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Southern Alpine Trail – Styrian vineyards and the Carnic Alps in Austria

GeKo15 CC BY-SA 3.0 AT

Southern Alpine Trail – Styrian vineyards and the Carnic Alps in Austria

Hiking Collection by Mareike

30

Tours

219:12 h

382 mi

95,650 ft

Following exhilarating ridge trails, magnificent views over giant rugged rocks, picturesque valleys and glistening lakes await you on the Southern Alpine Trail. You hike from the flat banks of the Mura River through vineyards and over two mountains on the Austrian-Italian border. The main route runs along Austria's southern border from the town of Bad Radkersburg in Styria to Sillian in East Tyrol. In the Karawanks mountain range, Slovenia is never far away whilst you make an occasional detour into Italy in the Carnic Alps. Lovers of Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling will especially enjoy the stages through the vineyards which are relatively gentle, leaving enough time to enjoy a glass or two en route.

Covering a total of around 500 kilometres (310 miles) spread over 25 official stages, this route is the Austrian Long Distance Trail number 03. Some of the stages have variants that are either easier or more demanding. To complete the whole route, you would be on the road for about four weeks, including a few rest days. However, you can also divide the route into several sections. For example, you could spend a week in the lower regions from Bad Radkersburg to Lavamünd, enjoying a glass of wine on the way. The next part through the Karawanks from Lavamünd to Thörl-Maglern can be completed in one and a half weeks. That leaves eight days for the third section following the Carnic High Trail from Thörl-Maglern to Sillian.

By splitting the route, you can also be more flexible with the time you travel. You mainly stay in mountain huts in the Karawanks and the Carnic Alps so you can plan these for summer and early autumn when the huts are open. You can also hike through southern Styria, where you often stay in inns, earlier in the year or during the golden autumn. It’s best to book all of your overnight stays in advance to ensure you have a bed at the end of the day. During your hikes, you’ll have the chance to take a break or fill up on snacks at the huts, but pack some supplies in your rucksack too.

The Southern Alpine Trail begins with a comfortable and fairly flat along the banks of the Mur. From the vineyards, the route becomes steadily more demanding. Some stages through the Karawanks and Carnic Alps have more than 1,000 m (3,280 ft), or even over 1,500 m (4,921 ft) of altitude gain. You should be surefooted and have a head for heights as the terrain is partly alpine.

You can arrive at and depart from your adventure with public transport. Both the starting point in Bad Radkersburg and the end point in Sillian have train stations. For up-to-date information about the trail, such as closed sections and inns en route, see (in German):
alpenverein.at/weitwanderer/home/news/04_Neues_fuer_Weitwanderer.php.

Would you like to extend your Alpine adventure? Once you have arrived in Sillian, it is only a stone's throw to South Tyrol and the Dolomites. About nine more stages would bring you through the imposing mountains to the city of Bolzano. You can find some tips for planning these stages here (in German): alpenverein.at/weitwanderer/weitwanderwege/suedalpenweg.php.

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Südalpenweg

295 mi

73,600 ft

70,775 ft

Last updated: November 9, 2021

Tours & Highlights

  • Difficult
    05:29
    13.4 mi
    2.4 mph
    200 ft
    125 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The first stage on the Südalpenweg is perfect for immigration for the coming days on your feet. Without any notable differences in altitude, you hike along the Mur to the west and enjoy the wonderful landscape on the riverbank.

    

    The Bad Radkersburg train station is a bit outside in the north of the town

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  • Difficult
    05:02
    12.0 mi
    2.4 mph
    525 ft
    375 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    On the second day on the Südalpenweg you will stay the first two thirds of the route directly on the banks of the Mur. On this stage there is only a few more meters of altitude compared to the first day. The first gentle hills offer you a foretaste of the next stages. Mills operated by the water of the

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  • Intermediate
    04:32
    9.86 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,300 ft
    1,025 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The third stage takes you through a hill country covered with wine, the Windischen Bühel. It goes without saying that you will meet one or the other Buschenschank along the way. The demands of the day also allow a glass of wine to take a break. Make sure you have enough sun protection. Because where

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  • Difficult
    05:46
    12.4 mi
    2.1 mph
    1,775 ft
    1,500 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Do you want more wine? Then you can choose this variant via the South Styrian Wine Route. On the same route as stage 2 you hike to Spielfeld, where you turn towards Slovenia instead of continuing to Ehrenhausen. You walk up and down between vines and wineries. You can enjoy wonderful views over the hilly

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  • Difficult
    05:16
    11.0 mi
    2.1 mph
    2,325 ft
    775 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The meters in altitude increase day by day. On the fourth stage you move along the ridge that forms the border with Slovenia. For the first few meters you can say goodbye to the vines. Then you dive into a forest that takes you up to the ridge. You follow this to the Remschnigg Alm. It is the southernmost

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  • Difficult
    08:06
    16.7 mi
    2.1 mph
    3,375 ft
    1,825 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Those who feel fit can also add the Heiligengeistklamm to the fourth stage of the Southern Alpine Trail. With a few kilometers and more meters in altitude, it becomes a bit more demanding. To do this, you hike through a wonderfully secluded gorge, which promises a pleasantly cool section of the path

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  • Difficult
    07:46
    14.9 mi
    1.9 mph
    3,525 ft
    3,275 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    On the fifth stage of the Southern Alpine Trail, you continue to hike along the Slovenian border to the west. There is so much going up and down that a total of 1,000 vertical meters come together. The first highlight awaits you right in the morning: From Pongratzen you hike steeply up to the ridge

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  • Difficult
    05:53
    11.3 mi
    1.9 mph
    1,925 ft
    3,800 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    On this day it's more downhill than uphill, because your stage destination is in the Drautal. From there you hike up into the Karawanken the following day. So this is the last stage through the gentler mountains east of the Drava. Finally, you climb the 1,522 meter high Hühnerkogel.

