Let’s venture into the Austrian Alps – somewhere so enchanting that you’ll swear you’re dreaming. It’s a place where glacier-melted waters tumble over mountains and snake across meadows. It’s an imposing world of ice and moraine. It’s a place that harbors cave churches and storybook-like wooden cottages. And, it’s a pristine valley set amidst the towering peaks of the Venediger Group.
This magical place is Gschlösstal (also spelled Gschlößtal), a heavenly valley in Hohe Tauern National Park in East Tyrol (Osttirol).
In summer, Gschlösstal is a spectacular destination for a hiking holiday in Austria. Base yourself in the guesthouse Matreier Tauernhaus or in Matrei in Osttirol for a few days. There are many spectacular hiking trails in the region, including the famous Innergschlöss Glacier Trail (“Gletschwerweg Innergschlöss”), described below.
Innergschlöss Glacier Trail in East Tyrol
- Starting Point: Matreier Tauernhaus (1,512 m)
- Shuttle to Trailhead: Venediger Taxi
- Trailhead: Innergschlöss (1,689 m)
- Type of Hike: Lollipop Circuit
- Distance: 9.1 km
- Elevation Gain: 680 meters ascending
- Elevation Loss: 680 meters descending
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Time Needed: 5 hours
- Trails: 921, 921A, 902B
- Route: Innergschlöss – Salzbodensee – Auge Gottes – Schalatenkees – Innergschlöss
- Where to Stay: Matreier Tauernhaus
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Innergschlöss Glacier Trail Map
How to Get to Matreier Tauernhaus in Gschlösstal
The starting point for this day hike is the guesthouse Matreier Tauernhaus in Gschlösstal. You can either drive here, or take public transit from Lienz, or Matrei in Ossttirol.
How to Get to Matreier Tauernhaus with Public Transit in Summer
The main transit hub in East Tyrol is the town of Lienz. So whether you’re coming from Vienna, Graz, or Klagenfurt, etc…, you’ll first need to take a train to Lienz.
Next, you’ll hop on bus #955. The Lienz bus station is conveniently located just outside the Lienz train station.
You can pay the bus driver directly in cash for your ticket. We paid 11.50 EUR one-way per person. The bus ride takes about 1 hour. Note: you can only pay with 20 EUR bills or smaller. Use this website to find out bus times.
Alternatively, from Lienz take Bus #951 (Direction: Prägraten / Hinterbichl) to Matrei in Osttirol. From here, switch to Bus #955 to Matreier Tauernhaus.
You can purchase your bus tickets on the bus.
How to Get to Matreier Tauernhaus with a Car
From Lienz, drive in the direction of Matrei in Osttirol.
Continue another 16 km (18 minutes) to Matreier Tauernhaus.
Turn left onto Tauer, before the Felbertauerntunnel (Felber Tauern tunnel).
Parking in Gschlösstal
Overnight guests of Matreier Tauernhaus receive free parking during their stay. If you’re coming to Gschlösstal for a day trip, you’ll have to pay a parking fee. As of summer 2019, the fee structure is as follows:
- 1 Hour: Free
- 2 Hours: 2 EUR
- 3 Hours: 3 EUR
- 4 – 5 Hours: 5 EUR
- 6 – 12 Hours: 7 EUR
- 12 – 24 Hours: 9 EUR
- 2 – 4 Days: 14 EUR
- Over 4 Days: 14 EUR + 2 EUR per day
Take the Venediger Taxi to Innergschlöss
Innergschlöss is an alpine settlement in Gschlösstal, 4.2 kilometers from Matreier Tauernhaus. This is where the glacier trail begins. You can grab a bite to eat at Alpengasthaus Venedigerhaus, before or after your hike.
Since you cannot drive here, you can decide whether you want to hike, or take the Venediger Taxi to Innergschlöss.
The Venediger Taxi shuttles hikers between Matreier Tauernhaus and Innergschlöss every 30-40 minutes. The taxi costs 5 EUR per person (one-way only). We recommend taking the taxi because it will trim off 4.2 kilometers (2 hours) off your ascent.
