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From Vienna to Bad Reichenhall – hiking the Voralpenweg 04

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From Vienna to Bad Reichenhall – hiking the Voralpenweg 04

Hiking Collection by Tamara

21-47

days

3-6 h

/ day

276 mi

50,350 ft

50,125 ft

Hiking from Vienna in the east of Austria to Bad Reichenhall in Bavaria reveals the different sides of the pre-alps. Since 1978, the Voralpenweg 04 has been leading long-distance hikers through the provinces of Vienna, Lower Austria, Upper Austria and Salzburg. Wonderful mixed forests, rustic huts, world-famous towns and impressive summit views await you.

There are two variants to choose from between Kahlenberg peak and Gresten municipality – the northern and southern Vienna Woods route. In this Collection, I present the northern route. Although you never exceed 2,000 metres (6,561 feet) above sea level on this long-distance hiking trail, the stages, which are sometimes long, require a good level of fitness as well as sure-footedness and a head for heights in places. Towards the end of the Voralpenweg, the mountainous Salzkammergut area has a lot of altitude gain.

I have divided the entire 444-kilometre (276 mile) route into 22 stages, which you can combine or shorten as you choose. I’ve included tips on overnight accommodation en route in the descriptions of the daily stages that are particularly long.

With the peaks of the Alps always in view, the first days through the Vienna Woods and the hilly foothills of the Lower Austrian Alps are a leisurely start. You wander through the Ennstal and Sterytal valleys to Traunsee lake which is hugged by mighty rock faces. Next, you hike through the Höllengebirge mountains with their impressive peaks before discovering the crystal-clear lakes of the Salzkammergut region, which are among the most beautiful in Austria.

An absolute highlight of the route is the spectacular Schafberg mountain which stands proudly at 1,783 metre (5,849 feet). Passing the Fuschlsee lake, the Voralpenweg leads through Ramsau municipality to Gaisberg. From this mountain, you can enjoy incredible views over the city of Salzburg, where you are then headed. The official destination of this route is the spa town of Bad Reichenhall in the Berchtesgadener Land region of Bavaria. If you still have the legs, you can continue the Voralpenweg by following the Maximiliansweg through the Bavarian Prealps to Bregenz, the capital of Vorarlberg in Austria.

To get to the Kahlenberg, you can catch bus 38A from Vienna. At the end of your adventure in Bad Reichenhall, there’s a train station. You also pass stations along the way so you don’t have to walk the entire Voralpenweg in one go. You stop for the night in inns and mountain huts which are worth booking in advance. Summer is the best season to walk the entire Voralpenweg, when the higher peaks in the second part of the trail are free of snow and the mountain huts are open.

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Voralpenweg 04 Nordroute

269 mi

49,225 ft

49,100 ft

Last updated: November 9, 2021

Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.

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Tours & Highlights

  • Difficult
    06:10
    13.6 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,300 ft
    1,700 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The Voralpenweg 04 starts on the Kahlenberg, which you can reach by bus 38A, with great views. Your gaze wanders over Vienna and the Danube Valley before you start the descent down to Klosterneuburg. You wander through the Vienna Woods, graze the Leopoldsberg and cross the border between Vienna and Lower

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  • Intermediate
    04:55
    10.7 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,500 ft
    1,000 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The second stage starts in Unterkirchbach. At the beginning there is the ascent up to Hainbuch, where you can visit the European Chapel. Wonderful mixed forest characterizes the next section, which brings you to the Leopold Figl Warte on the Tulbinger Kogel. The view from the platform is simply unique

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  • Difficult
    07:13
    15.3 mi
    2.1 mph
    2,600 ft
    1,300 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    After a night at the Wienerwaldhof, you start heading southwest and roam through forests and meadows. Again and again beautiful views of the rolling hills of Lower Austria open up. You cross Rekawinkel and a short time later hike over the Westautobahn. You quickly leave the traffic behind you and dive

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  • Difficult
    05:14
    10.2 mi
    1.9 mph
    1,775 ft
    2,575 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    From the highest peak of the Vienna Woods you descend to Laaben. You hike there on quiet forest paths and beautiful dirt roads. In Laaben you can strengthen yourself for the rest of the route at the Gasthof zur Linde. The pre-Alpine path then runs through a colorful cultural landscape that is peppered

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  • Difficult
    07:53
    16.1 mi
    2.0 mph
    2,750 ft
    2,650 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Today the mountain group is about to change: you leave the hills of the Vienna Woods and reach the Türnitz Alps. The best thing to do is to strengthen yourself in the Johann-Enzinger-Haus with an extra portion of breakfast, because 26 kilometers and more than 800 meters of altitude await you on the fifth

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  • Difficult
    09:42
    20.0 mi
    2.1 mph
    3,050 ft
    3,000 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The sixth stage challenges you to 32 kilometers and over 900 meters in altitude. If you want to shorten the route a little, you can take the Mariazellerbahn from Rabenstein to Loich, for example. After a delicious breakfast in a hut on the Kaiserkogel, you descend to Rabenstein. You cross the Pielach

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  • Difficult
    09:06
    18.3 mi
    2.0 mph
    3,175 ft
    4,150 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Today you switch from the Türnitz Alps to the Ybbstaler Alps. This stage is also a sporting challenge with almost 30 kilometers and a few meters in altitude - that's why I recommend you to split the route into two days and spend one night in Scheibbs.

