Hike clear through the Alps using nothing but your own two feet. This idea is a true hiker's dream; a challenge that more and more mountain enthusiasts and long-distance hikers undertake every year. To get you through the mountains, there are numerous paths to choose from — although, for us, one of them stands out: The 'Traumpfad', literally 'Dream Path'. This trail, which comprises 28 day-stages, covers over 340 miles (550 kilometers) and ascends over 65,000 feet (20,000 meters), was first hiked back in 1977 by the acclaimed mountaineer and writer, Ludwig Graßler who also gave it its name. And now, it's your turn.
Starting in Munich, a city that is often referred to as "the Northernmost City of Italy", you'll trek through the Bavarian foothills of the Alps, you'll cross the Karwendel, you'll climb the main ridge of the Alps in the Tux Alps, and you'll hike once through the entirety of the Dolomites. All while you meander your way ever onward towards beautiful Venice. On the way, you'll discover landscapes that can only be reached on foot, Alpine huts in breathtakingly picturesque places — and a wild, romantic world that, if you're lucky, you'll have all to yourself.
Even though this hike doesn't cross any technically difficult terrain, you'll still be presented with a fair number of challenges. Firstly, the distance alone is enough to make even the fittest of legs sore, so don't head off on this adventure lightly. Be sure to take plenty of breaks during the day and bring plenty of provisions with you. If you plan properly and prepare accordingly, you'll spend 28 spectacular days enjoying breathtaking panoramas, lonesome nature and creating moments that will last a lifetime.
If the full 28-day hike is a little too long for you, you can also choose to hike only sections. Stage 13 is a recommended endpoint if you choose to truncate the Tour. This way, you'd have already hiked through much of the Alps and you can end your trip in the beautiful Pustertal Valley. You'd also have explored part of the Dolomites by now, so you'll have experienced the three main regions of this epic hike. After such an accomplishment, you can board the train at Niedervintl happy and proud — ready to head on home.
Full of energy, you start your crossing of the Alps in the center of Munich, on the Marienplatz. From here it goes for you to the Isar and along the riverbank out of the city. After the first third you leave the city completely behind you and walk along the idyllic banks of the Isar on comfortable hiking trails to Wolfrathshausen.Even if the hike is only on good tracks and does not require any ascents or descents, you should plan enough breaks due to the long distance. There are many different places to stop for refreshments, where you can regain your strength during a break.
On the second day you follow the course of the Isar towards the Alps. The landscape becomes noticeably hilly and on the horizon mountains can be seen again and again. Depending on the water level of the Isar, your hiking trail runs right on the shore, sometimes through green forest.On your way to Bad Tölz there are no rest stops. So plan on getting enough food to keep up. It's best to take care of yourself in Wolfratshausen before you start your day's journey.
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On the third day you leave the flat land finally behind you. After leaving Bad Tölz, you will continue for another six kilometers along the banks of the Isar. In Obergries you say goodbye to the river and walk across hilly fields and through dense forests in the direction of your current destination.Between the forest sections you will always have beautiful views of the mountains and especially of the nearby Benediktenwand. Directly below this cliff is the Tutzinger Hut, where you will spend the night today.In Arzbach an der Isar you will find various cafes and bars where you can stop for a rest before you make your way up to the Turzinger Hütte.
On the fourth day the first mountains and a real summit climb await you. On a distance of more than twenty kilometers, it is necessary to cope with about 900 vertical meters in the ascent and 1400 vertical meters in the descent.After enjoying the magnificent view of the Karwendel mountain range in front of you on the Benediktenwand, you follow hiking paths and forest paths down to the village of Jachenau. In three different guest houses you can take a break here. Afterwards it goes up to the Risssattel. From the top you have a magnificent panorama of valley and rock faces. A last short but steep descent leads you to the stage destination Vorderriss.If you want to take it a bit easier, you can easily skip the summit climb to Benediktenwand. Accordingly, the distance is reduced to almost 18 kilometers and you save almost 300 vertical meters each in ascent and descent.
The fifth stage rewards your previous efforts with an incomparable Alpine landscape. Your way leads you into the Rißtal into and past the small village Hinterriß over to the Kleiner Ahornboden.The landscape at Ahornboden is incomparable. A flat and lush valley full of maple trees lies between the bright gray towering rock faces of the Karwendel. The path leads slowly but steadily up to the Hochalmsattel. From there it is only a few minutes to the grandiose Karwendelhaus, today's stage destination.
The sixth day is a true mountain tour ready for you. Over a wide gravel field, you will follow marked trails through the Schlauchkar up to the Birkkarspitze, the highest summit of the Karwendel. If you have enough energy, the climb to the summit is definitely worth it. For the way back to the Birkkarspitze you should plan a total of one hour from the Schlauchkarsattel.Afterwards it is long and evenly down into the Hinterautal. Plan enough time and breaks, because after the ascent through the Schlauchkar the almost 1,400 vertical meters in the descent are a real challenge for your knees. In the Hinterautal the Kastenalm awaits you with delicious food and a magnificent view. After a break, continue to the stage destination Hallerangerhaus.
