When it comes to hiking Austria has it all, from tough multi-day tramps across the Alps to short sunny-day strolls that suit the whole family.
Austria’s pristine wide-open spaces are not only alive with the sound of music but echo with the rhythmic footsteps of the hikers that descend to traipse across some of Europe’s most legendary landscapes.
Hiking is considered to be Austria’s unofficial national pastime and, with a swag of strolling selections from appealing ambles able to occupy a couple of hours to challenging multi-day treks, there’s something for everyone.
1. THE INNSBRUCK TREK
Spend a wonderful week wandering the tantalising trails around Innsbruck in Austria’s west with this option offering the best of both worlds by combining a good dose of activity and considerable creature comfort.
While walkers tackle a new section of the Innsbruck Trek every day there’s a team working behind the scenes to move luggage between lodging which means hikers need only carry a small pack as they saunter from one scenic spot to the next.
There’s also something for every ability around this hilly region, with two different routes on offer every day of the schedule catering to different fitness and skill levels, and ramblers can join groups hosted by mountain guides that depart on set dates or schedule self-guided adventures at any time.
The magnificent Arlberg mountains in the country’s western corner are not only considered to be the cradle of alpine skiing but the place to find some of the Continent’s best walking trails when the white stuff melts for the warmer months.
A selection of single strolls combine to make one magical multi-day meander that takes visitors with a passion for the outdoors across alpine pastures, into hilltop hamlets, beside mountain streams, and through the shadows of soaring summits.
Pass through the Verwalltal Valley to Konstanzer Hut which is considered to be one of St Anton’s prettiest mountain hideaways, uncover the region’s history while navigating the Mutspuren Circular Trail, and complete the first leg of The Green Ring to stroll a short section of Arlberg’s most famous tramping course.
3. DACHSTEIN SALZKAMMERGUT
Austria’s Dachstein Salzkammergut is the UNESCO World Heritage zone a stone’s throw from Salzburg that not only takes in picture-perfect settlements like Hallstatt, Obertraun, Gosau and Bad Goisern but dozens of dramatic walking ways.
Locals say the rugged region is graced with endless kilometres of hiking trails, some meandering around the edges of alpine lakes and others crossing the upper reaches of sky scraping 3000m peaks, with the sheer volume of routes guaranteeing something for every visitor.
A popular option is tackling the famous Brine Pipeline Trail from Lake Hallstatt to Lake Traunsee with the friendly 40km course divided into four 10km sections each focusing on a different aspect of local life, history or geography.
For more information, head over to the Austria Tourism website to discover more of Austria
Written by Sarah Nicholson, a KARRYON contributor