page-header

Hiking in the Austrian Alps: Top 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.

Pin This!
Hiking in the Austrian Alps

Austrian Alps Hiking Guide Overview

  • Austrian Alps Hiking Map
  • Austrian Alps Hiking Destinations
Start planning your trip to Austria:
Get the Guide

This post links to products and services we love, which we may make a small commission from, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting our blog!! – Sabrina and Kati

Hiking in the Austrian Alps - Rätikon Alps

Austrian Alps Hiking Map

Austrian Alps Hiking Destinations

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

Austrian Alps Hiking Destinations

where to hike
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

 
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.

 
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.

 
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.

 
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.

 
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.

 
Hochschwab, Austrian Alps Hiking Trails

Hochschwab Group

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

For those based in Vienna (or Graz), or looking for a feasible day hike from Vienna (or Graz), Hochschwab is an ideal hiking destination. 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 fantastic day hike, or a 2-day hike if you stay overnight in the Schiestlhaus mountain refuge. You can follow our Hochschwab trail guide for exact trail details.

Though we’ve hiked in far more exciting mountains in Austria, this was the only range where we saw an 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.

 
Lienz Dolomites, Hiking in the Austrian Alps

Austria Travel Resources

@moonhoneytravelers
  • Overnighting in Austrian Mountain Huts - Corona Measures 2020  @alpenverein just published a few rules for hikers who are planning on overnighting in huts this summer:  1. Only visit mountain huts when you're healthy.  2. Bring your own face mask.  3. Make reservations for overnight stays in advance. You can't stay in a hut without a reservation.  4. Bring your own sleeping bag and pillow case.  Note: a sleeping bag liner is not sufficient, as blankets will not be distributed in the huts this summer.
  • Austrian mountain huts are slowly opening up for the hiking season and we‘re ecstatic.  This is the cozy interior of Neue Seehütte in the Raxalpe in Lower Austria (very close to Styria).
  • There’s something terribly wrong with this photo. Can you guess what it is?  Kati took this photo of me during our trek across Triglav National Park (Slovenia), one of our favorite hikes of all time.  When I look at this photo, I can keenly recall this particular morning in the Seven Lakes Valley. I remember the stillness and the mountain reflection in the lake, but I also remember the discomfort of carrying that backpack.  Kati and I aren’t “gear people.” We kinda just use what we have until it falls apart. So, in this photo, I’m hiking with my Osprey Farpoint, an excellent travel backpack but a TERRIBLE hiking backpack.  The problem with this pack is that you always feel like you’re falling backwards. The weight of the pack works against you, making steep ascents and descents particularly uncomfortable and even dangerous.  I learned my lesson the hard way. Investing in the right pack is essential for a safe and comfortable multi-day hiking experience.  I now use my Osprey Kyte 36 religiously for hut to hut hiking, and convinced Kati to buy one too.  If you don’t want to make the same mistakes we have, you can read our complete hut to hut hiking packing list (link in bio). This post is not sponsored in any way.
  • Last week, Kati and I went on a day hike in the Rax, a mountain range close to Vienna. We talk a lot when we hike. Okay, maybe I do most of the talking. About 5 hours into our hike I had a brilliant idea: What if I took a vacation?  You might be thinking, that’s silly - you’re always on vacation. The fact is I haven’t taken an intentional vacation, or rest day in years. And when I do rest, I usually feel guilty, buying into that American belief that worthiness is tied to productivity.  Kati has no problem resting. She can detach from work and her “to do list” effortlessly. And, I’ve envied her for years.  So, for the first time in 5 years of knowing Kati, I thought I’m giving myself permission to do the same. I’m GOING ON VACATION and I’m going to do whatever the hell I want. So, in the last few days, I devoured Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by @lbardugo (any YA fantasy fans out there?) and then I read Untamed by @glennondoyle . I have so much to say about this book, but I think you just have to read it. It’s like inhaling fire and falling into the sea at the same time.  For most of us, vacation is a place, a destination far far away. We have to get away, or go somewhere, in order to relax, rest, and detach from the endless “to dos” of our lives. But what I’m finding is that vacation is just a state of mind. It’s permission to stop, to pause, to do something fun, and to do something that’s not productive.  While we’re settling into our new normal lives, I hope you can find moments to “go on vacation” without actually going anywhere. I highly recommend it. 
xoxo
Sabrina
  • Lockdown over...in Austria.  We’re so excited to get back outside and start exploring our neighboring mountains: “Wiener Hausberge.” 🏔 The last few weeks have been long and taxing at times, but rewarding in so many ways as well.  We’ve baked more than we ever have (shout out to @lazycatkitchen), we’ve read a lot (thank you @katecraigbrown and @sigrids.sonnenherz for your book recommendations), we’ve established some healthy routines, and prioritized learning over doing.  Cheers to new beginnings.  Photo of Kati in a neighborhood field. Haircut by Sabrina 👍😆
  • Happy Earth Day! So grateful to call this beautiful planet home. 🌍