Vanessa Kopp

Crossing borders – hiking the alpannonia from Austria to Hungary

ckrieh (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Crossing borders – hiking the alpannonia from Austria to Hungary

Hiking Collection by Vanessa Kopp

The 125 kilometre-long (77.6 mile) alpannonia long-distance trail takes you from the Alps to Pannonia, a former province of the Roman Empire. The high-altitude, panoramic route leads over the eastern peaks and foothills of the Alps in Austria through the provinces of Styria, Lower Austria and Burgenland to Kőszeg in Hungary. Along the way, you can expect fantastic mountain panoramas, rustic alpine huts, cosy villages and picturesque hiking trails. The alponnonia was awarded the title of ‘Best Trail in Austria’ for good reason. You’ll soon understand why on this cross-border hiking adventure which reveals the alpine heights of Lower Austria, the Burgenland hill country and the Pannonian lowlands of western Hungary.

The alpannonia starts in the region of Styria either from the town of Fischbach, where the main route begins, or from the town of Semmering. The trail can be conveniently divided into seven stages, although you can save yourself a day from starting in Semmering. Whichever variant you choose, the trails merge together at the Feistritz Saddle, a high mountain pass.

You can expect breathtaking alpine panoramas from the Stuhleck, the highest mountain of the Fischbach Alps, to the Hochwechsel and Mönichkirchner Schwaig. You enjoy views that stretch far into Hungary, overlooking the Vienna and Graz basins. Next, you drop down from alpine heights and hike through the picturesque so-called Bucklige Welt hill country and Burgenland. In the last third of the Tour, you climb up again to the 883-metre-high (2,896-foot) Geschriebenstein which marks the border of Austria and Hungary. You hike the final section on Hungarian soil to finish the alpannonia in the centre of Kőszeg town.

You can travel to Fischbach as well as Semmering by public transport. From Kőszeg, you can take public transport to Vienna or Graz, but make sure you leave enough time for the journey. There’s also a special taxi service which will take you back to the start in Semmering or Fischbach for a fixed price of around €100, but you should book this in advance. You can find detailed information (in German) on travelling to and from the route, here: alpannonia.at/anreise-alpannonia.

If you’ve already started preparing for your trip, don’t forget to book your accommodation in advance too. This way, you don’t have to worry about it and you can concentrate on the wonderful hike. You can find more information about the hosts en route, here: alpannonia.at/gastgeber

Make sure you pack sun and rain protection and sufficient water for your hike in the mountains. It also never hurts to have some snacks in your rucksack. You may want to have a picnic ready to enjoy your scenic breaks even more.

Now that you’re prepared and organised, you, your hiking fun on the alpannonia can begin. The trail’s philosophy is all about overcoming borders, whether geographical or personal. The trail connects two countries that were once separated by the Iron Curtain but today, it brings hikers from the Alps to the Hungarian plain. This gives you even more reason to explore new regions and countries and get to know the connection between the two.

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

    Difficult
    06:53
    14.0 mi
    2.0 mph
    3,325 ft
    1,425 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The main Styrian trail of the alpannonia long-distance hiking trail begins in the center of Fischbach. If you choose this start for your hiking adventure, you may need a day longer - for that you will be rewarded with a fantastic mountain backdrop. With an altitude of more than 1,000 meters, today's stage is tough. You can expect a lot of hiking fun and panoramic views.You leave Fischbach and hike through the forest up to the Teufelstein. It's worth making the short detour to the top of the mountain. Because from there you have a fantastic all-round view of the Fischbacher Alps, the Veitsch, the Pretulalpe and to the Hungarian plain. You can sit on the actual Teufelstein - a striking rock formation - and enjoy the panorama.Then it goes downhill again. You will pass a nice rest area where you can eat the snack you have brought with you. And if you prefer to be entertained, you can take a delightful break in the Schlagobersbauer. Freshly strengthened, you then tackle the second ascent of the day. You cover the first part in the shady forest until the landscape opens after the Hauereck refuge. You climb the last few meters to the summit cross on the Steinriegel and are rewarded with a fantastic all-round view. Let the landscape work on you extensively, you absolutely deserve it.You then cover the last two kilometers of the stage to the Rosegger Schutzhaus on a level route. The house on the Pretulalpe offers you the choice between a room or a place in the mattress dormitory. There is also the best regional cuisine - the perfect way to end your day of hiking.

