Admittedly, this journey doesn’t quite start from Vienna, but almost. The Via Sacra leads you from Brunn am Gebirge, a town a stone’s throw from the Austrian capital, to Mariazell, a pilgrimage city in Styria. The path leads past countless shrines, chapels, and churches, as well as castles, palaces, and even a cave with an underground lake. You visit the magnificent Heiligenkreuz and Lilienfeld monasteries where you can even spend a night of your pilgrimage. The route finishes at the spectacular Mariazell Basilica. Lying in a picturesque valley and framed by forested mountains, this is a fitting location to end your wonderful adventure.
Located south-west of Vienna, Brunn am Gebirge can still be reached with the S2 or S3 S-Bahn line. The 169 Postbus follows the exact route of the Via Sacra, making it easy to personalise your hike. You can catch the bus from Südtiroler Platz and travel all the way to Mariazell. This means you can shorten the route or walk individual stages as day trips.
The historic route would once have run through the landscape where today the 11, 18, and 20 main roads are found. As hiking here would be less fun, the Via Sacra instead takes you through picturesque hilly countryside, along side roads, forest tracks, and paths. Although there is not much climbing, you do have to cover long distances. If you choose to walk the route in five stages then two of the days are around 30 kilometres (18.6 miles). With an early start and plenty of breaks, the distance won’t be a problem.
In the evening, inns, guesthouses, and the occasional hotel ensure that you are re-energised the next day. It is best to book all overnight stays in advance as the options are often limited in the small villages. If you would like to sleep in the monasteries of Heiligenkreuz and Lilienfeld, you should book as early as possible.
As a special conclusion to your trip, you can take the Mariazellerbahn back to St. Pölten. It chugs along beautiful old bridges and tunnels through the mountains. You can find more information here: mariazellerbahn.at.
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Last updated: November 4, 2021
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Brunn am Gebirge was once the 24th district of Vienna, but is now an independent market town again. And because it is so close to the Austrian capital, it is conveniently connected to the S-Bahn network. So you can come here very relaxed with the S2 or S3 line. At the train station you start your journey…
On the second stage, the Via Sacra lives up to its name, as it leads past many impressive churches. First, a monastery is on the program, which is housed in a castle. You leave Heiligenkreuz to the west and keep left at Allander Höhe to get to Mayerling, where you can make a detour to the castle of the…
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The third stage of the Via Sacra has it all. From Kaumberg to Lilienfeld it is more than 30 kilometers and the 1,000 meters of altitude of the day demand a lot of stamina. So it's best to start early in the morning, then you can take your time and take enough breaks. It's good that chapels, churches…
Today you increase slowly but steadily. With a little up and down you will gain height throughout the day. Your destination is Annaberg, the first of the so-called Holy Mountains on the way to Mariazell. Not only a pilgrimage church awaits you here, but also a wonderful view of the Mariazellerland.
Enjoy your last stage on the Via Sacra with varied ups and downs through mountainous terrain. The descent from Annaberg begins past the cemetery. Enjoy the view again before you go. The first part of the way leads you over a special way of the cross, the stations of which are decorated with monotypes…
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