    

    From Gasthof Strutz

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  • Difficult
    12:06
    23.4 mi
    1.9 mph
    5,950 ft
    4,025 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Alternatively, you can hike from Pongratzen via Eibiswald and Soboth to Lavamünd. Behind Eibiswald you wander through the remote and lonely forest areas of southern Styria. This route is a little longer and also more difficult to divide, as there is no conveniently located accommodation in the middle

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  • Difficult
    06:13
    12.6 mi
    2.0 mph
    2,500 ft
    2,100 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The first day in the Karawanken is still quite comfortable. You climb up to the gentle Kömmelgupf and then hike back down into the valley to Bleiburg. In Lavamünd you cross the impressive Drau and go straight into the forest. With short, steep sections you walk steadily uphill between the trees and over

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  • Difficult
    11:54
    20.2 mi
    1.7 mph
    5,800 ft
    5,525 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    First of all, all worries that you might have when looking at the time have been taken away: Originally, stage 8 took you to Koprein, where you could spend a night at the Riepl inn. This inn is now closed. That's why you have two options for this stage: Either you shorten the ascent to the Petzen with

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  • Difficult
    06:49
    8.47 mi
    1.2 mph
    5,175 ft
    1,850 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    You can also make the ninth stage more comfortable if you want. Because this route includes the ascent to Hochobir behind the Bad Eisenkappler hut. But you can also stay at the hut, because it is your stage destination. It's just under eight kilometers and 1,100 meters in altitude to get there that day

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  • Difficult
    05:42
    10.5 mi
    1.8 mph
    2,225 ft
    3,050 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The tenth day on the Südalpenweg is once again a somewhat more leisurely stage. You should just be aware that the day's climb does not await you until the last third of the route; before that it is mainly downhill. From the Eisenkappler hut you hike to the Schaidasattel, where you meet an asphalt pass

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  • Difficult
    06:31
    9.35 mi
    1.4 mph
    2,425 ft
    4,825 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    On the eleventh stage, the long descent into the tranquil Waidisch and the paths over the steep forest slopes are a challenge. Surefootedness is required on the exposed paths. In the morning you hike north downhill to Zell-Pfarre, which could hardly be more idyllic. From there it goes uphill, first on

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  • Difficult
    08:12
    8.21 mi
    1.0 mph
    5,200 ft
    3,725 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    On this day, a fantastic view over Carinthia is waiting for you. But you don't get it for free: it's 1,200 meters in altitude from Waidisch to the summit of the Ferlacher Horn, which promises this panoramic view. Just a little south of Waidisch there is a steady steep climb to the panoramic mountain

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  • Difficult
    02:54
    4.45 mi
    1.5 mph
    2,350 ft
    200 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    Compared to the other stages, this one is more comfortable. Exciting paths through rocky slopes are waiting for you. From the Bodental you slowly hike up the southeast slopes. First of all, a few buildings will accompany you on your way. Then you dive into the forest and keep hiking uphill, left past

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  • Difficult
    07:28
    15.4 mi
    2.1 mph
    1,425 ft
    4,975 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    It's mostly downhill on this day - and quite a long way. So make sure your knees are well rested. From the Klagenfurter Hütte you hike down to the Bärental. The street gets wider and you pass the first buildings. Then you turn left again and hike a little up to a chapel, from which you have a great view

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  • Difficult
    10:23
    17.6 mi
    1.7 mph
    3,400 ft
    6,925 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    This variant from the Klagenfurter Hütte to Rosenbach runs partly in Slovenia. So you walk south of the ridge that marks the border and enjoy great views towards Triglav National Park on the other side of the valley. On the way you can spend the night at the Kahlkogelhütte to split the route into two

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  • Difficult
    10:22
    13.3 mi
    1.3 mph
    5,950 ft
    4,825 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    This stage has so many vertical meters because it includes the ascent of the Mittagskogel. If you want to take this summit with you, you can easily split it up over two days and spend the night in the Bertahütte, which is 600 meters below the summit. If you skip the summit, you can deduct 600 meters

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  • Difficult
    07:32
    14.6 mi
    1.9 mph
    3,200 ft
    2,725 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Even before the first ascent of the day you can enjoy a wonderful view over the Faaker See and the Carinthian landscape. Then the cycle gets going and it goes up in several bends around 600 meters through the forest. On this day you stay below the ridge and so you cross the slopes with little ups and

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    30
  • Distance
    382 mi
  • Duration
    219:12 h
  • Elevation
    95,650 ft

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Southern Alpine Trail – Styrian vineyards and the Carnic Alps in Austria

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