10 Reasons to Try Out Hiking in Austria!
- Publish date: Saturday، 03 July 2021 Last update: Saturday، 10 July 2021
Summer is finally here, which means it’s time to travel! Even though everything is not back to normal due to COVID-19, things are gradually returning to their natural rhythm. In this intolerable heat, the best travel option would be somewhere that's cool, and we can't think of a country better than Austria.
Whether you’re exploring one of the national parks, experiencing the beauty of the Alps on a long-distance trail, or heading out on a family day hike - Austria offers unlimited opportunities.
We all know that Austria tops the landscapes game. From Europe's highest waterfall, the Krimmler Wasserfälle, to the largest ice caves in the world in Werfen and the mesmerising Arlberg, there’s no wonder why nature enthusiasts love the country.
Austria offers a wide range of landscapes, from rolling hills and gentle pastures to rugged mountain peaks and glaciers.
Giant Ice World Werfen
© ÖW, Eisriesenwelt
Those of us who don’t have a clue about hiking can easily go on a self-guided walk in the Austrian Alps. Red-white-red markings on trees and rocks and signposts allow hikers to follow clear directions, durations, and sometimes even the trail’s level of difficulty.
However, make sure to take all necessary precautions, such as checking the weather, choosing the right trail for your fitness level, and taking a map with you (tip: get one at your local tourist office!).
Nordkette Mountain Innsbruck
© Innsbruck Tourismus, Christian Vorhofer
Physical and mental preparation is a must before and during a hiking trip. This is why on almost every signposted hiking trail in Austria, you will sooner or later come across a mountain hut offering local cuisine and sometimes accommodation for long-distance hikers.
We recommend a glass of refreshing elderflower juice or Almdudler, a popular Austrian sparkling herbal lemonade, before hiking on!
Breakfast in a mountain hut
© ÖW, Lisa Eiersebner
One of the most important aspects of tourism is experiencing the local cuisine. Food tastes even more delicious after a long hike, especially if the view is as beautiful as the mountains in Austria.
Mountain inns offer homemade Austrian dishes, regional specialties, and even produce right from the Alpine pastures are served.
Cold plates (such as the famous Austrian “Brettljause" – a substantial snack consisting of bread, cheese, and speck) and bread with all types of spreads are popular.
Traditional warm dishes such as Schnitzel, Käsespätzle (cheese noodles), or Kaiserschmarren (sweet, shredded pancakes).
© ÖW, Harald Eisenberger
Everything seems so peaceful and beautiful from above. Panoramic trails and scenic summit platforms await holidaymakers, which can be reached through summer cable cars or chairlifts.
Available in most Austrian regions, summer cable cars allow you to enjoy fantastic views.
Schmitten Cable Car
© Zell am See Kaprun Tourismus GmbH
Travelling with a family can be an unforgettable experience and might happen few times in a lifetime, so it’s always best to choose a family-friendly destination.
Some families enjoy physical activities together, which is why we think Austria is perfect for them.
There are plenty of hiking trails in Austria suitable for the entire family. Discover hiking trails with interactive stations, explore educational trails, or find easy, pushchair-accessible walking trails.
Hiking around Zell am See
© Zell am See Kaprun Tourismus GmbH
Talk about environmentally friendly tourism! About 27% of Austria’s surface is under natural protection. Six national parks, 50 nature parks, seven biosphere reserves, and a host of locally protected areas have been set up to protect unique species, cultural landscapes, and traditional living methods.
Austria is one of the leading countries in preserving nature. Many regions in Austria have also started to implement a sustainable tourism scheme that encompasses car-free holidays, promoting e-mobility or locally sourced food and energy.
Travellers can also enjoy dedicated educational programmes at the Austrian National Parks e.g. a guided walk with a National park ranger.
Walk with National Park Ranger at the National Park Hohe Tauern
© ÖW, Nina Baumgartner
The best combination is nature and culture; you get to see the Austrian traditions and culture in several cities during your hiking breaks.
The best example is probably Innsbruck, sometimes dubbed the “capital of the Alps." Salzburg, the city of music, is also a perfect base for a hiking holiday in the surrounding mountains.
Hiking the Untersberg near Salzburg
© Tourismus Salzburg GmbH
Hiking is rooted deeply within Austrian traditions and is considered the unofficial national pastime.
Believe it or not, some villages are classified as "hiking villages." These destinations are considered the perfect spot for a holiday with day hikes of varying difficulty levels. These villages offer special services for your hiking holidays, such as free help to plan your hiking tour and free guided hikes.
Grossglockner High Alpine Road Walk with a Ranger
© Grossglockner Hochalpenstrassen AG
Austria offers a wide variety of different hiking options and themed walks. Conquering one of the countless mountain peaks, hiking from pasture to pasture, embarking on a multi-day hike, or just enjoying a leisurely day hike – all of it is part of the Austrian hiking experience.
© ÖW, Popp-Hackner
Main image copyrights below:
Mountain Lake at Giggler Hut ©Austrian National Tourist Office / Roman Huber