Walking holidays in Austria are the absolute pinnacle if you like hiking. There is really nothing that Austria does not have. Multi-day hut hikes, Via Ferrata's or relaxing day hikes on the Alpine meadows; there is a suitable hiking holiday for everyone. In this blog post you can read all about the different regions, find the five best routes and get practical tips to get the most out of your walking holidays.
Austria is a country for hikers and one of the most popular destinations for walking holidays in Europe. And not without reason: more than half of the country is located in the mountains. Austria's nine federal states have so much to offer in terms of hiking that it is difficult to choose. Not only is it possible to hike in the mountains or from hut to hut, but you can also enjoy picturesque valleys, endless Alpine meadows and dense forests. These are the five very best routes for your walking holidays in Austria.
1) Walking holidays in the Austrian Stubai Valley
The best option for walking holidays in Austria is the Stubai Höhenweg. This route leads over an altitude of 5,000 metres and 8 huts over just under 90 kilometres. It goes around the Stubai Valley on one of the most beautiful but challenging high altitude hiking trails in the Eastern Alps. The hike is divided into 7 stages, but can be arranged as desired. The absolute highlight of the route are the many glaciers between the Dresdner and the Bremen Hut.
The route is classified as a black mountain path and runs through alpine terrain. Durability, safety, the right equipment, and a good sense of altitude are basic requirements. It does not matter in which direction the path is walked. Both directions are possible. From any hut, you can also descend into the valley and climb up again if you want to walk the long-distance hike in chunks. The Stubai Valley is easily accessible via Innsbruck and the cabins can also be booked as one package. Here you can read more about the Stubai Höhenweg. If you are looking for an arrangement for the Stubai Höhenweg, you can find it here.
2) The Peter Habeler Runde in Zillertal
"Who is Peter Habeler?", you might think. He is one of the most famous alpinists in Austria and together with Reinhold Messner was the first one to climb Mount Everest without oxygen in 1978. As a tribute, the Peter Habeler Runde is named after this living legend. Read more about the Peter Habeler Runde here. Also for this hut-to-hut expedition, you can book packages. You can find them here.
3) Beginners' Walking Holiday: Salzburger Almenweg
The Salzburger Almenweg trail leads on its 350 km long journey through the Pongau mountains to more than 120 alpine meadows in Salzburg, Austria. A unique density of alpine meadows, which no other province in Austria has besides SalzburgerLand. Dozens of alpine meadows, but none are the same. And although the route may be long, walking this route is a great opportunity for a walking holiday for the whole family. It is also a great introduction to the wonderful world of hiking in Austria for novice hikers.
The route is divided into several stages of varying difficulty, making it a suitable option for everyone. In addition, many huts also accommodate dogs, so that you do not have to leave your four-legged friend at home! It doesn't matter whether you are hiking alone or with the whole family, the Salzburg Almenweg welcomes everyone. Read more about the Salzburger Almenweg here and look here for a package deal for the whole family.
4) Tyrol to the Max: Walking Holidays on the Adlerweg
It doesn't get much more Tyrol than the Adlerweg. Seen from above, the map of the Adlerweg resembles the silhouette of an eagle floating in the air with wide-open wings, hence the name. This famous hike has a total of 33 stages and officially runs from east to west through the whole of Tyrol. All 33 stages in one go - you need to find the time for that.
Fortunately, the entire route can be broken down into smaller chunks, so you don't necessarily have to take five weeks off for your hiking holiday. As Innsbruck is in the neighbourhood, the route is easily accessible and you can even combine it with, for example, the Stubaier Höhenweg, or even the Alta Via 1 (or 2) in Italy. You can already enjoy a portion of Adlerweg in a long weekend. There are also packages of a week or two weeks. An overview of options for the Adlerweg can be found here. Here you can read more about the Adlerweg.
5) Berliner Höhenweg - And yet really in Austria
You won't find any high-altitude hiking trails in Berlin. In Austria? Of course, you will. Just like the Peter Habeler Runde, the Berliner Höhenweg can be found in Austria's Zillertal. This brings us to a bit of history about hut hiking in Austria: In the second half of the 19th century, when the interest in the scientific development of the Alps was growing and the newly founded, mainly academic Alpine clubs started to build huts with the necessary access routes, the desire arose to connect these huts, some of which were situated at very high altitudes. Often existing paths of hunters and smugglers were used for this purpose.
The Berliner Höhenweg takes its name from the Berliner Hut, one of the first huts in Zillertal. Although we still call the route Berliner Höhenweg, it is also known as Zillertal Runde.
Solo Walking Holidays in Austria, is That Possible?
Yes, it is certainly possible to walk a hut-to-hut tour individually. Finding a place to stay as an individual is often much easier, in the shared rooms there is often a spare bed that you can claim. Hiking individually is done a lot, also by Italians themselves. In the huts you often have a quick conversation with fellow hikers so you don't have to spend your evenings alone.
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Safe Walking Holidays in Austria
When you go on walking holidays in the Alps, it is wise to be aware of a few points. Even if this is not your first time, you should never underestimate the Alps. Good tour planning and compliance with the regulations on the mountain will significantly increase safety. To ensure that your hiking holiday is a safe and enjoyable experience, the Austrian Alpine Association has compiled a list of 10 recommendations for safe hiking in the mountains:
1) Health in the mountains: Hiking is an endurance sport combined with a beautiful nature experience and can have a positive effect on body and mind - provided one is in good physical condition and has a realistic picture of one's own possibilities and limits. Hiking under time pressure and at too fast a pace is not wise.
