The BergZeitReise long-distance hiking path through Styria in Austria combines spectacular scenery, rich culture and culinary delights. Over 186 miles (300 km) and 52,500 feet (16,000 m) of elevation gain spread across 18 stages, you hike along the lofty heights of the spectacular Hochsteiermark mountains.
The circular route takes you to countless natural wonders such as the Hochschwab mountains, the alpine pastures of the “Mürzer Oberland” nature park, the mountainous villages of Veitsch, Schneealm and Rax, the Fischbacher Alps and its Stuhleck peak, and stunning landscapes around the towns of Kapfenberg, Bruck an der Mur, Leoben, Rennfeld, and Mugel.
Located in the north of Styria in Austria, the Hochsteiermark region is known for its high mountains and forested slopes that were once home to famous writer and poet Peter Rosegger. The BergZeitReise trail makes up part of the Styrian long-distance hiking trail ‘Vom Gletscher zum Wein’ (From glacier to wine) which runs from the Dachstein mountain to luscious vineyards in the south of Styria. Several variants along the BergZeitReise allow you to choose between wild and romantic mountains or gentle hills. You can decide what kind of adventure you would like.
Under the motto “let’s take our time, there’s no rush,” this trail leads through one of Austria’s most diverse regions, Styria. You will dive into the Hochsteiermark area which is caught between tradition and modernity. The region’s wealth of natural resources has shaped the landscape and society in the mountains and you can visit historical sites en route that reveal its mining legacy. In the centre of the Eisenerz Alps, for example, the Erzberg mine, often referred to as the “Styrian loaf” by locals, has been excavating iron ore for many centuries. The cities and towns of Leoben, Bruck an der Mur, Kapfenberg, Kindberg, and Mürzzuschlag are also still known for the production of high-quality iron and steel products.
This adventure is extremely varied – lovely alpine pastures alternate with high alpine paths and romantic forests. On the more alpine sections, sure-footedness and a head for heights are required. However, you can sometimes take a detour although this may be longer and therefore take more time. Some stages have more than 3,280 feet (1,000 m) of elevation gain or descent. We recommend wearing suitable hiking shoes and bringing your waterproof clothing and hiking poles to protect your knees. You should also inform yourself about the weather conditions before setting off.
On all of the routes, you’ll find places to stop for food, but it’s still worth packing a snack in case you get hungry. There are also springs along most routes so bring a drinking bottle with you to enjoy the cold, clear spring water. In the high season, you should book your accommodation in advance at one of the cosy mountain huts.
The BergZeitReise starts and finishes in the town of Eisenerz. You can travel by public transport to the town; take the train to Leoben and catch the bus 820 to Eisenerz from there. You can also access the circular route conveniently from Mariazell, Tragöß, and Mautern.
With 22.9 kilometers and 1200 meters of altitude, stage 1 of the BergZeitRreise has it all. It leads from the mining town of Eisenerz over the impressive Leopoldsteinersee, further over the alpine pastures of the western Hochschwabstock to the Hochschwab and finally to the Sonnschienhütte at 1,526 meters at the foot of the striking Ebenstein. Framed by the imposing peaks of the Hochschwab Group, the first stage of the BergZeitRreise is a worthwhile start for your multi-day tour.The Erzberg pyramid is right on your way and offers an impressive insight into the history of ore mining. It is the largest mineral mine in Central Europe. A few kilometers before your accommodation is worth a detour to the romantic Androth-Alm. After a cool beer, you can easily master the last few meters before you happily have a hearty dinner at the Sonnschienhütte at the end of your first day.
On stage 2 of the BergZeitRreise you will not be able to get out of amazement. A wonderful mountain lake, a romantic alpine landscape and impressive high mountains will sweeten your day.The Nordalpenweg leads from the Sonnschienalm through the Hochschwab massif: via the Sackwiesen and Häuselalm you hike to the summit of the Hochschwab (2,277 m) and on to the Schiestlhaus. The area is characterized by a large abundance of water and feeds Vienna and Graz with delicious high spring water.But the wealth doesn't stop there. The chance of seeing Gamsen is particularly high on the Hochschwab because the area has the highest number of chamois in the Alpine region. In addition, on your hike you can enjoy a view of the Dachstein glacier.The technically easy hike over the Hochschwab plateau only becomes a little more demanding in bad weather and fog, because orientation is then difficult.The second stage of the BergZeitR Reise can also be reached from the Salzatal via the north side of the Hochschwab. The start for this is the place Wildalpen.
