Austria is a beautiful country with some of the best hiking trails in Europe. From snowy Alpine peaks to green woodland, forests and Austrian scenery, there are many beautiful places for hiking in Austria and countless reasons for outdoor enthusiasts to visit the scenic country.
Firstly, Austria is home to the Alps. They’re probably the most famous mountain range in Europe and they offer some stunning views to hikers. The Alps also have some of the toughest hikes around so only go if you’re prepared to put your back into it.
Another great place to hike is along Austria’s many rivers and lakes. There are plenty of trails where you can also enjoy a refreshing dip when you’ve finished walking.
Whether you are looking for the best hiking trails in Austria or just want to enjoy nature and fresh air, these are some of the top hiking spots in Austria, and what makes them unique.
The Best Time Of Year To Go Hiking In Austria
The best time of year for hiking in Austria is April to October.
If you want to hike the Alps is generally from April, when the snow and ice start to melt, until about mid-August or early September. It’s usually still possible to find some patches of snow high up on mountainsides even in the warmer months (especially at higher altitudes).
The best time for hiking in Vienna and Salzburg are typically May through June because the cities are not so busy with tourists at those times of the year.
What To Pack For Hiking In Austria?
If you’re going hiking in Austria, you’ll need to pack hiking gear, including a day pack for carrying water and snacks. You’ll also need to carry an additional layer of clothes with you because it can get cold up in the mountains, especially after dark if you’re doing multi-day hikes.
Dress in layers so that if things warm up during your hike you have something dry to change into for the way back down.
What Are The Best Hiking Trails In Austria?
Austria is a beautiful country, with hiking trails to suit every taste and ability, whether you’re looking for dramatic snowy peaks or green woodland walks. If you need inspiration on where to hike when visiting this beautiful country then read on.
1. Schafberg Mountain
Another of the best places for hiking in Austria, and one of the most scenic hiking routes in the country, can be found at the edge of Lake Wolfgangsee, up to the famous Schafberg Mountain. For reaching the 1732 meter peak, you can either take the nostalgic red cog railway or the hiking trail number Nr.20.
This amazing panoramic hike is not that difficult. All in all, the whole walk up to the summit takes 3 hours and 30 minutes. In that time, you can enjoy a marvellous panorama of Lake Wolfgang and the surrounding mountains.
At the top, the amazing views down to the many glittering lakes of Salzburg and Upper Austria will stun you – it’s also a photographer’s paradise. Don`t worry if you are tired after that walk. Take it easy and just catch the Schafbergbahn train on the way back.
Today, this red train is one of the best things to do in Austria and a must-visit when you go to Salzburg or Upper Austria. Taking a ride on this nostalgic steam locomotive, which is among the oldest in the world, is an unforgettable experience.
The hike up to Schafberg Mountain is recommended from May to the end of September. Best you go early in the morning, so you will avoid the heat.
Recommended by Martina & Jürgen from PlacesofJuma
2. Inntaler Höhenweg
For those who enjoy multi-day hiking in Austria, the Inntaler Höhenweg is highly recommended. The six-day hike takes you from the town of departure Innsbruck, through the Tux Alps, towards the final destination of Schwaz.
Starting on paved roads, you’ll follow the hike along small paths, through plains, and to a solid rock climb. Afterwards, you pass green romantic valleys and hike through the forest and small waterfalls between the clouds.
The hike is 71,2 km long in total with almost 4000 meters of climbing. You will be walking an average of 6 hours a day. The route is known as the ‘delicious route’. Along the way, there are several cosy huts to spend the night that serve typical regional dishes. So, you can get to know the Austrian cuisine while charging your batteries for the upcoming hike.
Make sure to check the weather conditions before leaving. The hike can only be walked from May until September. The trail is medium-difficult and can be walked by anyone who is fit. The second stage is the most difficult but can be bypassed if needed. Although I wouldn’t recommend skipping this stage as you get the most stunning views on top of the mountain. The hike is one of the best hikes in Europe; it’s unique in its own way and each climb pays off with breathtaking views.
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3. Krimml Waterfall Trail
Another of Austria’s most incredible hikes is the Krimml Waterfall Trail. This nature spot is located in the province of Salzburg and is a popular destination for day trips from the city. The waterfalls are especially famous for their height – the 380-meter drop from the top makes them one of the highest falls in Europe.
The trail truly is stunningly beautiful – it’s a 100-year old hiking trail that meanders along waterfalls and over serpentines. But, it’s not just hiking that is recommended here. The waterfall is also said to have a legendary healing effect, especially for respiratory diseases. The way up only takes around 1.15 hours on foot, but if you like you can hike further to the Krimml Arche Valley.
The Krimml Waterfall Trail opens between May and the end of October. In winter, you can only visit the lower section of the waterfall, but the waterfall path remains closed. During the Christmas season, beautiful torchlight walks are offered.
The ticket office doesn’t open until 8:00 a.m., but those who come before that time can sometimes still get in. The entrance fee is €4 per person. There is also a combi-ticket, which includes the Krimml Water Worlds, another lovely attraction in that area.
