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5 Best Guided & Self-Guided walking holidays to Austria

The country offers a wide range of walking holidays, catering to all skill level. What sets Austria apart as a prime destination for walking holidays is its accessibility, the charming towns where accommodation options abound, and the impressive English skills of the local population.


As a passionate hiker and nature enthusiast, I recently embarked on a fantastic walking holiday in Austria, renowned for its breathtaking alpine landscapes and world-class hiking trails. The experience left an indelible mark on my soul as I immersed myself in the pristine beauty of the Austrian Alps, explored charming villages, and connected with nature in its purest form. 

Personally, three elements set Austria apart as a prime destination for walking holidays.

One of the most significant advantages of walking holidays in Austria is the country's accessibility. Whether you're a seasoned hiker or a leisurely walker, Austria offers many well-maintained trails that are easily accessible and suitable for various fitness levels. The hiking infrastructure is exceptional, with a network of well-marked paths, clear signposts, and detailed trail maps available. This makes planning and navigating your walking routes effortless, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable experience.

Secondly, throughout Austria, you'll also find an array of picturesque towns and villages that serve as ideal bases for your walking holiday adventures. Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart, is a charming city nestled in the stunning Salzburg Alps. It offers many historical sites, cultural attractions, and easy access to nearby hiking trails. Another gem is Zell am See, located by the beautiful Lake Zell and surrounded by breathtaking mountains. This idyllic town perfectly blends nature, outdoor activities, and cozy accommodations. In the Tyrolean region, Innsbruck stands out with its vibrant city atmosphere and proximity to incredible alpine landscapes, making it a convenient hub for hiking excursions.

Innsbruck perfectly represents what you'll find in Austria: picturesque towns at  mountains feet, and a welcoming and English-speaking local population 
© Mikolas Voborsky 

In addition to the mentioned towns, many other charming places across Austria offer excellent accommodation options for walkers. St. Anton is Arlberg, Graz, and Bregenz are a few other towns that provide a delightful blend of natural beauty, cultural attractions, and cozy accommodations to ensure a memorable stay during your walking holiday.

Last but not least, one of the significant advantages for international visitors is the impressive English language skills of the local population in Austria. English is widely spoken, particularly in popular tourist areas, hotels, restaurants, and tourist information centers. This high level of English proficiency enhances communication, making it easy for walkers to seek guidance, ask for directions, and interact with locals. The friendly Austrians are known for their warm hospitality, and their ability to converse in English adds to the overall ease and comfort of exploring the country on foot.

Austria offers hiking options for guided and self-guided walking holidays, catering to various preferences and skill levels. In this comprehensive guide, I will unveil the five best guided and self-guided walking holidays in Austria, providing you with the ultimate resource for planning an unforgettable adventure in the summer of 2023.

1. The Austrian Lakes and Mountains 

An aerial view of Lake Wolfgangsee and the Salzkammergut region © Paul Pastourmatzis 

The Austrian Lakes and Mountains walking holiday is perfect for those seeking a guided tour combining breathtaking scenery with cultural exploration. This 8-day adventure takes you through the picturesque Salzkammergut region, where crystal-clear lakes, lush meadows, and imposing mountain peaks await. Enjoy guided walks around Lake Wolfgangsee, Hallstatt, and the Dachstein region, and indulge in traditional Austrian cuisine and hospitality. This guided tour balances moderate hikes and strolls, ensuring a memorable experience for all fitness levels.

  • Distance: Approximately 80 kilometers
  • Elevation Gain: Varies throughout the trail
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Average Time to Complete: 6-7 days
  • Precautions for Summer: Carry sufficient water and sun protection. Be prepared for occasional rain showers. Wear comfortable hiking shoes.
  • More information: The Austrian Lakes and Mountains

2. The Adlerweg (Eagle's Way)

For the more experienced hikers looking for a self-guided walking holiday, the Adlerweg, or Eagle's Way, presents an exhilarating challenge. Spanning 413 kilometers across the Austrian Alps, this iconic long-distance trail showcases the country's alpine beauty and rugged landscapes. The route is divided into 24 stages, allowing hikers to choose their preferred sections or tackle the trail over several weeks. Be prepared for steep ascents, exhilarating ridge walks, and panoramic vistas that will take your breath away. This self-guided adventure is perfect for hikers seeking solitude, self-reflection, and a profound connection with nature.

  • Distance: 413 kilometers
  • Elevation Gain: Varies throughout the trail
  • Difficulty: Challenging
  • Average Time to Complete: 3-5 weeks, depending on the chosen sections
  • Precautions for Summer: Carry ample water, sunscreen, and insect repellent. Check the weather forecast regularly. Be prepared for steep ascents and varying trail conditions.
  • More information: Adlerweg Official Website

3. The Grossglockner High Alpine Road 

Since the opening of the Alpine Road in 1935, the road has become wider, safer, and more comfortable © Anders Nielsen

If you crave high-altitude adventures and spectacular mountain views, the Grossglockner High Alpine Road walking holiday is a must-consider option. This guided tour takes you along one of Europe's most scenic alpine roads, offering breathtaking vistas of Austria's highest peak, the Grossglockner. Explore the Hohe Tauern National Park, marvel at the Pasterze Glacier, and enjoy hikes through flower-filled meadows and glacial valleys. With the support of knowledgeable guides, you'll discover hidden gems, learn about the region's natural and cultural heritage, and enjoy comfortable accommodations amidst stunning alpine scenery.

  • Distance: Varies depending on the chosen walks
  • Elevation Gain: Varies depending on the chosen walks
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Average Time to Complete: Varies depending on the chosen walks
  • Precautions for Summer: Carry sufficient water and sun protection. Be aware of potential weather changes in the mountains. Follow the designated paths and heed any safety instructions from guides.
  • More information: Grossglockner High Alpine Road

4. The Salzburger Almenweg (Salzburg Alpine Pasture Trail) 

The Lofer Mountain range in the Salzburger Land © Markus Spiske

For those seeking a self-guided walking holiday immersed in the traditions and tranquility of the Austrian Alps, the Salzburger Almenweg is a dream come true. This circular trail spans approximately 350 kilometers, winding through the magnificent Salzburg region. The trail takes you through lush alpine meadows, quaint villages, and traditional "Alms" mountain huts, where you can savor local delicacies and experience warm Austrian hospitality. The Salzburger Almenweg offers varying degrees of difficulty, allowing hikers to choose the sections that suit their fitness levels and time constraints.

  • Distance: Approximately 350 kilometers
  • Elevation Gain: Varies throughout the trail
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Average Time to Complete: 3-4 weeks, depending on the chosen sections
  • Precautions for Summer: Carry enough water, sunscreen, and insect repellent. Be prepared for changing weather conditions. Wear sturdy hiking boots.
  • More information: Salzburger Almenweg Official Website

5. The Lechweg 

For a self-guided walking holiday that combines natural beauty with cultural immersion, the Lechweg is an idyllic choice. This 125-kilometer trail follows the majestic Lech River, leading you through the heart of the Austrian Alps and captivating landscapes. Explore ancient castles, charming Tyrolean villages, and verdant meadows as you traverse the route at your own pace. The Lechweg offers a mix of easy-to-moderate walks, allowing hikers to fully appreciate the region's biodiversity, rich history, and the soothing sound of the rushing river.

  • Distance: 125 kilometers
  • Elevation Gain: Varies throughout the trail
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Average Time to Complete: 8-10 days
  • Precautions for Summer: Carry sufficient water, sun protection, and insect repellent. Check the trail conditions and weather forecast regularly. Respect wildlife and follow trail etiquette.
  • More information: Lechweg Official Website


Austria's commitment to providing accessible walking trails and the abundance of accommodation options in picturesque towns creates a seamless experience for walkers of all levels. You can relish the tranquility of the alpine landscapes, immerse yourself in the local culture, and indulge in warm Austrian hospitality after a fulfilling day of exploration.

Whether you opt for a guided walking holiday like the Austrian Lakes and Mountains or seek the challenges of self-guided adventures like the Adlerweg or the Salzburger Almenweg, Austria promises to captivate your senses and leave you with unforgettable memories.

Whether you're seeking leisurely walks, challenging alpine adventures, or a mix of cultural exploration and outdoor activities, Austria has it all. Lace up your boots, embrace the natural splendor, and prepare for an unforgettable walking holiday experience in Austria, where nature's beauty and warm hospitality await you at every turn.

Cover © Paul Pastourmatzis