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Impressive rocky landscape and quaint mountain huts: On the trail of Archduke Johann, stage 3 takes you from Hochschwab down to Seewiesen. The path leads along the Northern Alpine Path past the Rotgangkogel and through Voisthalergasse before you reach Höllkampl and the Florlhütte. The Seetal is crossed in an easterly direction until you finally arrive in Seewiesen via the Seetalsattel.A large lake once shaped this landscape. Due to drainage, Seewiesen became a small town with a famous parish church (St. Leonhard). Due to its location at the foot of the Hochschwab, Seewiesen is also known as the Styrian Heiligenblut. Archduke Johann, the Styrian prince, started from Seewiesen in 1803 for the first touristic ascent of the Hochschwab - a memorial still commemorates this alpine act.
On stage 4 you hike a particularly large number of alpine pastures - romance and lots of rustic places to stop for refreshments are inevitable here. A strengthening here and there is certainly also appropriate, because you master a total of 1,370 vertical meters on the ascent over 19.8 kilometers. The difficulties are limited, but the tour requires you to be in good condition.From Seewiesen it goes up to the Seebergalm and on over the Göriacher Alm and the hand hut to the Turnauer Alm. From there you hike to the Gasthof Scheikl and up to the Lahnboden before you reach the stage goal, the Graf-Meran-Haus at 1,836 meters , reach. A dream panorama awaits you here to be amazed!The tour starts in Seewiesen and leads comfortably up to the Seebergalm. Through the Lappental you first reach the Göriacher Alm on a forest road, then on an alpine trail. If you still have enough motivation, you can climb the Turnauer Hochanger - but this is only recommended for really persistent mountain athletes, otherwise it will be at the following altitude meters very exhausting. We continue, almost flat, to the huts of the Turnauer Alm at the foot of the Rauschkogel. To the north past this the path continues to the Rotsohlalm. Then you can reach the Scheikl gas court via the Schalleralm. Tip: Very sure-footed hikers can reach the Graf-Meran-Haus directly from the Rotsohlalm via the Teufelsteig.Excursus: The Veitschtal is strongly influenced by mining. From the Middle Ages metals such as iron, copper and manganese as well as graphite were mined in and around Veitsch. However, the discovery of magnesite in 1881 made the community of Veitsch famous worldwide. If you are interested in mining, a visit to the magnesite hiking trail is recommended.
Stage 5 impresses with breathtaking views and cozy places to stop. The path leads from the Graf-Meran-Haus over pasture terrain and through forest areas to the Ramkogel and further via the Veschbachtörl and the Arzbachhöhe to Neuberg an der Mürz. It is a simple, but quite long stage with 1,450 meters of altitude and 18.1 kilometers in the descent.From the quite alpine Veitsch with the wide plateau, it goes downhill through the Kleinveitschalm huts, which are managed in summer, into the upper Muerz Valley. There, on the Mürz, a real cultural and historical highlight awaits you with the Neuberg Abbey. A visit to the neighboring glass factory is also recommended.
On stage 6, culture, fresh spring water and a lot of untouched nature await you. From Neuberg it goes steeply uphill into the heart of the Mürzer Oberland nature park - to the beautiful Schneealm with its numerous, mostly managed alpine pastures. More precisely, the path leads from Neuberg an der Mürz via the Rudolfsteig to the Karlgraben, from where it continues to the Karleck and towards the Michlbauer hut to the Schneealpenhaus on the Schneealm plateau.If you want to take a little time in Neuburg an der Mürz despite the crisp tour, a visit to the glass manufacturer "Kaiserhof" is recommended. High-quality and artistic colored glass has been produced here again since summer 2010, and for many years the "Neuberger Kulturtage" have been one of the most important cultural initiatives in the region.
