Crossing an entire province once may sound like a big challenge, but it’s possible. You can hike from the south to the very north of Styria in just 11 days, discovering some of its most beautiful landscapes along the way. This region in the southeast of Austria is known for its wonderful nature. As long as you enjoy hiking and are in good shape, that’s all you need.
You hike across the lovely alpine pastures of the Limestone Alps to rocky peaks. In the evening, you spend the night in one of the rustic huts where you can marvel at the sunset in the mountains after a great day of hiking. After 230 kilometres (143 miles), you pass through picturesque hilly landscapes and idyllic river valleys until you reach the high Alps in the north of Styria.
The Via Alpina is a network of five long-distance hiking trails through all eight Alpine states. The purple trail, which begins in the Karawanks mountain range between Austria and Slovenia, ending in the German Allgäu, leads through Styria. However, this Collection is only about the Styrian section, which connects the municipality Soboth in the south with Spital am Pyhrn municipality in the north. You hike from the Lavanttal Alps to the gates of the Gesäuse mountain group and Kalkalpen National Park. You could easily extend your trip for a few days here too.
The route mainly follows easy forest and meadow paths. In between, however, you also hike along narrower paths which can be rocky from time to time. Surefootedness is useful, but the paths aren’t particularly technically demanding. Some of the stages are up to 30 kilometres (18.6 miles) long, so you should be in relatively good shape. However, the elevation gain is not too taxing on most days.
Since you stay below 2,000 metres (6,560 feet) most of the way, you can plan this long-distance hike from late spring to autumn. The trails are usually great to hike and the accommodation is usually open from May to October. You can stay at inns and mountain huts en route or choose from a larger range of accommodation in the larger towns. However, as the number of beds in the stage destinations is often limited, you should book your accommodation well in advance.
To can reach this adventure with public transport. Catch the train to Wies-Eibiswald station via Graz and hop on a bus to Soboth (gkb.at/index.php/fahrplaene-fahrgastinfo/fahrplan-bus). It can take a little while due to the connections, but you can get excited as the beautiful West Styrian landscapes pass by on the train ride. At the end of the hike in Spital am Pyhrn, there is a train station which has long-distance rail connections.
You start your journey from south to north through Styria at the foot of the Koralm. You start your long-distance hike right away, because this stage is not easy on you: it is long and requires more than 1,000 vertical meters downhill from you. The majority of the route is in the forest.First you hike down between the trees into the next narrow river valley and back up on the other side. Then you come closer and closer to the Slovenian border with a leisurely up and down. From time to time you even set foot in the neighboring country until you arrive at the Radlpass.It goes steadily downhill, now towards the northeast. About halfway between the Radlpass and your destination Eibiswald you can make a detour to a tavern. This will take you about an hour longer, but you can celebrate your first day of hiking with a glass of wine on a cozy terrace. Then you will need another hour to get to Eibiswald.
The second stage is all about increasing altitude - it's 1,300 meters uphill. In return you can look forward to more comfortable days afterwards. In addition, the ascent is fairly evenly distributed over the entire route and it rarely gets a bit steeper.From Eibiswald you can get back to nature very quickly this morning. Right at the gates of the village you make your way through an idyllic brook valley. When you get out of the valley, you will pass a lookout tower that gives you a fantastic view. In the northwest you can see the landscape, which you will explore on foot that day.The path remains varied and leads you through secluded forests and over meadows that are covered with flowers. Again and again you come across traditional farms that present a completely picturesque picture. At the end of the day you will reach the Brendlhütte, which will take you in for the night.
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The third stage is particularly promising. On this day you will discover the Koralpe and climb its highest peak, the Großer Speikkogel. After an initial section through the forest, you hike comfortably uphill over alpine pastures along the border with Carinthia. In the west you can cast beautiful views over the Lavanttal, in the south you can see as far as the Julian Alps in Slovenia.You walk past below the summit of the Kleiner Speikkogel, which already announces its big brother. Then you also cross the slope under the highest mountain of the Koralpe and climb it from the west. Above is the ideal time to take a break. Most of the altitude and kilometers of the day are behind you and the view is fantastic.Then you follow the mountain ridge to the north. On the saddle in front of the Moschkogel, turn right and cross over to the Weinebene. There you can spend the night in the inn. If you don't shy away from a few more meters in altitude, you can also cross the Moschkogel as a finale.The Koralpenhaus below the Great Speikkogel is officially proposed as a stage destination. This is currently closed, however, so this stage ends on the wine level. So the route is spread out a bit more evenly on this and the following day.
On this day it is mainly downhill again and you will pass several so-called ovens. This refers to the striking, large rocks that lie on the mountain pastures. After the first steep ascent from the Weinebene, the path quickly becomes more comfortable.Again you follow a promising ridge and then hike on a ridge down to the beautiful See-Eben high moor. Shortly afterwards you will pass the Kampelekogel. Here you can make a detour to a viewing platform that presents you with the view to the southwest.In the further course you cross the Hebalm, where you can stop in one of the inns. Then it continues through the forest and over meadows downhill to the idyllic village of Pack, where you spend the night.
