About this Austria walking region
Styria’s colourful landscapes range from lofty mountains to verdant vineyards; from swathes of dense forest and sparkling turquoise lakes to pretty pumpkin fields.
The north of Styria is where you’ll find the highest peaks, including the 2,995 metre (9,826 feet) Mt. Dachstein, which borders on the Salzkammergut region. And this is also where you can discover Austria’s newest National Park: the Gesäuse National Park with its stunning gorges.
The south is characterised by more pastoral scenery. The gentle rolling hills of the vineyards, apple orchards and warm springs for bathing in make it a very pleasant place to spend some time. Throw in the wide range of walking and cycle routes and the temptations of welcoming wine taverns and you may find it hard to leave!
Styria’s scenery may be the main drawcard, but it is also a land of wonderful towns and cities. Graz, a designated UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site, boasts one of the finest old towns in Europe and is a gastronome’s dream. If you do just one thing here, take a walk up to the Schlossberg, with its historic clock tower, and take in the beauty of this city with its trademark red rooves and vibrant character.
The wonders of Styria and neighbouring Slovenia can be enjoyed all year round. A wide range of hiking and cycling trails will lead you through the natural treasures of this varied land. In winter, the countryside becomes carpeted in snow and offers some wonderful opportunities for skiing, snow shoeing and winter walking.
Walking in Steiermark (Styria)
The sheer variety of walks on offer in Styria will leave you spoilt for choice. In the alpine north, you can marvel at the mountains, the highest of which are Mt. Dachstein (2,995m/9,826ft) and Mt. Hochschwab (2,277m/7,470ft), and crystal-clear lakes, while in the south, it’s all about gentle hills, orchards and vineyards. Both sides of this region are equally appealing and merit some serious exploration. Styria is a place where you can truly forget about the stresses of everyday life and simply enjoy nature at its finest.
There are walks in Styria to suit all ages and fitness levels, including a large number of leisurely hikes which all the family can enjoy. Best of all, they all take you to friendly wine taverns or welcoming mountain huts en-route, so you are never too far from refreshment. If longer hikes are what you’re after, then Styria has an impressive collection of long-distance, hut-to-hut or inn-to-inn treks lasting several days, some of which take you across the border and into Slovenia. We’ve picked out five of our favourite multi-day walks in our Styria Tips & History, Culture, Flora and Fauna section.
Almenland Nature Park
Gentle walking in the Styrian Pre-Alps ● Only 40km/25mi north of Graz ● The ‘Green Heart of Styria’ ● Large network of easy walks and more challenging hiking trails ● Superb region for a family walking holiday ● Lovely landscape of hills, enchanting forests, extensive pasture lands, authentic mountain huts and 13 small villages.
The area surrounding Graz ● Still relatively unknown beyond Austria ● Frohnleiten - pretty town overlooking the River Mur, surrounded by hills and filled with flowers in summer ● Varied range of walks, from Alpine hikes to easy rambles ● Visit the Lurgrotte Caves - one of Austria’s most spectacular underground networks.
Gentle walking off the beaten (tourist) track ● Low mountain range with hills rising to about 1,000m (3,280ft) ● Bordering on eastern Styria spa region and the Pannonian planes ● Marvel at clear streams, lush forests and fragrant air ● Pleasure walking amidst apple orchards and vineyards ● Large network of well-marked walking trails.
Outstanding destination for combining gentle walking and hiking with rich history and great food ● Set in the midst of Styria’s Alpine foothills ● Explore the Alpine trails of Mt. Ötscher (1,893m/6,211ft), the area’s highest mountain ● The location of Mariazell village with its Basilica is one of the most visited pilgrimage sites in Europe.
Mt. Dachstein Region Ramsau
Located at the south face of the Dachstein range ● Varied hikes for every ability ● Relaxed walks on the sunny Ramsau high plateau (1,200m/3,937ft) ● Dachstein Glacier at 2,700m (8,858ft) ● Footpaths in the Dachstein region are very well-marked ● Easy access to the higher walking areas and Mt. Dachstein via cable cars.
Mt. Dachstein Region Schladming
Flanked by rocky Alpine peaks ● Easy access to Mt. Dachstein (2,995m/9,826ft) via the Dachstein cable car from nearby Ramsau ● Varied walking holiday destination, with something for everyone ● Schladming… always in season ● The 'Wild Waters' hike in Schladming-Rohrmoos, the world's first National Geographic hiking path.
Mt. Hochschwab Region
The area around the mountain of the same name (2,277m/7,470ft) ● Boasts one of Europe’s largest Chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra) population ● Location of Styria’s famous ‘Green Lake’ (Grüner See) near Tragoess ● Crystal clear springs, streams and lakes – supplying Vienna with drinking water ● Aflenz - historic thermal resort.
Murtal Valley, Styria
Extensive valley with surprisingly good hiking options - off the tourist trail ● The valley’s western part reaches into Salzburger Land ● Dense forests, Alpine mountains and the River Mur ● Hundreds of kilometres of hiking path ● Hiking is best in the Seckauer Alps (up to 2,417m/7,930ft) and the Seetaler Alps (up to 2,396m/7,861ft).
Mürzer Oberland Nature Park
Take the road less travelled and enjoy easy walking in the foothills of the Alps ● On the border to Lower Austria ● Magical forests, extensive highland pastures (Alms) and wildly romantic river valleys ● Well-signposted network of leisurely routes and themed trails ● Hills and Alms ranging from 700m (2,297ft) to 2,007m (6,585ft).
National Park Gesäuse
Where the River Enns forces its way through forested hillsides and rugged cliffs ● Makes a good introduction to the Austrian Alps ● Less crowded than other Alpine national parks ● Hills and mountains ranging from 490m/1,608ft to 2,370m/7,776ft (Mt. Hochtor, Ennstal Alps) ● Well worth a visit: Admont Abbey and Monastic Library.
Take the lesser-trodden path ● Six authentic villages and two scenic river valleys ● Family and culture region ● Gentle hiking and history...a little bit of both ● One hour from Graz and on the ‘Styrian Iron Road’ ● Nearest town: Leoben with its pretty Altstadt (old town centre from the 13th century) ● Sample the famous Gösser beer.
Pöllauer Valley Nature Park
If you prefer gentler nature experiences ● Very much off the beaten track ● A feast for the senses, a place with rich history ● Ancient patchwork landscape full of pear orchards ● Hills and woods, from 345m (1,132ft) - 1,280m (4,199ft) ● Many themed trails, incl. the enjoyable Hirschbirne pear hiking trail ● A place of culinary delights!
More great places to go walking in Austria:
Wachau Valley & Krems, Upper Austria, Tyrol - Western Tyrol, Salzkammergut, Salzburger Land,
Carinthia, Tyrol - Central Tyrol & Innsbruck, Tyrol - North-Eastern Tyrol, East Tyrol, Vorarlberg