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Trekking the Venediger High Trail Trek in Hohe Tauern National Park, Austria

The Venediger High Trail (Venediger Höhenweg in German) is a multi-day trek through the Venediger Group in Hohe Tauern National Park in Austria.

This classic hut to hut hike partially wraps around Grossvenediger (3657 m), Austria’s second-largest mountain, delivering views of mammoth mountains, melting glaciers, and countless waterfalls.

Venturing into the heart of the Venediger Group is like entering a congregation of wind, water, earth, and stone. Landscapes are eternal and vast. And, time loses meaning altogether. 

With unrivaled glacier views, empty trails, and comfortable daily distances, this is a great multi-day trekking option in East Tyrol. While there are some challenging segments, the overall trail is very manageable and suitable for most intermediate alpine hikers. We never felt unsafe, or at risk.

We were extremely impressed by the trail engineering of the Venediger Höhenweg. The trail is almost always gentle, making ascents and descents far easier than you’d expect.

Trail signage is consistent and ubiquitous, so you’ll never feel lost or unsure of where you are.

Furthermore, the trails are empty. You’ll definitely see people at the mountain huts, but you’ll meet very few on the actual trail. If you’re looking for solitude and an almost meditative-hiking experience, this is for you. 

Though we enjoyed the trail tremendously, we were disappointed by the hospitality of the mountain huts.


6-Day Venediger High Trail Trek

Day 1 | Prägraten am Großvenediger Ströden – Essener-Rostocker-Hütte (5.3 km, 2:30 hours)

Day 2 |  Essener-Rostocker-Hütte – Türmljoch – Johannishütte (7.6 km, 4 hours)

Day 3 | Johannishütte – Eisseehütte – Bonn-Matreier Hütte (12.5 km, 7 hours)

Day 4 |  Bonn-Matreier Hütte – Badener Hütte (9.2 km, 5:30 hours)

Day 5 | Badener Hütte – Neue Prager Hütte (9.8 km, 6 hours)

Day 6 | Neue Prager Hütte – Innergschlöß / Alpengasthaus Venedigerhaus – Matreier Tauernhaus (10.7 km, 4 hours)

Note | This 6-day route starts out slowly, allowing you to acclimate. You’ll feel well-rested and energized before tackling Stages 4 and 5, which are longer and more challenging. This is the route we hiked, however in retrospect, we think it would have been better to combine the first two stages. Also, it’s possible to skip Neue Prager Hütte and descend to Innergschlöß and Gschlösstal on day 5, thus ending the trek one day early.


Which Direction Should I Hike the Venediger High Trail

There are two ways to hike the Venediger Höhenweg: the North route and the South route.

The North route begins in Matreier Tauernhaus and ends in Hinterbichl in the Virgental Valley.

The South route begins in Hinterbichl and ends in Matreier Tauernhaus in Gschlösstal. We recommend the South route for two reasons. First, it’s easier, as demanding ascents and descents are accomplished early in the day when you’re fresh. And second, the landscapes unfold nicely, saving the best for last.


Responsible Hiking in Hohe Tauern National Park

Hohe Tauern National Park is the largest protected area in the Alps. During your visit, adhere to these rules:

  • Respect the habitats of animals and plants. Picking, or removing flowers, plants, and rocks is not allowed.
  • Wild camping is forbidden.
  • Take all garbage back with you down to the valley.
  • Stay on the designated hiking trail.
  • Dogs must be leashed.
  • Do not make loud noises (e.g. playing music loudly).

We wrote this comprehensive Venediger High Trail trekking guide based on our personal experience. Keep in mind that things can change over time: trail difficulty, accessibility, and routing (due to rock falls, landslides, and avalanches) and hut management (reservation system, hospitality, payment, food quality, etc…). Please do your due diligence before tackling this route.

Venediger High Trail, Hohe Tauern, Austria

Venediger High Trail Hiking Map

The Venediger Group is a mountain range in the Central Eastern Alps, located in the federal states of Tyrol and Salzburg as well as in South Tyrol, Italy.

The majority of the range is located in East Tyrol (Osttirol) and falls within the boundaries of Austria’s Hohe Tauern National Park in the Austrian Alps.

