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Austrian Alps: Top Hiking Destinations

Hiking in the Austrian Alps

If you grew up watching The Sound of Music like me (Sabrina), scenes of the Austrian Alps are forever imprinted in your mind along with the songs of Edelweiss and Do Re Mi. Sometimes the reality of a place doesn’t match the reverie. Luckily, the Austrian Alps will far exceed your expectations, however high they are. From the alm culture in Salzburg to the Hüttenleben in Vorarlberg (mountain hut life), hiking in the Austrian Alps is as much about culture and cuisine as it is about mountains and landscapes.

If you’re ready to be seduced, let’s venture together to the most beautiful hiking destinations in the Austrian Alps. About 60% of Austria is mountainous and there are three principal mountain ranges that run through the country: Northern Limestone Alps, Central Alps, Southern Limestone Alps. Each principal range comprises 15-25 sub-ranges. 

Below, we’ve outlined our favorite places to hike in the Austrian Alps to date. This list will keep growing, year after year. So, you may want to bookmark this page for future reference. 

When to Hike in the Austrian Alps

The best months to hike in the Austrian Alps are July, August, and September. It’s definitely possible to hike in June (at lower elevations), though you may encounter snow. October is promising for day hiking, though conditions will vary depending on the weather.

Austrian Alps Trip Planning

If you’re planning a hiking-themed road trip, you can use our 7-day itinerary and our 14-day itinerary for inspiration. In these routes, we’ve weaved together our favorite hiking destinations and alpine experiences in the Austrian mountains.

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Hiking in the Austrian Alps

Austrian Alps Hiking Guide Overview

  • Austrian Alps Hiking Map
  • Austrian Alps Hiking Destinations
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Hiking in the Austrian Alps - Rätikon Alps

Austrian Alps Hiking Map

Austrian Alps Hiking Destinations

  • Hochschwab
  • Gesäuse National Park
  • Dachstein
  • Schladminger Tauern
  • Lienz Dolomites
  • Hohe Tauern National Park
  • Venediger Group
  • Zillertal Alps
  • Lechtal Alps
  • Lechquellen Mountains
  • Silvretta Alps
  • Rätikon Alps
Austrian Alps Hiking Guide - Austria Mountains

Austrian Alps Hiking Destinations

West to East
Hiking Lünersee, Rätikon Alps, Austria

Rätikon Alps

The Rätkon Alps are a limestone mountain range in the Central Eastern Alps located at the border between Vorarlberg (Austria), Graubünden (Switzerland) and Liechtenstein. These mountains are easily accessed from Brandnertal and Montafon in Vorarlberg, Austria.

A great introduction to this range is the 5-day Rätikon High Trail circuit. Our guide outlines each stage of the trail with variations for 3-day and 4-day routes.

If you have only one day to spend in the Rätikon, head to Austria’s most beguiling alpine lake: Lünersee. Read this Lünersee guide to figure out how to get here, where to hike, and where to eat.

Stay in Brandnertal

Whether you’re embarking on day hikes, or a multi-day hike in the Rätikon Alps, we recommend staying in Bradnertal, before/after your hike. Check out Hotel Lün (budget), Pension Bergkristall (mid-range), Schillerkopf Alpine Resort (luxury).

Look for accommodation in Brandnertal.

 
Silvretta Alps, Austrian Alps

Silvretta Alps

The Silvretta Alps stretch across Tirol and Vorarlberg and into the Swiss Canton Grisons. Though most of the range falls within Swiss territory, hiking is more accessible and popular from the Austrian-side. You can approach the Silvretta mountains from Paznaun Valley in Tirol or Montafon Valley in Vorarlberg.

This crystalline range puts on a show with its razor-sharp 3000+ meter peaks, glaciers, and verdant river valleys. Home to Vorarlberg’s highest mountain, Piz Buin, the Silvretta Alps attract both casual walkers and serious mountaineers. 

We hiked across the Silvretta Alps whilst trekking the Montafon Hut to Hut Circuit. This 4-5 day trek is a fun introduction to the region and the culture of Montafon Valley.

If you have time for only one hike in the Silvretta range, consider the loop trail from Silvretta Bielerhöhe to Wiesbadener Hütte.

