Gentle mountain ridges, panoramic peaks, and peace and quiet in abundance – that's what awaits you on the Lavant Valley Trail. This hike is ideal for anyone looking to relax and unwind from the stresses of everyday life.
Over 102 miles (165 km) and nine stages, you hike along the Koralpe and Saualpe mountain ridges and through the lush alpine meadows around the Lavant Valley. This area of southern Austria is truly beautiful and most of the time, you can enjoy the wonderful landscape to yourself.
This circular hike starts and finishes at the lowest point of the route in Lavamuend, a small town in the south-east of Carinthia. From the town, you hike up to the rustic Stift hut and climb the Großer Speikkogel, the highest peak in the Koralpe at 7,020 feet (2,140 m) on the second day. Next, you hike through the popular holiday region of Weinebene and head over
Via the popular holiday region Weinebene you hike over the Pack Saddle pass to the town of Reichenfels, which lies in the north of the Lavant Valley. After a detour into the valley, this high-alpine trail lives up to its name as it leads you to Klippitztorl. This popular winter ski resort offers hikers fantastic views over idyllic alpine pastures in summer. On the sixth stage, you will be impressed by no fewer than five Saualpe peaks, each with magnificent mountain panoramas. Here, you spend the night in the Wolfsberger Hut, before heading over the Griffner Mountain and through the St. Pauler Mostland hills. On the final stage, you visit historic St. Paul monastery before returning to the starting point in Lavameund.
Alpine experience isn’t required for the Lavant Valley Trail, but you do need good stamina. Some stages are quite long and you have to climb more than 3,600 feet (1,100 m) in one day. Other days are more family-friendly. In the evenings, you can relax in the mountain huts and small villages in the valley. As long sections run through shaded forests, this is a good option for a hike in the height of summer.
To travel by public transport, take the train to St. Paul where you can catch a bus to Lavamuend. You can also take a bus from the starting point to other towns en route like Voelkermarkt or Klagenfurt. For more information, visit: oebb.at.
The starting point of your long-distance hike is in Lavamünd, at 343 meters above sea level not only the lowest point of the tour, but also the southernmost place in the Lavant valley. At 21 kilometers and 1,220 meters in altitude, the first stage is one of the most physically demanding on the Lavanttaler Höhenweg. You follow the course of the Drau, very close to the Austrian-Slovenian border, and turn left into the forest outside of the village. Here the ascent to the Lorenzenberg begins, from where you have an impressive view of the Karawanken.It zigzags uphill to Jankitz Trögli. After 15 kilometers you cross the Südsteirische Grenzstraße and walk on forest paths past the summit of the Hirschkogel. The path leads you over the summit of the Goßeck to the edge of the forest and your gaze wanders over lush alpine pastures, the Kleinalpl and the Stiftshütte, today's destination with its own trout pond.One of the most breathtaking vantage points in Carinthia is in the immediate vicinity of the hut. It is the viewing platform at the Berensteiner Ofen. The distant views extend in a wide arc from Ursula Mountain in the Slovenian Steiner Alps, over the Dobratsch to the Großer Speikkogel, the highest peak of the Koralpe.
On the second day, gentle hills, beautiful alpine meadows and a wonderful panorama of the Koralpe mountain range await you.The Lavanttaler Höhenweg leads along the forested western flank of the Kleinalpl and on to the Luckert rock. The Koralpe is part of the Norwegian Alps and rises between the two rivers Mur in Styria and the Lavant in Carinthia. The border between the two federal states of Carinthia and Styria therefore runs along the mountain ridge.You climb the Großer Speikkogel, at 2,140 meters the highest peak of the Koralpe and the entire high trail. Above you will be rewarded with a fantastic view of the Lavant valley and the Carinthian mountains. Right on the border between Carinthia and Styria, you hike to the 2,066 meter high Seespitz. Although the highest areas of the mountain range made of crystalline rock have a high mountain character, most of the area is characterized by low mountain ranges and is therefore a popular hiking area for young and old.Then the Lavanttaler Höhenweg leads you along the ridge of the chicken support to the wine plain, which is one of the most beautiful holiday areas in the Lavanttal.On the way, a short detour to the extraordinary Grillitsch hut, which is a little off the main route, is also worthwhile.
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The third stage is characterized by idyllic forest and alpine paths in the border area between Carinthia and Styria. With a length of 18 kilometers and a few meters of altitude, the stage is also manageable for families with children who like to hike often.From the Weinebene it goes to the Handalm with the striking rock ovens and to the 1,805 meter high Weberkogel, which lies directly on the border between Carinthia and Styria. Over the Wildbachsattel you hike to another highlight of this stage: In the high moor See-Eben with its observation tower, you can discover rare plants.At the Hebalm you can stop in one of the rustic huts and take a well-deserved break. Other interesting waypoints are the Hebalmsee and the Wolfsstein. Your destination for today is at the Packsattel pass. The Gasthaus Hanslwirt in Preitenegg is your destination for the night and also offers a shuttle service.
Today you will have a hike through a varied and very scenic region. Lively alpine pasture and gentle ridges make this stage unique.At around 26 kilometers, this stage is the longest on the Lavanttaler Höhenweg. From the pack saddle to the Peterer Alm it goes steadily uphill and you will be rewarded with impressive views of the Lavanttal and the Styrian Lippizanerheimat. Known for the Lippizaner stud in Piber, where the horses are bred for the Spanish Riding School in Vienna.After you have left the high alpine pastures of Hirschegg and St.Leonhard behind you, you descend from the Peterer Alm down into the valley. The rustic dumpling hut is a worthwhile stop for a stopover.Past the summit of the Jaukenschlössl, the Lavanttaler Höhenweg winds down to Reichenfels, which lies between the Packalpe and the Seetal Alps in the Upper Lavanttal. The state border with Styria runs north of the municipality. In Reichenfels you can cool off in the outdoor pool before moving into your room in one of the inns.