The highest mountain in the group is Grossvenediger (3657 m). The Venediger High Trail stretches from Virgental Valley to Gschlösstal Valley in East Tyrol.

VENEDIGER TREK STAGES

Where to Stay Before/After the Trek

Venediger Trek Stage 1

Venediger Trek Stage 2

Venediger Trek Stage 3

Venediger Trek Stage 4

Venediger Trek Stage 5

Venediger Trek Stage 6


How to Book the Venediger High Trail

All the mountain huts along the Venediger High Trail must be booked individually and independently. 

It’s important to make reservations for overnight stays in huts several months in advance. You may be able to book more short-term, if you have a flexible start date. 

You can make overnight reservations for most huts along the Venediger Höhenweg using the Alpsonline online reservation platform.

For more information about booking huts, read our guide to visiting Austrian Mountain Huts. For information about pricing, hut etiquette, joining the Austrian Alpine Club, helpful German phrases to know for hiking in Austria, read hut to hut hiking in Austria.

Arrival Day | Stay in Matrei in Osttirol at Gästehaus Obwexer (budget), Haus Wibmer Matrei (budget), AlpenParks Hotel Montana (midrange), or Wander- und Naturhotel Outside (luxury).

Stage 1 | Essener-Rostocker-Hütte – Online Reservation via Alpsonline

Stage 2 | Johannishütte – Reservation via Email or via phone call (hut): +43 4877 5150

Stage 3 | Bonn-Matreier Hütte – Online Reservation via Alpsonline

Stage 4 | Badener Hütte – Online Reservation via Alpsonline

Stage 5 | Neue Prager Hütte – Online Reservation via Alpsonline

Stage 6 | The trek ends at Matreier Tauernhaus. We recommend staying in Matreier Tauernhaus, or in Matrei in Osttirol after the trek: Gästehaus Obwexer (budget), Haus Wibmer Matrei (budget), AlpenParks Hotel Montana (midrange), or Wander- und Naturhotel Outside (luxury).

Venediger High Trail Stage 5, Hohe Tauern, Austria

Arrival Day in Matrei in Osttirol


How To Get to Matrei in Osttirol

The Venediger High Trail starting point is Prägraten am Großvenediger Ströden in Virgental Valley.

We recommend staying in nearby Matrei in Osttirol, the gateway to Virgental, before and after the trek.

If you’re traveling with public transit, take a train to Lienz, the main transit hub in East Tyrol. From Lienz, take bus 951 operated by ÖBB-PostBus to Matrei in Osttirol.


Where to Stay in Matrei in Osttirol

Budget | Gästehaus Obwexer

Budget | Haus Wibmer Matrei

Midrange | AlpenParks Hotel Montana is located directly in Matrei and offers both double rooms and family studios. The breakfast is excellent and the alpine views are superb.

Luxury | Natur- und Wanderhotel Outside combines alpine charm with modern sensibilities. Located in the center of Matrei, this 4-star hotel checks all the boxes: spa and wellness, regional sourcing of ingredients, gourmet food, and fresh design.

Look for accommodation in Matrei in Osttirol.

Essener Rostocker Hütte, Venediger Trek, Austria

Venediger High Trail Stage 1: Prägraten am Großvenediger Ströden – Essener Rostocker Hütte


Stage 1 Trail Stats

Distance | 5.3 km

Time Needed | 2:30 hours

Elevation Gain | 800 meters

Elevation Loss | 2 meters

Difficulty | Easy

Minimum Elevation | 1403 meters

Maximum Elevation | 2208 meters

Route | Hinterbichl / Parkplatz Ströden (1,403 m) – Essener Rostocker Hütte (2,208 m)


Take Bus 951 from Matrei in Osttirol to Ströden, Virgental (20 minutes)

There are daily bus connections (bus 951) between Matrei and Prägraten am Großvenediger Ströden. Consult smartride.vvt.at for bus timetables.

It’s only a 20-minute bus ride from Matrei to Ströden.


Ströden to Essener Rostocker Hütte (2:30 hours)

The Venediger High Trail starts directly from the parking lot at Ströden. This is also a popular starting point for day hikes to Umbalfälle (Umbaltal Waterfall) and Clara Hütte.