Recommended by Martina & Jürgen from PlacesofJuma
The Lechweg trail follows the winding path of one of Europe’s last remaining ‘wild’ rivers, from the mountains of the Vorarlberg through to the Austrian border with Germany.
The 125-kilometre-long trail is one of the best places for hiking in Austria. It begins at an altitude of nearly 1800 metres at the Formarin lake above the ski resort of Lech. From there, it follows the course of the Lech through to the historic town of Füssen just over the border in Bavaria.
The multi-day route is split into 15 different stages. Most hikers attempting the whole trail would take around seven or eight days to complete it. There are no particularly challenging sections or alpine dangers, making it suitable for most walkers in decent physical condition.
Some of the hiking highlights include the lovely lake at the start above Lech – voted the most beautiful spot in Austria in 2015 – and the hanging bridge at Holzgau.
The route is suitable for those who have never tried a long-distance hike before as the trail is never too far from the valley floor, and shelter and accommodation are within easy reach. A shuttle bus runs between the villages connected by the route and arrangements can be made for the luggage to be transported between overnight stops.
Recommended by Steve from AustriaDirect
5. Green Lake
One of the most amazing places for a scenic hike is the Green Lake in Austria. This little natural gem is located near the village of Tragöß, about 2 hours from Vienna. For many, this emerald lake is one of the most beautiful places in the country. And really, the bright turquoise colours and spectacular mountain scenery are almost unique in Styria.
Most visitors come in the summer, for cooling down and to enjoy the most amazing ambience. Few know that Green Lake is also a real highlight in winter. Simply perfect for a picturesque and above all undisturbed winter hike in the fresh air!
The most popular route starts at the parking lot after the village and takes about 1.5 hours. Of course, this tour is especially recommended when there is nice weather and the landscape shows its most beautiful side.
Don’t forget your camera, because you’ll be treated to some fantastic views of the Green Lake along the trail. The hiking trail leads through a dense forest, past two more small lakes and finally ends at the beautiful Green Lake.
There is also a path around the lake, where you will find plenty of picnic places and if you don’t mind cold water, you can even have a swim there!
Athletic hikers can also continue their tour up to the surrounding Hochschwab-Mountains. A recommendable route is the hike to Sonnschien-Alm and then further on to Pribitz. From the Pribitz you will enjoy even more spectacular views down onto the Green Lake.
Recommended by Martina & Jürgen from PlacesofJuma
6. Paznaun Trail
The small town of Galtuer is a paradise for hikers and one of the best places for hiking in Austria. A wonderful introduction to the world of hiking is the Paznaun Trail.
The footpaths and hiking trails are wide enough and have only slight inclines. Therefore, it is a particularly popular route with families, children, and seniors. But of course, there are also several possibilities to make the trail a bit more adventurous.
You start at the village square in Galtuer and follow the signs to the hiking trail Jamtal. In a few minutes, you will find yourself surrounded by beautiful nature. To the left and right you will see the breathtaking mountain landscapes of Austria. Passing the typical alpine cows, you will reach the first stop after about 1 hour – the Menta Alm.
If you continue hiking, you will also reach the Scheibenalm – this is located at an altitude of about 1800 meters. If you still haven’t had enough hiking, the path will lead you further to the Jamtalhütte. This section is a bit more demanding than the first one.
A few highlights of the trail include the view of the Jamtal glacier, streams, and cows grazing on lush alpine meadows. There are also cosy alpine huts, surrounded by wildflowers and serving Paznaun specialities like buttermilk and alpine cheese.
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7. Karwendel Nature Park
The Karwendel mountains near Innsbruck in Austria host the alpine high trail of Karwendel, which is located within Austria’s largest nature park. The best way to get to the trail is by getting to Innsbruck which can be done via flight or train from Vienna.
The trail requires a good level of fitness as it is about 7000 vertical meters or 63 kilometres in total from the base of the Inn valley, so it’s best suited for someone experienced in hiking. It takes approximately 6 days to complete the entire hike.
However, the trail is divided into stages and can be attempted individually too. Each stage requires different levels of fitness.
The starting point of the trail is at Reith bei Seefeld at the Nordlinger Hutte, and the endpoint is at Scharnitz.
The trail is divided into 6 stages as follows:
- The first stage starts at Reith bei Seefeld at Nordlinger Hutte and takes about 3 hours and with a distance of 6.5 kilometres.
- Stage 2 goes from the Nordlinger Hutte to Solsteinhaus, takes 4 hours and is 6.7 kilometres long.
- The third stage goes from here to Pfeishutte, is 8 hours long and 16.5 kilometres, making it the longest stage of the route.
- Stage 4 is to Bettelwurfhutte. It takes 4 and a half hours and is 8.9 kilometres long; 5 goes to Hallerangerhaus, which is 3 hours and 6 kilometres. The last stage takes the hiker to Scharnitz after about 20 kilometres and 5 hours.