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    Intermediate
    04:11
    8.11 mi
    1.9 mph
    1,225 ft
    2,125 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Today's stage of alpannonia takes you high up: On the 13-kilometer route from Pretul to Feistritzsattel, you hike over the Hohe Stuhleck, at 1,783 meters the highest point on the long-distance hiking trail. And today there are only a few meters ahead of you.Shortly after you start at the Roseggerhaus you will reach the lookout point on the Pretulalpe. Let your gaze wander over Veitsch, Ötscher, Schneealpe, Rax and Schneeberg as well as the Hochwechsel in the east. The path then leads you over a promising mountain ridge equipped with wind turbines to the high Stuhleck - where the next fantastic panorama is waiting for you. You look out over the surrounding mountains, the Mürz Valley, from Slovakia to western Hungary and large parts of eastern Austria. Let the mountain scenery work on you, because now it's going downhill.You hike over the Pfaffensattel and through the forest further and further down to today's stage destination Feistritzsattel. The next places to stay are in Trattenbach. Either you run down into the village or you have already organized a pick-up service in advance. In any case, clarify this with your accommodation beforehand. You cannot rely on the cell phone reception up here.

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  • Intermediate
    04:36
    8.81 mi
    1.9 mph
    2,150 ft
    1,100 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    An alternative start for your hike on the alpannonia long-distance hiking trail is at the valley station of the Hirschenkogel gondola not far from the train station in Semmering. On the 14-kilometer stage to Feistritzsattel you can warm up wonderfully for the coming days of hiking and enjoy the first, wonderful views over the Styrian and Lower Austrian Limestone Alps.The path goes straight to the top: In a zigzag course you hike up the 1,340 meter high Hirschenkogel and master a large part of the 660 meters in altitude that lies ahead of you today. On your way uphill, you can take a break in the Enzianhütte to refresh yourself.When you reach the top of the Hirschenkogel, you will be rewarded with a magnificent view. The mountain lies on the border between Lower Austria and Styria and offers you a wonderful panorama in both directions - best enjoyed from the Milleniumswarte.Then continue on the panoramic Hochalmweg to the Sonnwendstein. The path meanders over the ridge through the beautiful landscape and offers you a lot of hiking fun and great views. We continue over the Arzkogel to the Weinweg towards Feistritzsattel. You mainly hike through the forest, but every now and then the trees open up and give you some beautiful views.Soon you will reach the Feistritzsattel, today's stage destination. The next places to stay are in Trattenbach. Either you run down into the village or you have already organized a pick-up service in advance. In any case, clarify this with your accommodation beforehand, you cannot rely on the cell phone reception up here.

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    Difficult
    05:34
    11.5 mi
    2.1 mph
    1,600 ft
    2,625 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The second stage on the alpannonia awaits you with wonderful views, wonderful hiking trails and cozy alpine huts. The almost 19-kilometer route on Feistritzsattel begins. If you spent the night in Trattenbach, you can have your host organize a trip to the starting point.The hike starts with a gentle ascent via Schwaigen to the 1,743 meter high Hochwechsel with the Wetterkoglerhaus. From the summit you can see the entire course of the alpannonia main path - from the beginning in the Styrian mountains to the Hungarian plain.On a wonderful hiking trail, you then continue from Hoch- to Niederwechsel - the wonderful panorama accompanies you. The path continues to drop and leads you past the Stoa Alm gently downhill to the center of Mönichkirchen. In the village you can treat your legs to a refreshment in the Kneipp pool in the water park.

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    Difficult
    05:08
    11.4 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,050 ft
    1,525 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    On the third stage of the alpannonia you leave the imposing peaks of the Alps and continue hiking into the gentle mountainous country - so look forward to a leisurely up and down. The 18-kilometer stage starts in the center of Mönichkirchen and ends at the Hutwisch car park near Hochneukirchen.You leave Mönichkirchen, shortly afterwards cross the main road and dive into the fairy tale forest. It goes downhill through the forest. You make a short bend around the Hartberg and descend ever deeper along the Austrian long-distance hiking trail 02. Then you cross the motorway and continue on a paved path.The road leads you on a varied route past fields and meadows and through wooded areas - that compensates for the tarred path that connects the cozy villages of Schlag, Pichl and Hosien. Again and again you come across beautiful rest areas where you can enjoy your snack and the view over Burgenland.On a forest path you then cover the last kilometers to your today's destination. You can find overnight accommodation in nearby Bad Schönau. Either you walk the four kilometers or you can organize a shuttle service from your accommodation.