Stay in Schruns-Tschagguns in Montafon Valley

Schruns-Tschagguns is the liveliest and largest village in Montafon Valley. Schruns is located on the other side of the Ill river from Tschagguns, but they’re largely considered one town.

We suggest basing yourself in Schruns-Tschagguns, because of transit connections, restaurant and hotel options, and overall vibe. From here, you can easily access the Silvretta range as well as the Verwall and Rätikon Alps. So, your hiking options are numerous.

We loved our experience at Löwen Hotel Montafon. Boasting a 3000 square meter spa and wellness center and three restaurants, there’s no better place to stay in Schruns. If there’s one thing we’ve learned about hiking in the Alps, it’s that you need a Plan b for rainy days. And, the best possible plan B is the Löwen hotel spa which consists of an indoor and outdoor pool, 5 saunas, a Lady’s spa area, a whirlpool, multiple relaxation rooms, waterbeds, a refreshment bar, a reading room, and a footbath.

Look for accommodation in Schruns-Tschagguns.

 
Lechquellen Mountains, Austrian Alps

Lechquellen Mountains

The Lechquellen Mountains (Lechquellen Gebirge) are a small mountain range within the Northern Limestone Alps in Vorarlberg. Popular because of the Lechweg long-distance hiking trail and its proximity to Lech am Arlberg, this darling range is a well-known summer destination among Germans, Swiss, Austrians, and Brits. Though our time here was limited, we loved the day hike from Lake Formarinsee to Lake Spullersee.

Stay in Lech am Arlberg

We stayed at Hotel Sonneburg in Oberlech (Upper Lech), a family-friendly, literature-themed, five-star hotel.

Look for accommodation in Lech am Arlberg.

 
Lechtal Alps, Tirol, Austria

Lechtal Alps

The Lechtal Alps (Lechtaler Alpen) are the largest mountain chain of the Northern Limestone Alps in the Eastern Alps. This mighty range stretches from Tyrol into Vorarlberg and is bounded by the Allgäu Alps, Ammergau Alps, Verwall, Mieminger, Ammergau Alps, Wetterstein, Oetztal Alps, Samnaun mountain chain, and the Lechquellen mountains.

We hiked across the Lechtal Alps along the Eagle Walk and were completely blown away by the mountain formations, flora and fauna, and the swiftly-changing scenery – it’s never monotonous. If we had to anoint a Queen mountain range, the Lechtal Alps would be the reigning Queen of Austria. She’s devastatingly gorgeous. She’s also brutal and unforgiving. We loved our Eagle Walk trek, but it’s not for everyone, given the demanding nature of the terrain.

Learn More: Eagle Walk Lechtal Alps Hiking Guide

Stay in Lechtal (Lech Valley)

Lechtal in an alpine river valley flanked by the Lechtal Alps to the south and the Allgäu Alps to the north. The popular Lechweg (Lech River Trail) long-distance hiking trail follows the Lech River from Formarinsee in Vorarlberg to Füssen in Germany.

If you’re not embarking on a multi-day hike across the Lechtal Alps, it makes a lot of sense to explore the range from Lech Valley. We loved staying in LechZeit in Elmen. From here, you can hike along the Lechweg (Lech River Trail), using your Lech Aktiv Card (which you receive for free from your hotel) to get to and from trailheads.

Look for accommodation in Lech Valley.

Stay in the Arlberg Region

Another base for exploring the Lechtal Alps is the Arlberg Region, which encompasses the resort villages of Lech, Zürs, St. Anton am Arlberg, St. Christoph am Arlberg, Stuben, Flirsch, Pettneu, Schnann, and Strengen.

In summer, many of these Arlberg villages are ghost towns. So, we’d only recommend staying in either Lech am Arlberg or St. Anton am Arlberg.

In Lech, we highly recommend the family-run Hotel Gotthard. Location-wise, it’s perfect. It’s close to everything: bus stop, gondolas, shops. The hotel has a very nice wellness center and the cuisine is excellent. Furthermore, guests can join the hotel’s daily hiking tours, at no extra cost. You can learn about medicinal mountain plants on an herbal walk, hike to the summit of Omeshorn, or walk along the Lech River to Zug Valley. You can see the weekly hiking program at the reception. Just make sure to sign-up the day before by 6 pm.

Look for accommodation in Lech am Arlberg.

