Hiking in Austria: The Best Hut-to-Hut Treks

By Sierd van der Bij

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Hiking in Austria: The Best Hut-to-Hut Treks
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Hiking in Austria. A hiking holiday in Austria is a great way to relax and enjoy nature. In Austria, there is a wide range of hiking tours of three, four, five, or more days. Almost every federal state like Salzburg and Tyrol has hut tours for beginners and advanced hikers. A hut hike with a child? No problem. Get out of your comfort zone and hike from hut to hut in the Alps in Austria. In this article, you will find the best hiking trails and Hut to Hut tours in Austria together with all the information that you need to know to get ready for your Hiking Holiday in the Alps. Servus!

Taking the night train to Innsbruck and starting a three-day family hike the next day? No problem. Apple strudel and beer at the Sulzenau Hütte in the Stubai Valley? We're in. Sweaty hands at the Friesenbergscharte in the Zillertal? Let's go! Step out of your comfort zone, go hiking in Austria, and trek from hut to hut in the Austrian Alps.

Hiking Holiday Austria - What Does a Hut-To-Hut Tour Look Like?

During a hut hike in Austria, you will be walking through the Alps from one mountain hut to the next. The mountain huts are often located in the most beautiful places and always at strategic points that allow you to divide a long route into stages. As you hike from one place to the next, you see much more of the area than you would on day hikes. Actually, some mountain huts cannot be reached in one day.

The nice thing about a hut hiking tour is that one is away from mass tourism. Hut tours often include half-pension, i.e. in the mountain hut where you arrive in the evening a warm meal is waiting for you and breakfast is served the next morning before you continue your adventure. On the way, you will also come across mountain restaurants where you can have lunch, or you can take a packed lunch from the previous hut.

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Hiking in Austria for Beginners: Which Hike Should I Do?

In Austria, there are beautiful hikes for both experienced mountain hikers and beginners. Hut tours can generally be divided into four levels, with levels one and two being suitable for beginners. 

Level one consists of easy hikes where you can expect good trails. The vertical meters, i.e. ascent and descent, are limited on these hikes. The hikes on the different days therefore often do not last longer than four hours, so that the hike is also suitable for untrained participants. Level two includes mountain hikes that require more vertical meters than is to be expected for level one. The ascent and descent will generally take place at a leisurely pace. With a normal physical condition, you will reach beautiful viewpoints without too much difficulty. We recommend that beginning hut hikers choose a hike of 3 to 4 days with not too many meters of altitude difference, whereby the hiking hours should not exceed five hours.

Hiking in Austria for Beginners: Which Hike Should I Do?

Hiking With Children in Austria - Which Hut-To-Hut Trek Should We Choose?

Yes, it is possible to take a child on a hut-to-hut hike. Of course, it varies according to age how comfortable it is. If it is still possible to carry the child, e.g. up to an age of about 1.5 years, it is often still possible to carry the child in a back carrier. In the huts, it is often nice and warm, well organized, and sometimes there is the possibility to get a cot. Attention: always ask in advance if it is available.

In some huts, there are only shared rooms, which are less suitable for families with small children.

For children from 5-6 years old, there are some nice huts to choose from. For a hut tour with children under 10 years old, we recommend a maximum of 3.5 hours per day. Then you can always treat yourself to some peace and quiet, for example at a lake on the route. There are many tours that mainly lead through meadows so that nobody runs the risk of having to overcome abysses or other kinds of steep paths.

1. One of the Best Hiking Trails in Austria: Stubaier Höhenweg

We say it without a doubt: the most beautiful option for a hut hike in Austria is the Stubaier Höhenweg. This route has more than 5,000 meters of altitude, 8 mountain huts and nearly 90 kilometers. It leads around the Stubaital on one of the most beautiful, but also most challenging high-altitude hiking trails in the Eastern Alps. The route can be hiked entirely, but it can also be made into a 3- or 5-day hut tour.

From almost every hut you have a direct connection to the valley so you can hike, for example, only 2, 3 or 4 stages of the Stubai High Altitude Trail. The Stubaital is easily accessible via Innsbruck and the huts can also be booked as a complete package. Bookatrekking.com is in good friendship with the Stubai Tourism Association. Together we offer the best Stubai packages. If you are looking for an offer for the Stubai High Trail, you can find it here.

