Best Day Hikes in Austria


Hiking in Austria is far more than exercise; it’s a window into Austrian culture. As you journey on foot into the Austrian Alps, you can experience mountain pasture culture, culinary traditions, and historic mountain huts. The Austrian Alps stretch across most of the country, with the highest peaks in the states of Tyrol, Carinthia, and Salzburg.

With so many ranges to choose from, it can be a bit daunting to figure out where to go. The mountains of Austria require lifetimes to explore. We’re determined to uncover the best hiking trails in Austria, one summer at a time. So, below you’ll find our favorite day hikes in Austria to date, including hikes in the Lechquellen Gebirge, Lienz Dolomites, Dachstein, Schaldminger Tauern, and the Hohe Tauern. This post will continue to grow, so do check back in at the end of summer, or even next year.

If you’re interested in hut-to-hut hikes in Austria, read Trekking Austria and Hut to Hut Hiking in Austria.

1. Lünersee Circuit Trail

Rätikon Alps

Lünersee Circuit Trail - Best Day Hikes in Austria

Austrian State: Vorarlberg
Trailhead: Douglashütte / Lünerseebahn (cable car station), Brandnertal.
Distance: 6.1 km
Difficulty: Easy
Altitude Difference: Minimal

Time Needed: 2 hours
When to Go: May – October
Where to Stay: Hotel Lün in Brandnertal

Lünersee is a large alpine lake high above Brandnertal in Vorarlberg. Set amidst the striking limestone mountains of the Rätikon, this beautiful lake is a destination like no other. A cablecar from Brandnertal (Brandner Valley) takes you directly to the lake.

This hike is suitable for families with small children. If you want to extend your hike into a full-day adventure, we recommend hiking to Schesaplana, the highest mountain in the Rätikon Alps.

2. Stone Pine Path

Tux Alps

Stone Pine Trail (Zirbenweg), Easy hike above Innsbruck, Austria

Austrian State: Tyrol (Tirol)
Trailhead: Patscherkofelbahn cable car mountain station (Igls)
Destination: Glungezerbahn II mountain station (Tulfes)
Distance: 7 km
Difficulty: Easy

Altitude Difference: 200 m ascending, 90 m descending
Time Needed: 2:30 hours
When to Go: Late May – Early October, when cable cars are operating
Where We Stayed: B&B Appartements Glungezer in Tulfes

The Stone Pine Path (“Zirbenweg” in German) is a blissfully easy walking path in the Tux Alps, high above the Inntal Valley in Tirol, Austria. Lined by Europe’s largest and oldest stone pine trees (Zirben), this undulating forest trail invites you to breathe deeply, slow down, and contemplate your next Zirbenschnaps.

This easy walk is a perfect activity if you’re:

Hiking with children

  • Hunting for bird’s-eye views of Inntal Valley and Innsbruck
  • Visiting Hall in Tirol, or Innsbruck
  • Craving some fresh air, but you don’t want to break a sweat

3. Giglach Lakes

Schladminger Tauern

Ignaz-Mattis Hütte, Lower Giglach Lake, Schladminger Tauern, Austria - Best Day Hikes in Austria

Austrian State: Styria
Trailhead: Ursprungalm (1601 m)
Destination: Giglachseen (1921 m), Ignaz-Mattis Hütte (1982 m)
Distance: 8.2 km total
Difficulty: Easy

Altitude Difference: 381 m
Time Needed: 3 hours total
When to Go: June – Mid-October, depending on snow conditions.
Where to Stay: Thalers Mariandl in Rohrmoos (the village just above Schladming)

This delightful hike takes you to and around the Giglach Lakes: Oberer Giglachsee (Upper Giglach Lake) and Unterer Giglachsee (Lower Giglach Lake) in the Schladminger Tauern mountains.

From the high alpine pasture Ursprungalm, accessible by bus, or by car via a toll road (18 EUR per car), it only takes 1 hour to hike to the Giglach Lakes. We highly encourage you to take the bus from Schladming or Rohrmoos to Ursprungalm. If you stay in a hotel like Thalers Mariandl, you’ll receive a complimentary Schladming-Dachstein Summer Card, which gives you free use of regional hiking buses, including the bus to Ursprungalm.