The route today is easy and gentle. Follow the gravel road, passing the Kletterpark (recreational climbing park) along the way. After about 20 minutes, you’ll pass Stoan Alm (permanently closed).

Another 10-15 minutes will bring you to an intersection, where the trail veers right, leaving the road. As you ascend, the sound of the Maurerbach river will be your constant companion.

You’ll eventually cross the river over a bridge. Multiple streams ripple across a flat expansive meadow. And, soon you’ll ascend to Essener Rostocker Hütte (2208 m), perfectly framed by the Hohe Tauern mountains.


Optional: Hike to Simonysee (1:30 hours out-and-back)

Because today’s stage is so short, you’ll likely have extra time to explore the area. One option is to hike to the small lake Simonysee (2361 m).

It’s 1.5 km one-way and takes 45 minutes to reach the lake from Essener Rostocker Hütte.

Another option is to hike to Rostocker Eck (2749 m), a peak accessible from the hut as well.


Stay in Essener Rostocker Hütte

Reservation | Essener-Rostocker-Hütte – Online Reservation via Alpsonline

Payment | Credit Cards and Cash accepted

Showers | 1 EUR for 2 minutes

Drinking Water | Tap water is safe to drink

Electronic Charging Stations | Free

Half Board or à la carte | We recommend opting for their half board option. Dinner is set up as a buffet. It includes soup, multiple salads, a main dish, and dessert. You can return to the buffet as often as you like. The salad buffet is plentiful and delicious.

Rooms | Dormitory and private rooms available. We opted for a private room, which was nice given that we had so much extra down time, due to the poor weather and the short hike.

Johannishütte, Venediger High Trail Hut Hike, Hohe Tauern, Austria

Venediger High Trail Stage 2: Essener Rostocker Hütte – Johannishütte


Stage 2 Trail Stats

Distance | 7.6 km

Time Needed | 4 hours

Elevation Gain | 568 meters

Elevation Loss | 663 meters

Difficulty | Easy – Moderate

Minimum Elevation | 2115 meters

Maximum Elevation | 2790 meters

Route | Essener Rostocker Hütte (2,208 m) – Türmljoch (2,790 m) – Johannishütte (2,121 m)

Lunch Option | None


Essener Rostocker Hütte – Türmljoch – Johannishütte (4 hours)

Stage 2 of the Venediger High Trail involves ascending to the saddle Türmljoch and then descending into the next valley, where Johannishütte is happily situated.

Overall, this is not a demanding route. The steady climb to Türmljoch is made gentle by a series of switchbacks. It takes about 2 hours to reach Türmljoch from Essener Rostocker Hut.

At the top, there are sweeping views of glaciated mountains. From the saddle, it’s a 1:45-hour hike down to Johannishütte. Keep your eye out for marmots.

Overlooking Grossvenediger, Johannishütte (2121 m) is one of the most popular starting points for guided tours to the summit.


Stay in Johannishütte

Reservation | Johannishütte – Reservation via Email or via phone call (hut): +43 4877 5150

Payment | Cash only

Showers | 4 EUR for a 5 minute shower

Drinking Water | Tap water is safe to drink

Electronic Charging Stations | Free

Half Board or à la carte | Both available. The food is delicious and easily the best on the entire route. They source some of their ingredients from their small herb garden outside. Breakfast is served from 6:30 am – 7:30 am.

Rooms | Only dormitory rooms available.

Johannishütte - Bonn-Matreier Hütte Hiking Trail, Hohe Tauern National Park, Austria

Venediger High Trail Stage 3: Johannishütte – Bonn-Matreier Hütte


Stage 3 Trail Stats

Distance | 12.5 km

Time Needed | 7 hours

Elevation Gain | 1445 meters

Elevation Loss | 822 meters

Difficulty | Moderate

Minimum Elevation | 2115 meters

Maximum Elevation | 2958 meters

Route | Johannishütte (2,121 m) – Zopetscharte (2,958 m) – Eisseehütte (2,521 m) – Eselrücken (2,663 m) – Bonn-Matreier Hütte (2,750 m)

Lunch Option | Eisseehütte


Johannishütte – Eisseehütte – Bonn-Matreier Hütte (7 hours)

Stage 3 of the Venediger High Alpine Trail is long, but in an extremely satisfying way. Some people separate this into two stages, but we think it works well as one stage. We recommend getting an early start (7:30 a.m.), so you don’t feel rushed and have sufficient time for a leisurly lunch at Eissee mountain hut.