1. One of the Best Hiking Trails in Austria: Stubaier Höhenweg

2. Hut-to-Hut Tour for Mountain Goats: Peter Habeler Runde

Peter Habeler, along with Reinhold Messner and others, is one of Austria's most famous mountain athletes. In his honor, a hiking trail was created on his home ground and named after him. It's also Peter's favorite loop, so chances are you'll run into him at one of the legendary huts on the route. A glass of beer at Friesenberghaus or Olpererhütte with the first climber to summit Everest without oxygen? Easy!

The Peter Habeler Round is a technical route that is not suitable for everyone. Early in the season, certain sections may be impossible to walk and you should expect a lot of ascents and descents anyway. This is a black route and suitable for the mountain goat category. How about this? Here you can read more about the Peter Habeler Runde. You can also book offers for this hut hike. You can find them here.

2. Hut-to-Hut Tour for Mountain Goats: Peter Habeler Runde

3. Hut-To-Hut Hike in Austria for Beginners: Salzburger Almenweg

The availability on the Salzburger Almenweg is always a challenge, the trekking experts of Bookatrekking.com know. This has everything to do with the fact that the Salzburg Almenweg is suitable for young and old. A hut tour in Austria for beginners and families? That's for sure the Salzburger Almenweg. On this tour, you'll not only spend the night in the smallest and coziest mountain huts in the Alps, but sometimes also in hotels.

Almen are alpine pastures. On these alpine pastures, you will find the most characteristic spectacles of the Alps: Milka-style scenes, abandoned ski slopes, the most beautiful huts and the most delicious meals. Read more about the Salzburg Alpine Pastures Trail here and search here for a deal for the whole family.

3. Hut-To-Hut Hike in Austria for Beginners: Salzburger Almenweg

4. Hut-To-Hut Hike in Austria in 3 Days: The Adlerweg

You can't get much more Tyrolean than the Eagle Trail. Viewed from above, the map of the Eagle Trail resembles the silhouette of an eagle hovering in the air with its wings wide open, hence the name. This famous hike has a total of 33 stages and officially runs from east to west throughout the Tyrol. All 33 stages at once - you'll have to take your time. Fortunately, the Adlerweg can also be hiked in 3 days. No, not the whole Adlerweg, but only 3 stages of it.

So you can tick off the best stages of the Adlerweg on a long weekend. Our options for the Adlerweg are right on the outskirts of Innsbruck. So you can hop on the overnight train on Thursday and be on your way to the Pfeishütte with your backpack on Friday morning. You can find an overview of options for the Adlerweg here. You can read more about the Eagle's Path here.

4. Hut-To-Hut Hike in Austria in 3 Days: The Adlerweg

5. Hiking in the Other Austria: The Dolomites

Don't let them hear it, but South Tyrol, just over the border in Italy, is like Austria. The inhabitants of South Tyrol, and thus of the Dolomites, call themselves primarily Tyroleans. In German and Ladin South Tyrol, in Italian Alto Adige, informally "simply" Sudtirolo. The area is trilingual. The majority have German as their first language, a quarter have Italian as their mother tongue and a small minority (still) speak Ladin.This is a very old Rhaeto-Romanic language that you will not easily understand.

From Innsbruck it is only a 2-hour drive over the Brenner Pass to the Pragser Wildsee. This is the starting point for the Höhenweg 1, one of the most beautiful hut tours in the Dolomites. Are you looking for something different than a hut tour in Austria and do you like Italian cuisine? Then you'll just have to go on to Italy. Read more about hut tours in the Dolomites and find all the options for hut tours in Italy.

5. Hiking in the Other Austria: The Dolomites

6. Kaiserkrone: The Emperor's Crown in the Wilder Kaiser

Situated in Tyrol's Kaiser Mountains, embark on a pleasant 5-day hike to discover the natural beauty of the region. The landscape is framed by the Zahmer Kaiser to the North, the Niederkaiser to the East, and the striking Wilder Kaiser. The highlight of the 65-kilometer (40.4 miles) Kaiserkrone hike is the majestic Wilder Kaiser, a constant and impressive presence throughout the journey. The trail starts and ends in the charming village of Going am Wilden Kaiser, avoiding summiting the peaks but providing an overall elevation gain exceeding 5,000 altimeters (16,404 feet).

In the expansive Wilder Kaiser area, there's something for everyone. Find out if the Kaiserkrone hike suits your preferences. How challenging is the trail, and what preparations are recommended? Generally, the Kaiserkrone trails are relatively straightforward, without the technical complexity of routes like the Stubaier or Berliner Höhenweg. Occasionally, using your hands and utilizing cables and handrails may be necessary, with climbing and scrambling reserved for a brief segment in the final stage. Check out our Kaiserkrone offers here.