Depending on the weather and snow conditions, this toll road will open by mid/end of May and closes for the winter by mid-October. In 2021, they didn’t open the road until mid-June, because of snow.

From the enchanting Ursprungalm, follow the wide gravel track uphill to the lakes. The trail isn’t difficult, but it’s continuously uphill.

You’ll first arrive at Giglachseen Hütte, a mountain hut located a the Upper Giglach Lake. You can take a break there, or continue 20 minutes to Ignaz-Mattis Hütte, a mountain hut perched above the Lower Giglach Lake. This is an ideal location for lunch. From here, you can continue hiking to the end of the Lower Giglach Lake and then follow the trail along the lake back in the direction of Giglachseen Hütte. This route marks the first (alternative) stage of the multi-day Schladminger Tauern High Trail.

4. Sulzenalmen

Dachstein Mountains

Sulzenalmen, Dachstein - Best Day Hikes in Austria

Austrian State: Salzburg
Trailhead: Hofalmen
Destination: Sulzenalmen
Distance: 2.2 km one-way
Difficulty: Easy / Moderate

Altitude Difference: 300 m
Time Needed: 1 hour one-way
When to Go: June – September
Where to Stay: meiZeit Lodge in Filzmoos

From the town of Filzmoos in Salzburg, take the toll road to Hofalmen (5.50 EUR per car). From Hofalmen, follow signs to Sulzenalmen, which is a high alpine pasture with two Almhütten (alpine pasture huts). You can begin the hike by following the trail to Unterhofalm and around Almsee lake. Or, you can access the trail from Oberhofalm and save the small lake for later.

The initial 30 minutes are steep. As you ascend, you’ll have splendid views of the Gosaukamm mountains, which are part of the Dachstein range.

The last stretch of the trail meanders gently through pastureland. As you near Sulzenalmen, you’ll have to choose between having lunch at Krahlehenhütte (the lower hut) and Wallehenhütte (the upper hut). Or, perhaps eat at both, as we did.

It’s easy to extend this hike into a full-day circuit hike, heading in the direction of Sulzenhals (1824 m), Rinderfeld (1760 m), Kesselwand (1750 m), and ultimately Hofpürglhütte (1705 m), before descending back to Hofalmen.

5. Five Huts Trail

Dachstein Mountains

Five Huts Trail, Dachstein, Best Day Hikes in Austria

Austrian State: Styria
Trailhead: Ramsau am Dachstein
Distance: 14 km Circuit
Difficulty: Easy / Moderate
Altitude Difference: 887 m ascending/descending

Time Needed: 5 hours
When to Go: May – October
Where to Stay: Pension Adlerhorst (budget), Hotel Sporthof Austria (midrange), or Hotel Lindenhof (luxury) in Ramsau am Dachstein.

The 5 Huts Trail (“5 Hüttenweg” in German) is a highly enjoyable day hike in Ramsau am Dachstein in Styria. With very little effort, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of the southern slopes of the Dachstein massif, as you traverse alpine pastures, larch forests, and meadows.

6. Lake Formarinsee to Lake Spullersee

Lechquellen Mountains

Lake Spullersee, Best Day Hikes in Austria

Austrian State: Vorarlberg
Trailhead: Formarinsee
Distance: 11.3 km
Difficulty: Moderate – Difficult, depending on weather conditions
Altitude Difference: 568 meters ascending / 612 meters descending

Time Needed: 4:30 – 5:00 hours
When to Go: Late June – Late September (when the buses are operating)
Where We Stayed: Hotel Sonnenburg in Lech am Arlberg

The day hike from Lake Formarinsee to Lake Spullersee gives you an outstanding overview of the enchanting Lechquellen Gebirge in Vorarlberg. The River Lech originates within the range, which is why it’s called “Lech Source Mountains.”