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    Intermediate
    03:46
    8.09 mi
    2.2 mph
    825 ft
    1,600 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The fourth stage on the alpannonia begins with great views: shortly after the start of the 13-kilometer stage from Hochneukirchen to Bernstein, you can enjoy a fantastic panorama from the observation tower on the Hutwisch. You can see from Eastern Styria and southern Burgenland, on clear days even as far as Hungary and the flanks of the Steiner Alps in Slovenia. Incidentally, at almost 900 meters high, the Hutwisch is the highest point in the south of the so-called Bucklige Welt, which stretches across the border triangle of Lower Austria, Burgenland and Styria.The path leads you on a relaxed route to the next promising stop. From the Guglhupf you have a fantastic all-round view of the Schneeberg, over the Bucklige Welt, Lake Neusiedl, to Hungary, to the Koralpe and Slovenia. If you have had enough of the view, then it goes downhill towards Bernstein, your destination for today.Incidentally, amber is known for its unique occurrence of precious serpentine. If you want to learn more about the history of mining, the blaze of colors of the crystals and the power of natural amber, then a visit to the local rock museum is worthwhile. You can find more information here: felsenmuseum.at.

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    Difficult
    07:00
    14.8 mi
    2.1 mph
    2,500 ft
    1,850 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    On the fifth stage of alpannonia you hike from the Bernsteiner Hügelland into the last mountains of the Alps. The 24-kilometer stage ends at the top of the Geschrittenstein pass. At 884 meters, it is the highest point in Burgenland and western Hungary and the most easterly foothills of the Alps.From Bernstein, however, it is first of all relaxed on forest paths to Goberling. A visit to the mining museum in town is worthwhile. Shortly after Goberling, the path then leads you to the Geschrittenstein-Irottkö Nature Park, through which you now continue. Characteristic for the Austro-Hungarian nature park are large forest areas with extensive oak and hornbeam forests.You will pass Unterkohlstätten and a little later Oberkohlstätten. There you can learn more about the history and the technology of coal burning at the show charcoal kiln. The forest path now rises little by little and leads you up to the top of the pass on the main road.You can stay the night either in Lockenhaus or Rechnitz. You can organize a shuttle service through your host. However, you should clarify the last arrangements at the Hirschenstein transmitter. From there it is another 45 minutes without a mobile phone network to the destination.

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    Intermediate
    04:46
    10.2 mi
    2.1 mph
    725 ft
    2,500 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    A real highlight awaits you on the last stage of the alpannonia long-distance hiking trail - and the border crossing from Austria to Hungary. On the 16-kilometer final stage to Kőszeg you only have to master a few meters of altitude, but you have all the more time for extensive stops along the way.You start at the Geschrittenstein pass and soon reach the observation tower on the 884 meter high mountain. The Austrian-Hungarian border runs directly over the summit plateau, so don't forget your ID. From the lookout point you have a wonderful view over the two countries that are connected by the alpannonia.We continue downhill through the forest, past the Hörmann source and the Styrian houses, which now house a forest museum. You cover the last few meters on the way to the Óház-tető ruins. From the former fortress you have a great view of Kőszeg. So it is time to say goodbye to alpannonia. Because now it is not far to your destination today and the end point of the 125-kilometer long-distance hiking trail. In Kőszeg you can have a look at the stately castle and fortify yourself in a restaurant with Hungarian specialties.It is best to plan an overnight stay in Kőszeg. By public transport you can get to Vienna or Graz via Wiener Neustadt. But you can also book a taxi service to Semmering or Fischbach. In any case, you should plan enough time for the return journey or arrange a shuttle in advance.

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    8
  • Distance
    86.9 mi
  • Duration
    41:54 h
  • Elevation
    13,375 ft
Vanessa Kopp

Crossing borders – hiking the alpannonia from Austria to Hungary