As the name implies, the amazing Alpe-Adria Trail runs from Carinthia in the Austrian Alps to the Adriatic Sea at a total length of 750 km. This walking holiday in Austria covers the first – and probably most picturesque – stages of the trail, from its start at the foot of Grossglockner, the highest summit of the Austrian Alps, by the largest glacier in the Eastern Alps, Pasterz, through the breathtaking high-alpine landscapes of the Hohe Tauern National park, to the cosy village of Mallnitz.
- Take in the views of Grossglockner Peak
- Pasterz Glacier
- Hohe Tauern National Park
- Impressive Alpine scenery
Day 1: Arrival to Heiligenblut
Welcome to Carinthia and the Austrian Alps!
- Overnight in Heiligenblut, Pension Bergkristall or Pension Trojerhof (optional upgrade to the 4-star Nationalpark Lodge Großglockner)
Day 2 (Stage 1): Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Hoehe to Heiligenblut
The first stage of the Alpe-Adria-Trail begins at an altitude of 2,370 metres, amidst a breathtaking high-alpine landscape. At the foot of Austria´s highest mountain, the Grossglockner (3.798m), the trail almost touches on the icy stream of the Pasterze, the largest glacier of the Eastern Alps. From here it winds its way downwards to the famous mountain village of Heiligenblut, with its magnificent pilgrimage church. Further highlights of this stage include the Briccius chapel, where the legend of Heiligenblut began, and an exciting panorama platform offering spectacular views towards Heiligenblut. Stage 01 undoubtedly counts among the most spectacular day-hikes of the Alpe-Adria-Trail!
- Walking for the day: 13 km, 5-6 hours ↑175m ↓1,270m
- Overnight in Heiligenblut, Pension Bergkristall or Pension Trojerhof (optional upgrade to the 4-star Nationalpark Lodge Großglockner)
Day 3 (Stage 2): Heiligenblut to Doellach (Grosskirchheim)
Stage 02 of the Alpe-Adria-Trail takes you from Heiligenblut to the ancient gold-mining village of Grosskirchheim. This is a relatively short day – giving you plenty of time to be enchanted by the scenic landscape and unforgettable panoramic views across the alpine wilderness of the Hohe Tauern National Park. As you pass through the tiny village of Apriach, look out for its remarkable ‘Stockmuehlen’ – a dozen traditional mills built into the towering rock-face where farmers have ground their grain into flour for hundreds of years. Along with the sun-darkened farm-houses and wildflower meadows, they make for an outstanding backdrop, so don’t forget your camera and take your time to enjoy!
- Walking for the day: 12 km, 4-5 hours ↑500m ↓800m
- Overnight in Großkirchheim, Haus Marhofer (optional upgrade Hotelchen Döllacher Dorfwirtshaus)
Day 4 (Stage 3): Doellach to Marterle
This stage is divided into two main parts. Initially, the even trail takes you along the Moell river. You may like to take a small detour to visit the delightful Gartl waterfall, where you will also find a relaxing resting area. Once you have reached the village of Moertschach, the second part of your hike begins as you follow a fairly steep, ancient pilgrims path to your final destination of the day: the ‘Marterle’ – Austria’s highest pilgrimage church. Its incredible spectrum of scenic views spans from the glaciers of the Glockner group and the jagged rocks of the Tyrolean Dolomites all the way to the Kreuzeck mountains.
- Walking for the day: 18 km, 7 hours ↑1,150m ↓350m
- Accommodation in a mountain cabin (Alpengasthof Marterle), double/twin rooms with shared facilities on each floor (optional upgrade to Kräuterpension Rosenkranz)
No luggage transfer to the mountain cabin possible on this day. Your main luggage will be transferred directly from Großkirchheim to the Day 5 accommodation in Stall, so you will have to carry your essentials for today’s overnight at the mountain cabin.