6. Kaiserkrone: The Emperor's Crown in the Wilder Kaiser

7. Venediger Höhenweg: Hike Around the Grossvenediger

The Venediger Höhenweg presents an engaging 7-day hut-to-hut hiking experience, guiding you through the picturesque Austrian Alps, covering a distance of 60 kilometers (37.3 miles). Positioned in East Tyrol, this trail is divided into northern and southern sections, offering versatile exploration in both directions. The preferred route begins from Hinterbichl, heading northward, featuring 7,920 meters (25,984 feet) of elevation gain, and concluding at the Matreier Tauernhaus in Felbertauern.

Nestled within the Hohe Tauern National Park, Europe's largest and Austria's oldest, the Venediger Höhenweg winds through this expansive natural reserve. Established in 1981, the park spans over 1,800 square kilometers (695 square miles) and showcases an impressive 266 peaks exceeding 3,000 meters (9,842 feet). Notable among them are the Grossvenediger and the Grossglockner, the latter standing as Austria's highest peak at 3,798 meters (12,460 feet). Abundant in biodiversity, the park serves as a habitat for approximately 10,000 distinct flora and fauna species. Keep an eye out for the charming Murmeltier, a small marmot, during your Venediger Höhenweg expedition, as it might emerge from the ground along the way. Explore our Venediger Höhenweg offers here.

7. Venediger Höhenweg: Hike Around the Grossvenediger

Hiking in Austria: Not Without the Alpenverein

In Italy, there is the Club Alpino Italiano; in Switzerland, there is the Swiss Alpen Club (SAC); in the Netherlands, there is the NKBV; and in Belgium, there is the KBF. The big brothers of all these associations are the Austrian Alpenverein and the German Alpenverein. A hut-to-hut hike in Austria is not possible without these two associations.

The German Alpenverein in Austria? Exactly. Not only does the Austrian Alpenverein manage several hundred huts, but so does the German version. In fact, out of the 39 huts in the Imst district, 37 have a DAV plaque at the entrance. This is because the German side invested heavily in Austria almost 150 years ago. The economically weaker regions benefited from the German Alpenverein, which also promoted mountain tourism very early on. With one million members, the DAV is now the largest mountaineering association in the world.

Hiking in Austria: Not Without the Alpenverein

Austria Hut to Hut Hiking - Is It Possible to Hike in Austria Alone?

It is certainly possible to make an individual hut tour. It is often much easier to find a place to sleep in the huts as an individual person, in the shared rooms there is often a bed left that could be used. A hut tour is often done alone, also by the Austrians themselves. In the huts, one meets with other hikers, so that one does not have to spend the evenings alone.

How Hard Is a Hiking Tour in Austria?

How exhausting a hiking holiday in Austria is, depends completely on which hut tour one chooses. What one has to pay special attention to are the meters in altitude that a trip bridges. It is not so much about the total number of kilometers one covers, the meters in altitude are what makes it difficult. In most hut tours, it is often stated how difficult / how trained one has to be in order to complete them. By the way, most of the hut tours can be done without training, but with normal fitness levels.

The Weather During Your Hut to Hut Hiking in Austria

The most important rule for hut tours and hikes in the Alps or other high mountains is that the weather changes much faster in areas above 2,000 meters and that different climatic conditions prevail there than at the altitudes where we normally travel. When planning a hut hike and mountain hikes, weather forecasts must always be taken into account. Even in summer, when the temperature in the valley is more than 30 degrees, it can snow in the high mountains. The reason for this is that the temperature can drop by 5-6 degrees for every 1000 meters of altitude. Since cold air can also store less moisture, it rains or snows more often in the high mountains than in the lowlands. In the high mountains, a thunderstorm can be particularly dangerous. In principle, the probability of thunderstorms increases in the afternoon, and the weather can change very quickly due to the altitude.

One recognizes a possible thunderstorm by weather lights or small cumulus clouds that pile up more and more. Also, a strong decrease of the air pressure is a sure sign of an upcoming thunderstorm. During thunderstorms, you must always avoid the via ferrata and other metal objects. Find shelter in a hollow or under a rock ledge as soon as possible. Good protection from the sun is nevertheless essential. The tree line in the Alps runs at an altitude of 1,800 to 2,200 meters - above this, you are exposed to the burning sun, which is always strong in the high mountains.