From Johannishütte, the ascent to Zopetscharte (2,958 m) begins immediately. And, you’ll be happy you’re going the south route, because that means that you’ll conquer this “gap” early in the day. As you gain elevation, you’ll be greeted by the early morning sun, as she slowly wakes up mighty Grossvenediger.

The final stretch to Zopetscharte navigates very rocky terrain. A path has been cleared to make it actually easier than it looks. It took us 2:30 hours to reach Zopetscharte, the highest point on today’s hike.

From here, you’ll see Eissee lake. The descent from the gap is aided by several ropes. The trail narrows and there are a few precarious drop offs.

As you hike down, it’s easy to slip, because the shale has been grounded to a soft paste-like consistency (almost like sand).

We reached the bottom of the valley in an hour. You’ll cross a river over a bridge and turn right. It’s a 20-minute hike from here to the Eissee mountain hut (2,521 m). The hut is named after “Eissee” lake, which you can hike to from the hut (40 minutes one-way).

After lunch, you’ll be treated to a balcony-like trail that hugs the side of the mountain. There are some very tight areas along the route, but it’s mostly easy.

As you wrap around the mountain, you’ll eventually see Virgental Valley and the town of Prägraten below. The flat trail ends abruptly and you’ll hike up a few steep hairpins and continue uphill to Eselsrücken (2,663 m), or “Donkey’s Back.”

This is where you think you’re close to Bonn-Matreier hut. You’re not. Though, you’ll be able to spot it from here. If you look hard enough, you’ll see the hut smirking at you.

From Eselrücken, the trail plummets in zig-zag fashion. You’ll cross a river and then start the steady ascent to Bonn-Matreier Hütte (2,750 m). It takes an hour to hike from Eselrücken to Bonn Matreier.


Stay in Bonn-Matreier Hütte

Reservation | Bonn-Matreier Hütte – Online Reservation via Alpsonline

Payment | Credit Cards and Cash Accepted

Showers | 3.50 EUR for 3 minute shower

Drinking Water | Tap water is safe to drink

Electronic Charging Stations | Free

Half Board or à la carte | You need to decide whether you want half board by 4 p.m. Dinner is served at 6:30 pm. The food was dreadful (a few years ago). On the upside, the hut staff were the friendliest we encountered on the whole trek. Breakfast is from 7 am – 8 am.

Rooms | Private rooms and dormitory rooms available.

 Bonn-Matreier Hütte - Badener Hütte Hiking Trail, Hohe Tauern National Park, Austria

Venediger High Trail Stage 4: Bonn-Matreier Hütte – Badener Hütte


Stage 4 Trail Stats

Distance | 9.2 km

Time Needed | 5:30 hours

Elevation Gain | 602 meters

Elevation Loss | 733 meters

Difficulty | Difficult

Minimum Elevation |  2238 meters

Maximum Elevation | 2873 meters

Route | Bonn-Matreier Hütte (2,750 m) – Kälberscharte (2,791 m) – Galtenscharte (2,871 m) – Badener Hütte (2,608 m)

Lunch Option | None


Bonn-Matreier Hütte – Kälberscharte – Galtenscharte – Badener Hütte (5:30 hours)

Stage 4 of the Venediger High Alpine Route is the most difficult. We don’t recommend hiking this stage with kids. From the hut, the trail meanders through a sea of rocks and you’ll quickly ascend to Kälberscharte (2,791 m), the first saddle.

From here, the trail descends and then flattens out. Use the ropes to stabilize your descent. You’ll hike across boulders and slabs of rock for some time. Stay focused and take your time. It’s like walking through a graveyard of a former mountain. You’ll need both of your hands sometimes.