    

    You start in Plankenstein and initially walk over

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  • Difficult
    07:39
    16.0 mi
    2.1 mph
    2,500 ft
    2,650 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The eighth stage begins with the ascent from Gresten to the Grestner Hochkogel. You hike up grass-green slopes and can always look forward to wonderful views. Surrounded by nature, you walk along the edge of the forest to Sankt Leonhard, where you will find a pilgrimage church and an inn.

    

    After a well

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  • Intermediate
    04:26
    9.40 mi
    2.1 mph
    1,650 ft
    875 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    After a delicious breakfast you leave the beautiful Waidhofen with its colorful baroque facades and hike west. As in the last few days, you march through a patchwork carpet of forest, meadow and field. The Voralpenweg 04 leads you gently uphill.

    

    You pass the Hochkogel and in some places look far into

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  • Difficult
    08:28
    16.9 mi
    2.0 mph
    2,475 ft
    3,325 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Maria Neustift is the starting point for the tenth stage of the Voralpenweg 04 - with 27 kilometers, another long day's route for which you should start early enough. From the place of pilgrimage it goes up to the Geierkogel. You will pass the small Glasner hut, which invites you to have a piece of cake

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  • Difficult
    09:06
    16.5 mi
    1.8 mph
    3,725 ft
    3,200 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Since the eleventh stage is a long and demanding day trip, I recommend you to spend a night in the rustic Grünburger hut. So you can split the route into two days and enjoy the beautiful landscape more intensely.

    

    You start in Ternberg im Ennstal and march towards the Upper Austrian Pre-Alps. Right at

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  • Difficult
    08:26
    18.3 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,925 ft
    1,575 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    The starting point of today's stage is Frauenstein in the Upper Austrian Pre-Alps. Relaxed, you walk along the Steyr river and cross it at Klaus on the Pyhrnbahn. At the Klauser reservoir, which shimmers in a different color depending on the season, you turn right into the valley of the Steyrling. After

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  • Difficult
    08:28
    17.3 mi
    2.0 mph
    2,475 ft
    2,925 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Three beautiful lakes await you on this stage in the famous Salzkammergut. You start in Habernau and hike to the beautiful Almsee without any notable differences in altitude - a fairy-tale sight, as the peaks are reflected in the water surface. After a worthwhile stop at the lake house on the south bank

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  • Difficult
    05:56
    7.71 mi
    1.3 mph
    4,650 ft
    300 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    The 14th stage of the Voralpenweg begins with a wonderful section on the southern bank of the Traunsee. After a night in Ebensee you climb up to the Kalvarienberg chapel, where you can enjoy a wonderful view of the lake. And on it goes uphill to the Gsoll at 1,124 meters. The hiking trail zigzags up

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  • Difficult
    04:18
    5.46 mi
    1.3 mph
    1,725 ft
    2,375 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    This stage starts with a fantastic panorama at the Riederhütte. After a hearty breakfast, you hike through pine fields and over alpine meadows to the Eiblgruben-Sattel on the north side of the Brunnkogel. Surrounded by the mighty peaks and slopes of the Höllengebirge you follow the path downhill until

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  • Intermediate
    04:41
    6.74 mi
    1.4 mph
    725 ft
    4,300 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    After a relaxing night in the Hochleckenhaus, this day begins with a dream view of the Attersee. You leave the Grießalm, cross a forest and then hike on wonderful paths to the Gaisalm. The Voralpenweg 04 leads you through wide mountain pine areas to the Brennerin-Alm, where a small rest area awaits you

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  • Difficult
    06:12
    9.47 mi
    1.5 mph
    4,575 ft
    450 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    Today we go to one of the most popular mountains in the Salzkammergut, namely the Schafberg. At the beginning you hike from Weißenbach along the shore of the Attersee, on whose crystal clear water small sailing boats rock. At Unterburgau you leave the lake, turn onto Moosstraße - which is not a street

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  • Difficult
    05:29
    8.95 mi
    1.6 mph
    1,425 ft
    4,500 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    This stage begins high above the Salzkammergut on the Schafberg. You start hiking with great views and follow the Voralpenweg 04 down to the Schafbergalm, where a station of the Schafbergalm is located. It's impressive how the train steams up the steep slope. At the summit of the Aignerriedel you switch

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  • Intermediate
    04:11
    7.95 mi
    1.9 mph
    1,700 ft
    1,550 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    After a restful night in the Hochlackenhof, this stage of the Voralpenweg 04 starts very relaxed: Along the Ellmaubach you hike to the Fuschlsee, one of the most beautiful lakes in the Salzkammergut. Before that, you will pass the Rumingmühle, which invites you to take a short break, and a little later

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  • Difficult
    05:59
    11.0 mi
    1.8 mph
    2,725 ft
    2,075 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    On day 20 of the Voralpenweg you leave the village of Faistenau in the morning and walk to the banks of the Almbach. There you cross the dam that dams the creek to the front lake and then switch to the Metzgersteig. This leads you high above the Strubklamm through the forest - fantastic views are guaranteed

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    22
  • Distance
    276 mi
  • Duration
    143:02 h
  • Elevation
    50,350 ft50,125 ft

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From Vienna to Bad Reichenhall – hiking the Voralpenweg 04

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