From the village of Lech am Arlberg, you’ll take bus #7 to Formarinsee. These buses don’t run very frequently, so make sure to plan ahead. From the bus stop, you’ll hike around Lake Formarinsee to the mountain hut Freiburger Hütte. Enjoy the views of Rote Wand, the “red wall” mountain.

Starting at Freiburger hut, the trail ascends gently through wildflower-carpeted slopes and alpine pastures to Steinernes Meer (“Stone Sea”), an impressive karst landscape. After traversing the Stone Sea, you’ll continue your ascent to the Gehrengrat mountain ridge. Next, you’ll follow the ridge downhill in the direction of Spullersee.

Romantic scenery coupled with interesting, varied terrain makes this our favorite day hike in Austria.

7. Salzburger Almenweg Stage 2

Hochkönig Mountains

Salzburger Almenweg Stage 2 - Best Day Hikes in Austria

Austrian State: Salzburg
Trailhead: Erichhütte Parkplatz (Parking Lot) or Wander Bus Stop “Erichhütte” Line: 593. To find out how to get here from Salzburg City with public transit, read Best Hikes in Salzburg.
Destination: Arthurhaus (1503 m)
Distance: 11.3 km

Difficulty: Easy
Altitude Difference: 566 m ascent, 405 descent
Time Needed: 3:30 h
When to Go: June – October
Where to Stay: Hotel Bergheimat in Mühlbach am Hochkönig

The Salzburger Almenweg is a 31-stage long-distance hiking trail in Salzburg. As the name suggests, this is a thematic hiking trail linking the region’s alms, or high alpine pastures. The entire circuit is 350 km and connects 120 Almhütten (alm mountain huts). You can hike different stages of the trail as thru-day-hikes, like stage 2, which traverses the slopes of the Hochkönig Mountains.

The hike begins at Erichhütte Parkplatz (1340 m), which is a parking lot close to the Dientner Sattel (Dienten Saddle) along Hochkönig Strasse. You’ll hike 1.5 km and ascend 200 meters to Erichhütte mountain hut (1540 m). From Erichhütte, continue right along an easy, mostly flat path in the direction of Vier Hütten (Trail No.436/401A). As you walk along the slopes of the Hochkönig peaks, you’ll be treated to marvelous views of the Alpenhauptkamm and Südwände des Hochkönigs. You’ll pass a few mountain huts along the way, including Brandstätthütte, Schartenhütte, and Molterauhütte (Windraucheggalm).

The end of the hike is marked by the large lodge and restaurant Arthurhaus, which is accessible by car and bus. Near Arthurhaus, you’ll find the charming mountain hut Sennerei Schweizerhütte and its many furry residents, including goats, pigs, bunnies, and marmots.

8. Margaritzenstausee and Sandersee

Hohe Tauern National Park

Best Day Hikes in Austria - Margaritzenstausee, Sandersee, Hohe Tauern National Park

Austrian State: Carinthia
Trailhead: Glocknerhaus (2132 m), Grossglockner High Alpine Road
Destination: Sandersee, or Kaiser Franz Josefs Höhe
Distance: 4.1 km to Sandersee (one-way), 5.5 km to Kaiser Franz Josefs Höhe (one-way)
Difficulty: Moderate

Altitude Difference: 470 m
Time Needed: 2 – 2.5 hours one-way (4-5 hours total)
When to Go: June – September
Where to Stay: Berggasthof Wallackhaus in Heiligenblut am Großglockner

This spellbinding day hike is located in Hohe Tauern National Park, just off the Grossglockner High Alpine Road. Well-marked and easy-to-follow, the hike delivers unbeatable views of Austria’s highest mountain, Grossglockner, and the rapidly receding Pasterze Glacier. This route is also the first stage of the Alpe Adria long-distance trail, which starts at Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe and ends in Heiligenblut. Though you can hike in either direction, we recommend starting in Glocknerhaus, because the views unfold spectacularly as you near the foot of Grossglockner.

Initially, the trail descends from Glocknerhaus to the reservoir Margaritzenstausee and then continues left along the water and over two reservoir cement walls. The water of Pasterze Glacier feeds Margaritzenstausee. Next, the trail ascends to Sandersee (lake). From here, you’ll have a great view of Pasterze and Grossglockner.

