Hiking, swimming, relaxing in the spa – these are just some of the options you have for your holiday in Austria.
Hiking in Austria?
Austria is the ideal hiking destination, with fascinating landscapes and a sophisticated network of trails at varying altitudes and levels of difficulty. Whether you explore one of the national parks, experience the beauty of the Alps on a long distance trail or head out on a family day hike, Austria offers unlimited opportunities.
From rolling hills to gentle pastures, rugged mountain peaks and glaciers. Despite being small in size, Austria offers a broad range of landscapes, many of them unique. There are waterfalls such as the Krimmler Waterfalls, numerous rivers and lakes, glaciers such as the Kitzsteinhorn in Zell am See-Kaprun, bathing lakes with drinkable water and ice caves you can visit like the Eisriesenwelt Werfen – the biggest in the world.
On almost all sign-posted hiking trails in Austria you will sooner or later come across one of the countless mountain huts which offer authentic cuisine and often also basic (some even sophisticated) accommodation facilities for those who attempt a long-distance hiking trail. Family-owned mountain restaurants and cosy mountain inns will invite you to linger. We can recommend, for example, the Steinbockalm on the Hochkönig in SalzburgerLand, or the Wedelhütte in the Hochzillertal area of Tirol.
In the mountain inns you are usually treated to home-made Austrian delights, regional specialties and sometimes even produce right from the Alpine pastures in front of the hut. Cold plates are popular (such as the famous Austrian “Brettljause”) and breads with all types of spread, but also traditional warm dishes such as Wiener Schnitzel, Schweinsbraten, Käsespätzle or Kaiserschmarren.
Most regions offer summer cable cars or chairlifts to get up the mountains and to enable all hikers access to the most panoramic trails and to visit the most scenic summit platforms without hours of strenuous ascent on foot.
About 27% of the Austrian surface is under natural protection. 6 national parks, 50 nature parks, 7 biosphere reserves and many more local nature protection areas have been set up to protect unique species of fauna and flora, cultural landscapes and traditional ways of living. Various regions in Austria have also started to implement a scheme for sustainable tourism. Measures include car-free holidays and electro mobility or use of local sources of food or energy. The Austrian National Parks also offer special educational programmes for their visitors.
Hiking has a long tradition in Austria and is the country’s unofficial national pastime. There are many villages in the Austrian Alps that really dedicate themselves to hiking or mountaineering. Austria’s Hiking Villages are a perfect base for a hiking holiday with easy to difficult day hikes. These villages offer special services for your hiking holiday, such as free material to plan your hiking tour or free guided hikes by partner hotels.
Cycling in Austria
Austria is a real gem when it comes to bike breaks. The major cycle paths lead along picturesque rivers and glittering lakes, all well-signposted with wonderful stop-off opportunities along the way.
Upper Austria – Lower Austria – Vienna: Danube Cycle Path
Beautiful valleys, quaint farmhouses, buzzing cities and baroque monasteries provide a fantastically scenic backdrop for the classic bicycle ride through Austria, the Danube Cycle Path. Discover the delights of the colourful Danube as you pedal through Upper Austria, Lower Austria and Vienna.
SalzburgerLand – Styria: River Mur Cycling Trail
The 365km long River Mur Cycling Trail follows the river from its source in the scenic National Park Hohe Tauern via the foodie-heaven of Graz all the way to Bad Radkersburg, Styria’s southernmost point. Enjoy scenic cycling through spectacular scenery and Styrian wine and spa landscapes from spring until autumn.
Eastern Tirol – Carinthia: Drau Cycle Path
The Drau Cycle Path starts at the source of the River Drau in Toblacher Feld in Italy and follows the course of the river all the way through the East of Tirol and Carinthia to Maribor in Slovenia. It forms part of the R1 European cycleway and is one of Europe’s most beautiful routes thanks to its great scenic and cultural diversity. Depending on your level of fitness and interest in the cultural attractions along the way, it takes about four to seven days to complete the entire route.
Lower Austria: Kamp-Thaya-March Bicycle Trail
The Kamp-Thaya-March Bicycle Trail leads through Lower Austria’s north-eastern corner consecutively following the three river valleys. It starts in Krems on the Danube, heading up the Kamp Valley into the Waldviertel region, until the Czech border. There the trail connects with the Thaya and leads eastwards through the Weinviertel region. When the path reaches the March, it takes a turn to the south and leads along the Slovak border back to the Danube. Highlights along the way are the Ottenstein Reservoir, the National Park Thayatal and the town of Retz, famous for its wine culture.
