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.
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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.
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.