Best mountain walks in Austria
On walking holidays in Austria, you can stroll along lakeshores, meander through alpine meadows and take in rugged mountain views. And when it’s time for lunch, you can often find a hut serving tasty local treats like schnitzel or kaiserschmarrn – a plateful of fluffy shredded pancake topped with fruit. So get ready to put your best foot forward in some of our favourite places for walking in Austria.
The Zillertal Nature Park, Mayrhofen
Getting to this spot couldn’t be easier – just hop on the Ahornbahn cable car and ride up to the high-mountain paths of the Zillertal Alps. The nature park has over 1,700km of hiking trails across four valleys. Follow the wide, well-maintained tracks in any direction, and climb to the summit of the Ahornspitze for panoramic views along the Zillertal valley. Keep an eye out for the local wildlife too, from birds of prey soaring above you to marmots playing on the hillside.
Where to stay
Close to the centre of Mayrhofen, the Hotel Sport & Spa Strass has plenty of areas where you can relax after a day’s walking. Take your pick from the gardens, the sun terraces or the impressive spa. The hotel also runs weekly guided walks, so it’s easier to get out and explore.
The Three Lakes Walk, Seefeld
This circular 12km route takes in three of Seefeld’s sparkling lakes – Möserersee, Lottensee and Wildmoossee. Pass through shaded woodland and meadows full of mountain flowers, then back down into the valley. The whole walk will take around four hours and is mostly gentle, with a few uphill sections that are well worth it for the views. And at the end, the Wildmoosalm mountain hut is waiting to reward you with a fresh slice of strudel.
Where to stay
The Aktivhotel Veronika has a traditional look, with wooden balconies and colourful window boxes. It runs a weekly activity programme to help you make the most of the beautiful surroundings, so it’s one of our top picks for walkers staying in Seefeld.
The Green Ring, Lech
One of the region’s most popular hikes, the Green Ring is a trail between the mountain towns of Lech and Zürs. The 28km-long route can be split into three legs, which vary in difficulty. Tackle it at your own pace and you’ll be rewarded with views of the Austrian Alps, as you follow mountain ridges, lakeshores and rivers.
Around Lake Fuschl, Fuschl
It’s no surprise that the area around Salzburg is nicknamed Austria’s Lake District – there’s a patchwork of 76 different lakes to the east of the city. This walk takes you around the crystal waters of one of the clearest Austrian lakes, Fuschl. A gentle 11km path loops the whole shoreline and takes around three or four hours to walk. You can set off in a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction from Fuschl town – whichever way you walk, you can admire beautiful lake views as you wander beneath shady trees.
Pinzgauer Spaziergang, Saalbach
On a clear day, the views on this popular walk are hard to beat. Start at the top of the Schattberg X-press lift in Saalbach and follow the 17km trail to the Schmittenhohe peak above Zell am See. As you walk, gaze across the dramatic Salzburgerland mountains, dotted with traditional wooden huts. And at the end of the route, look down at the bustling town of Zell, nestled in the valley next to the lake. The walk takes 5-6 hours and is pretty gentle, with just a couple of uphill sections. And you can finish with a trip on the Schmittenhöhebahn lift down into Zell am See itself.
Steurberg and Lake Schwarzsee, Kitzbühel
Get a real feel for the area with this gentle walk, which winds through woodland, meadows and farms to the authentic Steurberg restaurant. Relax in the garden and soak up your surroundings, or try some of our favourite things to eat on a mountain holiday – like cured sausage or sweet, steamed dumplings. From there, it’s a short stroll through the trees to Lake Schwarzsee, one of the warmest bathing lakes in the Alps and a lovely place to spend a lazy afternoon.
Where to stay
Just three minutes’ walk from the Hahnenkamm gondola, the Hotel Edelweiss is run by friendly locals, so there’s plenty of advice on hand when you’re choosing your next walk. After a day of exploring, indulge in some freshly baked cakes, then find a peaceful spot to sit in the garden.
Around Lake Achensee, Achensee
This route takes in lake views and mountain villages. Start in Pertisau and follow the path around the shoreline, then up into the mountains. Stop in the village of Achenkirch for a spot of lunch, then carry on past the beach at Buchau, where you can sit on the bathing platform and dip your feet in the lake. From here, the path loops back to Pertisau – keep an eye out for Austria’s oldest mountain train, the Achenseebahn. It’s been puffing its way between the village of Jenbach and the southern tip of the lake since 1889.
To the Schönwieshütte, Obergurgl
This route takes you through pine woods and up to a mountain hut surrounded by impressive peaks. Head south out of the village and follow the track through alpine meadows until you reach the Zirben Alm restaurant. From here, the path climbs gently through the Zirbenwald woods and past the Rotmoos waterfall, which tumbles down into a narrow ravine. Leave the trees behind and cross a small bridge to get to the Schönwieshütte – a twist on the traditional mountain hut, with its glass front and walls clad in cedar wood shingles. Have a cold drink and a bite to eat before heading to the top of the Schönwieskopf, where you can enjoy clear views back down the Ötztal valley.
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