Hiking in Austria and then a part of the Alpe Adria Trail was already a bit longer on my wish list. Yet traveling within Europe often shifts to the background when I have to choose. This year I would actually go to India again. When all this didn’t happen because of Covid-19 my wish to go hiking in Austria came up again. For a moment I had my doubts about a piece of Camino in Portugal … But in the end I chose to hike in Austria on the Alpe Adria Trail!
The Alpe Adria Trail is a long distance hike with a length of 750 km and 43 stages. If you are going to do the Alpe Adria Trail you start hiking in Austria. After this you will hike through the Alps in the direction of Italy and then even to Slovenia! The end point of this long distance hike is then at the Adriatic Sea!
Because I had never been to Austria and could not quite estimate how busy it would be on the trail I booked the first 5 stages through a travel agency. Once I was there I did 3 more stages and booked the cabins/hotels myself along the way. Actually I just had to walk another day or 2 days but that is hindsight…. And so hiking in Austria is not off my long list yet. I will come here again to do the first stages of the Alpe Adria Trail or to continue where I stopped!
Travelling by train to Austria
I chose to travel sustainably and thus to go by train. This is the responsible way of travelling of course and that’s why I consciously opted for it this time. I have taken it upon myself to do this for travel within Europe. But I have to say that this is not made easy and attractive. It was a long day travelling and I had to change trains several times in Germany.
Where you fly back and forth for maybe 50 euros, I have now booked a one-way ticket to Spital an der Drau for 80 euros. This is near the starting point of Stage 12 Alpe Adria Trail en Seeboden.
I booked this train trip with the German Bahn in the app on my phone. This was easy to book and quick to find.
The advantage of travelling by train is that you can walk for a while, that you have more seating space and that there is an onboard restaurant where you can go and buy your drinks or food. But I wonder if all those advantages outweigh the disadvantages of this way of traveling.
Advantage of Travelling by Train: You travel sustainably and have less impact on the environment.
Personally, the disadvantage is that you lose a full day on the trip and that a one-way ticket is the same price as a return flight…
Alpe Adria Trail – Stage 12
Alpe Adria Trail app / book
While hiking in Austria you can use the Alpe Adria Trail App. The app contains a lot of things worth knowing but what I used most was the map you can open to see where you are on the trail and if you are still on the right path. The route is very well signposted but sometimes you have some doubts if it takes a bit longer before you get a sign again. Then it is great for your state of mind that the app just shows you that you are still on the red line that indicates the route.
Besides this handy app you can get the free booklet about the Alpe Adria Trail with day to day description at the information centre in Seeboden or any other town you go through or check the official website of the Alpe Adria Trial for your day trip.
Impression of Stage 12
My first stage was from Seeboden to Millstätter Alpe. This stage is about 21 km long and the booklet told me that it would take me about 8 hours. In The Netherlands a hike of 21 km is a nice afternoon hike but in Austria it is different! I would ascend 1557 meters on this first day! And I would descend 356 meters, of course I shouldn’t forget that, haha. That is nothing over the 8 hours and almost 1600 meters ascent.
I was really looking forward to it! As far as training was concerned, I hadn’t really prepared myself, I had done a number of hikes, but as far as height difference was concerned, nothing really. Shortly before this trip I walked the Stuwwalroute and a number of stages of the Dutch coastal path. Only in Dutch but Google will help you translate…
That morning I just started the walk relaxed. I made sure I left on time so I had the whole day to cover that 8 hour walk and 1600 meter ascent. Around 8.15 am I walked away from Seeboden.
The day before I had seen where the starting point was, at the Miltstätter See and since just before the path turned left I didn’t walk all the way to the official starting point that morning. I started that morning hiking in Austria on the Alpe Adria Trail with the lake to my right. After a while it turned left and I crossed the main road to Miltstätt and went into the mountains. Now it was really going to happen, the ascent started!
It was already nice and warm and what always happens when you start walking, or ascending, your heartbeat goes up and you start to sweat. I walked slowly but steadily on a kind of forest path along a stream which made for a nice cool breeze.
Shortly after that I came out of this beautiful piece and walked on country roads and beautiful paths. I took a short break in the town of Tangern. It was quite warm but also quite early, so I didn’t go to the restaurant to have a cappuccino but sat on a bench drinking some water.
After this the walk continued upstairs and at half past 12 I reach Pichlhutte. I decide to take a break there and have lunch right away. Like every break I take off my shoes and because I was sweating I first choose a spot in the shade. Soon it gets too chilly for me, I am already at 1336 meters and the wind is already nice and fresh.
Luckily I can still move to a sunny spot on the beautiful terrace they have with a view of the surroundings. I order a strammer max, I can use the large double sandwich with 3 eggs and tomato and meat.
Break at Pichlhutte – #AATRAIL
After a lovely break I continue. My socks and feet are nice and dry again and I’m as good as new in my shoes. The path rises right next to the restaurant. Meeting some other Dutch people there but they appear to be walking a day hike and not the Alpe Adria Trail when I ask them about it. I continue my route and walk over beautiful paths and along great mountain pastures with great views of Lake Miltstätter each time. Passing several cows and am guided through and over many fences.
