Austria is one of the best destinations in Europe for hiking. The jaw-dropping scenery creates the ultimate backdrop to your wanderings, whether you want your two-footed travels to last for a day or a week.
When talking about hiking opportunities in Austria, The Eagle Walk has to be at the top of the list. This multi-stage trek stretches across the entirety of Tyrol (Tirol in German) and offers challenging trails for both beginners and experienced hikers. We feel there are few better ways to see the Austrian landscape in all its glory, so here are some things you should know about The Eagle Walk before you set off.
The main reason why this route has its name is that, when drawn on a map, it outlines the image of an eagle spreading its wings over Tyrol. It’s also apt because the various walks give you an excellent eagle’s eye view of the country.
Best Time To Go
The summer months provide the best time to attempt the Eagle Walk, with the peak period being between the middle of June and the end of August. If you want to avoid some of the crowds that can often be found in the hüttes during high season, September is a good month to choose.
There Are 33 Stages In Total
Separated into 24 stages in North Tyrol and nine in East Tyrol, there are 33 sections that make up the Eagle Walk. This makes the hiking opportunities endlessly flexible, allowing you to pick and choose whether you want to tackle just a few areas or conquer the entire trek. At over 250 miles long, it would take some serious commitment to complete the full length in one trip, but the manageable stages mean that you can join a few of these together and separate it into convenient chunks.
Plus, there’s no need to commit to more than just a few hours of walking if you don’t want to. The stages range from the two-and-a-half-hour-long Zirbenweg Trail in Innsbruck to the eight-and-a-half-hour climb from Karwendelhaus Lodge to Hallerangerhaus Lodge. The sections also vary in difficulty (easy blue hiking trails, intermediate red mountain trails and difficult black trails), so you can match the hike to your own ability.
Mountains And Lakes
The scenery along the way is sure to be epic. The Eagle Walk crosses no less than eight different mountain ranges, taking you to a combined elevation of over 100,000 feet. This includes the sight of Austria’s tallest peak, the Grossglockner.
It’s not just commanding summits that will fill your view, though. The paths will take you through beautiful nature reserves, traditional Alpine villages and deep valleys. There will also be plenty of lakes along the way. Places such as Hintersteinersee, Steinsee and Zireiner See will be definite highlights.
Traditional Hüttes Provide Accommodation And Respite
If you are looking to combine different stages, the traditional hüttes stationed at the end of certain sections offer the perfect accommodation. Here, you’ll have the chance to mingle with other hikers, enjoy a hearty meal to fuel the next day’s trek and rest those weary legs. Even if you choose not to sleep in these wooden huts (think ski lodge more than garden shed), they are always on hand to offer shelter from the elements, a quick lunch or helpful information about what’s ahead.
Most of these hüttes have hundreds of years of history behind them. Built by some of the first people to explore these mountain ranges, they boast original features and have more than a little drop of whimsy about them.
Some people like to travel light, packing everything they need into a rucksack and using the hüttes for refreshments. However, if you want a more comfortable stay and you’d rather not hike with weight on your back, there are luggage services available that will transfer your bags between accommodations. You can go direct to Taxi Royal for anything from stages one to seven or Schmid Bus and Taxi for stages 14 to 24. Alternatively, you can add this to your enquiry and we can arrange it all for you.
The extensive and reliable public transport in Austria makes it easy to get to the starting point of your hike. Many of the stages begin at bus or train stations so you can travel between them in comfort. You can even join a number of sections together, ensuring to begin and end at a train station and take advantage of easy transport to and from the airport.
If you’re going to do all this hiking then you may want something to show for your efforts. Many walkers like to collect the physical stamps offered by the hüttes, but there’s now an even easier way to do this. By downloading the SummitLynx app, your GPS will track which stages you have completed. After finishing five stages you’ll receive a bronze hiking pin, 15 stages nets you a silver one and conquering all 33 stages will earn you a gold pin and a coveted place in the Eagle Walk Hall of Fame.
If you would like more information about hiking holidays or want to book a trek along the Eagle Walk, call our friendly team on 0800 988 3369. You can also send an online enquiry via our contact us page.