Day 5 (Stage 4): Marterle to Stall
This is again one of the less taxing sections of your journey – giving you a welcome chance to save your strength for the following days, where you will be walking some of the longest stages of the entire trail! For now, however, you can enjoy a mostly downhill path along another ancient pilgrim route: setting out from the ‘Marterle’ church, you follow the trail through romantic alpine meadows and cooling forests, directly to the remote village of Stall in the Moell Valley.
- Walking for the day: 11 km, 4-5 hours ↑120m ↓1,100m
- Accommodation in Stall, Gasthof Dorfschenke
Day 6 (Stage 5): Stall to Innerfragant/Flattach
Make sure you set out early for this eight-hour trek. However, you will be rewarded with stunningly diverse scenery as you make your way through an alpine landscape. From the village of Stall, the trail winds its way up the steep but beautiful Sonnberg (‘Sunny Mountain’), taking you directly to the alpine zone. Having passed two welcoming mountain huts, you reach the highlight of this route: the ‘Rollbahn’ – the remnants of a horse-drawn railway track, originally built (complete with tunnels and bridges) in order to advance the area’s copper mining industry. Today it makes for a fantastic, entirely flat and easy hiking path. The day finishes with a fairly steep descent down to the mountain village of Innerfragrant.
- Walking for the day: 18 km, 7-8 hours ↑1,200m ↓950m
- Accommodation in Innerfragant/Flattach, Pension Maier or Pension Striednig (optional upgrade Innerfraganter Wirt or Alpenhotel Badmeister)
Day 7 (Stage 6): Innerfragant/Flattach to Mallnitz
You have another long hiking day ahead of you! It starts with a walk through a flat and shady mountain valley, taking you to the village of Flattach. This is followed by a longer and more strenuous ascent to the alpine ‘Staneralm’ pastures. By the time you have reached the unique ‘Himmelbauer’ (‘Heaven’s Farmer’) Tavern for a cool refreshment, you truly might feel that you are in heaven. The remaining route descends all the way down to the village of Mallnitz, a traditional mountaineers’ village known as the ‘Alpine Pearl’ of the National Park.
- Walking for the day: 22.5 km, 8-9 hours ↑1,200m ↓1,100m
- Accommodation in Mallnitz, Pension Thalerhof or Pension Jägerhof (optional upgrade Eggerhof)
Day 8: Departure or Onward Travel
6 nights in 3-star hotels or quality guesthouses and 1 night in a mountain cabin. All accommodations have private double/twin rooms; the mountain cabin has shared bathroom facilities on each floor.
We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.
*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.
Breakfast is included. When no restaurant location is available on route lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops, or packed lunch can be pre-ordered from your hotel the night before. Dinner is available either from the restaurant in your accommodation or restaurants in the village near your hotel. If you choose the “In Style” hotel upgrade, all dinners are included, too.
Optional “In Style” Upgrade
Optional upgrade including more luxurious accommodations on 6 nights including half-board (i.e. dinner included) is available at an extra charge, please choose when booking.
Our recommended arrival airport for this holiday is Klagenfurt. Alternative airports: Salzburg and Munich.
Please note that flight information can change rapidly, and not all flights run daily. Please do check directly with the airlines’ websites or Skyscanner before finalising any booking with us. Please do not book your flights before we have confirmed your booking.
Transfers to/from Airports
Mallnitz/Obervellach train station is 1.5 hours from Klagenfurt Airport by train. Visit the OBB website for up-to-date timetables and fares. Private transfer from Mallnitz train station to Helligenblut on Day 1 is available at an extra charge (from GBP 25 per person), or you can take the public bus (GBP 15 pp). As your last night is in Mallnitz itself, on Day 8 you can directly take the train to the airport.
Airport transfers by train are recommended for this trip, as they are less expensive and take less time than car or bus transfers.
All hotel to hotel luggage transfers on walking days are included (maximum one piece of 20 kg per person), with the exception of Stage 3 (day 4). No luggage transfer to the mountain cabin is possible on this day. Your main luggage will be transferred directly from Großkirchheim to the Day 5 accommodation in Stall, so you will have to carry your essentials for this overnight at the mountain cabin.