3. Fully equipped: Only visit the mountains if you are well rested! Food, rain, cold and sun protection must always be in the backpack, as well as a first-aid kit and a mobile phone (Euro emergency number: 112). However, lighter luggage makes walking easier, so don't take too much extra luggage with you. Your equipment should always be suitable for your planned trip. Keep reading for a suitable packing list for your walking holidays in Italy.
4. Suitable shoes: Good walking shoes protect your feet and provide a better fit. Shoes that have a good fit, with non-slip soles, water-resistant, and lightweight are a must for more walking pleasure.
5. Proprioception: It is imperative that you stay alert while hiking in the mountains! Excessive speed or fatigue can have a negative influence on your self-confidence and/or concentration. With this in mind, it is better to walk slower and be safer! (75% of stumbles occur due to carelessness on marked paths or roads - not on open terrain!).
6.Stay on marked trails: The Alps have countless marked hiking trails - these are controlled and maintained and should not be deviated from for this reason. It is not at all a good idea to make shortcuts or take alternative routes through unmarked terrain. On the contrary, it increases the risk of disorientation, accidents, or falls in the mountains. Even steep slopes of packed old snow are often underestimated and dangerous. Are you in doubt? Then rather don't.
7.Regular breaks:Timely and regular breaks not only serve to provide welcome relaxation, but also make it possible to enjoy the countryside. In addition, the body needs regular food and drink to maintain performance and concentration.
8.Child responsibility: Hiking in the mountains can also be fun and exciting for children - provided the route is chosen and planned accordingly. Diversity and playful exploration is much more important for children than altimeters and distances traveled. Dangerous routes require unconditional 1-on-1 help from an experienced adult. Extensive tours requiring long periods of concentration are not suitable for children. If children don't like it, chances are they won't just want to go on a walking holiday again.
9.Small groups: Small groups provide flexibility and enable mutual support. It is also advisable to inform people at home about your plans, what route you are taking, and when you plan to return. Even small incidents can lead to unpleasant emergencies.
10.Respect for nature: Leave no rubbish behind, prevent noise, stay on the marked trails, do not disturb wildlife or grazing animals, and respect the protected areas. Many areas are accessible by public transport; carpooling is also a more environmentally friendly option.
The Weather During Your Walking Holidays 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.
Packing List for Your Hut-To-Hut Tour in Austria
It doesn't really matter where in the Alps you are. Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Slovenia, France, Austria, or Liechtenstein. Your comfort is an important factor if you want to get the most out of your multi-day hike. Blisters, clothes that won't dry, lack of thermal underwear, or a sleeping bag that is not warm enough. Once you are in the mountains, the wardrobe is very far away. An unforgettable hut tour starts with packing the basic equipment.
Long walking pants
Merino shirt, long sleeve
Fleece pullover or fleece jacket
Raincoat / Hard Shell
T-shirt and underwear
Spare hiking pants / short hiking pants (zip-off is ideal)
Cap and/or Buff/Bandana
Sunglasses (glacier goggles may be required for tours at higher altitudes)
Backpack with plenty of storage space (at least 30-40 litres, depending on the length of the tour) - Attention: an oversized backpack will tempt you to carry too much luggage!
Rain cover for the backpack
Navigation and tools
GPS device or GPS clock
Batteries and chargers
Charged mobile phone
Hut shoes, flip-flops or outdoor sandals
Comfortable sweatpants or similar
Laundry bag with toothbrush, toothpaste, small soap/shower gel, Lip Balm
Articles for personal use such as medicines
Travel towel (small)
Small biodegradable travel detergent
Drinking bottle or camel bag (min. 1.5 litres)
Snacks in a suitable lunch box
Catering based on personal experience
First aid kit
Aluminium emergency rescue blanket
Of course, it is also important to have all the important documents with you. Passport, identity card, and/or membership card of the Alpine Club.
How Do I Prepare for My Walking Holidays in Austria?
A hut-to-hut hiking tour can be done by anyone in normal health. However, if you want to get the most out of your hut trip, it is wise to prepare yourself physically. You don't have the Alps by the back door, so you will have to be creative when it comes to your preparation. For adequate preparation you can pay attention to the following five things.
Cardio:It's best to get moving as soon as you think about your hiking holiday in Italy. With the right aerobic fitness you will have a better heart rate, healthy muscles and a large lung capacity. Running, walking, even more walking and and cycling or swimming are excellent training methods. One hour, 3 to 4 times a week is sufficient.
Endurance: Building up your endurance is also important. The best thing you can do is walk long distances, at least once a week. If you can walk comfortably for a longer period of time, you are ready to go.
Train with gear: Use the backpack and shoes you want to use for your cabin trip and add this to your workout as you work on your cardio and stamina.
Altitude:If you can, you can mimic the altitude by walking and hiking in the hills and mountains. If you don't live in the right area, don't panic. The first two points are the most important.
Know your body: This is perhaps the most important part. If you are questioning your physical abilities, it is wise to have a check-up carried out by your GP.
There is no fixed method for preparing for your walking holidays. Your preparation may depend on the duration, the surroundings and what you want to achieve. Not everyone is a mountain goat. Don't think about your preparation. Take it easy and enjoy your time in the mountains.
Where do I book my Walking Holiday in Austria?
It can be quite a hustle to arrange the accommodation for the huts in Austria, and that is where we come in. If you need help booking the accommodation for your hut-to-hut treks in Austria, we can give you a hand. Our trekking experts can book the huts for you so that you can prepare for your hiking holiday in Austria without stress. Just contact our trekking experts, let them know what you would like to do and when, and get ready for your hut-to-hut trek!
If you have any questions about hiking in Austria, pleasecontact our trekking experts. They will be happy to help you!Here you can find all our offers for hiking in Austria.
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