Austrian trekking holidays: 10 best long distance treks in Austria

Aug 19, 2017 BY AWE365 Team

Austrian trekking holidays offer a huge variety of options, everything from short easy day hikes to challenging mountain summits. So to help those that like multi-day routes, we’ve pulled together the best long distance treks in Austria ranging from 7 to 80 days.

Austrian trekking holidays Formarinsee one of the 10 best long distance treks in Austria Flickr CC image by EladeManu

Austrian trekking holidays

In Austria trekking is a national pastime. So with good reason this relatively small, landlocked country should not be overlooked when trekking in Europe.

And Austria seems to have it all. With a temperate climate, in the summer there are warm, sunny flower filled valleys but still glaciers at altitude and snow on peaks. The Alps cut across the country providing everything from manageable mountains to challenging climbs.

The beautiful mountainside scenery is world renowned and perfectly capable of stealing what little breath you have left. There are so many trails to choose from on Austrian trekking holidays that you are spoilt for choice.

Austrian trekking holidays one of the 10 best long distance treks in Austria Flickr CC image by schmollmolch

In many areas the ski lifts used for winter pursuits are still open in the summer. You can use them to help cover more miles, reach more interesting areas or simply to take some of the strain on difficult uphill sections.

10 best long distance treks in Austria

In Austria there are over one hundred ‘Weitwanderweg’ (long-distance hiking paths) that you can trek in this stunning country. Even narrowing this down is tough, but below are what we consider to be the best long distance treks in Austria.

The Austrian trekking routes below have been ordered by how long they should take. So bear in mind skill level and fitness is not sequential, as sometimes a longer hike may be less technically or physically challenging.

Austrian trekking holidays in Vorarlberg 10 best long distance treks in Austria Flickr CC image by dasu_

Nordalpenweg 80 days

‘Weitwanderweg 1’, or, ‘the first of the long-distance hiking paths’, this is not an Austrian trekking holiday for the light-hearted. This trek will take approximately 80 days depending on fitness and ability, and stretches on for about 1,260km from east to west.

Beginning at the Hungarian Neusiedler See lake, and ending at the Swiss Bodensee lake, you will truly feel like you have conquered the whole of Austria upon completion. The trail requires peak physical fitness and endurance, as well as a lot of preparation, particularly for the Lechtal Alp mountain range, which includes peaks of over 3,000m.

Arnoweg – 60 days

Arnoweg is a famous trail in Austria of approximately 1,000km. The route takes about two months to complete, and is recommended for experienced hikers only. It is a circular trail with Salzburg the recommended starting point on one of the best long distance treks in Austria.

Austrian trekking holidays Arnoweg one of the 10 best long distance treks in Austria Flickr CC image by lagiannella

The trail is varied, with rural areas and high mountain scenery. You will get breathtaking views of Austria’s tallest mountain Grossglockner. You’ll trek to around 3,000m, and are even confronted with a few reasonably challenging glacier crossings for some exciting diversity.

Mariazellerweg – 60 days

Mariazeller Wege is made up of several different trails, all leading towards the traditional Austrian village of Mariazell. Together, all the trails stretch on for over 1,000km, and individually are popular with backpackers looking for a moderate walk.

Following the various trails you will see beautiful mountain villages and old pilgrimage sites during this unique and is great for a cultural Austrian trekking holiday.

Austrian trekking holidays Mariazell one of the 10 best long distance treks in Austria Flickr CC image by andrijbulba

Rupertiweg – 40 days

This historic hike is said to follow the footsteps of Saint Rupert on his way to Salzburg. In total, the length of this journey is 563km, so a duration of over a month for most hikers. The trail is a north to south route, and cuts through the Austrian Alps at one of its highest points.

Austrian trekking holidays here could start at the Czech border, and later cut through Southern Germany, south of Salzburg. There are many variations of this trek to accommodate various skill levels, but each one is worthwhile for its magnificent scenery.

