The best way to absorb the culture and beauty of the Austrian Alps is by embarking on a hut-to-hut trek, or long-distance hiking trail.

The problem is: where do you go? There are 57 mountain groups in Austria. When trying to decide where to hike, you may experience the paradox of choice. Sometimes too many options lead to choice paralysis – like the cereal aisle in a U.S. supermarket. 

We’re on a mission to help hikers figure out where to hike in the Austrian Alps because Austria is a dream destination for hut-to-hut hiking and long-distance trekking, and, too many people are missing out.

Dazzling alpine scenery combined with cozy, warm Hütten (mountain huts) makes Austria the ultimate destination in Europe for accessible, comfortable, easy and challenging, cultural, and savory (the food is excellent) hiking.

In this guide, we’ve outlined our favorite treks in Austria. We’ll tell you exactly what we loved and what we disliked about each hiking trail, so you can decide which Austrian trek is best for you.

Also, read Hut to Hut Hiking in Austria: Essential Tips for guidance on how to reserve mountain huts and how to prepare for a multi-day hike in Austria. 

Important: Due to the ongoing pandemic, Austrian mountain hut visitors must adhere to new safety rules and regulations. Here’s a summary of the current rules.

Best Treks and Long-Distance Hikes in Austria

Stripsenjochhaus, Wilder Kaiser, Austria
  1. Karwendel High Trail, Tirol
  2. Eagle Walk, Tirol
  3. Montafon Hut to Hut Circuit, Vorarlberg
  4. Schladminger Tauern High Trail, Styria 
  5. Venediger High Trail, Osttirol 
  6. Berlin High Trail, Tirol
  7. Rätikon High Trail Circuit, Vorarlberg 
  8. Emperor’s Crown (Kaiserkrone) Hike, Tirol

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1. Karwendel High Trail

Karwendel High Trail, Best Treks in Austria
  • Where: Tirol
  • Duration: 6 Stages
  • Difficulty: Moderately difficult with some challenging sections
  • When to hike: July, August, September 
  • Pros of hiking the Karwendel High Trail: Excellent mountain huts, stunning trails, and striking mountain scenery.
  • Cons of hiking the Karwendel High Trail: Stage 4 is extremely long. However, you can break it up by staying in Innsbruck (cableway descent), and hop back on the trail the next day (cableway ascent). 
  • Where to stay before/after the Trek: Lifestylehotel dasMAX (budget), Oasis Princess Bergfrieden (midrange), or Alpenlove Spa Hotel (luxury)

The 6-stage Karwendel High Trail (Karwendel Höhenweg) is a hut-to-hut hike in the Karwendel Mountains of Tirol. Forming the northern-backdrop of postcard-pretty Innsbruck, the Karwendel range is easily accessible by public transit.

You can reach the Scharnitz trailhead by train from either Innsbruck, or Seefeld in Tirol, in Austria, or from Munich in Germany

This 63-km U-shaped hiking trail in Tirol weaves through gorgeous high alpine environments, gifting hikers sweeping views of the Stubai and Zillertal Alps as well as the Inntal, Halltal, and Sammertal Valleys.

In 6 days, hikers will walk along the Isar river, summit Speckkarspitze and Kleine Stempeljochspitze peaks (optional), follow a narrow balcony trail overlooking Innsbruck, and conquer the challenging ascents and descents to the Stempeljoch and Frau Hitt mountain saddles.

Beyond the stirring views of the limestone mountains, you’ll experience some of Austria’s most welcoming and convivial mountain huts. Each hut along this route is staffed by an attentive and hospitable team. And, the food is sensational as well.

Learn More: Karwendel High Trail Trekking Guide

2. Eagle Walk

Eagle Walk Lechtal Alps - Best Treks and Long Distance Trails in Austria
  • Where: Tirol
  • Duration: 33 Stages 
  • Difficulty: Moderate – Very Challenging, depending on the stage 
  • When to hike: July, August, September 
  • Pros of hiking the Eagle Walk: captivating scenery, remote trails, alpine lakes, wildlife sightings, challenging terrain 
  • Cons of hiking the Eagle Walk: Some of the hut managers are unfriendly 

The Eagle Walk (Adlerweg in German) is Austria’s most famous long-distance hiking trail. The route traverses the Austrian State of Tirol in 33 stages, from East to West.

In North Tirol, the hiking trail starts in St. Johann in Tirol and ends in St. Christoph am Arlberg (Stages 1 – 24). The trail continues for another nine stages in East Tyrol (Osttirol).

Some may want to hike the Eagle Walk from beginning to end. Others may want to hike the Eagle Walk across a specific range: Wilder Kaiser, Brandenberger Alps, Karwendel, Tux Alps, Wetterstein Mountains, and Lechtal Alps.

Eagle Walk Lechtal Alps Stages 19 – 24

We decided to hike the last six stages of the North Tirol Eagle Walk across the Lechtal Alps. The Lechtal Alps (Lechtaler Alpen) are the longest range in the Northern Limestone Alps, and they are utterly magnificent. No mountain looks like another. 

This was a technically demanding trek, replete with ridge line climbs, grueling ascents, secured passages, and lots of rock-hugging (that’s what I’m calling it). Visually, it was sensational – worthy of tears. I’ll be dreaming about these mountains until the day I die! 

Throughout our trek, we rarely saw anyone, even though we hiked in high season (mid-July). The only “busy” place is Memminger Hütte, where the Eagle Walk intersects with the E4 and E5 European long-distance trails. 

  • Where to stay before the trek: LechZeit in Elmen, Lechtal Valley
  • Where to stay after the trek: The trail ends in St. Christoph am Arlberg, which is a ghost town in summer. We recommend staying in St. Anton am Arlberg in Tirol or Lech am Arlberg in Vorarlberg. Lech am Arlberg is a beautiful alpine village and one of our favorite destinations in Austria. Learn more: Lech Summer Hiking Guide. Check out the budget-friendly Lech Hostel and the affordable B&B Hotel Garni Schneider.

Learn More: Eagle Walk Lechtal Alps Trekking Guide

3. Montafon Hut to Hut Circuit

Trekking Austria: Best Treks in Austria, Montafon Circuit Trek
  • Duration: 13 Stages
  • Difficulty: Moderate with some difficult sections. 
  • When to hike: July, August, September 
  • Pros of hiking the Montafon Circuit Trail: You get to hike across three different mountain ranges; laid-back mountain huts; traditional Alpe(n). 
  • Cons of hiking the Montafon Circuit Trail: Short stages (especially stages 9-12), but you can easily combine them. 
  • Where to stay before/after the Trek: TUI Blue Montafon (budget-friendly), or Gasthof Löwen (midrange) in Schruns-Tschagguns

The Montafon Hut to Hut Circuit (Montafoner Hüttenrunde) is a 13-stage hiking trail that traverses the mountain ranges enveloping the Montafon Valley in Vorarlberg. The U-shaped trail starts in the crystalline Verwall range, continues into the Silvretta range, and then ends in the limestone Rätikon Alps. 

This classic Austrian hiking route offers mountain lovers a chance to marvel at glaciers, 3000 m+ peaks, and verdant river valleys. 

A highlight of our trek was staying in Saarbrücker Hütte. This is one of the loveliest mountain huts in Austria. The food is excellent, the staff is kind, and the interior is heart-warming.

And, of course, this hike is in Vorarlberg. Let me admit my bias right now. I truly believe that Vorarlberg is home to the kindest, most open-hearted Austrians. Wouldn’t you agree?

Learn More: Montafon Hut to Hut Circuit Trekking Guide

4. Schladminger Tauern High Trail

Schladminger Tauern High Trail - Trekking Austria
  • Where: Styria
  • Duration: 5 Stages
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • When to hike: July, August, September 
  • Pros of hiking the Schladminger Tauern High Trail: Alpine lakes and authentic mountain huts. 
  • Cons of hiking the Schladminger Tauern High Trail: None.
  • Where to stay before/after the Trek: Stadthotel Brunner in Schladming

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

The Schladminger Tauern range is bounded by the Dachstein in the north, the Radstadt Tauern to the west, the Nock Mountains to the south, and the Rottenmann and Wölz Tauern to the east.

The five-day Schladminger Tauern High Trail is one of the least-known, but most impressive hiking trails in the Austrian Alps. 

If you love pristine alpine lakes, this is for you. On day 1, you’ll hike by Klammsee, Brettersee, and Giglachseen. On day 3, you’ll hike to Oberen Landawirsee and Unteren Landawirsee. And on day 4, you’ll cross the Klafferkessel cirque, which contains more than 30 lakes.

When we think about which treks in Austria we want to re-do, this is always our #1 choice. It’s not crowded. The huts are small and intimate. And, of course, the food is excellent. We’re hoping that the hut management along this route never changes.

Learn More: Schladminger Tauern High Trail Trekking Guide

5. Venediger High Trail

Trekking Austria: Venediger High Trail, East Tyrol Trek
  • Where: East Tyrol (Osttirol)
  • Duration: 6 Stages
  • Difficulty: Moderately Difficult 
  • When to hike: July, August, September 
  • Pros of hiking the Venediger High Trail: Glaciers and Solitude
  • Cons of hiking the Venediger High Trail: Subpar food and unfriendly and patronizing hut managers. 
  • Where to stay before the Trek: Ferienhaus Enzian in Virgental Valley
  • Where to stay after the Trek: Matreier Tauernhaus in Gschlöß valley

The Venediger High Trail (Venediger Höhenweg) is a multi-day trek through the Venediger Group in Austria’s Hohe Tauern National Park. This East Tyrolean hut to hut hike partially wraps around Grossvenediger, Austria’s second-largest mountain, delivering views of mammoth mountains, melting glaciers, and countless waterfalls. 

The scenery is impressive in a vast and bleak type of way. On some stages, it feels like you’re hiking into the heart of Mordor. On other days, you feel like you’re hiking on the spine of a dragon. 

For us, a compelling reason to hike in Austria is the food and hospitality of the mountain huts. Unfortunately, the food in Badener Hütte, Bonn-Matreier Hütte, and Neue Prager Hütte, was ghastly. Hopefully, they’ve made some drastic changes in the last few years.

Learn More: Vendiger High Trail Trekking Guide

6. Berlin High Trail

Trekking Austria: Berling High Trail, Zillertal
  • Where: Tirol
  • Duration: 8 stages
  • Difficulty: Difficult 
  • When to hike: July, August, September 
  • Pros of hiking the Berlin High Trail: Scenery
  • Cons of hiking the Berlin High Trail: It’s overrun. Much of the trail is accessible to day hikers, so there are too many people on the trail. 
  • Where to stay before/after the Trek: Landhotel Rauchenwalderhof (budget) or Alpenhotel Kramerwirt (midrange) in Mayrhofen, Zillertal

The Berlin High Trail showcases the best of the Zillertal Alps in Tirol, Austria. It’s an unforgettable adventure packed with challenging ascents and descents, rustic and grand mountain huts, and memorable glacier and lake views.

This high-alpine route takes 8 days, though you can easily customize the route for shorter periods of time. 

Our favorite Berlin High Trail experiences were hiking from Friesenberghaus to Olpererhütte, the descent from Schönbichler Horn peak, the stately Berliner Hütte, and warming up and eating EVERYTHING in Greizer Hütte after hours in the rain. 

Learn More: Berlin High Trail Trekking Route

7. Rätikon High Trail Circuit

Trekking Austria: Rätikon Alps High Trail, Vorarlberg
  • Where: Vorarlberg (Austria) and Graubünden (Switzerland)
  • Duration: 3 – 5 Stages
  • Difficulty: Stages 1 – 3 are easy. Stages 4 – 5 are more difficult 
  • When to hike: (late June), July, August, September 
  • Pros of hiking the Rätikon High Trail: Gorgeous limestone mountains, cross-border experience, alpine pastures 
  • Cons of hiking the Rätikon High Trail: None
  • Where to stay before/after the Trek: Pension Bergkristall (budget), Hotel Lün (midrange), or Aktiv-Hotel Sarotla (Luxury) in Brand, Branderntal

The Rätikon Alps straddle the border between Austria, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein. With its limestone peaks and sloping pastureland, Rätikon delivers one storybook scene after another.  It doesn’t get more “fairy-tale” than this. 

Our Rätikon Alp 5-day trekking itinerary follows the Rätikon Höhenweg Nord (North Rätikon High Trail) in Vorarlberg, Austria and the Prättigauer Höhenweg (Prättigau High Trail) in Graubünden, Switzerland. You’ll overnight two nights in Austrian mountain huts and two nights in Swiss mountain huts.

Beginning at the majestic Lünersee (Lüner Lake), this trek starts out very gently. If you’re completely new to multi-day hiking, this is a great place to start. There are no brutal ascents or descents. The only challenging section is from Schesaplanahütte to Schesaplana, the highest peak in the Rätikon. 

Learn More: Rätikon High Trail Trekking Guide

8. Emperor’s Crown Hiking Trail

Emperor's Crown Trek (Kaiserkrone Trail) in Wilder Kaiser, Tirol, Austria
  • Where: Tirol
  • Duration: 5 stages 
  • Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
  • When to hike: June – September 
  • Pros of hiking the Emperor’s Crown: Trail variety (forests, meadows, ridges) 
  • Cons of hiking the Emperor’s Crown: None
  • Where to stay before/after the Trek: Boutique Hotel im Auracher Löchl or Hotel Kufsteinerhof in Kufstein

The Emperor’s Crown (Kaiserkrone) is a 5 stage hiking trail which circuits the Wilder Kaiser massif in Tirol. Unlike most of the routes described in this post, the Emperor’s Crown isn’t high-alpine. The trail leads hikers largely through forests and across alpine pastures.

The 65-km trail traditionally starts at Aschingerkapelle, Going (Hüttling). However, if you’re traveling by transit, it’s far easier to start the route in Kufstein, which has direct train connections to Vienna, Innsbruck, and Salzburg. 

This is a really enjoyable hike with lots of variation in terms of scenery and terrain. You’ll stay overnight in two exceptional mountain huts (Gruttenhütte and Stripsenjochhaus) and two guesthouses (in Gasteig and Hintersteiner See lake) along the way. 

This is a perfect route for anyone new to multi-day hiking in Austria.

Learn More: Emperor’s Crown Trek

Austria Trekking Gear

Hiking Gear

Mountain Hut Essentials

Due to the ongoing pandemic, blankets are no longer provided in the huts. The Alpenverein has mandated new rules for staying in Austrian mountain huts.

Learn More: Hut to Hut Hiking Packing List

Hiking Guidebooks

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