Some of the best views on the trail are of the Inntal valley, Nordkette mountains, Karwendel mountains and the Hinterautal Valley.
Contributed by Lavinia from Continent Hop
8. Highline 179
Highline179 is the longest hanging bridge and one of the best places for hiking in Austria. The trail to Highline179 is traversing through a beautiful forest full of pine trees.
It’s situated in the Reutte Valley about 88 km from Innsbruck in Austria and 125 km from Munich, in Germany.
From both Innsbruck and Munich, first, you have to travel to the Tirolian village of Reutte by train, and from Reutte, you can take a bus to Ehrenberger Klause. From here, you can start your hike to the bridge.
The suspension bridge itself was built in 2014. It’s 406 meters long and designed in the Tibetan style. Highline179 is even listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest Tibetan style pedestrian bridge in the world.
It is as high as 114 meters from the bottom of the valley. From the bridge itself, you can enjoy a 360-degree panoramic view, surrounded by thrilling scenery and breathtaking mountain chains. Furthermore, on one side of the bridge, you can find the ruins of Ehrenberg Castle. On the other side, the ruins of Fort Claudia. Both of them were built in the 16th century.
The Highline179 suspension bridge has an entrance fee of €8.
At the end of the day, you will need to walk all the way back to the train station in Reutte, because there is no bus on the way back. This will take 40 minutes.
In total, it’s an hour hike. It’s extremely easy. therefore, it’s suitable for everyone, especially for beginner hikers.
Recommended by Diana from The Globetrotting Detective
9. Seebensee & Drachensee
One of the best hiking trails in Austria is from Ehrwald to Seebensee Lake and Drachensee Lake.
Seebensee Lake and Drachensee Lake are two of the most picture-perfect lakes in Austria. They are natural mountain lakes situated in the southern part of Tyrol.
The hike starts from the train station of Ehrwald, at an elevation of 1,000 meters. You can easily get to Ehrwald by car or by train.
If you start the hike from Ehrwald and you hike back to Ehrwald, you hike a total of 25 km in about 9 hours. If it’s too much for you, you can start the hike from the top station of the Ehrwalder Almbahn cable car at 1,115 m. This way, you only need to hike 14 km two ways and you only need around 4 hours.
On the way to these charming jewels, you will be amazed by the beauty of the natural elements around you. Moreover, it’s not only nature that will take your breath away. The gorgeous highland cattle, goats, and cows look literally picture perfect in their natural environments.
Seebensee Lake is lying at a height of 1,657 meters. Lake Drachensee is a bit more up at an altitude of 1,910 meters. The best viewpoint of Drachensee Lake is from the hut next to Drachensee itself. As for the best vista over Seebensee, you need to hike a bit more from the hut.
Overall, it’s an easy hike and definitely one of the best places for hiking in Aurtsia. But if you start from Ehrwald and complete the 25 km it can be tiring.
Recommended by Diana from The Globetrotting Detective
There are so many fantastic places to hike in Austria, but some of the ones with the best views aren’t even ones that take TOO much effort.
Take the Rofanblick for example.
This fantastic hike is great for almost all levels of hiking abilities, mostly because you can just take the gondola up and then choose where to go from there. Shoot, you don’t even need to hike once you are to the top, just head to one of the cafe’s, huts, or restaurants, sit back with a Radler and enjoy the most phenomenal views over Aachensee and the Austrian and German Alps!
To start, you’ll take the Rofanbahn Seilbahn ( Achenseestrasse 10, Maurach) which will take you high up to the mountain. From here, you have a plethora of options for hiking; all extremely well marked, including a map to choose from.
Two fantastic options for a round way hike would be the “Auf den Hochiss”. This is a medium difficulty hike that is about 8 km long which should take around 5 hours. Another great option that is a really easy hike would be the Barenbadalm am Achensee. With the cable car, you can be at the Alm in just 15 minutes.
No matter which hike you choose from the Rofanbahn, you are sure to be blown away by the views.
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The massive Kröndlhorn, a 2,444-metre high mountain found in the Kitzbühel Alps in Austria, is one of the highest in the region. As a result, it has become popular with medium to advanced hikers looking for a challenge.
The strenuous 14km trail has a summit across the borders of Tirol to Salzburger Land. This trek offers seclusion from everyday life and great panoramas, perfect for photography fams. The starting point is at Baumgartenalm and the trail ends at Krumbachparkplatz in Windautal.
A highlight is the view of Lake Reinkarsee and Krimml Waterfalls at an elevation of 2,194m and, a little further on, a small chapel can be found at the summit.
The hike can be done in just over 7 hours, however, a wide range of accommodation options can be found along the way. There is everything from mountain inns to private huts, allowing you the option to break the trek up over a couple of days.
The many peaks of the Kitzbüheler Alpen region all have their own distinctive features. The Wilder Kaiser mountains are scabbed trails with high peaks, while the Kelchsau and Windautal mountains are pleasant and grassy. Kröndlhorn is not an easy trail, but well worth the time and effort and one of the best places for hiking in Austria.