I love it and am amazed by all the great views!
In the meantime, I just climb all those meters without really realizing it. That’s really the advantage of walking abroad. You’re distracted, you look around you and in the meantime your legs and feet do the work underneath you, almost automatically. I just love it!
Alpe Adria Trail – Stage 12 – Steinerner Tisch
Meanwhile I arrive at the Steinerner Tish. There are some cows close by and before I walk to them I decide to enjoy the view and do the first yoga pose 🙂 I also hope that the cows have walked on when I turn the corner to walk the last part to the table.
Somewhere I have read that in ancient times human sacrifices were made on this kind of stone tables. Now that I’m searching again, I don’t really find that explanation of this again. Only that it is a stone table and the legend of the Hidischen Leit is about it. But unfortunately I can’t find that legend anywhere.
As I walk on, at some point I have to pass a stretch on the path where there is a water site. Here I see several cows with their calves. I take the advice not to walk in between them… But then I have to climb high above them with a strange detour off the path.
When I’m almost past the group, suddenly there are two calves.
Weidevieh – Everywhere you see the cows!
One of them gets scared of me and runs to her mother, who looks up and apparently thinks everything is fine and her attention goes away from me again. The other one, a male calf according to me, with something of a crooked nose keeps looking at me with a cheeky look. I immediately see that this is one of those kids from the class that always gets into a fight and just takes it one step further than the rest. You know them, such a daredevil who just doesn’t do it in a fun way. He finds it interesting that I walk there. If he’s about to walk towards me I make myself big and take a threatening step in his direction hoping that he’ll get scared. At the same time I make asound. But not too loud so that the rest of the herd hears it…but also so that I hope it scares the calf.
The only thing I have accomplished with it is that the beast keeps standing still and staring at me. Because going higher is not an option, I have to descend a bit and go between him and the group to get past the whole scene. I do this running and only look a lot later, when I am back on the normal footpath.
I see that nothing has happened behind me at all and that they are just drinking and grazing…
Hiking in Austria
When I walk on I go higher and higher and get a 360 degree view! I am on my way to the highest point of this day Tschiernock at 2088 meters. This is what the booklet and app of the Alpe Adria Trail tells me. There is a little bit more wind on top of Tschiernock and in the heat I am walking these days that fresh wind is great! When I finally reach this highest point there is of course a cross like I’m used to on mountains.
After this cross I walked a nice piece over this mountainrange so I had a nice view on both sides into the valley. It started to rain a bit and for a moment I was afraid I would have to unpack my rain gear. But luckily, as it would stay the whole trip, it stayed dry and I just got a single drop over me. The advantage of this great point was that I was now above the rain that was apparently raining in the valley. I got to see a great rainbow.
For the first time in my life I was above a rainbow!
What a magnificent view!
The rain passed me by and I thought I had some time left. So I took an extra break against a rock. I enjoyed the wind and the sun in my face. Cooling down but at the same time staying warm enough. It was a great combination up there on that mountain!
Yoga on the Alpe Adria Trail
When I walked on after this I only had to go down a bit. Indications emerged as to how long it would be before I would be at my first overnight stay, the Alexanderhütte. I really felt like sitting in a nice chair and a refreshing Almdudler oid.
When finally the end point came into view, I was happy. It looked wonderful! It looked like I would have a great view of the lake in the valley during dinner. Were it not that it was going to rain heavily in the evening. I ate my pancake (made from eggs) soup outside and then I went inside.
I was happy and felt just great after this first day on the Alpe Adria Trail!
The first day on the Alpe Adria Trail had been really great. I had walked it well while it is judged heavy by some. While I wasn’t physically prepared for mountain hiking I was very pleased with my performance today and looked forward to the next few days with a very good feeling.
I was sitting inside the hut .. charging myself for the next day!
Length and duration of Stage 12 – Alpe Adria Trail
The booklet indicates that you do about 20.7 km 8 hours. With the breaks I took I see that it still took me 8.5 hours. I left at 8.15 am and was over at 4.45 pm.
It’s nice to know that I keep the schedule and that I can do the breaks I need. I don’t sit on a bench very often or take long breaks but every now and then you need a small break. I had been in Tangern for a while, the lunch break at Pichlhutte and at the Steinerner Tisch. Then I sat down at a big rock on top of the Tschiernock.
Hiking in Austria – Alpe Adria Trail – Stage 12
Overnight stay on Alpe Adria Trail Stage 12
I slept in the Alexanderhütte that night. I had a shared room there with an Austrian woman from Salzburg whom I would meet several more times in the next few days. There was also a German couple from Munich in the room. I would also walk with them for another day! The feeling of walking a route together started to develop… That is the advantage of sleeping in a common room, in a hut as they call it in Austria.
All in all I had a super first day and was looking forward to the next days!
Do you like hiking in Austria? Save it for later!
Or make me happy and share this inspiration with others!
I have shared more on hiking in Austria, check my blog about stage 13