Look for accommodation in St. Anton am Arlberg.

 
Zillertal Alps - Where to Hike in the Austrian Alps

Zillertal Alps

Straddling the Austrian-Italian border, the Zillertal Alps are a stunning mountain range belonging to the Central Eastern Alps. On the Austrian-side, you can access this range from the Zillertal valley in Tyrol (Tirol). 

Serving up quintessential alpine scenery, the majestic Zillertal Alps are characterized by glaciated peaks, iconic mountain huts, idyllic lakes, and sweeping vistas. 

Hut to hut hiking enthusiasts should consider trekking the celebrated Berlin High Trail or the Peter Habeler Route. Here’s a quick guide to other long distance hikes in the region.

For day hiking, base yourself in Mayrhofen. From this town, you can drive, or take a bus to various hiking trailheads in Ziller Valley. 

Stay in Mayrhofen

Mayrhofen is a lively base in Zillertal humming with hikers and families on summer holiday. We loved Mayrhofen’s central location and how easy it was to get around the valley via public transit. If you’re traveling through Austria without a car, this is definitely a place you can explore easily. We recommend staying in Landhotel Rauchenwalderhof (budget), Alpenhotel Kramerwirt (mid-range), or Alpin Lodge das Zillergrund (luxury).

Look for accommodation in Mayrhofen.

Learn More: Fantastic Things to Do in Mayrhofen in Summer

 
Venediger Group - Hiking in the Austrian Alps

Venediger Group

The Venediger Group is a mountain range in the Central European Alps, named after Großvenediger (3,657 m). These mountains are firmly situated within Hohe Tauern National Park.

The Venediger mountains can be accessed from a number of idyllic valleys and villages in East Tyrol (Osttirol), including Virgental, Frosnitztal, and Gschlösstal. 

We trekked the Venediger High Trail, a hut to hut that starts in Virgental and ends in Gschlösstal. If you love glacier views and stark, expansive scenery, this is for you. 

In terms of day hiking, check out the Innergschlöss Glacial Trail, which starts in Gschlösstal and steers you towards some pretty epic glacial scenery. If you’re in Virgental, you can hike from Hinterbichl to Essener-Rockstocker Hütte.

When we’re back in this area, we’d love to check out Frosnitztal and the Mitteldorfer Alm. If you head in that direction, you could do this return hike from Mitteldorfer Alm to Badener Hütte.

Stay in Matrei in Osttirol, Zedlach village, or Virgental Valley

The biggest town near the Venediger Group is Matrei in Osttirol. We recommend staying at AlpenParks Hotel Matrei (mid-range) or Natur- und Wanderhotel Outside (luxury). For a more secluded enviornment, check out the family-run guesthouse Zedlacherhof in Zedlach Village, which is 4.5 km from Matrei.

Look for accommodation in Matrei in Osttirol.

 
Hohe Tauern National Park, Austrian Alps Hiking Destinations

Hohe Tauern National Park

Spanning 1,856 sq. km, Hohe Tauern National Park is the largest national park in Austria and the largest protected area in the Alps. Home to Austria’s highest mountain, Grossglockner (3,798 m) and the Hohe Tauern range, this alpine region is a playground for hikers and climbers.

Hohe Tauern National Park is divided into a core zone and an outer zone and stretches across the Austrian States of Carinthia, Salzburg, and Tyrol.

A great introduction to Hohe Tauern National Park is driving the Grossglockner High Alpine Road. Along the route, you can park your car at Glocknerhaus and hike to Sandersee.

There are also many long-distance hiking routes that traverse the protected area, including the Grossglockner Rundwanderweg (Grossglockner Circuit Trail), the Venediger High Trail, and the beginning of the Alpe Adria long-distance trail.

Best Base in Hohe Tauern National Park

We recommend staying in Kals am Großglockner, Prägraten am Großvenediger, or Matrei in Osttirol.

 
Dolomitenhütte, Lienz Dolomites - Hiking in the Austrian Alps

Lienz Dolomites

The Lienzer Dolomiten is a mountain group in the Gailtal Alps (Gailtaler Alpen, or Drauzug), which form part of the Southern Limestone Alps. To get to the Lienz Dolomites, head to the Austrian town of Lienz, which is located in East Tyrol (Osttirol).

