When restrictions are lifted and we can travel abroad for our outdoor adventures again, Austria's SalzburgerLand region is a fantastic place to start for any keen hiker. In SalzburgerLand locals and visitors alike live for the moments of happiness that come from life in the great outdoors - moments that linger in the memory for a long time to come.
Moments like the early morning sunrise at the summit of the Gamskarkogel where the world falls silent, in awe of nature. Moments like taking your first bite of hearty farmhouse bread, thickly spread with alpine butter and herb cheese. That brief moment when you spot a marmot curiously poking its nose out of its burrow or the breath-catching moment when you jump off a wooden jetty into the cool waters of a crystal-clear, turquoise lake.
A summer holiday in SalzburgerLand is like one big 'we live for that' feeling, which later turns into a series of 'remember when..?' moments. Summer walking in SalzburgerLand offers awe-inspiring mountain peaks, flower-filled meadows, sparkling lakes and the gentle chorus of cowbells and birdsong.
Where is SalzburgerLand?
One of Austria's nine counties, SalzburgerLand sits on the German/Austrian border. Its capital Salzburg is famous worldwide as 'the city of Mozart', and getting here is easy. There are selected direct Ryanair flights from London Stansted to Salzburg airport, where car hire is available, or many airlines fly direct from the UK to Munich, which is then just a 1hr 45min drive to Salzburg.
Highlights of the SalzburgerLand region
As well as the magnificent scenery, no visit to SalzburgerLand is complete without spending some time in the city of Salzburg itself, to discover the cultural links with Mozart and visit the Hellbrunn fortress and other city attractions. You can even find some hiking in Salzburg with many city tours and castles to find and explore, including the spectacular Hohensalzburg Fortress.
Take time, too, to explore the iconic locations for the Sound of Music film, spend a day at one of the region's many wellness centres, and make the most of the local food and wine.
Anybody planning a holiday in SalzburgerLand should also pick up a SalzburgerLand Card. This all-inclusive card grants you free admission for 6 or 12 days to around 180 attractions throughout the entire province and city.
The top 10 walks in SalzburgerLand
A well-marked network of hiking trails, plus an abundance of managed alpine huts - including many with overnight accommodation - and a multitude of easy walking routes promise plenty of variety in Austria's stunning SalzburgerLand. Not to be missed: some of the walks are in the Hohe Tauern National Park - the largest nature reserve in central Europe and offering spectacular vistas wherever you look.
Here are ten of the best walks to make hiking in SalzburgerLand a trip to remember.
Wildlife Trail – Saalbach Hinterglemm
Topping the lists of things to do in Saalbach Hinterglemm, is this new family-oriented nature trail. Far away from the usual hiking trails, the lush grass-covered mountains that surround Saalbach Hinterglemm are the habitat of a diverse animal kingdom that is rarely seen.
On the new Wildlife Trail you can explore which animals are at home in the Glemmtal, how they look and live and learn fun details about the creatures. You can expect to see stags, chamois, marmot, fox and even golden eagle - the life-size wooden figures can even be stroked. And let's not forget the absolute highlight of this trail: the majestic alpine ibex - the King of the Alps - which awaits you at the end. And if you're very lucky, you might spot the wild animals in their natural habitat through the large binoculars at the Ossmannalm.
Salzburger Almenweg Trail
Salzburg hiking doesn't get much better than this! Whether you attempt the full 31-stage circuit or just dip in and out with a handful of stages, this route, linking all 25 regions of Pongau, offers up enjoyable hiking over 350km of well-maintained walking paths. Its 31 meticulously signposted stages are of varying levels of difficulty but feature moderate ascents and descents between 1,000m and 2,000m above sea level. You’ll be surrounded by glorious panoramas such as the imposing peaks of the Bischofsmütze, Hochkönig and Dachstein mountains, and themed walking paths offer up fascinating insights on various topics along the way.
You can stop off to eat traditional regional delicacies or rest in comfort for the night at one of the Certified Alpine Summer Huts. The SalzburgerLand is home to more alpine huts than any other Austrian province, with more than 1800 in total. Around 550 of these huts open their doors to hikers, treating their guests to an array of hearty hill-country favourites.
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The Königsweg - Hochkönig region
The Königsweg, or King's Trail, is a 74km hut-to-hut walk divided into four stages which allows you to revel in the impressive sight of the majestic Hochkönig massif and surrounding peaks. But the views are not the only delight of the tour: you will pass through Mühlbach, a former mining village with countless treasures to be found in its rocks, Dienten - the scene of many local fables - and the famous Maria Alm, a place of pilgrimage which features the highest church tower in the region. Scaling the towering peaks of the Hundstein, Schneeberg and Klingspitz mountains are are also real high-points of this tour.
To make the most out of this fantastic route, you can book a self-guided tour which includes up to three nights accommodation in mountain huts along the way do that you can really connect with the mountain. Plus you're free to hike with just a day-pack, as all of your luggage will be transported for you.
Yoga hikes aim to restore harmony between body, mind and soul amid the glorious alpine pastures of SalzburgerLand. These kind of walks take place all over the region, but weekly hikes in Grossarltal led by Thomas Andexer, an experienced yoga coach and shiatsu practitioner, featuring stops along the way for different yoga exercises are some of the best.