Next, the trail climbs up to the second saddle, Galtenscharte (2,871 m), which lies beneath Galtenkogel peak and is reachable in an hour from Bonn Matreier Hütte. The view from here is incredible.

And, you’ll be happy again that you’re hiking the south route, because you won’t envy the poor hikers approaching Galtenscharte from the other side.

The descent from Galtenscharte is a long one (1:30 hours). It’s a bit tedious, though you’ll get in a rhythm soon enough. Like the day before, you’ll be hiking down soft and slippery terrain. Hiking poles (e.g. Unisex Black Diamond Hiking Poles) are invaluable.

As we made our way down the unforgiving terrain, it felt like we were Sam and Frodo off to destroy the ring. The alpine landscapes are harsh and almost foreboding.

When you reach the foot of the mountain, the trail crosses a river. Know that the hardest part of the day is over.

The trail continues from the river through soft green meadows. It feels absolutely heavenly after that brutal descent, like eating a divine Crème brûlée (insert your favorite dessert) after a dinner of boiled brussels sprouts (insert your least favorite vegetable).

Following the balcony trail, you’ll see the lovely Frosnitzbach River Valley rimmed with alpine pastures and huts.

The final segment of the hike has you cross a roaring river (over a bridge) and make a final ascent to Badener Hütte (2,608 m), which is perched high above you. Admittedly, this last stretch feels long and never ending.


Stay in Badener Hütte

Reservation | Badener Hütte – Online Reservation via Alpsonline

Payment | Cash only

Showers | 2 EUR

Drinking Water | Tap water is safe to drink

Electronic Charging Stations | Free

Half Board or à la carte | For dinner, you can choose between the 3-course half-board menu, or just the main dish from the half-board menu.

Rooms | Private rooms and dormitory rooms available. We opted for a private room, which was small but cozy.

Badener Hütte – Neue Prager Hütte Hiking Trail, Venediger High Trail Trek, Austria

Venediger High Trail Stage 5: Badener Hütte – Neue Prager Hütte


Stage 5 Trail Stats

Distance | 9.8 km

Time Needed | 6 hours

Elevation Gain | 835 meters

Elevation Loss | 658 meters

Difficulty | Moderate

Minimum Elevation | 2112 meters

Maximum Elevation | 2796 meters

Route | Badener Hütte (2,608 m) – Löbbentörl (2,770 m) – Neue Prager Hütte (2,796 m)

Lunch Option | None


Badener Hütte to Neue Prager Hütte (6 hours)

Stage 5 of the Venediger Track is the most rewarding day visually. The trail begins with gentle undulating ups and downs. Some steep sections are secured with ropes, but overall there’s nothing overly difficult about this segment.

We hiked across several snowfields and then made the easy ascent to Löbbentörl (2,770 m). When you reach the Törl, or gate, it’s like stepping though the magical wardrobe of Narnia. You’ll be met with a spectacular world of ice and moraine.

It’s a bit slippery going down from Löbbentörl and there was still quite a bit of snow on this side (late July). Keep your eyes out for the trail, as it’s easy to lose because of the snow.

Eventually, the trail follows a rim, bringing you closer and closer to Keesboden glacier. It’s like walking along a dragon’s back.

The rim trail ends and you’ll gently descend to Auge Gottes (2,240 m), which is an eye-shaped small pond with a grassy interior that has been appropriately named the Eye of God.

This pond sits above the lake Salzbodensee. At this point, you’ll start seeing day hikers on the trail.

From here, continue in the direction of Neue Prager Hütte. There’s a fantastic lookout point of Keesboden. Day hikers will be gathered here.

When you’re ready, start the final ascent to the historical Alte Prager Hütte (closed) and then Neue Prager Hütte (2,796 m). The trail has been shaped so that you’re hiking up a natural staircase.

It’s long but never steep.

Note: You can descend from the lookout point down to the valley, following the Innergschlöss Glacier hiking trail. If we were to do this hike again, we would finish the trek today, hiking down to Innergschlöss. From the Innergschlöss hamlet, either take the Venediger Taxi, or walk down to Matreier Tauernhaus.