On the seventh day, the trail leads you on comfortable paths down to the Inn valley to Wattens. After a short ascent to the Lafatscherjoch, the route continues over a very long and exhausting descent through the Halltal valley. Plan a long rest at the Gasthof St. Magdalena, so that you can reach the stage goal with sufficient energy.
The eighth stage takes you up to the Tux Alps. From the Inntal you follow the Wattenbach into the Wattental. On dirt roads and partly picturesque hiking trails it goes up steadily. Even if you do not expect any technical difficulties, the eighth stage challenges your condition.On your way through the idyllic valley, you can take a break in the guesthouses in Mühle or Säge as well as in the Gasthaus Haneburger. All three refreshments are right on your trail.On the last third of today's stage you will enter the military training area Lizum / Walchen. The unsteady use by the Armed Forces has preserved the upper Wattental until today before the ski tourism and so you can expect fantastic nature.Note that military maneuvers are sometimes held on the military training grounds. On these days, the trails are also military restricted area. You can read the blocking times under the following link: wattenberg.tirol.gv.at/system/web/zusatzseite.aspx?detailonr=217151586
The Tux Alps await you on the ninth day of your hike with a strenuous and sometimes challenging mountain tour. Since much of the trail is located far above the tree line, phenomenal view is guaranteed.First, it goes over a sweaty climb up to Geierjoch, the highest point of today's stage. The great views of the Tux Alps are your reward and you can enjoy the wide mountain scenery up here. A further ascent along the Gschütz saddle leads you down the trail into the Weitental. After a final climb you reach the stage destination Tuxerjochhaus.At this stage there are no inns or mountain huts where you can stop for a rest. So plan on having enough provisions and water for the tour.Note that at times, military maneuvers are held on the military training grounds in Lizum. On these days, the trails are also military restricted area. You can read the blocking times under the following link: wattenberg.tirol.gv.at/system/web/zusatzseite.aspx?detailonr=217151586
The tenth stage is a challenging mountain tour. Both good physical condition and sure-footedness are prerequisites for this stage.After a short descent, the route continues over boulder fields and individual snowfields up to the highest point of the stage, the Friesenbergscharte. During the ascent, you will always get a glimpse of the Tux Glacier, which is located west of your hiking route. At the Friesenbergscharte you cross the ridge and descend on a cable-secured serpentine path. It is imperative that you concentrate and rested on this section.After the descent you can take a long break at the Friesenberghaus. Afterwards you continue down to the Dominkushütte. Already on the descent you have a great view of the Schlegeis Reservoir and its huge dam.
After the exhausting 10th stage, on the eleventh day a lighter hike awaits you. On comfortable trails, it goes with moderate ascents and descents on the Pfitscher yoke. Behind you, the Italian South Tyrol awaits you with lush valleys and great food.From the yoke, it goes down into the Pfitsch valley to Stein or St. Jakob, depending on where your accommodation awaits you.On the way today, you have several restaurants. So enjoy the day and save your energy for the next stages.
On the twelfth day it goes straight up again. Fortunately, the day before, you were able to save some of your strength, so that you can now tackle the overshoot of the chain of cards with enough stamina. After the challenging ascent to the saddle you can rest in lofty heights and enjoy the spectacular views.On the descent you will pass the upper Enbergalm. If you're lucky, it's open and you can fortify yourself with the landlord's remarkable apple strudel. For the descent, it is advisable anyway to schedule enough breaks, as there are still 1,500 vertical meters in the descent waiting for you.In Pfunders you will find a variety of accommodation as well as a grocery store to stock up on supplies.
On your thirteenth leg you leave the central Alps behind you and head to the Dolomites with their unique rocky landscape. Your tour starts with a gentle descent to Niedervintl in the Puster Valley.Directly on the other side of the valley, it goes on serpentine steeply up to Ronerhütte. Then leads on a ridge path to the intermediate goal Kreuzwiesenhütte. From here you already have an intoxicating view of the mountain ranges of the Dolomites that await you in the next few days.If you do not want to run the entire route of the dream path at one go, you can conveniently end your tour in Niedervintl. There is a train station with good train connections.
On day 14, the elevations spread evenly over numerous ascents and descents along the entire route. No difficult sections await you on this stage, but the great distance and the high altitude air demand good stamina.Passing the idyllic Glittner See with its boat sculpture, you continue across the Lüsner Joch in the direction of the south. Throughout the route, the mighty Peitlerkofel shows up again and again. After you have climbed down to Gadertal, it goes steeply up to the Peitlerscharte. There you finally pass the Peitlerkofel, the western cornerstone of the Dolomites, and wander the last section to the Schlüterhütte stage destination.