Today it is really alpine. A steep descent, a demanding ascent, an insured climb to a promising summit and a shelter with a panoramic guarantee await you.You start on the Schneealm plateau, cross it and hike down at the BIO Almkäserei Lurgbauer over the Ameisbühel to the Nasskamm. The steepest parts can be avoided on a short alternative route via the so-called Karlalm (not managed).The Nasskamm is steep again. In the right part, an insured climb leads you through the rock falls to the Rax plateau. The summit cross is at an altitude of 2,007 meters. From here you can see the nearby Karl-Ludwig-Haus, your hostel for the night. You can reach the shelter in around 15 minutes.At this stage, sure-footedness is required because you are traveling on partly exposed and partly insured rock passages. If this is too demanding for you, you can avoid the difficult passages via Altenberg / Fax and the Gasthof Moussa. It takes two to three hours longer.
On stage 8 you leave the rocky regions of the Rax and turn to the gentler mountains. You cross the Mürz Valley mountains and come to Mürzzuschlag on a wooded path.The path leads over the Siebenbrunnenkessel past the Waxriegelhaus to the Preiner Gscheid and on to the Paulinenquelle. Finally, on the Großer Scheibe it goes to the Franzlbauerwand before you reach Mürzzuschlag via the Tiefental. It is a long but easy stage with many downhill passages. Telescopic poles to protect your knees are a must!
On stage 9 you can expect great views, a grandiose summit experience and an impressive church. From Mürzzuschlag, the path leads past Sommerau Castle to Spital am Semmering and steeply up to the Hocheck and the Stuhleck. Via the Geiereck you finally reach the Pretul mountain range and the cozy Peter Rosegger house.On the long but easy valley and mountain hike you will overcome 1,250 meters of altitude and 22 kilometers. The area is known as the cradle of ski tourism. Because the Stuhleck is the first ski-climbed peak in the Alps. Mürzzuschlag is therefore also home to the FIS Winter Sports Museum, the largest winter sports equipment collection in the world.In addition, the Stuhleck is one of the most beautiful vantage points in the Eastern Alps, because on fine days you can see around a third of the entire Austrian territory from here. It is about two hours from the summit to the Rosegger refuge and a delicious dinner.
Stage 10 leads promisingly to the Jägerhöhe and further to the Auenhof am Alpl. Finally you reach the legendary Teufelstein and soon after Fischbach, the highest place in Eastern Styria. The stage is very long at 23.7 kilometers and mainly descends at 1,210 meters. On your stage you get from the alpine part of Styria through the Waldheimat directly to the highest place in Eastern Styria, to Fischbach.The promising tour takes you enjoyably over the high plateaus of the Fischbacher Alps and is technically not difficult. The Fischbacher Alps are a gentle, elongated, forest and alpine-rich mountain range with the character of a low mountain range. On the first part of the tour you hike past numerous wind turbines that do a full job on the exposed mountain ridge.Later you will get to important sites by Peter Rosegger, an important Austrian poet and writer who shaped the area in the 19th century. For example, there is the forest school that Rosegger once built for farmers' children in the area, or Rosegger's birthplace, and then you hike to the Teufelstein, from where you descend to the picturesque village of Fischbach at exactly 1,000 meters above sea level.
Stage 11 is extremely varied - you walk through mighty forests, promising meadows and reach Kindberg, a city with a heart. In total, you overcome 590 vertical meters in the ascent and 1030 in the descent and hike 23.1 kilometers.You move on this stage mainly on the well-known Mariazell pilgrimage route 06, only at Kindberg you leave this route.Kindberg itself is one of the most beautiful small towns in Hochsteiermark and is always worth a visit. The 24 meter high guild tree is the symbol of the city. The Calvary also invites you to visit. It is one of the most beautiful of its kind in Austria. On your foray through the city you will also discover the Georgiberg Church high above the city.
Today's stage is the longest and most arduous. On 33.1 kilometers, you can conquer a total of 1,540 vertical meters. That requires a very early start. If it gets too much for you on the way, you can also spend the night at the Pogusch.After a breathtaking sunrise over the Murz Valley you start towards Pogusch. After a good three hours you can reach the Pogusch with the well-known Steirereck inn and the Bründlweg via the Töllamoaralm and the vast forests of the Mürz Valley mountains. You also follow this briefly before you branch off to the promising Zöberer Höhe. From there it goes downhill to Kapfenberg with the Oberkapfenberg Castle, which can be seen from afar. You really earned your hearty evening meal today! Well get it!
Stage 13 has two cities and an impressive summit ready for you today. You cover 1,200 vertical meters in ascent and descent over 19.1 kilometers. The summit of the Rennfeld itself is one of the most beautiful vantage points in the whole of Upper Styria and offers a panorama from the Styrian thermal region to the Dachstein and Tauern glacier region.You start in Kapfenberg and first hike to Oberkapfenberg Castle. From there it goes via the picturesque pilgrimage site Frauenberg with its remarkable pilgrimage church directly to the Rennfeld summit. Your stage ends today in Bruck an der Mur with one of the most beautiful inner cities in Styria. There you can visit the clock tower, the town hall with arcade courtyard, the Marian column on the main square and the Iron Fountain.
Stage 14 leads from one of the most beautiful historical city centers to one of the most beautiful high-Styrian panoramic peaks - the Mugel. The varied, somewhat longer tour includes 17.1 kilometers and 1,510 meters in altitude ascent. The hike is easy and leads from Bruck an der Mur to the Mugel, Leoben's local mountain.The starting point is the center of Bruck an der Mur in front of the Gothic grain knife house. Through the publicly accessible nature conservation center in the Weitental you hike up to the Brucker Hochanger. From there it goes up and down through high forests and across promising mountain meadows to the Rosseck. Now down, up again and the Mugel with the new shelter is reached. With a refreshing drink you can enjoy the well-deserved end of the day from here!
Stage 15 leads almost exclusively downhill over 1140 meters of altitude and 10.3 kilometers and offers your tired ascent legs a breather. Your path takes you from the local mountain of Leoben to the second largest city in Styria - Leoben. The city is home to Austria's most famous beer and the Montan University, one of the most renowned universities in the country.The lookout on the Massenburg, the first facility of which goes back to the ninth century, offers a wonderful view over Leoben. On your way you will also pass Spitz Christi - a striking waypoint from which you also have a beautiful view of the valley.The short stage allows you to take a stroll through the old town through Leoben with its many sights. Everywhere is pointed to the mining past of the city. In the Kunsthalle Leoben you can be amazed by exciting exhibits. A walk to the lookout point on the Massenburg is particularly worthwhile. It offers a wonderful view over Leoben.
Stage 16 is relaxed compared to the other stages because you only overcome 640 meters in altitude, but still cover 18.7 kilometers. You walk on gentle paths from Leoben to Trofaiach. The panorama is enchanting. The view of the mighty Reiting and the Eisenerzer Alps is your companion on this hike.From Leoben, past the large quarry, across the somewhat unflattering Galgenberg and the lowlands to Lake Traboch. A longer break is worthwhile here because you will find a wide range of leisure activities around the lake. Of course you can also simply enjoy the view of the beautiful lake with a cool drink or take a dip in the water. Later you hike through Gausendorf and reach Trofaiach - your destination today.
Stage 17 is the penultimate stage of the BergZeitRreise and is partly alpine in character. On the way from Trofaiach to Eisenerzer Reichenstein you will overcome 19.5 kilometers and 1,550 vertical meters, but only a pleasant 110 vertical meters downhill. This section is challenging because it leads through alpine terrain and requires surefootedness.The Eisenerzer Reichenstein is one of the most beautiful, but also one of the more alpine viewing peaks in Hochsteiermark. First you hike comfortably from Trofaiach via Hafning to the Hirnalm. There it gets steeper and steeper until it finally goes uphill along narrow mountain paths to the Reichensteinhaus and the nearby summit. Before you move into your overnight camp on the rustic hut, you will enjoy a breathtaking mountain panorama and a cool beer.
Stage 18 is the last one on your way through the Hochsteiermark. The tour challenges you in different ways: On the one hand, you cover 21.1 kilometers and overcome 580 vertical meters on the ascent and a total of 2,000 vertical meters on the descent. In addition, stage 18 is an alpine mountain tour with insured and exposed path sections, where sure-footedness is absolutely necessary. If you don't dare to do that, you can alternatively go straight down from Reichenstein to Präbichl.The finale of the BergZeitR Reise is more alpine - and you can enjoy a breathtaking panorama at the end. The path begins at the Reichsteinhaus and initially leads west on a ridge. You can overcome a few rocky spots with the help of rope insurance on the descent. Then it goes steeply downhill towards Eisenerzer Ramsau. You walk these out of the valley until you reach Eisenerz - the start and end point of the BergZeitR Reise.Please note that you always stay on the marked path and do not take any shortcuts when descending between Reichstein and Ramsau. Because these mostly lead to rough terrain.