The yoga hike is suitable for ages 8 and up, while difficulty is easy to moderate. No prior yoga experience is required, but participants are expected to bring their own hiking clothes, hiking shoes and drinks. Walks take place in cosy groups of no more than of 8 people.
Gorge route – Saalachtal
Six stages, eight gorges, a total of 110km to walk and a 5-night stay are the highlights of the Gorge Route in Saalachtal. At the foot of the Lofer and Leogang stone mountain ranges and at the outlets of the Steinernes Meer, nature has created some strange cliff faces, raging waterfalls and the Lamprechsthöhle - the longest water-filled cave in Europe. The dramatic rock formations and raging rivers provide a wonderful contrast to the serenity of the alpine pastures you'll also pass through.
A particular highlight of this route is the VorderkaserKlamm Gorge between St. Martin and Weissbach - a place not to forget your swimming costume! On the way to the gorge, through the protected valley of Schüttachgraben, you’ll pass by the open-air swimming region in Vorderkaser perfect for a dip in the cool clear waters.
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Hohe Tauern Panorama Trail
Hohe Tauern National Park hiking reaches fresh heights with the new Hohe Tauern Panorama Trail, offering an unforgettable route at altitudes between 1,500 and 2,400 metres. Opened up in May 2021, it offers a superb long-distance hiking experience with 10 stages, taking hikers from the Krimml Waterfalls - Europe's highest - to Lake Zell amid stunning views of Austria's tallest mountains, including Austria's highest, the 3,798-metre high Großglockner.
En route you will find wonderful natural attractions, great exhibitions, and diverting excursions, such as spotting local wildlife, stopping off at mountain huts and finding some of the Park's 342 glaciers. The mountain railways and handy shuttle services at the stage destinations as well as optional luggage transfer offer maximum comfort.
Mountain lake hiking in the UNESCO Biosphere Park Salzburger Lungau
Around 60 mountain lakes lie nestled among the forests and alpine pastures, rocks and peaks in the UNESCO Biosphere Park Salzburg Lungau. Tracking them down is like a treasure hunt - making you want to find as many as possible as one is never the same as the next. Is there anything better than the classic sight of alpine meadows, shimmering lakes and towering peaks as a backdrop?
You can discover some of the most beautiful sights of the region on the six-lake tour. The three-day round trip starts from the Sticklerhütte in Muhr via the Riedingtal Nature Park (where you can learn more about the local natural landscapes from flora and fauna to geology and follow themed hiking routes) to the pretty village of Zederhaus.
Kitzsteinhorn explorer tour
The Kitzsteinhorn glacier provides an unbeatable world of adventures for the entire family in summer. Among the best hiking experiences is the Explorer tour which takes in four climate zones, three mountain railways and one ranger who will show you the habitat of the majestic golden eagle, explain how glacier ice is formed and how fauna and flora survive in the high mountains.
Three mountain railways take you into the high mountains and following an easy hiking tour across the glacier, and a visit to the Top of Salzburg panorama platform at 3,029m is literally the highpoint of the tour, featuring magnificent views of the high mountain peaks.
4 mountains, 3 lakes in Salzkammergut
The Salzkammergut Lake District is a fantastic walking paradise. Hiking trails of all grades of difficulty guarantee fascinating views of the lakes and mountains in the region, and it is possible to reach the peaks on foot, with a boat or cable car.
The Salzkammergut Long Distance Hike, 4 mountains - 3 lakes, leads over four impressive peaks in the Fuschlsee, Wolfgangsee and Mondsee Region. Its four stages take you through some of the loveliest landscapes in the Salzburg Salzkammergut Lake District. The walking time per stage is approx. 4–5 hours without luggage. From the Schafberg summit you get a panoramic view over the entire Salzkammergut region, and the hike is also punctuated by a scenic ride on the Lake Wolfgangsee ferry.
"Salzburger Summit game" in Salzburger Sportwelt
Seven spectacular mountain summits entice hikers to take part in the Salzburger Summit Game in the Salzburger Sportwelt. The idea behind it is simple: the seven mountains symbolically stand for the 'Benevolent Queen and her six noblemen'. Each summit has a story to tell, shares its message and offers its own piece of wisdom to hikers. Discover local highlights such as identifying local wild herbs and their uses, find the perfect spot amongst the woods of Hochgründeck to recharge your batteries and ring the wishing bell at the Gerzkopf.
Those undertaking the tours not only hike through picturesque mountain landscapes, but can also learn to appreciate the mountains at a deeper level and learn something from the natural world. The Salzburger Summit Game is a playful natural experience for adults as well as children, so a prefect trip for the whole family!
Want more? Give the hiking boots a rest and try one of these other great summer activities:
You don’t just have to stick the walking paths when you take a trip to SalzburgerLand. This alpine paradise offers visitors a wide range of activities to get stuck into during the balmy summer months. So, what takes your fancy?
• Stay at a traditional mountain hut in the mountains.
• Take advantage of the 7,000km of sign-posted mountain bike trails, challenging road bike sections, multi-day tours and four bike parks.
• Take advantage of the fantastic local cuisine – Coffee houses, dairies, schnapps distilleries, artisan cheese, herb growers, award-winning restaurants and loads more!
• Recharge in the idyllic forest landscapes. Get back in touch with nature and enjoy the peace of the mountains and alpine meadows.
• Experience the Salzburg Festival in July and August and explore the best that this UNESCO World Heritage City has to offer.
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