On the Hemma Pilgrimage Trail you can expect to find renewed power, inspiration, and unity with yourself. Following the Admont Route, you walk through the spectacular mountains of Styria and Carinthia in southern Austria. The hike honours Saint Hemma, who was born as the Countess of Friesach-Zeltschach around 980 AD. She became well-known and much-loved for her charity and patronage and her centuries-old legacy is still alive in Carinthia, Styria, and Slovenia. The path connects the Benedictine monasteries of Stift Admont and Stift St. Gurk, which were both founded by Saint Hemma.
The hike starts at Admont Monastery in Styria and finishes in Gurk in Carinthia, where St. Hemma is buried in the cathedral crypt. The pilgrimage route is divided into seven stages, which you can also hike individually. When planning your trip, take into account that there are many sights along the way so give yourself plenty of time.
The first stop is Admont Monastery which is home to a wonderful library, considered to be the largest monastery library in the world. You then cross the beautiful Lower Tauern mountain range, hike over the Glattjoch peak, and arrive in Oberwölz, the smallest town in Styria. You can easily whittle away a few hours in the town’s historic centre which is encased by an impressive town wall. The Donnersbachwald forest, Auerlingsee lake, and many small streams en route will also tempt you to take a break, breath deeply, and immerse yourself in nature and silence. There are numerous pilgrimage sites and monasteries which invite you to reflect.
The individual stages in this Collection are up to 35 kilometres (21 miles) long so you should have a good level of stamina. You have to climb up to 1,200 metres (3,940 feet) in one day too.
You can easily travel to and from the route by train. After Admont, you can take the train via Liezen. Or, you can take the bus from Gurk to St. Veith/Glan and travel by train to Munich via Villach and Salzburg from there. You can always find accommodation in the small, historic villages en route.
Side note: a pilgrimage is a journey requiring movement, and often meditation. Hiking the Hemma Pilgrim Path, whether you walk one day or all seven, is the perfect way to rest your mind and slow down. When your thoughts are peaceful, you can connect to your deepest inner being. En route, you learn lots of interesting facts about the region’s culture and ecclesiastical history. So immerse yourself in a spiritual exploration of your inner world!
Spiritual highlights and lots of culture: Your first stage on the Hemma Pilgrimage Route starts with one highlight - Admont Abbey with the largest monastery library in the world. The establishment of the Benedictine monastery Admont goes back to a foundation of Saint Hemma von Gurk and took place in 1074 by Archbishop Gebhard von Salzburg.It is the oldest existing monastery in Styria. It also temporarily housed a nunnery, which was closed during the Reformation. For centuries Admont has not only been the religious center of Upper Styria, but also a spiritual, cultural and economic center. A fire in 1865 had devastating consequences for the monastery, which destroyed almost the entire building apart from the library. Reconstruction began a year later. Today, in addition to the library, the monastery also houses a natural history museum and a museum for contemporary art and also offers a wide range of religious and cultural activities.Your path continues over the salt educational trail to Zirnitz and over the Zirnitz saddle to Frauenberg. A wooded single mountain rises here, at the highest point of which the parish and pilgrimage church of Frauenberg is located - another highlight of the tour. Then you walk on towards Selzthal. From here you make a pilgrimage to the "Heiligen Bründl" and Strechau Castle, which is worth a detour.The elongated, steadily growing castle on a rock high above the Paltental is one of the most beautiful defensive structures in Styria. The partly Romanesque, partly Gothic fortification was converted into a Renaissance castle in the middle of the 16th century by the Hoffmann family - leaders of the Styrian Protestant estates.Your stage ends on this day in Lassing. Here you move into your accommodation and enjoy your well-earned evening with a hearty meal and a beer. Tomorrow it goes on!
Stage 2 will also lead you to spiritual highlights again. After a hearty breakfast you start in Lassing. From here you hike under the patronage of Saint Hemma to Treschmitz and from there on hiking trail number six - the Schattenberg hiking trail - via the villages of Wieden, Schattenberg, Ödstein and Stein to Döllach. We continue to Irdning and the Kalvarienberg. Via hiking trail number four you get to Donnersbach and through the forest of the same name to the church there - your destination today.Irdning is a picturesque place at the foot of the mighty Grimmings and was first mentioned in 1140. The church of Saints Peter and Paul located there is documented in 1145. It is one of the oldest churches in the upper Ennstal. The parish, originally subordinate to the former Rottenmann monastery, was mentioned as early as 1151. Most of the furnishings in the church date from the 17th and 18th centuries.The village of Donnersbachwald is embedded in the mountains of the Niedere Tauern at an altitude of 1,000 meters in the rear Donnersbachtal. The parish church of Saint Leonhard was built in 1753 and 1754 on behalf of Empress Maria Theresa. Until then, the residents of the small mountain village had to make the long and arduous journey to Irdning for the Sunday service. You can also pick up your pilgrim stamp for this stage in the parish church.The actual stage destination, the church of Donnersbachwald, is only at the end of the Donnerbachwald in the village of the same name. Happy and satisfied you move into your accommodation and end the day with a cool drink and a hearty meal.
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The third stage today is high up into alpine climes - you are sure to have spectacular views. The absolute highlight of your tour is the Glattjoch at 1,998 meters. The Glattjoch Chapel is the highest sacral building in Styria. The dry stone structure, which is unique in Central Europe, is probably more than a thousand years old.From the Glattjoch there is a wonderful view of the surrounding mountains. The “Urweg” over the Glattjoch was once already used by the mules. The hiking trail then leads from the Glattjoch steeply downhill to the Weberbachtalboden. On this narrow mountain path, however, your surefootedness is required because the alpine floors are mostly damp here.Shortly before Kote you cross the Weberbach on a few stones - it can be a little adventure. Via a wooded area and a forest road you get to the Schöttl Chapel at an altitude of 1,216 meters. From the chapel the road leads you on until you finally arrive in Oberwölz - today's destination. Through the Schöttltor you enter the smallest town in Styria with its predominantly medieval town center.Oberwölz was elevated to a town as early as 1300 and experienced an economic boom in the 14th and 15th centuries. The city wall, three city gates and the fortifications, which still give the town center a medieval appearance, date from this time. The parish church of St. Martin is considered to be the oldest church in Oberwölz. You can end the day with a delicious meal and later sink into beautiful dreams.