Though these gorgeous limestone mountains resemble the Italian Dolomites, they actually don’t contain any dolomite rock. But, their looks will certainly deceive you. 

In a single day, you can hike from the Dolomitenhütte to Karlsbader Hütte, a mountain hut located at Laserzee. After the hike, enjoy lunch at Dolomitenhütte, or even stay the night here. You can learn more about this trail in Best Day Hikes in Austria.

If you’re interested in a multi-day hike, research Der Grosse Törl-Weg. We haven’t hiked this trail, but it’s on our bucket list.

Stay in Lienz

We recommend staying in Privatzimmer Bundschuh (budget), Hotel Holunderhof (mid-range), or  Parkhotel Tristachersee (luxury).

Look for accommodation in Lienz.

 
Filzmoos, Salzburg

Dachstein

The Dachstein is a dramatic mountain range in the Northern Limestone Alps, sprawling across the states of Salzburg, Carinthia, and Styria.

From exciting via ferrata climbs to moderate hut-to-hut hiking trails, the Dachstein offers a myriad of hiking possibilities. Here are a few things we recommend:

  • Short Culinary Hike to Sulzenalmen from Hofalmen, Filzmoos. Read about it here: Filzmoos in Summer.
  • Dachstein Rundweg (Dachstein Circular Hiking Trail) – 8-day hut-to-hut hike
  • Rund um den Gosaukamm (Hike around the Gosaukamm) – 2-day hut-to-hut hike.
    • Stage 1: Gosausee – Zwieselalm – Hofpürglhütte (5 hours)
    • Stage 2: Hofpürglhütte – Steigelpass – Gosausee (4 hours)
  • Visit the Gosau Lakes. Hike from Vorderer Gosausee to Hinterer Gosausee (2.5 hours one-way). At the Hinterer Gosausee, you can grab lunch at Hohe Holzmeister Alm

Stay in Filzmoos

Filzmoos is a small alpine village directly facing the Gosaukamm mountains, which form part of the Dachstein range. From Filzmoos, you’re well-positioned to hike in the Dachstein and visit other towns like Ramsau am Dachstein. 

We recommend staying at Hotel Bergglück (budget), meiZeit Lodge (mid-range), Relais & Chateaux Das Maier (Hubertus) (luxury).

Look for accommodation in Filzmoos

Or, Stay in Ramsau am Dachstein

Ramsau am Dachstein is a small town located on sloping alpine pastures at the foot of the Dachstein. Wonderfully scenic and well-positioned for day hiking and mountaineering activities, Ramsau is an ideal destination for summer holidays in the Austrian Alps.

We recommend staying at Pension Adlerhorst (budget), Hotel Sporthof Austria, (midrange), or Schweigerhof (luxury).

Look for accommodation in Ramsau am Dachstein.

 
Schladminger Tauern - Austrian Alps Summer Hiking

Schladminger Tauern

The Schladming Tauern mountains are a subrange of the Austrian Central Alps and are located in the Austrian federal states of Salzburg and Styria (Steiermark).

The closest town, or transportation hub, is Schladming. This is one of Austria’s premier skiing destinations. However, summer is also an incredible time to visit. We hiked across the range on the Schladminger Tauern High Trail, a 5 stage hut to hut hike, and it was an unforgettable experinece. 

Day hikers should head up to the alpine hamlet of Ursprungalm (via a toll road) and hike to the Giglach Lakes. From the hamlet, you’ll follow a wide dirt road to Oberere Giglachsee (the upper Giglach Lake). From here, follow the circuit trail that wraps around both lakes, in the direction of Ignaz – Mattis Hütte. This easy 8.2 km hike takes 3 hours total. Allow more time for lunch in one of lakeside mountain huts.

Stay in Schladming

Here are our favorite hotels in Schladming: TUI BLUE Schladming (budget), Thalers Mariandl (mid-range), and Hotel Schwaigerhof (luxury).

Look for accommodation in Schladming.

 
Gesäuse National Park, Ennstaler Alps, Austrian Alps Hiking Guide

Gesäuse National Park and the Ennstaler Alps

Encompassing a chunk of the Ennstaler Alps, Gesäuse National Park is a protected alpine area roughly stretching between Admont and Hieflau. Characterized by lush, verdant forest and craggy limestone peaks, Gesäuse (Xeis) provides thrilling climbing opportunities, challenging via ferrata routes, and gentle walks.