Eisenwurzenweg – 36 days

Again, this trail starts in the north and ends in the south. It is a strenuous walk of approximately 548km, which one should allow about 36 days to complete. The trail begins by taking you through beautiful thick forests, the essence of fairy-tale Europe, before heading south of the Danube into high Alpine peaks.

Austrian trekking holidays in Gesaeuse NP 10 best long distance treks in Austria Flickr CC image by Bernd Thaller

The route passes through the Gesaeuse National Park and the spectacular Ennstaler Alps. Further south, it becomes gentler and moves away from popular trekking areas for a peaceful hike. Mountain huts litter the trail, so facilities are in high supply for this challenging route that is one of the best long distance treks in Austria.

Ostösterreichischer Grenzlandweg – 35 days

This is an interesting, casual nature trail that takes the trekker along Austria’s northern and eastern borders, for a truly European trekking holiday. Without the presence of the Alps, this trail is slightly different from most Austrian walks, and you will find yourself far away from the majority of hikers.

The trail begins just South of Germany on the Danube, heads north and dips into the Czech Republic, as well as Slovakia, Hungary and Slovenia at later points. Trekkers will find themselves in National Park’s for long stretches of their journey.

Vienna is well worth visiting on Austrian trekking holidays Flickr CC image by biernackip

This is also one of the only Austrian trekking routes during which you can visit Vienna, as the city is relatively distant from the Alps. At almost 700km long, this long distance trek in Austria takes only 35 days; a testament to its gentle slopes.

Salzsteigweg – 24 days

Again beginning near the Czech border, the trail heads south through farmland and across Europe’s heterogeneous Danube River. Eventually it slips through the Alps past the towns of Irdning and Murau to end up south of Villach, near the Italian and Slovenian borders.

The trail avoids high gradient slopes, but will take you past famed ranges, such as the esteemed ‘Totes Gebirge’, or ‘Dead Mountains’, for some stunning views. Considered a moderate walk, Salzsteigweg has a total length of 437km taking 24 days making it one of the best long distance treks in Austria.

Austrian trekking holidays Totes Gebirge 10 best long distance treks in Austria Flickr CC image by michael pollak

Karnischer Höhenweg – 11 days

This is a short (relatively speaking) but strenuous trek along a mountain trail that follows the breathtaking Karnischer Massif ridge. You’ll need to be prepared for this one of the high-altitude Austrian trekking holidays.

The trail straddles the Italian/Austrian border, and on clear days the Grossglockner peak is visible a few days into the hike. Although only about 11 days long, it’s recommended for experienced hikers only due to the altitude.

Lechweg – 8 days

A moderate trek of only 8 days, or 125km, Lechweg is famous for being the first trail in Europe to qualify as a Leading Quality Trail by the European Rambler’s Association. The route follows the river Lech from its source, the Formarinsee in Vorarlberg, Western Austria.

Austrian trekking holidays Lechtal one of the 10 best long distance treks in Austria Flickr CC image by austriatourism

Hikers pass beautiful villages surrounded by mountain scenery and forests in Vorarlbery and Tirol, until eventually ending up in Füssen, 5km over the border into Germany. This is an easy trail through some breathtaking locations that is ideal for those trying their first long distance trek in Austria.

Berliner Höhenweg – 7 days

Beginning in Finkenberg in the Southwestern district of Tyrol, this popular, circular mountain route takes approximately 7 days to complete. It is admired by serious and more casual trekkers due to its breathtaking scenery, practical length, and good facilities along the trail.

At a minimum altitude of 1,900m, and a maximum of 2,500m, this can be extremely challenging for those poorly prepared. But the trail avoids glacier crossings, so technical skills are not required meaning it is one of the best difficult Austrian trekking holidays for beginners.

Austrian trekking holidays Berliner Höhenweg one of the 10 best long distance treks in Austria Flickr CC image by texx1978

We hope you enjoyed this guide to the best long distance treks in Austria. If you are planning to book Austrian trekking holidays be sure to check out our discounts in Austria as you could save a fortune.


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