The Weather During Your Hut to Hut Hiking in Austria

Safe hiking tips for the Austria

When you go on walking holidays it is wise to be aware of a few points. Even if this is not your first time, you should never underestimate the mountains. Good tour planning and compliance with the regulations on the mountains will significantly increase safety. To ensure that your hiking holiday is a safe and enjoyable experience, here below you can find a list of 8 recommendations for safe hiking in the mountains:
  • Know your limits

    Hiking the Austria is the perfect outlet to escape from daily life. It is an endurance sport along with a beautiful nature experience with a positive effect on body and mind —as long as one is in good shape and has a realistic picture of one's possibilities and limits—. Never overestimate yourself or underestimate the route. Don't overdo it! Always choose the slower variant and take more time for your plans. Hiking under time pressure is not fun and at too fast a pace it can be dangerous. Be wise!

  • Plan carefully

    Good planning is half the work! Hiking maps, literature, the Internet and expert advice are invaluable when planning the route in the Austria and enable you to determine the length, altitude difference, difficulty and conditions of the hike. When planning group treks, the itinerary should always be planned for the weakest member of the group! The weather in the mountains can change incredibly quickly and rain, wind and cold all increase the risk factor. For this reason, always check the weather forecast beforehand and contact our trekking experts to find your way around before you start.

  • Be fully equipped

    Equipment is everything. In the most extreme case, it makes the difference between life and death, and in any case, it definitely makes the difference between having fun and having a bad time. Food and water, sunscreen and waterproof and warm clothes must always be in your backpack, as well as a first aid kit and a mobile phone with a full battery (in case there is an emergency). However, packing light makes walking easier, so don't take too much extra luggage with you. Your equipment should always be suitable for the terrain you'll be hiking on in the Austria.

  • Wear suitable footwear

    Good walking shoes protect your feet and provide a better fit. Shoes with a good fit, with non-slip soles, water-resistant and lightweight are a must for additional walking pleasure during the Austria. Trail running shoes are great for a weekend in the mountains, but on longer hikes or more technical trails, you'll want at least A/B hiking boots. That means it is recommended wearing high mountain shoes that are water-repellent with extra ankle support to prevent sprains.

  • Stay on marked trails

    Austria has endless marked hiking trails, which are controlled and maintained and should not be deviated from. It may be tempting, but it's not a good idea to take shortcuts or alternative routes through unmarked terrain. It increases the risk of disorientation and you're more likely to get lost and have accidents or fall in the mountains. Even steep slopes of packed old snow are often underestimated and dangerous. Are you in doubt? Better don't do it. For easy navigation we work with our trusted partner Komoot, whose interactive maps, also available offline, provide you with the necessary digital means to get from A to B. As a backup, make sure to bring a hiking guide or a paper map with you. FYI, 75% of stumbles occur due to carelessness on marked paths or roads, not in open terrain!

  • Take regular breaks

    Remember you're on a hiking holiday. Timely and regular breaks not only provide welcome relaxation but also make it possible to enjoy the Austria. The body needs a regular food and drink intake to maintain performance and concentration. Our advice is that if you have little time, it's better to follow the short itinerary than to speed up the long one.

  • Stay reachable

    If you are hiking solo or in small groups it is advisable to inform people back home about your plans, what route you are taking and when you plan to return. Even small incidents can lead to unpleasant emergencies so make sure you are available at all times. Bring a charged phone containing at least the phone numbers of immediate family members, your accommodations en route and the emergency phone numbers operating in the Austria.

  • Respect nature

    Leave no rubbish behind, prevent noise, stay on the marked trails, do not disturb wildlife or grazing animals, and respect protected areas.

Where can I book my walking holiday in Austria?

At Bookatrekking.com you can book many treks in Austria. We take care of all the details for you, give you personal trekking advice and give you the best service possible. Find all our offers for Austria here. Our easy-to-use platform allows you to browse and compare different trekking options and find the perfect fit for your interests, abilities, and budget.

If you have any questions about a specific trek or need help choosing the right one for you, our team of Trekking Experts is here to assist you. Simply reach out to us and we will be happy to provide you with personalized recommendations and advice to help you plan the trekking adventure of a lifetime.

Is a walking holiday in Austria not your cup of tea and are you looking for other epic adventures? Check out one of our following blog posts:

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