You can either continue all the way up to Kaiser Franz Josefs Höhe or turn back here. If you continue to Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe, it’s possible to take a shuttle back to Glocknerhaus. However, these shuttles are very infrequent (max 3 per day). Inside Glocknerhaus, there’s a timetable for the shuttle bus, which you can check before you set off.

9. Karlsbader Hütte

Lienz Dolomites

Lienz Dolomites, East Tyrol, Austria - Best Day Hikes in Austria

Austrian State: Tyrol (East Tyrol)
Trailhead: Dolomitenhütte, Lienz (1616 m)
Destination: Karlsbader Hütte (2260 m)
Distance: 4.3 km one-way
Difficulty: Moderate

Altitude Difference: 660 m
Time Needed: 1.5 -2 hours one-way
When to Go: Late June – September
Where to Stay: Parkhotel Tristachersee in Lienz

Overlooking Laserzsee lake, Karlsbader Hütte is an undeniably scenic mountain hut in the Lienz Dolomites. This mountain group is part of the Gailtal Alps and is situated on the southern border of Austria, close to Italy. The name is rather misleading because these mountains are limestone and actually do not contain any Dolomite rock, despite their appearance.

To begin this hike, drive up to the mountain hut Dolomitenhütte, located high above the town of Lienz. You’ll have to pay an 8 EUR toll to complete the drive. There’s a parking lot very close to Dolomitenhütte. From here, follow the road. After about 20 minutes, you’ll reach an intersection, where a hiking path continues straight (signed “Steig”) and the road continues left. Follow the trail.

The views get increasingly more riveting as you near the limestone crags and pinnacles framing Karlsbader Hütte. It’s a paradise of stone. During the hiking season, Karlsbader Hütte is open for overnight guests and serves food and refreshments. You’ll likely see mountaineers gathered here, as this is a popular starting point for climbing.

When we arrived in mid-June, Laserzsee was still mostly ice. The snowfall made it difficult to explore the area more extensively. If you visit later in the summer, definitely follow the trail around the lake for the best viewpoints of the hut.

10. Innergschlöss Glacier Trail

Hohe Tauern National Park

Innergschlöss Glacier Trail - Best Day Hikes in Austria

Austrian State: Tyrol
Trailhead: Matreier Tauernhaus, East Tyrol. Take Venediger Taxi (5 EUR one-way) to Innergschlöss.
Destination: Glacier Lookout Point
Distance: 9.1 km
Difficulty: Moderate

Altitude Difference: 600 m
Time Needed: 4 hours
When to Go: June – September (October)
Where We Stayed: Matreier Tauernhaus in Matrei in Osttirol

This secret day hike in Hohe Tauern National Park is hands down one of the best hikes in Austria. The glacier trail begins in the fairy-tale-like hamlet of Innergschlöss. From here you’ll follow a loop trail past rivers, waterfalls, and lakes and ultimately to a spectacular glacier lookout point. You’ll be able to spot the prominent peaks of the Venediger Group, including Austria’s second-highest mountain: Grossvenediger. The Innergschlöss glacier trail marked the final stages of our Venediger High Trail trek, a multi-day hike that wraps around the Venediger Group. And, it was the absolute best part of the entire hike.

11. Olpererhütte and Friesenberghaus

Zillertal Alps

Olpererhütte Day Hike, Zillertal Alps, Austria

Austrian State: Tyrol
Trailhead: Schlegeis Stausee (1,785 m)
Distance: 13 km
Difficulty: Moderate
Altitude Difference: 820 meters ascending, 854 meters descending

Time Needed: 7 hours
When to Go: mid-June – early- October
Where We Stayed: Alpenhotel Kramerwirt in Mayrhofen

This excellent loop trail begins at the Schlegeis Reservoir, accessible by car, or bus. While most Olpererhütte visitors will hike the short, direct route to the hut, we recommend hiking first to Friesenberghaus. From here, you’ll join the Berlin High Trail and hike along a breathtaking balcony trail to Olpererhütte.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *