The Via Natura hike reveals the beauty of the Zirbitzkogel-Grebenzen Nature Park, located in the west of Styria near the border with Carinthia in Austria. Over 130 kilometers (80 miles), the long-distance hike teaches you to read nature and see it with fresh eyes. The stages cover different aspects of nature: How nature inspires philosophers and artists, how to live in harmony with nature and what influence nature has on our everyday lives. At the beginning and end of each stage, you can find information about the topics at information points.
This big circular hike takes you through picturesque valleys, mysterious moors and dense forests. You climb the two peaks after which the nature park is named, the Grebenzen and the Zirbitzkogel, which at 2,396 metres (7,860 feet) is the highest peak in the Seetal Alps. Don’t forget to pack your swimming gear in your rucksack in summer, as you'll pass several lakes where you can relax and take a refreshing dip.
This adventure is ideal in spring, when it is already nice and warm, and in autumn. In summer you can hike in the shade on the many forest paths. The stages do not always end in a place where you can stay overnight. In these cases, you can arrange with your host to pick you up at your destination. The trail often heads down into the valley past inns where you can enjoy a meal or pick up supplies so you only have to carry a few provisions with you.
Officially, the circular hike is divided into ten stages. However, since the seventh stage is very long and has a lot of elevation gain, I’ve split it into three days. This Collection, therefore, includes 12 Tours. You can enjoy plenty of rests as some of the stages are very short. Other days are a moderate 10 to 15 kilometres (6 to 9 miles) in distance with altitude gain never exceeding 1,000 metres (3,280 feet). The gentle walking makes the Via Natura a leisurely long-distance hike that gives you enough time to get in touch with nature.
Your adventure begins in the city of Neumarkt in Styria which has a train station, allowing you to arrive and depart in an eco-friendly way. The tourist information centres in Sankt Lambrecht and Neumarkt can help you organize luggage transport for the Via Natura.
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Last updated: March 14, 2023
With the first stage on the Via Natura you immerse yourself in the nature around Neumarkt in Styria and learn to rediscover your green environment. The long-distance hiking trail starts at the town's main square, where a chestnut tree explains how you can read nature. So well prepared, you make your…
The second stage of the Via Natura is particularly exciting: you will find out how nature shapes our lives in the world of technology and you will cross an exciting gorge. But nature can not only be a source of inspiration for inventions, but also for you. So take enough time to let it sink in.
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The third stage is the first on the Via Natura, which is a little more demanding. There are comparatively many vertical meters on the program because you climb the 1,892 meter high Grebenzen. So it's best to ensure that you have enough energy at breakfast. The theme of the day is the essence of water…
The fourth stage only takes you to the other side of the ridge north of Sankt Lambrecht. On this day you can take it easy and relax your legs a little after yesterday's stage. To start the day, you can visit the wonderful monastery garden in peace and look for clues to the four elements on the baroque…
Hopefully the sun will shine on this day, because towards the end of the fifth stage you will pass a beautiful swimming lake. Well, if that isn't the perfect motivation for the first few meters in altitude. It's a little more strenuous today, but only during the first third anyway, after which it becomes…
On the sixth stage you go to a mysterious castle ruin. But it is a little steeper in the morning and then more comfortable again on a hill above the Murtal. Here you enter the stone castle, an extensive ruin in which there is a lot to discover. Last but not least, the view from the historic walls is…
Today the motto is: gain height! Because the next day is the ascent of the Zirbitzkogel, which at 2,396 meters is the highest mountain in the Seetal Alps. Your starting point, Perchau am Sattel, is only at around 1,000 meters, so there is a lot of incline ahead of you, which you can master in two days…
This stage brings you to the climax of the Via Natura. On your way to the Zirbitzkogel you can look forward to wonderful paths and wide views. From the Oberberger Alm it is only a few meters to the tree line. Now you are moving through a barren landscape with wonderful views and soon it will be rocky…
On this day it is mainly downhill, because you are hiking back into the valley. First it goes down through the forest. Then you follow the path over and over again over meadows and past the first farms, which show the proximity to the inhabited valley.
Shortly after half of the route you are actually…
The eighth stage of the Via Natura is again quite short and there are only a few meters of altitude waiting for you. That's why you can relax today and enjoy a bathing lake. You leave Mühlen to the west and immediately find yourself between picturesque meadows and forests.
Between trees you will reach…
This stage is more downhill than uphill and at the end a medieval castle is waiting for you. First you walk around to the right around the Obersteinerkogel to Sankt Veit in the area. You cross the small town and leave it to the west, where you reach the forest via Velden.
Through the trees you reach the…
On the last stage of the Via Natura you can visit two castles. But both are rather unusual and not necessarily what you imagine a castle to be. It starts in Dürnstein, which you leave to the north. You will only stay on the main road for a short time.
After you hiked along the eastern side of the valley…
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