If you’re looking for a European hiking destination with phenomenal views and challenging terrain, Austria is perfect. Around 60% of this landlocked country is covered by the Alps. Wedged between the Alps and some of the plains lies the beautiful capital of Vienna. Through this runs the Danube, a peaceful river that connects upper and lower Austria.
With all this dramatic scenery to choose from, how do you know where to start your Austrian walking holiday? Here are a few ideas.
Follow this 78-mile path along the River Lech from its source in Formarinsee. It’s best to set aside about 10 days for this trail. Along the way, you’ll take on the Arlberg Alps and then drop down into the foothills. It’s one of Europe’s last remaining wild river landscapes, which means that it is mainly untouched y human development.
Along the way, you’ll cross the striking 200m suspension bridge in Holzgau over the Höhenbachtal Gorge. This is a lot of fun as long as you don’t have a fear of heights!
The trail culminates in Germany at Allgäu, Bavaria, to be specific. The last sight to be admired is the Lechfall, a small but forceful waterfall.
- Schafberg Mountain
Abased in the Austrian state of Salzberg, this 1,783-high mountain takes about 3 hours to climb, though it depends on which starting point you choose. You’ll have the option to start from St. Wolfgang, Lake Mönichsee, or St. Gilgen. From the top, you’ll drink in the views of three lakes down below and the rest of the Salzkammergut mountain region.
If you’re not keen on downhill walking but you still want to make the ascent, there’s always the cog railroad to take you back down!
- Paznaun High Trail
This 75-mile trail will give you a refreshing challenge, with plenty of peaks and troughs along the way. It’s divided into 9 stages and you can tackle them individually if you so choose. Some are easier than others. Altogether, the trail has 11,00 metres of difference in altitude!
Ischgl is a popular winter sports destination along the route. Should you hike through in summertime, there’s also the option to rent a mountain bike and follow the designated routes! This is also possible when you pass through Galtür.
You may also enjoy a ride in the Diasbahn, a cable car service that opens between June and October.
- Karwendel Nature Park
Austria’s largest nature park is home to wild ibex, golden eagles and white-backed woodpeckers. If you’re in search of a challenging climb, the peak of Mondscheinspitz is 2,106 metres in height and won’t disappoint you.
Beneath rugged mountain summits lies the Halltal Valley. Here, you may be able to see old tunnels remaining from the medieval salt mines. Venture onwards to the town Hall in Tyrol, an exceptionally beautiful Austrian town with roots in this prosperous salt mining heritage. Find out more by visiting the Hall in Tirol Mining Museum.
While you’re at it, there’s also the Burg Hasegg and Hall Mint Museum. It showcasing centuries-old coin presses and wonderful views of the surrounding valleys from the top of a 186-step spiral staircase.
There are so many prime hiking destinations in Austria. Whichever region you choose to focus on, you’re sure to have an unforgettable time.