We sampled a part of the Gesäuse Hüttenrunde (hut to hut circuit), starting in Admont and ending in Gstatterboden. Though we loved the mountain huts we overnighted in (Mödlinger Hütte and Hesshütte), we weren’t impressed with the route, as it often follows forest roads. We think Gesäuse is a better destination for rigorous day hiking or 2-day hikes.

A highlight of our visit was staying two nights in Hesshütte, a mountain refuge located at the saddle between Hochtor and Zinödl. We wrote this Hesshütte hiking guide, which outlines four possible ascent routes plus additional hikes you can do from the hut.

Stay in Admont, Gstatterboden, or Hieflau

If you want to stay directly in the National Park, check out Gesäuse Lodge.

If you fancy something romantic, consider staying at Hotel Schloss Röthelstein. We stayed at Villa Elisabeth, but it didn’t meet our expectations.

Look for accommodation in Admont.

Look for accommodation in Hieflau.

 
Hochschwab Mountains, Austrian Alps, Austria

Hochschwab Group

Hochschwab is a mountain range in the Northern Limestone Alps, located in the Austrian state of Styria. 

For those based in Vienna (or Graz), Hochschwab is a fantastic hiking destination for 2-day hikes. The easiest way to get here is by car. 

The range takes its name after the highest mountain, Hochschwab (2277 m), which you can summit on a very long day hike, or a 2-day hike if you stay overnight in the Schiestlhaus mountain refuge. Read this Hochschwab trail guide for an ideal 2-day hiking itinerary.

Another extremely rewarding hike is from Seeberg to Voisthaler Hütte.

What sets Hochschwab apart from other alpine destinations is the abundance of wildlife. Rife with families of ibex to solitary chamois, Hochschwab feels like one of the last thriving wildlife areas in the Austrian Alps.

Stay in Thörl, Aflenz or Seewiesen

We recommend staying at Frühstückspension Seeberghof (Seewiesen), der Bodenbauer (Thörl), or Ferienwohnungen Hotel Garni Dörflerwirt (Aflenz).

Look for accommodation in Thörl, Aflenz or Seewiesen.

 
Hochschwab Mountains, Austrian Alps, Austria

Austria Travel Resources

@moonhoneytravelers
  • The final stage of the Eagle Walk in Tirol, Austria. We thought it was going to be easy 😂!  @visittirol @stantonamarlberg
  • Joy.  Whenever we get messages from readers, saying they’ve used our hiking and travel guides to plan their trips, we’re overjoyed.  We love the feedback! It gives us fuel to keep writing and creating.  Thank you! 💛💛💛
  • The trail to Mount Triglav from Vodnikov Dom.  In case you missed it, we answered a bunch of questions about this 2-day hike. We saved the whole Q&A in our highlights.  For the full guide, click the link in our bio.
  • Mount Triglav, Slovenia.  We just answered a bunch of questions about hiking to Mount Triglav from Pokljuka in our stories.  We also wrote a guide (link in bio) that explains how to get the trailhead, where to park, what to pack, where to stay, and a route description.
  • Best homegrown, homemade, farm-to-table place to eat in Slovenia: Turistična kmetija Stoglej @kmetija.stoglej in Luče.  Stoglej is a one-of-a-kind farm stay in Slovenia. Situated on the edge of a forest and surrounded by pastures, this is a place you simply won’t stumble upon.  If you want to eat here, contact the farm at least 24 hours in advance. Make sure to inform them of any dietary restrictions. Otherwise, stay here and make sure you book half board. We ate 4 meals at the farm and plan to return every time we come back to Slovenia.  If you’re planning on visiting Velika Planina, or want to explore Dleskovec plateau in the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, @kmetija.stoglej is also the perfect base.
  • The hike to Viševnik in the Julian Alps, Slovenia.  We decided to squeeze this hike in before breakfast @hotelmajerca this morning and it was absolutely epic!  The hike to Viševnik peak takes 1:30 - 2 hrs from the Rudno Polje trailhead on Pokljuka. From the summit, the views of Triglav and the Bohinj Valley are marvelous!