Walking is the country’s summer pastime, which is no surprise, given the variety of landscapes you’ll find here. Stay in Mayrhofen or Kaprun if you prefer your walks to pass through dramatic Alpine scenery with glimpses of glaciers as you go. Or for flatter lakeside strolls and verdant meadows, try Achensee or St Wolfgang.
Over a quarter of Austria has protected status, with six national parks being home to a range of interesting flora and fauna. And getting up into the Alpine valleys feels like going back in time too, as you wander past traditional wooden buildings and onion-domed churches.
One of the things that makes walking here so popular is the ease of access. Finding a path that suits you is simple, as the signage is clear and uniform across all regions. Look out for the Austrian flag painted on trees and rocks, along with obvious markers explaining all the details for each walk.
With many routes winding in and out of villages, it’s easy to start exploring straight from the front door of your hotel or guesthouse. In many Austrian resorts you’ll get a free card giving local transport to popular spots further afield and entrance to gondolas taking you up a few thousand metres. So you can wander among the giants for a few hours, snapping panoramic shots from high viewing platforms, then either choose a path back down or hop back on the lift.
Because most of the valleys are busy with agriculture during the summer months, there’s fresh produce and delicious local specialities to try on your walk, often direct from the farmers. Stop for lunch at a traditional mountain hut for brettljause – a farmer’s plate of meat and cheese – or reward yourself with a cold beer at a friendly inn after your walk.
If wonderful wildflowers and babbling brooks aren’t enough to keep little ones interested, try one of many themed walks like the Hexenwasser – or Witches’ Water – which has an adventure playpark and is accessible from the top gondola station in Söll. Older children and teenagers will love the Alpine coasters and high ropes courses in St Anton and Mayrhofen, while all the family can enjoy boat tours and classic train rides in Austria’s lake district, or Salzkammergut – try St Gilgen or Fuschl am See.
Of course, walking is only one of many things to do in Austria. To find your favourite resort, choose accommodation and book your holiday, visit the Lakes & Mountains section of the TUI website.
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Author: Peter Walker
Published: October 6, 2017
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