Stay in Neue Prager Hütte

Reservation | Neue Prager Hütte – Online Reservation via Alpsonline

Payment | Cash and credit cards accepted

Showers | 5 EUR for a 3 minute shower

Drinking Water | Buy bottled water. Tap water is not safe to drink according to signage.

Electronic Charging Stations | Free

Half Board or à la carte | Half board only.

Rooms | Only dormitory-style rooms.

Innergschlöss, Hohe Tauern National Park, Austria

Venediger High Trail Stage 6: Neue Prager Hütte – Matreier Tauernhaus


Stage 6 Trail Stats

Distance | 10.7 km

Time Needed | 4 hours

Elevation Gain | 4 meters

Elevation Loss | 1275 meters

Difficulty | Moderate

Minimum Elevation | 1510 meters

Maximum Elevation | 2796 meters

Route | Neue Prager Hütte (2,796 m) – Innergschlöß / Alpengasthaus Venedigerhaus (1,689 m) – Matreier Tauernhaus (1,512 m)

Lunch Option | Alpengasthaus Venedigerhaus


Neue Prager Hütte – Innergschlöss – Alpengasthaus Venedigerhaus – Matreier Tauernhaus (4 hours)

The final stage of the Venediger High Alpine trail begins by retracing your steps back down to Alte Prager Hütte (50 minutes) and further down to the intersection of the Innergschlöss Glacier Trail.

The descent continues along trail 902b in the direction of Matreier Tauernhaus. With cascading waterfalls rolling down in all directions, the long descent to the valley is scenically dazzling. It took us 2 hours from Neue Prager Hütte to reach the valley floor.

Once at the bottom, you’ll have to cross the marshy riverbed. The hard part’s over. Simply follow the road for 30 minutes to Venedigerhaus in Innergschlöss, a guesthouse with a restaurant.

Because we arrived here quite early (10:30 am), their kitchen wasn’t open. But, we were still able to order espresso and cake.

Fairy-tale-like Innergschlöss is made up of a few rustic wooden houses, all congregated along the flower-lined river.

Note: If you’re just “over it” and want to end the hike, there’s a taxi shuttle you can take from Innergschlöss to Matreier Tauernhaus.

From Innergschlöss, continue along the road. You’ll soon see a bridge on your right. You can cross here and follow the gentle trail for 40 minutes to Aussergschlöss.

Or, if you follow the road, there’s a tiny chapel, Felsenkapelle, built into a rock that’s worth seeing. It’s located approximately halfway between Innergschlöss and Aussergschlöss.

Aussergschlöss is a tiny hamlet with a collection of charming wooden structures. We ate a home cooked lunch at Berggasthaus Aussergschlöss.

From here it’s a 45-minute descent (170 meters / 2.6 km) to your final destination: Matreier Tauernhaus. You can choose between taking the road (left side of the river), or the trail (right side of the river).


Where to Stay Post-Trek

Midrange | Matreier Tauernhaus is a guesthouse, conveniently located at the end of the Venediger High Trail. It’s cozy and effortlessly charming. It’s also the perfect place to eat, relax, and sleep after your trek. After checking in and showering, we enjoyed the sauna and wellness area for several hours, before heading to dinner. You can choose between half-board, or their à la carte menu. We ate three meals here, so we can assure you that whatever you choose, you’ll be satisfied. Don’t miss out on their cakes!

Budget | Gästehaus Obwexer in Matrei in Osttirol

Budget | Haus Wibmer Matrei in Matrei in Osttirol

Midrange | AlpenParks Hotel Montana is set directly in Matrei and offers both double rooms and family studios. The breakfast is excellent and the alpine views are superb.

Luxury | Natur- und Wanderhotel Outside combines alpine charm with modern sensibilities. Located in the center of Matrei, this 4-star hotel checks all the boxes: spa and wellness, regional sourcing of ingredients, gourmet food, and fresh design.

Look for accommodation in Matrei in Osttirol.



More Hut to Hut Hiking Trails

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Venediger High Trail Hut to Hut Hiking Trail, Austria

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Moon & Honey Travel is an independent blog created by two passionate hikers. We are able to provide free content to you, because of ads and affiliate links. When you make a purchase using one of these links, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Happy travels and happy trails,

Sabrina & Kati

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