for families. Whether you want a holiday to relax or participate in a range outdoor activities, you never travel far to have fun. Furthermore, there is also a small lake nearby where you can […]
Most of the canyons and gorges in Austria are maintained by public or private conservation organisations, and you pay an entrance fee. This covers the maintenance and conservation projects in the area. Many of the canyons are suitable hikes for the whole family, and only a few are best hiked by seasoned hikers. We have […]
Obsessed with stunning views I love hiking in Austria. Add to that magnificent nature and crisp fresh air – well, then you have the recipe for a brilliant day out in the Austrian Alps. The Speierck (2411 m / 7919 ft) in the holiday region Lungau offers an easy to medium level half-day hike. Cable […]
I have been to many places along the River Mur, which flows 348 kilometres through Austria, before continuing through Slovenia and Croatia. This is one of the main rivers in the state of Styria and is flows through its capital Graz, Austria’s second largest city. Thus, it was time to see where it all starts […]
We are not in the tropics but in southern Austria where the river Mur forms part of the border with Slovenia. This landscape, a combination of floodplains and forest is very unlike what we expect from mostly alpine Austria. Nonetheless, we were pleasantly surprised when we arrived. Austria’s second largest river landscape The river Mur […]
Lech is a well-known up-scale ski resort. Furthermore, compared to its size it has an abundance of good restaurants. Notwithstanding, we went in the late summer first and foremost to enjoy some of the brilliant hiking you find in the area. Moreover, the prices are suitable for normal incomes during the summer as well. Rüfikopf […]
Austria has more than 50.000 kilometres of sign posted wander- and hiking trails. No matter if you are looking for a good workout or just want to wander at a leisurely pace to enjoy the scenery, the variety of trails is enormous. We’ve hiked to mountains peaks, wandered among vineyards and along the Danube. The […]
Wandering in the Alps is not restricted to narrow and steep trails in the mountains. There are also plenty of great tours for those who simply want a leisurely hike, for those who no longer are too steady on their feet or if you have small children. Moreover, even though the trip mostly follows a […]
Although Filzmoos had received the first snow when we arrived in early December and was partly dressed in white, the landscape had more of a spring feeling to it. This was by no means disappointing, as it meant sun from blue sky and enjoyable temperatures. Thus, perfect conditions for winter hiking and horse-carriage trips. Winter […]