SalzburgerLand – Upper Austria: Tauern Cycle Path
Among Austria’s most scenic bike rides, the Tauern Cycle Path leads from the impressive Krimmler Waterfalls along the rivers Salzach and Saalach to Salzburg, then on to Passau and the start of the Danube Cycle Path. Make sure to stop off in the unique Zell am See-Kaprun region where glaciers meet mountains and lakes, the Liechtenstein gorge near St. Johann im Pongau, as well as Hohenwerfen Castle and the ice caves near Werfen.
SalzburgerLand – Styria – Upper Austria: Ennstal Bike Path
Once upon a time, the valley of the River Enns was filled with the banging of iron hammers, which brought wealth to the region. Nowadays, cyclists pedal their way through the unspoiled landscape into one of the most history-laden valleys of the country. The Ennstal Bike Path starts at the Limestone Alps and ends in Enns, Austria’s oldest city.
SalzburgerLand – Upper Austria – Styria: Salzkammergut Cycle Way
A pristine world of glittering lakes, majestic mountains and world-famous holiday resorts awaits cyclists along the Salzkammergut Cycle Way. The route passes a total of 13 lakes and the most beautiful Salzkammergut villages. Highlights along the way include the city of Salzburg, the imperial town of Bad Ischl, the thermal spas in Bad Aussee and Bad Mitterndorf, Lake Wolfgang and the pilgrimage village of St. Wolfgang, the Hallstatt world-cultural-heritage region, Lake Grundlsee and Gmunden with Schloss Ort Castle. Several tour operators offer bike packages along the route, which include luggage transport and overnight accommodation.
Vorarlberg: Lake Constance Cycle Path
The 273km long Lake Constance Cycle Path leads you along the Austrian, German and Swiss shores of Lake Constance and is lined with numerous attractions (don’t forget to bring your passport!). Parts of the route can be done by boat and shortcuts are possible at Konstanz-Meersburg and Friedrichshafen-Romanshorn, where you can take the ferry. The Austrian part is only about 30km long, but holds one of the highlights: the city of Bregenz, which is renowned for its festivals and cultural offerings.
Fishing in Austria’s Rivers & Lakes
Thunderous mountain streams, crystal clear lakes with record pike, and shady pools where trout, char and greyling are at home. Fishing in Austria is cherished as an insider tip by anglers all over the world.
Carinthia: Trophy Fish from the River Gail
The Gail is one of the most pristine waters of the Alpine area. The river – actually still a torrent – squeezes through deep gorges before opening up into delightful meadows, then plunging back into the depths of the Lesachtal Valley. Besides the natural beauty of the river landscape, the Gail is of drinking water quality and the fishing pressure is low. Six tributaries await amateur anglers with large quantities of natural offspring, which means that artificial restocking is not required here. In addition to the dominant brown trout, the rainbow trout and the reintroduced greyling are at home in the Gail and its tributaries. The “Bärfalle”, the trophy route for fly fishermen, is rarely touched due to its difficult accessibility. This area, thanks to its unspoiled state, offers the chance to make quite a remarkable catch.
Further information: www.lesachtal.com
SalzburgerLand: Hohe Tauern Mountain Water
The Grossarl Valley offers plenty of opportunities for anglers on the Grossarl Ache, from Grossarl to the Hüttschlag valley head in the National Park Hohe Tauern. The crystal clear mountain water from the Schöder Valley and from the Keeskogel Glacier offers an excellent home for local fish, with quiet river passages, big pools, rapids, rock waterfalls and gravel banks, surrounded by lush alpine meadows and pastures. What’s more and unique in the province of Salzburg, since 1998 a special rarity only seldom encountered – the silvery gleaming alpine salmon (up to 1,20m long) – has been kept in the Ötzlsee Lake at the head of the Grossarl Valley.
Further information: www.grossarltal.info
Tirol: Numerous Fishing Waters in the Tannheimer Tal
Fishing season starts on 1st April in the Tannheimer Tal. An excellent fish population in marvellous mountain scenery turns the Tirolean high valley into a real hot tip. Moreover, most of the fishing waters are not in private possession. With a fishing permission and upon presentation of a sports fishing passport, you may therefore fish until your bait runs out.
Further information: www.tannheimertal.com