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Trekking Austria: Best Treks and Long-Distance Hikes

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 Visiting Austrian Mountain Huts and 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. 

If you’re interested in self-guided hiking tours, we recommend booking with Alpenventures UNGUIDED. Here are a few of their Austrian hut tours:

Karwendel High Trail, Austria
  • When to Trek in Austria: The best time to embark on multi-day treks in the Austrian Alps is between mid/late June and mid/late September.
  • When to Book Treks in Austria: This varies depending on the popularity of the trek. If you want to hike the famous Berlin High Trail, it’s best to book a few months in advance. If you want to book a lesser-known trail, it’s usually possible to book a few months in advance (or even a few weeks in advance).
  • Hut to Hut Hiking versus Wild Camping: Wild camping is strictly forbidden in the Austrian Alps. So, the only way to hike long distances in Austria is to embark on a hut to hut hike.
  • Trail Signage and Waymarking: Excellent
  • Packing List: Hut to Hut Hiking Packing List
  • Guidebooks: Trekking in the Stubai Alps, Trekking in Austria’s Hohe Tauern, and Karnischer Höhenweg

1. Karwendel High Trail

Karwendel High Trail, Tyrol, Austria

The 6-stage Karwendel High Trail (Karwendel Höhenweg) is a hut-to-hut hike in the Karwendel Mountains of Tyrol. 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.

Karwendel High Trail Stats

Starting Point | Scharnitz

Ending Point | Seefeld in Tirol

Duration | 6 Days

Distance | 63 km u-shaped circuit

Difficulty | Difficult

When to Hike | July, August, September 

Pros | Excellent mountain huts, stunning trails, and striking mountain scenery.

Cons | 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). 

Learn More: Karwendel High Trail Trekking Guide

2. Eagle Walk

Lechtal Alps hut to hut hike, Austria

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

In North Tyrol, 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. 

Eagle Walk Lechtal Alps Trail Stats

Starting Point | Boden

Ending Point | St. Christoph am Arlberg

Duration | 6 Days

Distance | 57 km point-to-point

Difficulty | Very Challenging 

When to Hike | July, August, September 

Pros | Captivating scenery, remote trails, alpine lakes, wildlife sightings, challenging terrain 

Cons | Some of the hut managers are unfriendly.

Learn More: Eagle Walk Lechtal Alps Trekking Guide

3. Montafon Hut to Hut Circuit

Montafon hut to hut hike, Silvretta Alps, Austria

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?

Montafon Hut to Hut Circuit Trail Stats

Starting Point | Silbertal, Montafon

Ending Point | Tschagguns-Latschau, Montafon

Duration | 13 stages which can be hiked in 11 days

Distance | 133 km u-shaped circuit

Difficulty | Moderate

When to Hike | July – late September

Pros | You get to hike across three different mountain ranges; laid-back mountain huts; traditional Alpe(n). 

Cons | Short stages (especially stages 9-12), but you can easily combine them. 

Learn More: Montafon Hut to Hut Circuit Trekking Guide

4. Schladminger Tauern High Trail

Schladminger Tauern High Trail - Trekking Austria

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.

Schladminger Tauern High Trail Stats

Starting Point/Ending Point | Schladming

Duration | 5 Days

Distance | 45 km circuit

Difficulty | Difficult

When to Hike | July, August, September

Pros | Alpine lakes and authentic mountain huts

Cons | None

Learn More: Schladminger Tauern High Trail Trekking Guide

5. Venediger High Trail

Venediger High Trail trek in East Tyrol, Hohe Tauern National Park, Austria

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.

Venediger High Trail Stats

Starting Point | Virgental Valley

Ending Point | Gschlöß Valley

Duration | 6 Days

Distance | 56 km point-to-point

Difficulty | Moderately-Difficult 

When to Hike | July – mid-September

Pros | Glaciers and Solitude

Cons | Subpar food and unfriendly and patronizing hut managers. 

Learn More: Venediger High Trail Trekking Guide

6. Berlin High Trail

Zillertal Alps, Austrian Alps, Austria

The Berlin High Trail showcases the best of the Zillertal Alps in Tyrol, 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 (3134 m), the stately Berliner Hütte, and warming up and eating EVERYTHING in Greizer Hütte after hours in the rain. 

Berlin High Trail Stats

Starting Point | Finkenberg, Mayrhofen

Ending Point | Mayrhofen

Duration | 8 Days

Distance | 86 km u-shaped circuit

Difficulty | Difficult

When to Hike | July – mid-September

Pros | Scenery

Cons | If the weather is unstable, this is a difficult hike to do safely.

Learn More: Berlin High Trail Trekking Route

7. Rätikon High Trail Circuit

Rätikon Alps trek, Switzerland

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 4-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 (2964 m), the highest peak in the Rätikon. 

Rätikon High Trail Stats

Starting Point/Ending Point | Lünersee

Duration | 3 – 4 Days

Distance | 45 km circuit

Difficulty | Easy – Moderate

When to Hike | July, August, September

Pros | Gorgeous limestone mountains, cross-border experience, alpine pastures 

Cons | None

Learn More: Rätikon High Trail Trekking Guide

8. Emperor’s Crown Hiking Trail

Emperor's Crown Trek (Kaiserkrone Trail) in Wilder Kaiser, Tirol, Austria

The Emperor’s Crown (Kaiserkrone) is a 5 stage hiking trail which circuits the Wilder Kaiser massif in Tyrol.

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 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.

Emperor’s Crown Trail Stats

Starting Point/Ending Point | Kufstein

Duration | 5 Days 

Distance | 65 km circuit

Difficulty | Easy – Moderate

When to Hike | June – Early October 

Pros | Trail variety (forests, meadows, ridges) 

Cons | None

Learn More: Emperor’s Crown Trek

Austria Trekking Gear

Here’s our complete Hut to Hut Hiking Packing List.

Hiking Gear

Hut to Hut Hiking Backpack | Osprey Kyte 36 (for women) and Osprey Kestrel 38 (for men)

Grade B/C high-Cut Hiking Boots | Meindl Schuhe Island Lady (Kati’s Boots), Women’s Hanwag Tatra II GTX (Sabrina’s Boots), Men’s Hanwag Tatra II GTX (men’s equivalent)

CAT 4 SunglassesJulbo Shield Mountain Sunglasses 

Hiking Poles | Black Diamond Trail Trekking Poles

Climbing Gloves | black diamond half finger gloves

Mountain Hut Essentials

Sleeping Bag Liner | Sea to Summit Silk-Cotton Blend Travel and Sleeping Bag Liner

Waterproof Slippers | Crocs

Headlamp | Black Diamond Equipment Spot 350 Headlamp

Austria Trip Planning Essentials

Use our Austria Travel Guide and Austria blog archive to plan a unique and memorable trip to Austria. 

When to Visit Austria 

We recommend visiting Austria between June and October for hiking and between December and March for skiing and winter adventuring.

Summer Travel | Summer in Austria

Autumn Travel | Autumn in Austria

Winter Travel | Salzburg in December, Vienna in December, Vienna in January

Getting around Austria

Austria has an excellent public transit system. We’ve used it extensively to travel throughout the country. We highly recommend using transit if you’re visiting cities (Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Graz, etc…), and/or doing hut-to-hut hikes. 

Some areas like Mayrhofen, Schladming and Lech am Arlberg have wonderful seasonal transit systems in place (e.g. summer hiking buses). However, if you’re not visiting during the high season, bus frequencies are significantly reduced and it’s far easier to get around with your own vehicle. 

If you’re planning on visiting multiple destinations across Austria, we recommend renting a car. 

Use these road trip itineraries for trip planning inspiration:

Car Rental 

We recommend using the car rental reservation platform to search for and book car rentals. This easy-to-use booking platform compares car rental deals from 500+ trusted providers, so that you can choose the best option for your trip.

Check car rental rates here

If you’re driving into Austria from a neighboring country, don’t forget to purchase a vignette at/near the border. 

Hiking in Austria

Where to Hike in Austria

Read Austrian Alps Hiking Destinations for an overview of where to hike in Austria, with tips on specific trails and where to stay. Also check out Best Day Hikes in Austria and these region-specific hiking guides:

Hut to Hut Hiking in Austria 

Austria is a premier hut-to-hut and long-distance hiking destination. The quality of the mountain huts are superb. We particularly love the high-alpine trails, which are called Höhenwege in German. If you’re new to hut hiking, read this in-depth guide to Hut to Hut Hiking in Austria.

What to See & Do in Austria

Austrian Hotels

Learn more about the European Alps:

Multi-Day and Long Distance Treks in 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

6 thoughts on “Trekking Austria: Best Treks and Long-Distance Hikes”

  1. Thank you so much for this guide! We love hiking and thought to go to Austria after the COVID restrictions end.

    Did you book all the huts for the hikes, or it is a 1st come 1st serve basis?

    Are there small private rooms or large dorms?

    • Hi Marina, We book all huts ahead of time. It depends on the hut. Some huts only have rooms with 4-beds, 6-beds, and dormitories (“lager”). Other huts have rooms with just 2 beds.

  2. Hi Sabrina and Kati, thank you so much for those amazing hike descriptions! I am especially interested in Venediger High Trail. Are there any vegetarian options on the huts? I have read your full article, but I only found that food was quite terrible:) Thanks in advance

    • Hi Jana,
      There should be a vegetarian option in each hut. It might only be pasta and tomato sauce, but you won’t starve.
      Let us know how you like the trail.
      All the best,

  3. Hi Sabrina, thanks for the awesome guide! I’m planning about a month in Austria/Italy/Germany/Slovenia and all your articles have been super helpful. If you had to pick just one of the Austrian hut-to-hut hikes, which would say is your favorite (hard question, I know)? They all look so amazing, I am struggling to choose!

    • Hi Sarah,
      Thank you so much for reading our blog! Scenically, the Eagle Walk across the Lechtal Alps and the Berlin High Trail are difficult to rival. In terms of huts, we loved Schladminger Tauern High Trail and the Karwendel High Trail. In terms of vast open space and peace, we loved Venediger High Trail. Each trail is very special. And, the Rätikon Alps trek is an absolute winner as well – great all-around experience! Can’t pick one.


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