If you decide to hike, follow the road from Matreier Tauernhaus to the Außergschlöss settlement. From Außergschlöss, it’s another 40 minutes to reach Innergschlöss. You can hike along the road, or following the hiking path. Along the road, you’ll pass the rock chapel Felsenkapelle.
Innergschlöss Glacier Trail Description
From Venedigerhaus in Innergschlöss, continue walking up the road for about 1.6 km (25 minutes). You’ll reach a signed intersection where there’s a gated bridge on your left. Cross the bridge and follow Trail #921 in the direction of Gletscherweg Innergschlöss (4 hours).
The loop trail begins here. You’ll first ascend to lake Salzbodensee (2,138 m) and then up to Auge Gottes (Eye of God), which is a small eye-shaped tarn.
Next, you’ll follow a gentle trail down to a bridge, where you’ll cross the river Schlatenbach.
Soon you’ll see an option to steer left in the direction of the Glacier Tongue signed “Rundweg zur Gletscherzunge.” If you take the trail, it’ll eventually loop up to the lookout point. So, either way, you’ll end up in the same place. Following the Gletscherweg along Trail #921a, you’ll ascend to a spectacular lookout point (2,237 m) of the Keesboden Glacier and Venediger Group.
Try to spot Grossvenediger, Austria’s second-highest mountain. Hint: it’s not the black pyramid-shaped Schwarze Wand or Rainerhorn, which look like cat ears.
From here, you’ll continue the loop and eventually descend along Trail #902B back down to the valley. Once you reach the valley, you’ll cross the Gschlössbach river (more like several streams) to reach the road. Continue to Innergschlöss.
After completing the loop, you can either take the Venediger Taxi down or walk down.
Staying at Matreier Tauernhaus
We arrived in Matreier Tauernhaus after hiking the 6-day Venediger High Trail. The Glacier Trail and Gschlößtal valley were the undisputed highlights of our trek, which is why we decided to write this post. We recommend staying at least one night in Matreier Tauernhaus, so you can fully soak up the pristine surroundings of this Hohe Tauern valley. You could also stay in the town Matrei in Osttirol, but we always think it’s better (and more relaxing) to stay as close as possible to the trailhead.
Apart from the convenient location, we loved the hospitality, food, and overall vibe of Matreier Tauernhaus. The staff was attentive, helpful, and welcoming. The food was hearty and delicious.
Bonus: there’s also a comfortable sauna and newly renovated relaxation room, available from 4:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. every day. So after a long day of hiking, you can treat your tired muscles to an infrared or Finnish-style sauna and then doze off in their quiet relaxation room.
Our room was small but spotless and comfortable. And when it’s time to go, you can either hop back in your car or take the bus which departs directly from the guesthouse.
If you spend more time in this valley, also check out the loop trail to St. Pöltner Hütte (2481 m), which passes several alpine lakes: Grausee, Schwarzsee, Grünsee. And perhaps the trail to Löbbensee lake and Wildenkogel peak (3021 m).
At Matreier Tauernhaus, there’s a large binder containing maps and trail info for all possible hikes in the area. The staff will be more than happy to help you select the right trail.
More nearby accommodations
Budget | Zedlacherhof is a lovely and authentic place to stay when you’re on a budget. Located in Zedlach village, a 4.5 km from the town center of Matrei in Osttirol, this family-run guesthouse is advantageously surrounded by mountains. The hosts are extremely welcoming and helpful.
Midrange | AlpenParks Hotel Matrei 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.
Read Next: Best Places to Stay in Austria in Summer
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More Information for Your Trip to Austria:
- Austria Travel Guide
- Vienna City Guide
- 2 Week Austria Road Trip Itinerary
- 1 Week Austria Itinerary
- Best Places to Visit in Austria
- Grossglockner High Alpine Road
Hiking in the Austrian Alps: