Austria is one of Europe’s most popular walking holiday destinations, and understandably so, with its magical combination of stunning alpine vistas, varied pastoral landscapes, a fascinating history, picturesque villages and an unerring warm welcome from the locals. Many walkers claim that Austria really takes them ‘away from it all’, with its clear mountain air and breathtaking scenery.
Austria’s well-marked walking trails cover more than 40,000 kilometres (25,000 miles), from the Wachau Valley near Vienna, where baroque beauty meets pastoral pleasures, to the snow-capped peaks of the Tyrol region and the lakes and hills of the Salzburger Land, and so much more in between. This is a land where you could lose weeks, if not months in exploration.
One of the major drawcards in Austria is the excellent network of ‘hut to hut’ walking trails, where walkers can enjoy roaming some of the most remote mountainous areas for days on end, without having to worry about carrying a heavy load, as basic accommodation and food is provided at one of these many ‘huts’. The term ‘hut’ is actually something of a misnomer, as most of these buildings are really rather attractive and spacious – and, naturally, set in the most stunning of locations. Perhaps the most famous of these hut-to-hut treks is the Stubaier Höhenweg (Stubai High Route, also known as the ‘rucksack route’), in the Stubai Alps, which is widely regarded as one of the best walks in the Alps.