Churches, peaks and a beautiful town: Stage 4 also has nice surprises in store for you. Marching through the picturesque Hintereggertor, you leave Oberwölz and go to the Winklern pilgrimage church.The church is a replica of the famous Altötting pilgrimage church in Bavaria and thus the only place of grace of its kind in Styria. It was built by Thomas Langanger, the estate manager of the Mainhartsdorf Castle, which belongs to Admont, and the carpenter Matthias Merl between 1654 and 1658.It continues to the Butterer Kreuz on the Kammersberger Höhe at 1,072 meters. Then you go down to St. Peter am Kammersberg with its parish church enthroned above the village. Two Roman stones walled in on the south wall of the church bear witness to the early settlement of this place. Via the Stanglmühle snack station and the Stolzenhütte you hike to the summit of the Stolzalpe at 1,817 meters above sea level.The beautiful city of Murau is where you spend tonight and gather strength for tomorrow. In the evening you can pay a visit to Murau Castle. This was first mentioned in a document in 1250 and was once located south-east of today's castle. The Gothic fortress was owned by the Liechtenstein family for a long time, then it passed into the ownership of Anna Neumann von Wasserleonburg and later into the possession of the Schwarzenbergs.
Spirituality as far as the eye can see - this is what stage 5 of the Hemma pilgrimage route promises. And today you cover the shortest stage with 16 kilometers. This gives you time to sightsee and relax. You leave Murau and walk in the direction of Laßnitzbach. Then it goes first up to the Taler Eck at 1,642 meters and then - downhill - to St. Lambrecht in the Zirbitzkogel-Grebenzen Nature Park.The place St. Lambrecht was probably already settled by the Celts, later by the Romans and for a while also by Slavic peoples, until they were largely displaced by immigrants of German origin in the time of Charlemagne. In 1458 St. Lambrecht was promoted to market by Emperor Friedrich.The founding of the St. Lambrecht monastery by the family took place before 1076. A document from 1103 seals the extensive foundation. The building stock certainly goes back to the eleventh century. Due to frequent raids, the monastery was expanded as a fortress in the 15th century. The monastery building is a masterpiece by the Italian builder Domenico Sciassia and was built in the Renaissance style from 1640.Inside the building is the monastery museum with its art-historical and folklore exposita as well as the bird collection of Father Blasius Hanf. The collegiate church is the main church of the Benedictine monastery of St. Lambrecht. Originally the Karner served as a parish church in the cemetery, later the Peterskirche, which is located opposite on the bastion of the monastery courtyard.In St. Lambrechts you can end the evening comfortably and get in the moral mood for the penultimate day of your pilgrimage. Perhaps you will also find enough peace to briefly go into yourself and recapitulate the many experiences.
The sixth stage is all about nature and faith. Starting from St. Lambrecht you hike across borders today: From the market square in St. Lambrecht it goes uphill towards Auerlingsee, which is at 1,318 meters above sea level. There you also get to the Carinthian border.When you arrive at the Wandaler Kreuz on the Bergsattel, you can first enjoy the wonderful view before continuing on the Carinthian side over the narrow Gwerzbachtal valley to Ingolsthal. In Ingolsthal you make a pilgrimage via the parish church to the Perzl Kreuz. From there you hike down to Metnitz via the Buchhäusl, Toner, Rainer, Marak, Gruber and Senger farms.The Auerlingsee in the Zirbitzkogel-Grebenzen Nature Park is an absolute highlight on this stage. The lake in a beautiful forest location has a size of about three hectares. It is a mountain lake that was created by the damming of a moraine. Ingolsthal lies in a side ditch that runs north from the Metnitztal. It is an old mining area that has been mining for silver since the early Middle Ages.The parish church of St. Leonhard in Metnitz is in an exposed position on the edge of a steep rock in the center of the village. The church is Gothic, Romanesque wall remains with late Baroque additions are also available. In the small town of Metnitz you will move into your last night's camp on this pilgrimage. Enjoy the rest and look forward to a soft bed.
For the last time she is your protector and patron on your pilgrimage, the Holy Hemma. Past the Nepomuk Cross you will reach the Vellachgraben and on to the pilgrimage church of St. Wolfgang. If you want to visit the church, you will receive the key for the church in the rectory of Grades. Via the Kirchsteig it goes down into the village to the parish church of Grades.The path continues to the Ebner bridge, where you branch off towards Strasbourg. Passing the Eberhard homestead it goes to the Prekowa at 1,174 meters above sea level. The Prekowa is the transition from the Metnitz to the Gurktal. Here three parish areas border one another. In 1860 Martin Linder built a chapel dedicated to the painful Mother of God on the Prekowa. From the Prekowa Cross you hike about seven kilometers to St. Peter ob Gurk.The church north above Gurk was first mentioned in 1179. The small Romanesque building with a rectangular choir has a wooden roof turret and was probably given a late Gothic porch in the 14th century. The modest furnishings include a baroque altar with a late Gothic carved figure of Saint Peter and two baroque statuettes of Saint Vitus and Saint Oswald.After another four kilometers you will reach Gurk - the last place of your pilgrimage. You look back on seven eventful days. Before you go home, you've earned a hearty meal. You will remember your spiritual week for a long time!