Stage 15 takes you to the heart of the Dolomites. On each meter, you can expect unique views of the huge rocky landscape, which you can experience only up here.However, the tour is a real challenge. In addition to a stable condition today, sure-footedness and a head for heights are required, as you expect some exposed areas. Assess your skills properly and let it be calm and focused, then you are on the right side.If you do not carry provisions with you, you can rest in the Puezhütte. In the middle of the Dolomite landscape you can enjoy your break very well.
On day 16 it goes up to the plateau of the Sella group. On serpentines it goes over a gravel field up to the Piscadú lake and the hut of the same name. From there follow another 400 meters climb until you reach the plateau.Above, however, you will be rewarded for all hardships. The landscape that awaits you in this place is absolutely unique and seems to come from another world. High above the valleys below you pass the Antersass-Joch to the finish, to the Boèhütte.Even today you have to assess your skills correctly and divide your forces well. Although the route is short, the steep ascent requires your full concentration and the path between Piscadúhütte and Boèhütte is somewhat exposed in some places. Since there is a special climate up here, you should always inform yourself in advance about the weather. Even in summer there can be snow and ice on the plateau.
On day 17 you can take it a little easier again. Although you can expect a descent of over 1,000 meters, but there are only small climbs and the walk extends over a moderate twelve kilometers. Today, you can plan on taking a lot of breaks to enjoy the stunning scenery, because that's what you've earned after the last few days.You start on the plateau of the Sella Group and then descend from the Pordoi Pass down to the Pordoi Pass. Afterwards, it's a short climb to the Fedaiasee. There you can find today's accommodation on the shore, the Rifugio Marmolada Castiglioni, in short "Marmolada Hut".On your today's hike you will find several restaurants. The huts with the most beautiful views are in any case the Rifugio Forcella al Pordoi on the Pordoi Pass and the Bindelweg Hut. From the latter hut you already have a magnificent view of the Marmolada group.
On your 18th stage, you will go downhill on comfortable trails along the entire route. At no point will it be steep or difficult and you will have the chance to enjoy the unique Serrai Sottoguda gorge.On your steady descent you will find various huts, restaurants and cafes and in the Alleghe stage destination, you can stock up on your groceries in various grocery stores.
On the 19th day of your hike up to the Civetta wall. First, it goes along the lakeshore and then on a steep serpentine path up, the rock face always above you in view.Over the short distance, you will overcome more than 1,200 vertical meters, but you will be rewarded with a great all-round view.If the last few days are still very much in your bones, you can also shorten and take the cable car from Alleghe to the Rifugio Col dei Baldi. In this case, you approach the Tissihütte from the northeast. The distance is then about seven kilometers at 640 meters elevation.On the way over Masarè you will find no rest stops. Best prepare yourself in advance in Alleghe with enough provisions and especially with water before you start.
On your 20th stage a hike with fantastic views awaits you. You circle the civetta massif and descend into a valley. Here runs the Torrente Corpassa, a torrent that leads only irregularly with water. On the other side, continue on a narrow but well-marked path to the Carestiato Hut, your current destination.On the hike you pass the Rifugio Vazzoler. If you feel like it, you can take a break here.
On your 21st day you have to say goodbye to the mountains. Therefore, a comparatively short tour with moderate ascents and descents awaits you today. So you have the perfect opportunity to enjoy the mountain worlds of the Belluno Dolomites.You descend to Passo Duran, where you can rest in the mountain huts. Afterwards it is a scenic climb to Forcella de Moschesin. Between the towering cliffs, your hiking trail will take you to the Pramperet Hut, today's stage destination.
On stage 22, things get really high again. The trail will take you up the Cime de Zità to the Monte Talvena massif. The ascent once again requires your surefootedness before you are rewarded with a great view.The descent will take you past the Rifugio Pian de Fontana. The small mountain lodge is perfect for a break, so you can gather your strength to descend to the finish. Over the slope of the Cima de la Scala, the trail leads you down to the Bianchethütte with a magnificent view.
Since the Schiara, the highest peak of the Belluno Dolomites, can only be overcome on a long and very strenuous via ferrata, we suggest you to descend from the Bianchet hut. The path leads through a narrow and wooded valley down to the highway.There you can drive from the demand stop "La Pissa" with the Dolomiti bus 001 to the stage destination Belluno.You can look up the timetable here: moovitapp.com/index/en-gb/public_transportation-line-001-Trento_e_Belluno-1903-856598-529703-2026459
On day 24 you enter the Italian Alpine foothills. Over a range of hills and the plateau Pian delle Femene it goes down to small Italian towns and villages down to Revine.Your hike leads through beautiful and varied landscape. Here, you mainly hike on barely traveled roads and comfortable hiking trails. From the saddle of the plateau, it goes down a steep mountain path to the stage destination.