Hiking in Austria: immerse yourself in nature on the Venediger Höhenweg

Hiking in Austria
Immerse yourself in nature on the Venediger Höhenweg

The Großvenediger is one of the highest mountains in Austria.

© Rasto SK/Shutterstock.com

If you want to immerse yourself in the nature of our neighboring country Austria: The Venediger Höhenweg amazes hikers.

Mountaineering boots on and into the beautiful nature of Austria. The Hohe Tauern National Park, around two and a half hours by car from Munich, attracts many active vacationers every year. And there is a good reason for that: between mountain lakes, waterfalls and impressive peaks, some routes meander that offer a fantastic panorama. One of them: the Venediger Höhenweg.

The approximately 70 kilometer long hiking trail is located in the East Tyrolean part of the national park and runs through the Tauern and Virgen valleys. The Venediger Höhenweg has a south and north route. With both you hike from hut to hut for several days. Most of the time, the hikers are at an altitude between 2,000 and 3,000 meters – which promises a magnificent mountain panorama. In addition, mountain enthusiasts can see the Großvenediger glacier, which is what gave the trailer its name. Since the terrain is alpine and high alpine, the path is only recommended for experienced mountaineers.

From Ströden over the Türmljoch to the Johannishütte

The southern route begins in Hinterbichl, at the hiking car park in the small village of Ströden, and ends at the Matreier Tauernhaus in the Gschlößtal. The north route is exactly the opposite. According to the official website, the northern section comprises six stages, the southern seven. If you don’t have that much time, you can descend into the valley at any time. A recommendable route: from Ströden over the Johannis- and Eissee to the Bonn-Matreierhütte and back to the parking lot.

From Ströden the path leads through the green meadows of the Maurertal to the Essener-Rostocker Hütte, which is located at 2,208 meters. The 8.6 kilometers and 805 meters of altitude can be covered in around two and a half hours. Either you make your first stop there or you continue straight to the Johannishütte, which towers 2,121 meters above sea level. After two and a half hours of serpentines, the hikers reach the Türmljoch (2,772 meters), which, with its small snow fields and angular rocks, offers a magnificent sight and view. Then it goes one and a half hours mostly downhill to the oldest hut in the Venediger area, the Johannishütte.

Thanks to steel cables to the Eisseehütte

The next morning you can take a detour to the Kreuzspitze. The 3,155 meter high mountain can be climbed in around three hours. Surefootedness is required here, as a rubble area and a steep final slope have to be overcome. But the grandiose view of the snow-covered Venediger group makes up for every effort. There are various ways to get to the Eisseehütte. One of them: take the same path back and after about half of the way follow the signposted path to the Zopetscharte. Once at the top, a very steep path leads into the Timmeltal – a steel cable safety device is attached. After around 20 minutes there is a beautiful, less demanding path to the Eisseehütte (2,521 meters). With a lot of luck, marmots and chamois will cross your path.

Those who still have strength in their thighs the next day can hike on the 3,300-meter-high summit of the Weißspitze before continuing to the Bonn-Matreier-Hütte (2,750 meters). Summiteers should plan a good four hours of walking from hut to hut. Thanks to the small differences in altitude, the route is not difficult. The Bonn-Matreier-Hütte is the highest in the Venediger group and is surrounded by some 3,000-meter peaks. If you have enough, you can get down to Obermauern / Virgen the next day and take the bus back to the parking lot in Ströden.

That should definitely be in the hiking backpack

If you decide to do this hike, you should reserve a place to sleep in the huts a few weeks in advance if possible. The 3-G rule applies in Austria: only vaccinated, convalescent and tested people are allowed to stay there. Since no blankets can be distributed due to the Corona, take a thicker sleeping bag with you. Most huts offer breakfast and dinner. Since the weather can change quickly in the mountains and snow can even be expected in summer, it is essential to pack a rain jacket, hat and gloves.

Rain pants are also useful. Hiking sticks are a must in alpine terrain. To protect the contents of the backpack from possible rain showers, pack everything in plastic bags or alternatively use a dry bag. If you park your car in Ströden, you should have change or an EC card with you – the parking lot is chargeable.

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