Language: German. In big cities, many people speak English, but in remote areas, this might not be the case. However, most of the hotel personnel where we stay speak English and are ready to help you. Road signs/markers are in Latin alphabet – and you can always call our 24/7 helpline if there are any problems.
Electric supply and plugs: 220V, 50hZ, two-pin round plugs.
Currency: We strongly advise taking sufficient cash for your daily requirements. Banks and ATMs are available, and credit/debit card payments are widely accepted in towns and cities and big petrol station chains but might be limited at some of the villages you visit.
Up-to-date travel advice on Austria is available here.
Detailed travel information and hints will be provided in your holiday information pack.
You can see all our self guided walking holidays in Austria here.
Difficulty Grade: Moderate to Strenuous
This holiday is appropriate for very experienced mountain walkers and requires a sound level of fitness, Total walking is 95 km, on average 14 km (6-7 hours) per walking day. Overall elevation gain is 4,300 m, average elevation gain per walking day is 700 m (read more about difficulty grades).
This route is part of the Alpe-Adria long-distance trail, which is very well maintained and waymarked. We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.
When to Go
This trip is available from June until September.
The flexibility of self-guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your trip on any date in the season – so please indicate desired beginning date when booking.
The climate in the region is continental, cold and temperate. Depending on location and altitude, temperatures vary, but, in the June-September period, the daily averages are 15 – 25C. Spring and autumn are cooler with occasional rain. Expect the weather to change rapidly during the day.
What to Bring
We recommend that you travel as light as possible – airlines might charge you an extra fee, and during ground transfers, the place might be limited. Ideally, you should bring one piece of luggage weighing not more than 20 kg (to be checked in) and a daily pack (15 – 20 l rucksack) for your everyday essentials (snacks, drinking water, camera, etc.). Below is a non-exclusive list of what you should bring to this trip. More detailed info will be included in your holiday information pack. If you need further advice, please contact a reputable outdoor retailer or us.
- Good hiking boots
- Hiking socks
- Several t-shirts (cotton or preferably breathable/fast drying)
- Packable waterproof and windproof jacket with hood
- Synthetic mid layer or warm fleece
- Trainers and/or sandals – to relax and wear inside accommodation
- Sunglasses, sunscreen and lip salve
- Hat/Baseball cap
- Personal First Aid kit (wet wipes, flu remedies, stomach remedies)
- Detailed pre-departure holiday information pack including GPS-checked and regularly updated route descriptions, road notes and maps (electronic copy + one printed copy per party)
- 6 nights in 3 or 4-star hotels or quality guesthouses with breakfast included
- 1 night in a mountain cabin (private rooms but shared facilities) with breakfast included
- Transfer from Heiligenblut – Kaiser Franz Josefs Höhe
- Return transfer from Stall to Rangersdorf
- Transfer from Mallnitz back to Heiligenblut
- Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel on all walking days with the exception of Day 4 (see notes in the Itinerary section)
- 24/7 assistance by phone
Single Room & Solo Traveller Supplements
- Where individual members of a group require a single room, a single room supplement is applicable.
- This holiday is NOT available for solo travellers.
Other Trip-Related Costs
- Entrance fees for attractions and museums
- Flights and airport transfers
- Luggage transfers on day 4 (private transfers to mountain cabin not possible, your luggage will be directly transferred directly from the Day 3 accommodation to the Day 5 accommodation)
- Lunches and dinners on all days
- Travel insurance
- Personal expenses such as snacks, drinks, phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.
- Any items not specifically mentioned as ‘included’ in the program
- The extra costs for a dog (approx. € 5 -20 per day)
Extensions and Upgrades
- One extra night in Heiligenblut before the holiday
- One extra night in Mallnitz after the holiday
- Optional “In Style” Upgrade including more luxurious accommodations on 6 nights on half-board basis (i.e. dinner included) is available at an extra charge, please choose when booking (GBP 180 per person)