On this day there is a long ascent up into the mountains. At first, Pack goes through the forest a lot. There, where you slowly reach the mountain ridge, you will find the rustic amber hut in a clearing. Here you can treat yourself to a little break from the ascent.Then you lose yourself in the beauty of the alpine pastures. Free areas directly on the ridge lead you slowly north. You cross the eastern slope of the Peterer Riegel - which you can also cross with an extra 150 meters. At the Peterer Sattel you would then meet the main path again.Now you hike below the Speikkogel - yes, exactly, another Speikkogel, this time without any further determination of the size - along and bypass a reservoir, which can look really nice depending on your perspective. Then there are only a few more vertical meters downhill and you will reach the Hirschegger Sattel, where the Salzstiegelhaus is already waiting for you.
The sixth stage is quite relaxed and you could even make it almost a day off if you don't climb the summit of the day. You can bypass the Rappoldkogel on the right and save around 250 meters in altitude. Since the stage is not that far on this day anyway, there are actually no excuses!You don't have much time to think about it anyway, because the ascent to the summit begins almost directly at the Salzstiegelhaus. So enjoy breakfast in comfort and then work off everything again. You climb over the ridge from the south pretty straight up to the panoramic Rappoldkogel. At the top you are definitely pleased that you did not take the easy route around.The descent also takes place over a ridge that shows you the direction to the east to the old Almhaus. It is well suited for a stop, because the rest of the way to the stage destination on the Gaberl almost goes by itself.
It's good that you were able to gather new strength yesterday, because the seventh stage is again quite long and it's a lot downhill. Forest paths initially take you north with only a little up and down on a long mountain ridge. Then you follow a curve to the west, where you hike on the Steinplan with its far-reaching view and a stop for refreshments. Here you have reached the highest point of the day.There's also a lot going downhill in the forest and you always stick to the highest possible path. On the ridge, the trees give you a short view from time to time. Before you finally descend over many bends to Rachau, you will pass an Almrast with a view and self-service.Once in the valley, you hike along the stream to the west. Left past Gobernitzberg, the path takes you to Knittelfeld. Here, too, you have the opportunity to cross the last mountain of the day and then come back to the main route via the southern slope. There is also a treetop hiking trail here, if you are still looking for an afternoon activity.
In the west of Knittelfeld the Ingeringbach flows into the city. You could actually just follow its course through the valley to your destination today. But for a bit more view you hike over the mountains instead.The Tremmelberg, the highest point of this stage, rises north of Knittelfeld, and you start your ascent right on the outskirts. You immerse yourself in a vast forest that takes away the distant view. That's why it's all the more beautiful when you arrive at the top and can climb the observation tower on the summit. Its construction is based on the two towers of the Seckau Benedictine Abbey. You can check that later when you walk past it.Once you have sufficiently enjoyed the panoramic view of the Seckau Alps, the Gleinalm and the Stubalpe, you start the descent, which again leads you through the forest. Then you pass the place Seckau, where you can make a detour to the abbey mentioned above. Here, about halfway along the route, you can also recharge your batteries with lunch. Then it goes on with only a few meters of altitude to the destination in Ingering II.
The impressive crossing of the Seckau Alps awaits you on the ninth stage. On the way over the Kettentörl there is only a moderate amount of vertical meters. On the first part of the route, the Ingeringbach will accompany you again. On a leisurely incline, you hike north through its valley.Then the valley turns slowly to the left and you come to the shore of the beautiful Ingeringsee. Enjoy the reflection of the mountains on the surface of the water as you bypass it to hike further up to the end of the valley. Here the Kettentörl forms the transition to the Triebental. On the left and right you have the option to add a summit to your stage. You can choose from the Kettentalkogel and the Speikleitenberg.Then you descend over two steps into the Triebental: first steep, then flatter over the Kettentalalm and steep again until you have reached the valley floor. Here the Bergerhube welcomes you with warm meals and a bed for the night.The official stage division provides for another 14 kilometers to the town of Trieben. With an overnight stay at the very back of Triebental, the kilometers can be distributed more evenly on this and the next day.
On the penultimate day on the Via Alpina through Styria, there is another particularly long stage. First you hike the entire length of the Triebental to the village of Trieben. There you cross the Paltental and climb back up on the other side into the mountains.For a truly sublime view, you can make a detour to Kaiserau Palace in front of the Bichler stop. Behind the simple but mighty building rises the striking rocky summit of the Kalblings, which lies just outside the border of the Gesäuse National Park. If you skip this detour, you will save two and a half kilometers and thus a good half an hour.You then descend through the forest following the course of the Lichtmeßbach to Admont. The place welcomes you with a fantastic panorama of the rocky peaks of the Haller Walls. A visit to the famous Benedictine monastery with its impressive library is a good way to end the day.
The eleventh stage is the beautiful end to your Via Alpina through Styria. At the end of the day you hiked from south to north across the entire state. The stage is neither particularly long nor does it require an extraordinary amount of vertical meters from you. So you can enjoy your last day of hiking again to the fullest.From Admont you walk straight past the village of Hall. Then the slope slowly increases. The impressive rock faces of the Haller Walls rise above you. The imposing views may distract you a little from the steep climb to the Rohrauerhaus. Here on the Pyhrgassattel you have reached the last highlight of your hike - the perfect place for a rest with a stop.During the descent you will pass the Bosruckhütte, the second option for refreshments on the way. Then you enter the magical-looking Dr. Vogelgesang Klamm, which makes your way down into the valley to Spital am Pyhrn entertaining and brings your long-distance hike to a worthy end.