HIKER’S PARADISE: Austria

Welcome to HIKER’S PARADISE!

We’re glad you’re here!  This series is where you’ll find some of the best recommendations from GUEST WRITERS WORLDWIDE for places in the world to live in if your passion has to do with spending time in the mountains.  Our featured hiker’s paradise is: 

AUSTRIA

by Karolina of Trail Maden

Austria – a hiking and backpacking paradise for everyone who loves mountains and beautiful nature. It’s no wonder as the country is situated in the Alps and three quarters of the area are covered by mountains.

Three major Alpine ranges ( Central Eastern Alps, Northern Limestone Alps and Southern Limestone Alps ) as well as, part of the Carpathians lie within the Austrian borders which provides a variety of landscapes and hiking possibilities.

But it’s not only the geomorphological location that makes Austria the best place for hikers and mountain lovers. An extraordinary, highly maintained trail network, as well as, an abundance of all sorts of accommodation make this country especially hiker/backpacker friendly. The outstanding communication system makes getting to and from the trail extremely easy.  Adding Austrians’ exceptional friendliness and hospitality to the picture, Austria is one of the best places to live or to travel to as a hiker.

Austria is not big; however, choosing where to travel and which trail to take can be a challenge. Tyrol, Vorarlberg, Salzburg, Carinthia and Styria – all of those states provide an amazing amount of possibilities. Each state is different and which one you choose really depends on your preferences.

There is, however, one mountain range that runs through three of the above states called, High Tauern.  Four out of the six highest peaks in Austria, including the highest Grossglockner 3,798 meters, within this range, making it especially interesting and challenging.  High Tauern National Park, which stretches across the main chain, is Austria’s largest national park with an area of around 1,834 square kilometers (708 sq mi).

Among hundreds of trails, there are three that deserve special attention: Pasterze Glacier trail, Kreuzeck Höhenweg, Kaprun Dam trail.

Pasterze Glacier trail – Pasterze is the largest glacier in Easter Alps. This 4 hour long round-trip trek lets you witness the mighty glacier and admire the enormous summits that surround it. The trip starts at the Glockner House (2,121m) at the Großglockner High Alpine Road. The trail is relatively easy; however, it requires sure-footedness, as well as, good fitness as the last part that ascends to the funicular, is a little strenuous. This trip allows you to see the glacier up close and witness how climate change affects its existence.

Kaprun Dam trail – this short, 45 minute trip offers one of the best views. Kaprun dam is situated 2000 meters above sea level and offers unforgettable experiences. The round trip is fairly easy and leads from the dam to the Fürthermoaralm.  Along the trail, you get one-of-a-kind view at the Glocknergruppe, Steinernes Meer, Stauseen – an amazing feast for the eyes. This pleasant trail is suited for families with children.  From Fürthermoaralm, you can either take a bus or walk back.

Kreuzeck Höhenweg – the Kreuzeck group is the largest mountain group in Carinthia with lonely summits, small alpine lakes and extraordinary hiking possibilities. This high route starts at the cable car station Kreuzeck-Bahn at 1.196 meters. It’s alpine in character and it’s not especially difficult. However, any long day treks require good fitness and sure-footedness.  Five sections will take you through one of the most breathtaking landscapes in Alps. You will be able to experience Austrian mountain huts serving local specialties and the nature at its best.

Source: Creative Commons

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