The fifth stage is varied and takes you from the valley up to the foothills of the Seetal Alps, along gentle mountain ridges, to the Klippitztörl skiing and hiking area. With a length of 24 kilometers and 1,180 meters of altitude, it is a very demanding stage.Starting from Reichenfels, the northernmost municipality of the Lavant Valley, the route is steadily uphill. Past traditional and typical Lavanttaler mountain farms, you hike up to the Pressner Alpe.This is where the most strenuous part of the tour ends and most of the vertical meters are behind you. You deserve an extensive rest at the rustic Feldalm hut at 1,750 meters above sea level. Local and culinary specialties from some of our own production await you.Now the comfortable and relaxed part of the fifth stage begins. You walk along gentle ridges and forest paths to the Klippitztörl, the end point of this day. The Lavanttaler Höhenweg leads you through meadows, which serve as a ski slope in winter, through the forest to the Naturfreundehaus at Klippitztörl, your today's destination.
The sixth stage is a wonderful summit tour on the gentle back of the Saualpe, high above the Lavanttal. With a length of a good 13 kilometers and about 610 meters of ascent, it is a leisurely hike for the whole family.The Saualpe is not only the local recreation area of the Lavanttaler, but also part of the long-distance hiking trail Panoramaweg Südalpen. This connects the holiday regions of Villach, Rosental, Klopeiner See and the Lavanttal in 20 stages.From the Naturfreundehaus Klippitztörl it goes steadily uphill to the summit of the Geierkogel. It is the most strenuous section of the tour, as more than a third of the vertical meters of the entire route are completed on a short route. After you have entered the summit book, you can relax on gentle alpine meadows and with a breathtaking panorama over the Forstalpe.Past the Kienberg, the promising route runs to Gertrusk, summit number two today. With a little luck, you can spot chamois and marmots on the rocks. Lush green meadows line the path and you look down at the sea eyes, two circular mountain lakes.The absolute highlight awaits you at Ladinger Spitz, the highest point in the Saualpe. It is only a short distance downhill from Ladinger Spitz to your today's destination in the Wolfsberger Hütte of the ÖAV. The landlord is already waiting there and from the terrace you can enjoy a wonderful view of the valley.
Today's stage runs on beautiful forest and meadow paths past pilgrimage churches and mountain villages. A relaxed mixture of relaxation and adventure.From the Wolfsberger Hütte at 1,827 meters, it is about five hours, mainly downhill, to the foothills of the Saualpe. There are only a few places to stop for refreshments directly along the route, so you should pack food. Alternatively, you can plan a detour to the Pöllinger Hütte or the Lammingerhütte, which are a bit off the main path.On soft forest paths you get to St. Leonhard an der Saualpe, where you can visit the Roman Catholic branch church St. Leonhard.The Lavanttaler Höhenweg always leads gently downhill and if you are interested in sacred architecture, a detour to the branch churches in Tschrietes and Pustritz is worthwhile. The church in Tschrietes was mentioned in a document in 1371 and stands on a hill. The Pustritz parish church, first mentioned in 1196, bears the patronage of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary.After some historical and scenic impressions you will reach the Griffner Berg. You spend the night in the small bed and breakfast Töfferl.Bed & Breakfast Töfferl
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On the eighth stage, you will be accompanied by lovely nature with typical orchards of the region. The St. Pauler Mostland, the surrounding mountains and the mild climate give this region a unique character.From Griffner Berg over Haberberg it goes to the St. Pauler Mountains. Alternately you hike through quiet forest areas and past orchards, which bloom in the most beautiful colors in spring. Every year hiking highlights are the blossoms and seven hills hikes. The Granitztaler flower hike (unfortunately canceled in 2021) leads through a sea of blossoming fruit trees on May 1st and attracts many visitors. The seven hill hike is organized annually on Ascension Day by the Wolfsberger Alpenverein. The route is identical to this stage.The crowning glory of the eighth stage of the Lavanttaler Höhenweg is the Rabenstein castle ruins. The once mighty complex used to serve as protection for the nearby Benedictine monastery of St. Paul, today you can visit the ruins. Next to it is the traditional Gasthaus Rabensteiner, your destination for today. If your time management allows it, you shouldn't miss a visit to the Benedictine monastery with its monastery museum in St. Paul.
Today we go back to the starting point in Lavamünd. A leisurely stage with plenty of time for a review of your hiking adventure around the Lavant Valley. With a length of around ten kilometers and a walking time of three hours, it is the shortest stage of the Lavanttaler Höhenweg and is therefore very family-friendly.From the Gasthaus Rabensteiner it is partly parallel to the geo nature trail through the forest. It is a geological journey through time over 500 million years of geological development, from the creation of the earth to the first human. At eight stations, the individual geological ages from the Devonian to the Quaternary are explained on information boards.You enjoy the fresh air and the peace again before the path takes you to the banks of the Drau. At the end of your nine-day hike, the Lavamünder bathing lake invites you to take a refreshing dip. Beautiful natural swimming lake, which is located right next to the Drau. Walk past the camping site the last few meters into the center of Lavamünd, back to the starting point of the Lavanttaler Höhenweg.